New Year is a time for betterment and change.
Unfortunately more often than not it's also a time of failure as our resolutions begin to hit the metaphorical speed bump that is reality. We took some of the most common New Year's resolutions and talked to experts in each field about the best way to ensure that decision to stay sober does not become an excuse to drink.
1. Get fit, lose weight.
The good news is there are no end of deals to get you into the gym, but how do you make yourself a regular member, and not a membership donor?
Les Mills trainer Steve Shannon said he got into the gym scene 16 years ago with a New Year's resolution.
"You get a lot of people who catch the wave and then bail a couple of months into it and other people ride it and see how far it takes them."
Steve said sign-ups went nuts in January and February, jumping around 15 per cent. He shared his commandments for success:
1. Begin with a positive attitude. "If you focus on success you'll get success, if you focus on failure it's going to happen.
"Nothing fun or exciting or mind blowing ever happens in your comfort zone. You've got to step out and more often than not you will be blown away by what you can achieve, but you have to take that leap of faith and get out there and do it."
2. Make sure you find a type of physical activity you enjoy.
"It's like diet. If I said to you you're going to eat nothing but skinless chicken breast and broccoli it would probably work but how long would you do it for?" Steve says a good trainer will find something the client enjoys, whether that's weights, group training or cardio.
3. Surround yourself with positive people and if possible go in with a friend.
"There's nothing worse if you're trying to get lean and tighten your diet up if your partner is sitting on the couch with a packet of biscuits."
4. Get past the critical period. It can take around 21 days of hard work before you begin the see and feel the advantages. If you can push past three weeks of sore muscles and exhaustion you'll feel more energised, see results and build from there.
5. Don't be intimidated or self conscious. This goes double in the weight room, a place many fear to tread for fear of judgement from the men on the bench press determined to prepare themselves for the moment a small house falls on them.
"Most people at the gym are so focused on what they are doing they don't notice what people around them are doing."
6. Define your goals. If you enter as skinny Joe Bloggs don't expect to come out as Captain America in two weeks. Goals should be realistic.
7. Ask for help - especially important if you find yourself with a membership you never use.
2. Save more, spend less.
Hamilton Budgeting Advisory Trust manager Clare Mataira says New Year is one of the worst times of year to start saving. Christmas bills are coming in, kids need entertaining over the holidays and there's the prospect of back-to-school supplies.
"Any time's a good time to start, but you really want to start it when you can save money, because at the moment it's all going out," said Clare.
"It's about changing how you think about things. Habit and behaviour changing is the hardest thing of all. You need to find out what kind of spender you are."
Types of spenders include those who spend because of sales, those who spend on impulse, those who spend on others and those who spend out of guilt because they are not doing other things.
"You need to know what kind of personality you have," Clare said.
The next important step is distinguishing between needs and wants. Clue: needs include food, shelter, power and medical needs. They do not include a Netflix subscription.
Clare said many people lie to themselves, but a good method is to ask a friend for some honest feedback.
Given how good most of us are at receiving honest feedback if you want to avoid an argument another great place for honest advice is your bank statement. At the top of the waste list Clare said are takeaway meals, incidental purchases (including coffees or anything you buy from a dairy) and credit interest.
Here are Clare's 10 commandments for saving money:
1. Spend less than you earn.
2. Never take on debt for things that depreciate in value.
3. A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
4. Never invest in things you don't understand
5. Remember you do not deserve things you can't afford just because you work hard.
6. Change things gradually. The wise person changes one thing at a time.
7. Lock your purse. Few can earn as fast as they can spend.
8. Never repay any debt at the minimum rate.
9. Don't drive if you can bike, don't bike if you can walk.
10. Don't wish for your neighbour's car or house. Better to own a smaller car than owe money on a larger one.
"Double your money. Fold it in half and put it in your back pocket," is her final piece of sage advice.
3. Eat better.
Nutritionist Ben Warren is optimistic about the time of year.
"People are really present to how bad you feel when you eat the wrong food, or over-drink or over-indulge."
He said it's a great time to start, while the memories of food comas, hangovers and meat sweats are still fresh in the memory.
"When you eat better foods you feel better, and the more people can be aware of how they feel and what they've done the better. It's that threshold for change."
Most of us know what healthy foods are: buy unprocessed food, eat fresh fruit and veges and limit the amounts of sugary and fatty food you consume. Warren adds to this: Eat what makes you feel full the longest.
4. Quit smoking.
Quitline team manager Willie Unuka said New Year was not only the most common time to quit, but also the best. One of the biggest factors: tobacco tax increases came into play on January 1.
"A lot of people have been planning to quit, but it's kind of their catalyst."
Willie said tax increases were often between 10 and 20 per cent, increasing a pack by $2-2.50 per pack.
He likens quitting to riding a bike - you might fall off the first few times you try, but every time you learn something and are more likely to succeed the next time.
"It can sometimes take seven or eight times to quit but the trick is to keep going at it."
He said there are a lot of methods out there, including online resources and hypnotherapy. The most common reason to fail, according to Willie, is emotional factors. To succeed you have to train yourself to think of things to do instead of smoking.