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Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week

By Children's Health, Immunisation

Keeping Up To Date for World Immunisation Week


A baby being kissed by his mother

World Immunisation Week is here, and it’s time to focus on vaccinations.  Around the world, more than 19 million children are unvaccinated or under-vaccinated. Australia has relatively high rates of vaccination, but there is still a minority of people who do not follow the recommended vaccination schedule.

In Australia, we’ve largely eliminated many once-common diseases through immunisation – but that doesn’t mean they can’t come back. Vaccines work, but we shouldn’t get complacent about illness. Let’s look at why it’s important to keep up-to-date.

Do Vaccines Work?

Vaccines are extremely effective at reducing disease, and are the safest and most cost-effective way to do so. Vaccines use our own immune systems to protect us. A weakened, dead or part of a virus or bacteria is introduced to the immune system. It’s too weak to actually infect us, but enough for our immune system to “learn” to fight it with specialised antibodies. If we encounter the real disease, our bodies will quickly recognise and destroy it, resulting in a mild version of the sickness or no infection at all.

It’s easy to feel like certain vaccines are unnecessary because we are used to living in a country that has spent decades attempting to eradicate serious diseases. However, just because there are fewer visible cases in the community doesn’t mean the disease has gone.

Are all Vaccines Really Necessary?

Some people avoid certain vaccines, believing them to be unnecessary. Measles is a good example of a sickness that people underestimate, and might avoid being immunised against. While for most people measles is a relatively mild (although unpleasant) illness, around 1 in 5,000 who get the virus will die. Other complications are hepatitis, meningitis, loss of vision, and complications for unborn children if a pregnant mother gets the disease.

In 2014, the WHO announced that measles was eliminated in Australia. Surely now we can stop vaccinating against it? Unfortunately not. As the recent measles outbreaks in various parts of Australia show, just because the disease has been eliminated in the Australian population does not mean it can’t be brought in from outside the country. When it is, a vaccinated population will make it much harder for an epidemic to spread.

Could Improved Hygiene Explain Disease Reduction?

Some people believe that reduction in serious diseases is not a result of vaccinating, but rather just because we as a society have become cleaner and more aware of diseases. Chicken pox is the best example of why this is not the case.

The vaccine for varicella (which causes chicken pox) has only been available since the mid-1990s. In the early 1990s, before the vaccine became available, the U.S. had about four million cases of chicken pox per year. By 2004, cases of chicken pox had dropped by 85%. Hygiene practices had not changed significantly in that time – only immunisation could explain such a drastic improvement.

What You Can Do

The most important job is to make sure that you and your family are up-to-date on their vaccinations. The Australian Childhood Immunisation Register has information on what your child has already had, and what they might need. If you have fallen behind, you can talk to your doctor about a catch-up schedule.

Getting vaccinated is absolutely vital for the health of your family and the wider community. If you have questions, your GP can answer them and point you in the right direction for accurate, trustworthy information. Vaccines work, and it’s up to each individual to keep ourselves and vulnerable people around us protected.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss immunisation –>

Stay Safer This Flu Season

By Children's Health, General Wellbeing, Immunisation

 Stay Safer This Flu Season

You can count on a few things to happen every year – Christmas and the flu season. The influenza virus is always around, but the colder months of the year make us all huddle in together and makes it easier for the virus to spread. From April to October, the number of cases of influenza rise dramatically in Australia. Sometimes when people get a cold they call it “the flu”, but influenza is more than just a nasty cold – Each year it can be responsible for the deaths of over 1,000 Australians.

There are a few safeguards we can put into place to help reduce the chances of getting the flu this flu season.

Firstly, what is the flu?

Source: health.gov.au

Influenza (the flu) is a highly contagious disease, usually prevented by vaccination and treated by managing symptoms. Spread by body fluids from infected people, symptoms include a runny nose and sore throat. Flu can affect anyone but is especially serious for babies and older people.

The flu is caused by the influenza virus. There are many different strains and they can change every year.

Flu is not the same as a common cold. The flu is a serious disease because it can lead to:

  • bronchitis
  • croup
  • pneumonia
  • ear infections
  • heart and other organ damage
  • brain inflammation and brain damage
  • death.

The flu is easily spread from person to person. Most infections happen in winter.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

Flu symptoms include:

  • runny nose or sneezing
  • cough or sore throat
  • fever and chills
  • headache
  • body aches
  • vomiting and diarrhoea (more common in children).

Symptoms usually start about 1 to 3 days after catching the flu and can last for a week or more. Some people can be mildly affected, while others can become seriously ill.

A common cold is not the same as the flu, although some of the symptoms are similar:

  • runny nose or sneezing
  • cough or sore throat.

How does the flu spread?

The flu spreads:

  • when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and you breathe it in
  • through direct contact with fluid from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes
  • by touching a contaminated surface with the flu virus on it, and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

The flu spreads easily through families, workplaces, childcare centres and schools.

If you have the flu, you can be infectious to others from 24 hours before symptoms start until 1 week after the start of symptoms.

If you have the flu, you can help stop the disease spreading by:

  • staying away from childcare, school, work or other places where they could spread the infection until you are well
  • covering your coughs and sneezes
  • washing your hands often.

Basic Hygiene

Let’s start with the basics – one of the best ways of protecting yourself is the things we already know. Without becoming a “germaphobe”, it’s important to be aware of how we can pick up and transfer germs from one place to another – and how to break the cycle.

  • You’ve been washing your hands since you were little, but it might be time to revisit your technique. Make sure you’re washing each part of your hands (backs, palms, in between your fingers) with plenty of soap and hot water for at least the length of time it takes to sing “happy birthday” under your breath.
  • Use disposable tissues wherever possible and bin them straight away, and cover your whole mouth and nose whenever you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible – including rubbing your nose, eyes and mouth.
  • Clean surfaces regularly, especially when they’re high use such as door knobs, telephones and keyboards.
  • Lastly, flu season is not the time to share – make sure you wash cups, plates and cutlery thoroughly before using them.Stay

Get Vaccinated.

There is a whole lot of misinformation that circulates about the flu vaccine – with some people saying it can give you the flu, or that it doesn’t work. The truth is, while it’s not perfect, the flu vaccine is one of the best defences we have to protect ourselves against the flu.

The flu vaccine is less effective than other vaccines because of the nature of influenza. The virus mutates and changes regularly, and there are a number of viruses responsible. In your flu vaccine is protection against the 3 or 4 most likely strains to be around based on evidence from past seasons and from other countries. It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than nothing.

Not only does your flu vaccine help protect you from getting infected with an influenza virus, if you do get the virus your symptoms are likely to be less severe and go away quicker, with less risk of extra complications. That’s well worth the small investment in getting the vaccine.

Many people confuse a bad cold with the flu, but influenza can be much more serious, causing hospitalisation and even death in sometimes otherwise healthy people. If you come down with an illness, it’s important to do everything you can to avoid spreading it and to see a doctor if your symptoms don’t improve over a few days. Through this flu season, keep yourself safe and do your part to protect others from this nasty strain of viruses.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss the flu ->

The Importance of Universal Health Care

By General Wellbeing

The Importance of Universal Health Care


Person getting their blood pressure checked by a doctor

World Health Day has been running since 1950, with a different emphasis each year on an issue of global importance. This year, the World Health Organisation is focusing on universal health coverage. So, what are the statistics on accessing health services around the world? And how does Australia stack up?

Paying for Health

Imagine watching a family member get sick, knowing that you do not have the money to pay for medical services – or if taking your child to a doctor was a major financial decision. At least half the people in the world do not have access to essential health services, and the services available can push people into extreme poverty to pay for the things they need.

The “health for all” objective extends beyond helping people access health care that won’t plunge them into poverty, as the WHO says it has even more significant effects. According to the WHO, offering universal health care “protects countries from epidemics, reduces poverty and the risk of hunger, creates jobs, drives economic growth and enhances gender equality”.

Universal Health Care in Australia

Australians have access to universal health care, through Medicare. Australians and permanent residents have access to subsidised health care for a range of permitted procedures. Australia also offers the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (or PBS) which subsidises a range of essential medications that could otherwise be prohibitively expensive. Australia also offers a “safety net threshold”, which offers even further subsidisation to households who exceed a set amount of expenditure on health care within a year.

Room for Improvement

In a 2017 study, the ABS survey showed that 4% of Australians had delayed or avoided seeing a GP because of the cost, and 7% had avoided filling a prescription because they couldn’t afford the medication. Around 12% had not received specialist medical care due to costs.

While Australia has a world class universal health care system, one major discrepancy is in the life expectancy of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people – around 10 years less than someone who is not of Indigenous heritage. There are more deaths in each age group and for all major causes when compared to the non-Indigenous population. Lower utilisation of health services is a commonly cited factor in the increased death rates, and it’s an area that Australia needs to work on to ensure equal health services for all.

Health for All is a simple statement, but it has far reaching consequences for people who do not have access to affordable health care. April 7 is a good day to mindful of people whose finances determine their health, and to be thankful for the services we have access to in Australia.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your health –>

Four Tests You Should Have Every Year

By Body Systems, Cancer, General Wellbeing, Men's Health, Skin, Women's Health

Four Tests You Should Have Every Year



Many people avoid seeing the doctor until there is something obviously wrong. There is a huge need for preventative health measures, and early diagnosis is crucial in the successful treatment of many conditions.  A good GP will work with you to not only fix existing problems, but to prevent and identify possible areas of concern to make sure you are not only healthy now, but stay healthy for the future.

Here are four simple tests that you should have at least every year to make sure your body is functioning well.

Full Blood Tests

Your blood holds so many clues to your wellbeing, and if you don’t check you will never know. From potentially serious conditions like diabetes and cancer, to general fatigue that can come from low counts of vitamins and minerals in your blood – it’s best to find out. Your blood can give you an indication of your heart health and levels of cholesterol, and can give clues as to how your other organs are performing.

If you have any concerns about your health, talk to your doctor before the tests are ordered so they can advise you if it’s worth having some extra areas looked at. A follow-up appointment once the results come through is important as it gives your doctor the opportunity to address any concerns or send you for further tests if necessary.

Blood Pressure

If you have personal concerns about your blood pressure or any family history of unhealthy blood pressure you will need to be checked more often, but everyone should be checked at least yearly. While you can often get the tests done at a local chemist, making an appointment with your GP allows you to record your readings to notice any changes over time, to discuss what the numbers mean, and to be advised on whether any further action may be required.

“Down Under” tests – Prostate Checks, Mammograms, Colon Checks and Pap Smears

No one said they were fun, but on the other hand they are not as bad as you might imagine. Chat to your doctor about how often you should get these checks and what form they should take – your age and family history will determine how frequent they should be. For example, prostate health can sometimes be measured using a blood test, rather than the manual examination some people fear, and mammograms are not recommended for women under the age of 40. Regardless of the form these tests take, don’t let your fear of discomfort get in the way of routine checks that could save your life.

Skin Checks

Melanoma and other types of skin cancer are on the rise in Australia, and can usually be easily diagnosed by a specialist in a quick, non-invasive appointment. The specialist will look closely at your skin, paying special attention to any moles or spots you might have. Family history of skin cancer increases your risk of getting the same disease but even one bad sunburn over a lifetime has a similar increased risk. Early detection is vital for successful treatment, and many places even bulk bill their skin scans – so cost shouldn’t be a factor.


It’s important to find a GP who you have a good relationship with, who will work with you to guard your future health as well as treating your present concerns. Book an appointment to discuss what tests might be right for you, and don’t let nerves or apathy get the better of you. Your health is worth guarding, and a few simple tests could literally save your life.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss your health ->

Get Set to Quit for World No Tobacco Day

By Cancer, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

Get Set to Quit for World No Tobacco Day



We all know by now that smoking is not healthy, but over time it is easy to get complacent. May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, which is a yearly reminder of the damage that tobacco does to individuals, families and communities – and hopefully provides an extra incentive to quit. Here are some reasons to give a gentle reminder to your loved ones that it’s time to quit.

Tobacco and Heart Disease

The focus of this year’s No Tobacco Day is heart disease, which is just one of the many health concerns that come from smoking. Smoking puts people at a hugely increased risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the number one cause of death worldwide, and tobacco use is the second leading cause of CVD.

More than 7 million people worldwide die from tobacco-related disease. And it’s not just people who choose to smoke who are effected – around 900,000 of those deaths are non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke from people around them.

Tobacco and Cancer

Cancer is a scary word – but even more scary is how much of a risk factor tobacco use can be. Smoking is the leading risk factor for preventable cancer, and 1 in 5 deaths from cancer are caused by smoking. The tobacco in cigarettes has more than 60 cancer-causing chemicals that are inhaled, and spread through the lungs and throughout the body.

Supporting Smokers

Just over 16% of Australians smoke, and 3 out of 4 smokers say they would like to quit. Clearly quitting is a difficult process, and it needs to be approached with support, respect and understanding. But while quitting is hard, the consequences of not quitting are much more serious.

It doesn’t matter how many times it takes for someone to fully quit, whether they cut down first or go “cold turkey”, whether they use nicotine products or simply stop all usage. The most important thing is that the tobacco goes, for good. Your wallet and every part of your body, including your future health, will thank you for it.

If you know a smoker or smoke yourself, it’s often best to have a plan in place before you quit. There are many good resources online to help you learn more about the quitting process. Another great place to get ongoing help and support is from your GP. They can advise you on what products and methods are available for you, and support you through the process.

On World No Tobacco Day, decide that today is the day to finally say goodbye to tobacco.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss quitting smoking ->

Strength in Numbers – Multiple Birth Awareness Week

By Family Planning & Parenting

Strength in Numbers – Multiple Birth Awareness Week

Man outdoors with three children

Parents of multiples face challenges that go beyond just an increased workload. It’s easy for families to become isolated and overloaded with the constantflow of tasks needed to look after more than one baby at a time. This year’s multiple birth awareness week focuses on the importance of the support network surrounding people who have welcomed multiple births. Here are just a very few of the challenges parents of multiple children face, and how you can help lighten the load.


Financial Pressure

Preparing for a new baby is an expensive time, and at each stage new items are needed. It makes sense that parents of multiples feel even more financial strain. Aside from needing enough items at each stage for each baby – all at once and without hand-me-downs from one to the other, many families need specialised items like prams and even cars to accommodate their new arrivals.


Many parents experience guilt in the course of raising children, but parents of multiples can feel added pressure in this area. One baby might be more demanding or put on weight quicker, parents might not feel they are splitting their time evenly (especially if they have other children), and sleeplessness can make parents cranky.

Post-natal depression can be a real concern and bonding doesn’t always happen instantly – particularly if the babies have had a lengthy stage in hospital before coming home. Outside the home, parents rarely have the time to see friends or maintain a social life, and their relationships can be put under added strain, all contributing to feelings of guilt.


It’s easy for parents of multiples to feel isolated, as simply leaving the house can become an exhausting ordeal. With the added pressure, it’s easy for parents to shut off. However, feelings of isolation and loneliness can also make daily life hard to bear, and the loss of freedom that most new parents experience is even greater with the added care that multiples require.


Life with multiples very rarely has room for much downtime. Parents can struggle with the extra feeds, sleep routines, and nappy changes that they require, often on reduced sleep. Problems with feeding, sleeping or colic can make everyday life overwhelming. Rest time and even time to take a shower become precious.

How to Help

Any help you offer needs to be tailored to the family and to your relationship with them – if you don’t have much experience with babies, chances are they won’t call on you to babysit, for example. However, there are many areas that parents can be supported.

Any good quality baby items that you aren’t using, a shoulder to cry on, an offer to go out for coffee (on you!) to chat, suggesting that they have a quick shower while you keep an eye on the kids for a moment – anything that lightens the load can have a huge effect on the morale and stamina of stressed-out parents. Above all, asking if there is anything they need or need help with is a good strategy to make sure your support goes where it is needed most.

Raising multiples is a wonderful, rewarding task, but that doesn’t mean it is necessarily an easy one. A strong network of supporters can make all the difference to parents who are finding it tough.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss support for multiple births –>

Listening Out for Hearing Loss: Hearing Awareness Week

By Elderly and ageing, General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

Listening Out for Hearing Loss



Did you know that it is estimated that 1 in 4 Australians could have some form of hearing damage by 2050? It takes the average Australian 7 years to seek help for hearing loss after they begin to suspect it might be a problem. Awareness of challenges faced by people with hearing loss is important, as is protecting hearing in people who do not yet have severe hearing loss.

Causes of Hearing Loss

There are many factors that could contribute to loss of hearing – genetics, diabetes and smoking can speed up its effects. However, a shocking one third of all cases of hearing loss are as a result of exposure to excessive noise.

Damage to hearing builds up over time. The louder the noise and the longer you are exposed to it, the greater the risk is to your hearing.

What is Excessive Noise?

As a general guide, noise is excessive when someone has to raise their voice to communicate to someone who is an arm’s length away. Workplace noise used to be the most common cause of hearing loss, but a major rising concern is personal listening devices, especially worn by young people. They really can cause permanent damage. The general rule is that if someone else can hear the music while ear buds are in, it’s too loud.

Just because someone already has hearing damage doesn’t mean they don’t have to worry about excessive noise – on the contrary, it’s even more important that they protect the hearing they have left. If you struggle to hear properly at a normal volume, don’t turn it louder – seek help.

Symptoms of Hearing Loss

Because losing your hearing is often a gradual process, it is easy to miss. People who know you well might notice the first signs of your hearing loss before you do. If you’re wondering if you might have some hearing loss, ask yourself:

  • Do other people complain about how loudly you turn up the TV or radio?
  • Are you uncomfortable in situations with a lot of background noise?
  • Do you strain to hear at places like the cinema?
  • Do you often have to ask people to repeat themselves?
  • Can you hear clearly when using your telephone?
  • Do you always hear the doorbell and your phone?
  • Do you hear that people are talking but struggle to make out all of the words?

The sooner someone addresses hearing loss, the better chance they have of slowing down its progression. If you have any suspicions, or even just want to reassure yourself, tests are very simple and cheap (or even free).

Take Action

If you have any concerns about your hearing, get checked. The treatments for hearing loss have come a long way since the days of big, clunky hearing aids, and new products are in development all the time, so the fear of hearing aids shouldn’t stop you from seeing someone about your hearing. Don’t wait for years, just to become another statistic. Ask your GP to refer you to a hearing specialist, and start taking control of your hearing – because once it’s gone, it won’t come back.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss hearing loss –>

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day

By Cancer, Children's Health

Supporting International Childhood Cancer Day



While childhood cancer is a topic many people avoid, avoidance can mean that the people who experience it feel forgotten. Whether childhood cancer is a horrific hypothetical situation, or a diagnosis that has been experienced personally or through someone else, it’s good to take time to remember the children who are diagnosed every week. International Childhood Cancer Day raises awareness of the disease and is a call to support cancer patients, survivors and their families.

What is childhood cancer?

Any cancer diagnosed in a person aged 0-19 falls into this category. In Australia, over 950 children will be diagnosed with some form of cancer each year. 1/3 of those cancers will be found in children aged 0-4.

The most common cancers for adults, such as lung, rectal and breast cancers are very rare in children. Leukaemia, lymphoma and cancers of the central nervous system are the most common. Unlike adult cancers, childhood cancer isn’t linked to lifestyle and can’t be prevented. Other than some genetic links, there is no known cause for most childhood cancers.

Are children with cancer likely to survive?

It wasn’t so long ago that cancer in childhood was almost always fatal. These days, over 90% of Australian children survive. However, that number isn’t the same across all types of cancer. One type of cancer, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, has a 90% survival rate, whereas the chances of surviving a brain tumour haven’t changed in decades from around 50%. Even when children’s bodies recover, cancer can take a huge toll on their mental and physical wellbeing, as well as putting a huge emotional and financial strain on families.

Circumstances can equal survival.

It’s a harsh reality, but according to the World Health Organisation up to 90% of childhood cancer deaths occur in areas that have low resources. People from low-income areas are less likely to detect cancer in time for early treatment, and they have less access to resources when parents or medical staff do suspect that something might be wrong. In Australia, there is a concerning survival gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, as well as for children who live in remote regions.

So what can be done?

Medical research into the various forms of childhood cancer is the only way to provide long-term solutions. Research breakthroughs can then be applied to the detection and treatment of cancer, which should eventually benefit children around the world. Other institutions provide support for children and their families as they undergo treatment.

If you wish to help financially, make sure you find a reputable charity where the assistance is guaranteed to go directly to the people who need it. Some other ideas might be fundraising, raising awareness, and taking the time to reach out if you know someone who has experienced a diagnosis of childhood cancer. If you are dealing with a diagnosis, make sure you have the support you need through this difficult time.

Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about childhood cancer –>

Getting the Message about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

By Cancer, Women's Health

Getting the Message about Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month


On Wednesday 28th of February, Teal Ribbon Day will be held to raise awareness of ovarian cancer, to support women battling the disease, and to remember lives lost. Every year, about 250,000 women will be diagnosed worldwide. Ovarian cancer often has symptoms, but they can be hard to detect. Let’s look at some facts you might not know about ovarian cancer.

Who is at risk for ovarian cancer?

Ovarian cancer is a type of gynaecological cancer, a group that also includes endometrial cancer and cervical cancer. There are no routine screening tests that can detect ovarian cancer – some women assume their cervical smears have them covered, but they are only for cervical cancers.

While there are risk factors that increase the chances that someone might develop this type of cancer, remember that many people who end up diagnosed with it have few or none of these risk factors, whereas some women with an increased risk will never develop ovarian cancer.

Risk factors.

The risk of ovarian cancer might be increased for women who:

  • Are over the age of 50
  • Have gone through menopause
  • Have a genetic risk – two or more women from the same side of the family indicates an increased genetic risk.
  • Have never had children
  • Have never used oral contraceptives
  • Have endometriosis
  • Have unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, eating a high fat diet or being overweight
  • Have hormonal issues, such as early puberty or late menopause.

Common symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer often comes with symptoms, but they can be similar to the symptoms from less serious health complaints. The four most common symptoms are pain in the pelvis or abdomen, an increase in size or bloating of the abdomen, urinating often or urgently, and feeling full after eating a small amount.

Just because you have some of these symptoms doesn’t mean you have cancer, so you shouldn’t panic. There is most likely another explanation for your symptoms, but if common illnesses are ruled out then ovarian cancer should be considered. A disease like ovarian cancer requires you to know your body and trust your instincts.

Ovarian Cancer Australia list other common symptoms as:

  • Changes in your bowel habits.
  • Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
  • Bleeding in-between periods or after menopause.
  • Back pain.
  • Indigestion or nausea.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Pain during intercourse.

Speak Out.

Remember that no one knows your body as well as you do, so don’t ignore any warning signs. If you have symptoms frequently over a 4-week period and they are unusual for you, talk to your GP. If you are not confident in your doctor’s diagnosis, it’s ok to seek a second opinion. Don’t forget to buy a teal ribbon on the 28th of this month to help raise funds and awareness for ovarian cancer.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to discuss ovarian cancer –>

5 Tricks to Make Your New Years Resolutions Stick

By General Wellbeing, Lifestyle

5 Tricks to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick



We’ve almost reached the end of January, and for many people the resolutions made this year are already starting to slip. If you made some health goals for this year, they’re worth keeping! Here are five simple tips to get you back on track, and to help make sure your health goals really stick.

  1. Pick a goal that’s right for you.

If you’re going to make changes, it has to be for the right reasons. There can be a lot of pressure from society in general to make certain goals, but they’re very unlikely to stick if you’re not personally convinced.

Don’t just dust off the same goals as every year – spend some time to carefully think about the goals that are really important to you and how you might realistically achieve them with the time and resources available to you this year.

  1. Be S.M.A.R.T. with your health.

In a 1981 paper in the Journal of Management Review, George T. Doran coined an acronym that can help you make goals you can actually keep. Think S.M.A.R.T.! Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Vague or overly ambitious plans with no way to measure your achievements can trip you up before you even get started.

  1. Give yourself reason to celebrate.

While most people have an end-goal in mind, making a series of smaller goals to get to that point will help give you strategy and motivation. Give yourself a list of achievements to tick off along the way, and make sure to celebrate your progress! Small, permanent changes will lead to big results.

Remember that not all celebration has to include cake! Often we associate rewards with food-based treats, but for most health goals that strategy is unhelpful. Giving yourself some time off, purchasing a luxury item or a planned sleep-in will make you feel better in the long run.

  1. Stay positive.

It makes absolutely no sense to be mad at yourself for missing a step. Not only should you be proud that you are committed to improvement, remember that if your goals are making you more miserable than happy you’re more likely to throw in the towel. Take a deep breath and start again, as many times as it takes.

If you find that you’re consistently missing your targets, consider having another look at why that might be happening. Are your goals unrealistic? Do you need extra support? Do you have specific strategies in place for when you’re tempted to fall off the wagon? Your goals need to be designed to fit you, not the other way around.

  1. Get help.

Resolutions are much easier to keep when you work on them with other people. Instead of a vague announcement of your intentions, try to share your specific goals and strategies with someone who will help keep you on track in the long term.

Displaying your goals (short- and long-term) somewhere you can see them can help. There are also many apps and websites available to help you stay on track. If you have specific health goals, talk to your GP about safe and effective ways you can achieve them.


Click here to book an appointment with a GP to talk about your health goals –>

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