New year, new you, new way of working?

New year, new you, new way of working? (Photo credit: Thinkstock)

What funny things new year's resolutions are. You spend the latter half of the previous year thinking about what you'd like to change about yourself, then finally greet January 1st with aplomb; implementing your new lifestyle choices. Three to four weeks later, you've reverted to old habits and are back to square one.

Sound familiar? What if there was a way to make it much easier to hang on until at least the extra exercise, diet or quitting of smoking has actually started making a difference to your body? We've heard recently how cutting out the commute can make a difference to your pocket and your stress levels; maybe working from home can also help in this sense?

Making time

It involves a bit of imagination and of course, willpower, but it's certainly possible. Let's start with exercise. The thing is, it's so easy to make excuses for not going to the gym or for an after-work jog. "I don't have the time", "I'm too tired after a hard day's work at the office", if you haven't at least considered using these already, then kudos.

However, if you're working from home, this frees plenty of time up for you to indulge in your new hobby. Say, for example, you normally spend 40 minutes on the commute every morning, which is no longer necessary because you're remotely connected to your colleagues from your house and are conducting meetings via conference call facilities. 

Instead of just using that time for an extra 40 minute lie-in every morning, how about putting it to good use? With a bit of discipline, you could wake up at the same time as you would if you were commuting and use that period normally spent sat on the train to exercise instead. 

Quit the office, quit smoking?

Another common resolution is to give up smoking. Of course, in the office, this can really test the strength of your willpower if you enjoy the regular cigarette break with colleagues. If they aren't as conscientious as you and have no intention of quitting, then temptation is always going to be around the corner.

Working from home can again provide the answer, though. If seeing your workmates continue to do something you're craving is too hard, then removing yourself from the situation, or even just reducing the number of times you are being exposed to this, is a step in the right direction.

Family first

Maybe all those long hours you've been working yourself into the ground for over the last 12 months has convinced you to vow to spend more time with the family. 

The freedom that flexible working allows you means this is something that can become easily achievable. 

It's all about thinking outside the box with this one; how about waking up early to start on your daily tasks, before taking time out of the morning to do the school run? Similarly, when your children return, you could always stop what you're doing, relax with your loved ones and then resume your work when the kids have gone to bed.

Handy advice? Maybe. Life-changing? Possibly. Just like your new year's resolutions, flexible working can make as much or as little of a difference to you as you'll let it.