Make 2023 your year with OK!’s life MOT – save £10k, cut sugar and boost health

With 2023 now upon us, the New Year is a great time for reflection. Whether it’s recalling successes from the past 12 months or looking forward to the year to come, January is often regarded as a month of reset.

And it seems as though the number of people using the start of the month to overhaul their lifestyle is on the up. According to YouGov, one in five Brits have made at least one New Year’s resolution for 2023, compared to just one in seven the previous year.

So, what’s the secret to making a New Year reset last the whole year (and beyond)? From health to finances, OK! spoke to six experts about how to make 2023 your best year yet…

Romance: The new love rules

Whether you want to rev up your relationship or find love in 2023, these tips from Celebs Go Dating coach Anna Williamson have you covered…

If you’re in a couple…

Say thank you

Every relationship takes effort and hard work. One of the most effective things you can do is say thank you to your partner, whether it’s for taking the bins out or making you a cup of tea. We lose sight of how powerful those two words can be. The minute you praise someone, they mirror it back to you. It’s easy for resentment to breed, so focus on the positive and think, what can I do to show appreciation to my partner rather than finding fault?

Press pause on sex

If (lack of) sex is an elephant in the room, agree to go without. It’s reverse psychology – the minute you say you’re not going to do something, it seems less daunting. Agree on other ways to be intimate – going for a walk and holding hands, sending each other loving texts or cuddling on the sofa. These are all ways to be intimate and can take the pressure off sex being the only option. Often you’ll find sex comes a lot easier as a result.

Diarise date nights

Date nights can feel a bit fun-spongey, but the practicalities of life mean we do need to plan things. We diarise going out with the girls and we need to do the same with relationships.

Shared values / different interests

A healthy relationship is an interdependent one – you carve out time together but have your own lives as individuals. You can have different interests but if you have the same values, that’s what will keep your relationship strong.

If you’re single…

Take control of online dating

The dating world can be overwhelming. If you don’t know where to start, take back control by being clear and upfront about your objective. If you’re looking for a committed relationship, say it. It isn’t too heavy, it’s being open about what you want.

Break the ice over Zoom

The average date in the UK is £126 – stupid money! So have an ice-breaker video call first, just to see if there’s a spark. You avoid wasting anyone’s time or money and if there’s something there you can move to the next stage. We don’t need to go all “bells and whistles” in those early dates. Just a coffee and cake. We’ve moved on from the wine and dine situation.

Size them up subtly

On a first date, remember it’s not a job interview. Be aware of what your values are and think of ways to weave them into natural conversation. Use it as a fact-finding mission to find out what your date is into, what they represent. Ask questions that will get you those answers in a subtle way. That’s how you’ll find out if someone cuts the mustard.

Be transparent

In that first phase of dating, before you’ve reached “situationships” or exclusivity, it’s perfectly OK to go out on dates with several people. But it’s important to be honest and transparent about that. You’ll always get respect for that.

Anna has launched an online relationship coaching platform called The Relationship Place. Visit

Wellbeing: Unfreeze your mindset

Author and mental toughness guru, Penny Mallory, says shaking up a fixed attitude can make all the difference to your life…

Many of us get stuck in a rigid mindset and it can be extremely limiting, holding us back from achieving our potential. Here’s how to change that for a happier, more successful 2023.

Don’t fear failure

Some people avoid trying to change their mindset for fear of failure. This prevents them from taking risks and learning new things. Change your perspective to view it as “learning”. No one starts out being brilliant. Everyone learns their skills through exploration, practice, hard work, endeavour and resilience. Your actions and behaviours come from what and how you think. To behave differently you have to think differently.

Have a daily cold shower

It might sound extreme but taking an ice-cold shower every day offers surprising physical and mental benefits to the way you think and behave. This is an exercise designed to practise tolerating discomfort, which helps to build discipline, resilience, commitment and determination. In time it will help you change your mindset.

Give 100%

People think they’re committed to doing or achieving something, but it’s rarely a 100% commitment. You need to give 100% to change your mindset, right from the start – it will make all the difference. A half-hearted attitude will simply set you up for failure.

Leave your comfort zone

Playing it safe and refusing to get out of your comfort zone can be a recipe for failure. Risk is scary, but champions learn to open their minds to possibilities, managing risk and leveraging it to their advantage. Instead of just saying you want to “get fit” or “take up running” try pushing yourself and aim to run a marathon or lift a specific weight in the gym. Your likelihood of achieving it will increase as a result.

Use visualisation

Feeling like you’re in control of your life rather than a passenger is key. Start to visualise how things could be if you change your mindset and create a picture of what result you want. Set aside the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can.

See challenges as an opportunity

Things won’t always go your way but whatever happens, you’ll learn something. Learning from experience is so important. Sometimes you need to find your limit, and discover what’s possible.

365 Ways To Develop Mental Toughness by Penny Mallory (John Murray Learning, £12.99) is out now.

Nutrition: Beware the sugar baddies

Nutritionist Karen Newby shares her seven steps to cutting sweet-tooth cravings…

We’re a nation of sugar lovers. In 2020 alone we scoffed nearly three million tonnes of sugary foods – an average of 43kg per person!

Sugar gives a short-term hit of energy to the brain, followed by a dip causing irritability, lapses in concentration, sudden hunger and sugar cravings. It also excites dopamine – the brain’s reward centre – which can make us addicted to that feeling.

But completely removing sugar from your diet isn’t realistic in the long term and can make you feel deprived, so I work on crowding out sugar cravings to rewire our taste buds. Here’s how to curb those cravings.

Always eat breakfast

If you’re not usually hungry at that hour, try eating your evening meal earlier so you do feel hungrier first thing. This is when we need fuel, not at the end of the day.

Make breakfast protein-rich

You’ll feel more satisfied and your blood sugar will be more balanced. Try eggs, high-protein, low-sugar granolas (no dried fruit – they’re basically sugar lumps!) with full-fat yoghurt and berries, avocado on toast with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, or porridge with oat milk, ground cinnamon, grated ginger, a chopped pear and two heaped tablespoons of protein- packed ground linseed.

Only drink caffeine with breakfast

On its own it interferes with our blood sugar and can cause crashes, leading to cravings.

Fixing the ‘cue’ helps us change the reward

Swap your 3pm cup of tea (which pairs so nicely with a biscuit or two!) for a herbal tea (which doesn’t go so well with a sugary snack).

Choose protein-rich snacks

Go for falafels with hummus, nuts and seeds, a ramekin of high-protein granola with full-fat yoghurt and berries or an apple with cheese.

Avoid sweeteners

Aspartame, xylitol and stevia are often more than 180 times sweeter than sugar. They trick the body into thinking it’s getting something sweet, which increases the craving. Our palate also becomes more attuned to sweet stuff.

Choc swap

Swap high-sugar milk chocolate for darker vegan chocolate. The bitter taste will reduce your sugar cravings.

To get more tips from Karen or to try one of her retreats see

Finance: How to save £10,000

In this cost of living crisis, just a few adjustments can make a huge difference, say our trio of finance gurus…

Savings challenge – £5,050

Label 100 envelopes from one to 100 and put them in a box. Each week, remove two random envelopes and put aside the amount written on them. So, if you pick 20 and 7, you’d save £27.

Cancel subscriptions – £612

End services you no longer need. Cancelling Netflix saves £132 a year, and ditching a gym membership for free YouTube classes could save £480.

Make presence the present – £185

We spend around £420 on gifts a year. Homemade presents are cheaper and more sentimental – or give quality time instead.

Save, don’t spend – £1,475

The average date night costs over £100. On weekdays many venues offer half-price deals. Try a monthly “no spend weekend” – enjoy free activities such as museum trips or an at-home spa day. Don’t buy non-essentials – instead use up leftover food, to save you £875 a year.

Shop smart – £1,103

When online shopping, hold items in your basket for a few hours, as the retailer will send a discount code – clothes shoppers can save an average of £459 a year. When grocery shopping, visit the reduced section first to knock around 15% off your bill, saving £644 a year.

Check interest rates – £575

If you have £10,000 in a savings account at 2% interest, you’ll only make £200 a year. Change to one with 4% interest rate (try Atom Bank or Market Harborough) and get £400. Look out for switch offers – NatWest gives new customers £175*.

Get a side hustle – £1,000

You won’t have to pay tax on the first £1,000. Rent out designer clothes, a spare room or driveway, become a mystery shopper or pet sitter, test out new websites and sell unwanted goods.

Savings tips by Tara Flynn,’s Finance Expert; Lucinda O’Brien, the Savings Expert at; and Stacey Lowman, the Financial Coach at Claro Wellbeing. *Info correct at time of going to press


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