New Year, New You… Yeah, whatever! You’re the same person aren’t you!? Well that depends, did you like who you were in 2016? If you’re unsure of your answer then there’s definitely room for improvement and what better time to start than 2017!
Most people focus on their health when the New Year’s resolutions are discussed. I’m not entirely sure why this is but maybe it has something to do with the excesses of the past month; drank too much, eaten too much, done too little exercise. Maybe the body is crying out for some relief from this downward spiral? Maybe it is simply because the figure looking back at you from the mirror is twice the person you want to be… literally!!
I personally think it is deeper than that. The New Year is a pyschological barrier, in reality it’s just another day, but our subconscious tells us it is a reset button; the dawn of a new era, the chance for a fresh start.
It is a time for optimism; a world of possibilities lie ahead no matter what happened last year this year is a blank canvas and you are in control.
Too many of us make unrealistic resolutions, things that are simply too drastic or quite frankly not possible. Start small. Set attainable goals; some short term, some long term. Cut back on your drinking to only on the weekends for example, try to go for a walk outside at least 3 times a week, reduce the number of ready meals you have, spend one night every month with your closest friends or family whether it be going out for a meal or just catching up over a coffee.
Our well being is dependent on the right balance between many different areas of our lives;
- Work. Love it or hate it, it is something we all have to do. They key thing is to try to enjoy it, don’t take it too seriously because when you’re old and grey it’ll be the last thing you’ll worry about. Are you working too much and living too little? Step back and take a look at yourself. Often a little analysis of your living budget would mean you could actually afford to work a bit less and free up some time to do the things/ be with the people you love.
- Health. The most obvious changes would be to quit smoking and drink less alcohol but if either of these are your problem you don’t need me to tell you they need to be cut back. Obesity is the next most detrimental factor to your health. How much weight can you safely lose over a week, a month, a year? That depends on how overweight you are in the first place. I would say between 0.5 and 1kg per week is a safe rate. Don’t weigh yourself everyday, that’s a sure fire weigh to develop a disorder! Any more than a kilo a week and the chances are you are losing some muscle aswell (not good). A weigh in every fortnight is about right.
- Nutrition. Aim to learn how to cook one new healthy dish each week. Buy a recipe book or look online and choose a dish that contains ingredients you know you like. Soon you will have enough recipes at your disposal to cook two healthy meals a week and so on.
- Fitness. Joining a gym is a great idea but make sure it’s the right one. You wouldn’t believe how many people pay for a gym membership each month without actually going. The key thing is location, you are less likely to make up excuses if it’s on your way home for example. If you can’t afford to use a gym decide on a home workout; Try doing bodyweight resistance exercises (see my previous blog) on a Tuesday night and a cardio workout on a Thursday. Don’t go too crazy, a couple of times a week is better than nothing and you are more likely to stick to it.
Don’t be one of the many people who flood the gyms in January only to disappear again in February. These people are trapped in a vicious cycle that leaves them back where they started only a year older. You’re better than that!
Get a piece of paper- jot down your goals, not too many, then stick it on the fridge. Keep tabs on it; do the goals need to change? are they impossible? or have you achieved them so the goalposts have moved? Tracking your progress over the weeks/ months in a diary is a great motivator and it makes it easier to keep focussed if it is there in black and white.
Start as you mean to go on, be positive, this really can be your year! Carpe diem!