Christmas and the New Year are always a time for reflection, and are also the cause of a phrase that now reeks of unfulfilled potential and wasted gym fees:
‘New Year’s Resolutions’
Everyone has made resolutions that they haven’t kept before. But why are they so hard to stick to? And how can you improve on keeping those resolutions?
Having time off from work for a couple of weeks tends to give us perspective. All of a sudden we are not distracted by deadlines, emails, etc., and we start thinking about what we would like to have. A healthier body. Carry less weight around. Fit into an old pair of jeans. Do something that you haven’t done before.
And then we make our decision for what we will do this year – I’m going to eat healthy, go to the gym 4 times a week and drink less!
And it goes well for a week or two… And then the deadlines and emails and sales targets and traffic jams come back, and you need to get the kids ready for school and walk the dog and so on and so on. You tell yourself that you’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow, which turns into next week, which turns into never.
In other words, when we have the space and inner peace to reflect on where we are, we can see more clearly what we need to do. And when we get back into the clutter of our everyday life, we lose that vision.
So how do we keep our new year’s resolutions? Here are a few tips to get your started!
1. Something is better than nothing – a common misconception is that if you can’t complete your entire workout routine there is no point in doing it at all. But as we mentioned before, life happens and you have to keep trying.
Solution: if you are too busy, exercise whenever you can, wherever you can. If you have to watch the kids, then exercise in the living room or take them for a play in the park. If you have to walk the dog, take it for a run! If you have half an hour between meetings, do a few squats or go for a walk around the block.
These are small things, but at least they help you stay on track and feel like you are hanging in there!
2. Eat and train, don’t ‘diet’ and ‘exercise’ – thinking about exercise and healthy eating as choirs will inevitably lead you to stop doing them. In order for these to become a lifestyle change, they need to become a habit, and the words we use to describe what we do will often have a massive impact on whether we succeed or fail.
3. Find the fun – following on from the previous point, changing the words we use is only the beginning.
Think back to when you were a child. Exercise was not exercise - it was playtime. Kids love to run, climb, jump, catch, throw, roll, punch and kick. But somewhere along the way in our adulthood, these have become synonymous with ‘exercise’. But do they have to be? Absolutely not! If you need some inspiration, go look at some kids in your local park and then go for a run. Turn your workout into a fun game, and you will want to do it every time!
The same thing can be said about what you eat. Find those things that you really love to eat and that also suit to your chosen diet, and relish in eating them! For examples, adding olives to a salad, for me, is the difference between forcing myself to eat it and loving it! What is it for you?
4. Failing to plan is planning to fail – maintaining a healthy lifestyle does take some planning, especially as the year progresses and things get busier. This means that if you don’t plan ahead, you are likely to find it hard to develop a routine and make those changes permanent. For example, try and plan your meals for 3 or 4 days in advance. Cook in large batches and freeze some of it.
This does not mean that you have to be a master strategist; but being able to look head, if only a little bit, will help you make things easier in the coming days so when things do get busier, you will be able to stay on track.
I hope these help you stay on track with your resolutions for the year ahead, whatever they are!
Stay tuned, stay safe.