Yes, it’s that time of year again. The dawn of a new year when we feel obliged to turn over a new leaf. It is when we misguidedly imagine that the arrival of a new year will magically provide the catalyst, motivation and persistence we need to reinvent ourselves with instant, glowing, radiant health and wellbeing.
As we enthusiastically embrace the start of another year, how can we get our minds and bodies on track for what lies ahead in 2020? Firstly, the intention of getting healthy and back on track is not an all-or-nothing event. It should be viewed as a continuum that you move along. Small, positive changes are small steps along the scale to better health. Occasional slip ups don’t necessary mean you need to give up on your new year’s resolution – it’s just a temporary step backwards.
Here are our suggestions to help get you closer to your health goals and back on track this year.
SET A GOAL
Do you want to lose weight? Get fit? Improve your overall wellbeing? Whatever your health goal, it pays to write down what you want to achieve and why. A vision board (a visual collage of your goals and motivations) is a great way to illustrate what you want to achieve and how you plan on getting there. By doing this, you can get a better picture of your end goal and, during times where you may fall off the bandwagon, it can be a prompt visual reminder to get back on track. But remember to be realistic – try not to compare yourself to others and instead seek inspiration from places or people who motivate you to reach your goals.
SCHEDULE TIME TO BE ACTIVE
Whether it’s a brisk walk in your lunch break at work, a morning dip at the beach, a spot of gardening at home or an evening yoga class, set aside at least 30-minutes a day to be active. Set a reminder on your phone or smart fitness device to help you limit your sitting time and ensure physical activity is part of your regular routine at home or at work and, before you know it, it will become second nature.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Like the saying goes, fail to plan, then plan to fail, when it comes to eating healthier, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead. Some prefer to write meal plans for the week, while others set aside time on the weekend to ‘meal prep’ for the week ahead. Whatever you decide, planning your shopping list and meals for the week means you’re sticking to the more nutritious home-cooked meals and are less likely to go for the often-unhealthy takeaway option.
GET ADEQUATE REST
If you want to optimize your health or lose weight, getting enough sleep (seven to nine hours per night) is one of the most important things you can do. Remember to start your wind down routine 45 to 60 minutes before lights out. Some strategies could include sticking to a routine bedtime, reducing your blue light exposure from electronic devices, avoiding alcohol or caffeine late in the day and making your bedroom dark, quiet and cool.
HAVE A POSITIVE MINDSET
Being positive can have a huge impact on your goals. It’s easy for the self-doubt to take over and discourage you from reaching your goals, but try to shake off the negative thoughts. Ways to keep a positive mindset include surrounding yourself with positive people who lift you up not bring your down; staying focused on the positives in your day rather than the negatives; getting rid of the negative self-talk and not dwelling on the past, instead focusing on how you can improve certain areas in future – whether it be your fondness for sweets or lack of motivation to exercise.
DITCH THE SELF-GUILT
When it comes to embarking on a new healthy journey, at times you may fall off the bandwagon. And while it’s only human to make mistakes, there’s no point beating yourself up about it. If you’ve overindulged on the weekend or missed a few days of exercise, don’t let the guilt creep in. Instead, see it as an opportunity to correct that behaviour and imagine new possibilities. You will then be in a solution-focused frame of mind and can dust yourself off to start afresh the next day.