New Year New You…right?
Believe me, I’ve just eaten Christmas Cake for breakfast. I understand.
This time of year we all feel a bit grotty – having eaten all sorts of stuff we wouldn’t normally and probably been on the booze more than the rest of the year put together. It feels like nothing could be better than totally scrapping ‘old you’ and become ‘your best you’ – the person you have the ‘hidden potential’ to be…the NEW YOU!
I’m not going to bang on about the psychology of the human condition and how guilt and the need to punish ourselves is fundamental in so much of what we do, but at this time of year I see the world going into overdrive to capitalise on that guilt. And it pisses me off!
First off I’d ask what exactly was wrong with ‘the old you’? Were you really that bad in 2016? How do these preaching images of perfection know that you’re not already living ‘your best life’…? They don’t. But they do know how to make you feel guilty that you might not be.
Secondly, because of our guilt at this time of year a lot of new years resolutions come from desperation and ill thought out plans to tea detox for a month or boot-camp our bodies into shape in just 6 weeks. The fact is, changes that will improve your life will most likely be lifelong. They’ll take some thought & they’ll be about respecting and nurturing ourselves rather than punishing ourselves.
So this year, instead of giving in to the guilt and trying to make huge wholesale changes that won’t stick, try the following tips instead and see how it goes:
Big yourself up: Before you begin on your ‘New Year New Me’ efforts write yourself a list of 25 positive things about yourself – focus on your achievements of the last year if you like, or simply think about kind things your may have done for other people, successes you had at work or perhaps there are things you’ve already changed in your life, maybe even without realising. It’ll really help you to focus on exactly what you want to improve – and if you’re really struggling ask a friend to help you out. Good friends love telling their mates how awesome they are!
Try changing one thing at a time: Ditch the long lists and have a think about what would improve your life the most – whether its your eating habits, fitness levels, training or education or anything else – even just 1 change in your habits will require lots and lots of other habit changes that you won’t necessarily have factored in. By deciding to eat better you’re also going to need to schedule meals better, maybe change shopping habits, become better educated in nutrition, maybe improve cooking skills and work around family events and routines (and maybe change your route home to avoid walking past the chippy…) Getting a habit to last takes a while, so dedicate yourself wholly and completely to your one change & make it work.
Set yourself a challenge or goal later in the year: Put something in the diary that will help focus your mind and give you something to aim for – one of my customers has been rehab-ing her hips and climbing Snowdon will be her summer challenge for 2017. Perhaps for you it might be a birthday or a holiday or some other event like a 5k, 10k, or even marathon – just be sure to set realistic goals with plenty of training time so you’re not setting yourself up to fail.
Get support: Support is a big one. A lot of people who attend slimming classes say the meeting & exchanging stories, struggles and successes is the thing that makes them go back week in, week out. Knowing you’re not alone and that other people want you to succeed will give you a huge boost. Running with other people has really helped me make it a regular activity in my life – believe me, its taken a while, but now I actually look forward to it and have friends who will encourage me, build me up and take my mind off things when I’m struggling! You don’t have to have a huge gang of people for support, but having the right ones who will answer their phone when you need them is important!
Regularity: On average it takes about 2 months for something to become a habit. So things will be difficult to begin with – you’re going to need to keep reminding yourself and inevitably you’re going to trip up at some point along the way, but the key is to get back on it soon as you can. Joining a club can help you with that regularity or scheduling one evening a week that is your time for your activity or class etc… Theres lots going on around here at all levels so take your pick!
Write it down: Tell yourself the story of how its going to work; what it’ll take to achieve it; how you’ll feel when you’re 1 month, 2 months, 6 months down the line and make it an image that you can access whenever you need to remind yourself why you’re doing this. Some people even swear by diaries when it comes to food or drink or smoking – ticking each day off as a success can help keep motivation levels up!
Keep it simple: And last but not least, keep it simple. Today I have been bombarded with adverts telling me to buy Davina’s sugar free cookbook, buy that one off Gogglebox’s fitness DVD, to join Pure Gym, to pay up for the Jane Plan and so much more! But thats doing things the wrong way round – your changes need to come from you, your situation, your desires and your needs. It has nothing to do with the fact Davina has a six pack or Scarlett lost 3 stone in 6 months…these people are not you! You are unique, you have your own circumstances and goals and as a very inspirational lady told me this year, you are enough, so make sure that any changes you aim to make come from your own personal desire or need for change, and not to fit the agenda of anyone else.
Good luck! X