Let’s not deny it. Every January we tell ourselves the same thing. Once the hangovers from New year’s Eve have worn off, and we are all getting ready to go back to college and work, we promise ourselves that this year we are going to be healthier, fitter, make better food choices, lose weight, drink less, give up smoking, save money… the list goes on.
Now 2 weeks into January, while some of us may still be keeping this healthy and fit lifestyle going, others may have already forgotten these promises we made to ourselves or struggling to keep it up, and may very quickly slip back into our old habits. It takes 21 days to break or build a habit, but unfortunately, some of us don’t allow ourselves that long before giving up.
Why? We are setting unrealistic goals for ourselves. This in turn means, setting ourselves up for failure.
So whether you’re still on track, losing that motivation to continue, or still looking for the inspiration to start, follow these simple tips and tricks this January, that might help you stick to those promises you made yourself, in a smart and less daunting way…
Make a list. Write down your New Year’s resolutions and new 2017 goals. Stick them somewhere where you can see them every day. Why not get a notice board; stick it on the back of your bedroom door or in the kitchen. Or on the back of your front door so you’re reminded of them every time you leave the house. Write them in a notebook that you carry around so you can go over them from time to time.
By having them written out, you can review them. Refresh your memory of the promises you’ve made yourself. And add to them as the weeks go by.
Be Realistic with your goals. As most of us have spent the past 4-6 weeks leading up to Christmas and the New year adapting the mentality to every social occasion using the phrase regularily, ‘F*** it it’s Christmas’, drastically changing this mind-set is not as easy as it seems. You’re body and mind have gotten into this lazy routine that even the thoughts of cutting out all sweet things or actually going to the gym are an effort in themselves.
Get active. This one might seem obvious, but if one of you 2017 goals is to get healthier and lose weight, then you may want to join a gym or buy some home equipment, or invest in a personal trainer if you feel you wont be able to motivate yourself or need guidance. (Make sure you do your research though on PT’s and don’t just sign up with the cheapest one you find).
Now I’m not saying that those are the only ways to get fitter and healthier in 2017. You may decide to incorporate walks into your evenings, or if you’ve been taking the bus, but walking to work/college is also an option, that’s a simple way of getting moving more. You might decide to finally take that dusty bike living in the back shed out for a cycle, or take up a new sport. Whatever it is that best suits your goals, schedule and interests, it is important that you get moving more in 2017.
Plan: Plan out your weeks day by day. I started doing this last January, and 12 months on I still do it every Monday. I have a notebook where I make a list of everything I plan to do day by day. I write out my gym/training schedule and my cardio split, I write out what activities I plan to do every day including the weekend, I write out my weekly goals and things I want to achieve/do.
By having the weeks scheduled, it gives you a better overview of when you might be able to fit the gym in, and when you’re free to do activities with mates, go on that night out, incorporate that weekly cheat meal.
Be patient. If your mission is to lose weight in the New Year, accept that it will not happen overnight. It will take time. It will take effort. But all effort is rewarding with consistent hard work and determination.
Just because the results aren’t showing overnight is not a reason to abandon your mission. It takes upto 4 weeks for your body to change, be patient. You get out of it what you put into it.
Eat healthier, but be smart about it. Just because you read online that cutting carbs will make you lose weight quicker, does not mean it’s true. Just like reading that eating 5 portions of fruit a day is healthier, does not mean this is also true.
Avoid all things that are labelled low fat/light. Although they are low in fat, this is replaced with higher sugar content, or more salt to keep the taste. Try sticking to more nutrient dense and whole unprocessed foods. Make it a goal to start making your meals from scratch. Bulk them up with yummy green veg’s. Eat more frequent, smaller portioned meals. Snack wisely.
There are tonnes of healthy recipe and snack ideas out there for you to grab ideas from. Keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram for some ideas.
Allow yourself treats. Let’s be realistic. It is impossible for us to cut out every single thing that’s not healthy for us from our diets forever. That is setting yourself up for a massive fail before you have even begun.
So allow yourself a weekly treat. Don’t call it a cheat, it’s not. You’re not cheating on your diet, your being flexible and realistic. So treat yourself to a Saturday night takeaway, or Sunday afternoon treat. Try though and limit it to one meal per week, 800-1000 calories, and this will keep you sane, motivated and focused, and give you something to look forward too. All your hard work and healthy eating throughout the week will not be cancelled out by one treat meal per week. And mentally, your brain and body will appreciate it too.
Don’t be drastic. Don’t launch yourself into a new gym programme if you haven’t been working out gradually over the previous few months. Don’t cut out any food group. Don’t ex-communicate yourself from any social settings for fear of ‘not sticking to your resolutions’ etc. Everything is moderation is the key to continuing on and not being demotivated.
It will take time to develop a new routine, so make sure to give it time. There may be a few slip-ups, but don’t give up as a result. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go at it again. Don’t adapt the ‘I’ll start tomorrow or next week’ mentality. You always have 2 choices. Even if you’ve made a bad one first time round, second chances are there to be taken, so take them. But learn from your mistakes.. don’t let yourself make the same mistakes twice.