It's five days into the New Year. Every person you know is going to change their life in 2017 and have a much better year than in 2016. The most common resolutions I've heard people aiming for this year are the two that people aim for every year; to lose weight and to be more active.
What is it about these two aspects of our lives which seem so unattainable? How do we achieve them this time? How is it possible to make sure that you don't run out of steam by as early as 31 January?
I know we've all got loads of enthusiasm now but let's not set ourselves up to fail. Let's start small and make incremental changes. I believe that if you're trying to lose weight, for example, you should focus on changing one aspect at a time rather than overhauling your whole diet. So, if you always skip breakfast and find yourself reaching for a packet of biscuits at 11am then start with having a proper nutritious breakfast. Stuck for ideas? My three favourite social accounts for meal ideas are @thefoodmedic @nicsnutrition and @clean_eating_alice Not only do they show easy to make ideas with ingredients you'll have in the kitchen they also have qualifications to back up why they're recommending what they are so the chances are what they are suggesting will be a great start to eating better.
Be kind to yourself
Our biggest enemy at the start of a healthy living plan is restriction. I'm not sure about you but every time I decide I'm going to eat well and "not have any chocolate all day" all I can think about is chocolate. It works the same way with wine, chips and takeaways too. There's no need for us to eat boring plain food and strip all of the taste and enjoyment out of meals just to eat well. Instead, we just need to look for healthier options and to start with reduce our intake of less healthy food. We are much more likely to eat well for longer if we include some of the things that we love as part of a balanced diet.
Don't be afraid to change your goals
Okay so I know there's loads written about making a goal specific and measurable etc etc. but I think one thing that makes people fail more than anything else is being too rigid. For example, your goal might be to lose weight and to do so you plan to go to the gym four times a week. (Very optimistic, even half the girls you follow on social media who post selfies from the gym every day probably aren't actually there every day) Anyway, you find that you only really ever make it to a Pilates class after work one day a week and squeeze in one early morning gym session before work. You're only achieving half of what you set out to do, fine. But if you only went once a week before than you've increased your attendance by 100% Try not to be too hard on yourself, you're way more likely to enjoy something if you feel like you're succeeding at it so change your goal if you find it isn't working and commit to going twice a week every week instead. I believe you'll also feel happier that you're succeeding every week rather than berating yourself for doing more than you were before. There's no problem in amending your plan, everyone else is in their own little bubble focussing on themselves. I swear no-one will notice if you change your goal.
Just do you
These days everybody has an opinion. Charlotte from work is doing Veganuary and already feels less bloated. Samantha is on a juice diet and swears she's already lost half a stone. Miranda is boxing twice a week and is obliterating those bingo weeks and Carrie, well who knows. I'm pretty sure your friendship group isn't the cast of Sex in the City but you get my point. Everyone is doing something different, something they enjoy and something that works for them and they all think their method is the best. It's hard but let's try not to be swayed by the next faddy craze and focus on ourselves and our own goals. Yes your regime might be a little more sensible and slower to achieve results than the quick fixes out there but what we really want is something that's sustainable and that we'll still be doing in June. Not a trendy detox that is totally not required given that the liver is perfectly capable of detoxing the body anyway.
So that's it my 4 tips on how to achieve your goals. I appreciate that a lot of blog posts like this would have 5 or 10 how to's. I wasn't being lazy I just think that these 4 things work and didn't want to just think up a 5th to conform to blogging protocol. (Is that a thing? I'm sure someone will have done a blog post about it somewhere). Anyway, I really hope that these tips help. They've worked and continue to work for me so even if you just implement one of them then it should help you to achieve your goals.
p.s. I hope you like the pictures on this post. They are a few of my healthy breakfast ideas because I strongly believe that if you want to change your eating habits you should start with a filling breakfast.