“New Year. New Me”. How often have we heard that phrase or have even said it ourselves? Then new year’s day, hung over, we plough our way through the left over Christmas cheese board and the box of Quality Street we vowed to throw out. Then we are left feeling guilty that we have “failed” on day 1! I have done this time after time. It is so easy to punish ourselves! But if that was a friend would you say the same thing to them as you have just said to yourself? Don’t set yourself up for failure, prepare yourself to succeed! Here are some of my tips for a new start!
Start now. Why start the 1st of January? A lifestyle change doesn’t have to take place on a special day, it happens on the day you are ready. I made my changes on a random Sunday in June! Don’t wait for tomorrow. Make a change today and mark that day somewhere you can see it, make it special, in a diary or calendar. That will be the day you can look back on as the day your life started to change.
Don’t give up everything in one go! So it’s the start of a new year. You have decided to give up smoking, drinking and chocolate, you’ve started a diet and you’ve joined a gym. Some people try to do too much in one go and it can be overwhelming on the body and mind! Pick 1 or 2 things to start with and add in things gradually. It can be a couple of simple changes! Cutting out the crisps at lunch and opting for a bottle of water instead of cola. Starting the gym doesn’t have to be five, hour and a half sessions a week. You could start by fitting in three 40 minute sessions a week. Don’t overdo it; don’t get me wrong work hard, but gradually build it up the frequency, intensity, duration and types of exercise you do.
Don’t beat yourself up. It can be so easy sometimes to punish and beat yourself up for eating a piece of chocolate or missing a gym session. Don’t panic! All is not lost. So what ? you had a few squares of the Galaxy bar you got for Christmas just don’t eat the entire bar. Okay so you missed the gym last night, try and find some time to fit in a session in the morning or do some training at home, walk instead of catching the bus to work. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Be conscious of what you are eating. When I say be conscious, I don’t mean self-conscious, I mean conscious and aware of what you are eating and the portion sizes of what you are eating. A popular method and one of the most useful tools that I use to understand my portions sizes is my hand. And bear in mind this is just for guidance. I think of my meal in 4 basic areas, Protein, carbs, Veg/fruit (carbs) and fats. Then the sizes equate to areas of my hand e.g. protein should be roughly palm size, your vegetable portion should be fist size or 2 fists for something like spinach or kale. A cupped hand is the amount of complex carb (rice) and a thumb size of fat, like cheese or butter. Obviously this will vary depending on exercise goals and even your gender (e.g. men may double these portion sizes). So keep this in mind when making meals and if you have had a carb heavy breakfast (oats) you would bear this in mind when snacking and may be chose something higher in protein for snack. It’s all about balance.
Set realistic goals and set time frames. As I have said in one of my previous blog post New Goals. New Programme “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. Set clear, realistic and measurable targets and set a time frame to achieve it. Setting “I want to be fitter” as a goal, isn’t measurable, I want to be able to run for 10 minutes without having to stop is clearer and there is a clear marker for achievement. “I want to lose weight”, do you want to lose fat? How much? Inches around your waist? Dress sizes? Make sure it is clear. Take photos, take measurements, keep track of the weights you are lifting or the times you are running etc, so you can see what you have achieved. And celebrate it.
P & P. Prep and Plan. This is key in achieving goals. Prepare your snacks and meals in advance. There are loads of ways you can do this, some people like to prepare meals in bulk and prepare 4-5 days’ worth of meals in one go, some people like to get up early and cook there meals for the day fresh that morning. Another good tip is keeping you gym gear ready to go. I keep spare gym gear in a bag on standby. I have mentioned before that finding a clean sports bra and a matching pair of socks after a long day at work can sometimes be enough to put me off going to the gym all together. It sounds dramatic but it’s true. Keep things ready to avoid hesitation when you need to get up and go. Also plan the days you are going to the gym or work out, be realistic when you can fit it in. If you want to go 3 times a week, pick 3 times you can go and book these in as solid plans. Try to think a head, obviously thing come up and sometimes you have to be flexible but see if there are any other times you can fit it in.
Be you! Every journey will be different and be proud of yours! Don’t strive to look like someone else, strive to look like you. Be proud. If you want to, strive to be a stronger you, a leaner you or whatever your goal is but importantly strive to be you. Own your goals! Stand by them and when you meet them (because you can and you will) Celebrate achievements! Big or small.
So, this New Year’s, try something new, break the mould on the traditional punishment of New Year’s resolutions. Make this Your Year! Your Year of happiness and achievement.
Don’t set yourself up for failure, prepare yourself to succeed!