New Year, New Approach
Well, that was 2020 – a year that no one was prepared for!
With a fresh year ahead of us, it’s a great time to focus on the positive changes you want to see in your life.
There is still a lot going on so let’s not get bogged down with lifes negatives but focus on how we can be mentally and physically stronger individuals. So what does this mean for making New Year’s resolutions?
A new perspective on old resolutions
A survey by YouGov looking at 2019 New Year’s resolutions found that almost half involved either health, fitness or weight loss. It also highlighted that of those who made a New Year’s resolution, 75% achieved none or only part of their goals.
Does this mean we are most likely to fail and should give up now? – Not exactly!
The key to making resolutions stick is to look at not only what you want to change, but how you change it. There is no one size fits all, you need to find out what motivates you, what is realistic for you, and what works with your lifestyle.
To help you with this, this year, our articles will be focused on providing motivation and inspiration that will support your workouts whether they take place at home or at our leisure centre.
Small changes lead to big results!
The first thing to do is to be clear about what you want to achieve and identify the first step or habit to work towards. It’s better to start with a small realistic change that you can keep up with rather than a complete lifestyle overhaul.
For example, if your goal is to lose weight, don’t put yourself under pressure with a restrictive diet that you’re likely to give up on after a week. Instead, identify one small change that will help you on the path to your goal, like swapping a sugary breakfast cereal for oats, or fitting in just one more workout a week.
While it doesn’t sound like much, these small changes sustained over a long period of time add up. Once you have your first habit ingrained into your routine, you can move onto the next!
When outlining your first small change, try to be as specific as possible with measures. Instead of saying ‘I want to drink less alcohol’, specify what this means to you - ‘I will have no more than two alcoholic drinks in one day’.
We’ve pulled together some healthy eating ideas to get you started – remember one small change at a time.
- I will swap sugary drinks for no sugar versions or sparkling water.
- I will write a weekly meal plan every weekend (be specific about a time that suits you e.g. every Saturday morning with my cup of coffee or every Sunday afternoon while catching up on The Crown)
- I will have at least 2 different vegetables in all my lunch and dinner meals.
- I will buy 70% dark chocolate when I go grocery shopping, instead of my usual milk chocolate. If I’m craving chocolate, I will have a few squares of this with a piece of fruit.
- I will meal prep high protein meals once a fortnight (e.g. on a Thursday night) and freeze portions, so I’m always prepared after a workout.
- I will have at least 5 alcohol-free nights a week.
- On workdays, I will pre-prepare a healthy snack and eat this if I’m hungry between meals instead of going for the biscuit tin.
- I will limit ordering a takeaway to once a fortnight.
- I will drink at least 2 bottles of water every day – that is reusable refillable bottles of water.
- I will stick to my shopping list when I do the weekly shopping – if it’s not on the list, I won’t buy it.
- If I’m craving something sweet after dinner, I will have a peppermint tea (or whichever flavour you like!)
- I will make up half of all my lunch and dinner meals with vegetables.
- I will prep my lunch the night before, ready to take to work.
- If I have the urge to snack and it’s been 3 hours since my last meal, I will have a large glass of water or herbal tea and reassess if I’m hungry 15 minutes later. If so, I can make a snack.
A top tip for spotting those naughty habits is to keep a food diary for one week.
Don’t judge what you eat, just write it down along with the time and what you are doing e.g. 3:15pm – 3 biscuits with a cup of white tea + 2 tsp sugar while working at the computer.
At the end of the week, look over the diary to see if there are any patterns. You may notice that on most days around 3pm you have a cup of tea and biscuits.
Use these patterns to identify small changes – swap a biscuit for a piece of fruit and a small handful of nuts. Become more mindful in acknowledging those habits, ask yourself ‘am I truly hungry or am I just having this because I always do?’
So here’s to 2021 - Let’s set a goal, be specific on what we want to change and break those habits with one little step at a time.