January is a time for a renewed sense of determination – a commitment to do things ‘right’ this year. The good news is that we have permission to start again. The change in year allows us to leave anything behind that doesn't serve us, and approach the year with a clean slate. So how can we harness this energy and enthusiasm into an action plan to ensure we have our healthiest, happiest year yet?
Don’t Take on Too Much Too Quickly
It’s great to have goals, but what’s even better is the acceptance that it takes time, tools and practice to achieve them. Coming back to restrictive eating and over the top exercise plans is often too unsustainable to continue, which often leads to an abandonment of both and then a sense of failure. Set yourself up for success by setting goals AND a realistic timeframe you can implement them by. Use January to ease into your routine so that you feel confident, balanced and able to take on exactly what you want to.
Schedule Your Year in Health
Remember consistency is the key – so one of the best things you can do is have a little planning session around how you’re going to keep it up. All forms of ancient medicines practices cleansing with the seasons, so I always recommend setting aside 7 days at the end of each quarter/season to give yourself a reset. This doesn’t mean you need to do a juice cleanse or some type of intense fasting. It’s about taking 7 days to really nourish your body and reset - so it can be whatever you think will suit you best. Rest, avoid alcohol, eat fresh, plant based food, ditch the caffeine and take cleansing herbs to support your system. It’s just 4 weeks – 4 weeks out of 52 that you completely commit to your health. Trust me, your body will thank you for it. Use January to plan it and then get it in the diary asap! I’ve done this for the last 10 years and it keeps me sane, energised and healthy.
Set Yourself 3 Non-Negotiables
The most common question I get asked is what is the most important secret to staying fit – the magic bullet. If I have to pick one thing, the magic bullet is consistency. There is no one week cure all cleanse, bootcamp or supplement that will get you to your goal and keep you there forevermore. Health and fitness is a practice and a journey; it doesn’t happen overnight. So how do you ensure you can get there? One of the best ways is by setting yourself some non-negotiables and be uncompromising. What are the 3 things you are going to commit to doing consistently, no matter what is going on in your life? I recommend setting one in fitness, one in nutrition and the third in alcohol consumption. If you don’t drink, set one in whichever discipline you will find it the most helpful. Setting yourself some rules that you never compromise on can be incredibly empowering – it removes the deliberation and gives you a clear and consistent path. For example, my fitness one is that I never, ever do less than 3 workouts a week. What are your non-negotiables? This is the most impactful thing you can do for your health. Use January as a bit of a ‘soft launch’ so that you can give yourself a buffer to get it right, find alternatives and change your habits.
Practice Understanding, Not Punishment
No matter what our intentions are or how much we plan, we are still human! Missteps will happen, but how you deal with them will make or break the way you experience your health and happiness. When I overeat (yes, I overeat too!) instead of going down the spiral of punishment and guilt I sit back, and think, ok – why did that happen? This way you can start to learn about what triggers you, and this information is gold. If you can understand it, you can start to put healthy habits and practices in place that will help you navigate the bumps. One bad meal doesn’t need to turn into an anxiety fuelled 3-day binge. Shake it off, be kind to yourself and move on!
Decide How You Want to FEEL
Gone are the days when nutrition and exercise were all about a number on the scale – finally!! Yes, we all want to look good. But what are the things you want to feel in your day to day life? Shift to focus to some of the incredible effects of exercise and nutrition that don’t have to do with weight. Energy, confidence, enjoyment, social connection, incredible skin, libido (!), pride, clarity, concentration – these are just some of the side effects of exercising that so many of us can't see because we get too worried about our weight or how we look. If you start to find positively motivating drivers for why you want exercise and eat well, your chances of success will skyrocket.
Find a Tribe, Workout Buddy or Partner in Crime
Who you spend your time with has a direct impact on your health, your habits, how you spend your time. It’s important that you feel supported and can actually retain a social life whilst on your quest to health. Being part of a healthy community, working out with a friend or even cementing some healthy practices in with your partner will make the world of difference.