We all know that the best diets start on Mondays, so 2016 is already doing us a massive favour by giving us a few days to mentally prepare for that 7 day juice cleanse we’ve got planned. It’ll be just the kick-start we need to ensure all our health ambitions are fulfilled for the year! Yes green juice and aloe shots for a whole week might be miserable but if we can lock ourselves away with Netflix & block all social invites on Facebook then we’ll get through it & come out the other end thinner, happier & healthier! Well that’s the dream anyway. But the reality is that even if we are successful, we’re left clueless as to how to maintain this ‘healthier’ version of ourselves in the context of real life. How do you say no to wine on a Tuesday night after a crappy day at work or get yourself to the gym when your kid is sick & the dog just peed on the floor?!
Sadly this “all or nothing” approach that most of us take towards health is our undoing and the reason why so many new year’s resolutions fail each year. Whilst a juice cleanse, detox or any other diet out there can certainly leave you feeling healthier, the problem is that they are typically not sustainable long-term. The deprivation of either calories, a certain macronutrient or alcohol, becomes so overwhelming that you naturally give in and quickly slip back into your old ways faster than you can pull on your comfiest pair of jeans. Despite our best intentions, most of us are just not equipped with the tools we need in order to avoid our fateful plunge into bad habits.
But don’t despair, all is not lost! Despite how it may sound, I do actually want people to make resolutions I just want them to be realistic, achievable and when it comes to health, sustainable. Remember, an all or nothing mentality rarely gets you all, it usually gets you nothing. So with this in mind I’d like to share with you some tips to help you all lead healthier lifestyles in 2016.
1. Visualize your dreams
Create yourself a dream or vision board. Visualisation is one of the most powerful mind exercises you can do, athletes have been using it for decades as a means for improving performance. Displaying the things you want or the way you want to feel in a space where you’ll see it often essentially ensures that you’re doing short visualisation exercises throughout the day. It helps to reshape your focus and prioritise your day according to the goals you hold most important. Remember a healthy lifestyle is a daily commitment and not just something you can check into for 30 days.
2. Set realistic goals
It’s all well and good saying you will be your fittest and healthiest in 2016 but this sort of lofty statement clearly lacks specifics. Be precise with what you want to achieve, make sure goals are measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed. Incorporating all these elements when shaping your goals is key to ensuring your success. So instead of saying “I want to lose some weight”, try “I want to lose 6 lbs of fat in 3 months”. If you’re not sure whether your goal is realistic or not or how to measure your body fat , get support & advice from a nutritionist or personal trainer. Which leads me nicely to my next point.
3. Get support
Whether it’s from a friend, family or a professional, or better yet all of them, the reality is that we are much more likely to succeed when we have a solid social support network keeping us motivated and holding us accountable. Think about it, when you were at school would you have done your homework if you knew your teacher was never going to ask you for it? No of course not! The same principle applies here, share your goals with a friend, have your trainer keep tabs on you, recruit a friend as a designated gym buddy. With this kind of accountability and support you are much more likely to keep working hard at achieving your goals and maintaining healthy habits.
4. Find your inspiration
After a long day at the office or waiting tables, finding the motivation to get a 30 minute workout done can be challenging. So sit down and make a list of your sources of inspiration and keep it handy for those times when you need that extra little nudge to get yourself moving. Here are a few ideas:
- Music – bookmark your favourite tune on You Tube or create an awesome playlist to get yourself pumped up and keep you energised during your workout
- Apparel – get yourself some totally rocking & comfy clothes to work out in. I love my workout wardrobe so much I’d rather where those clothes out than my regular clothes! Head to toe Lulu all the way!
- Technology – try out some of the fitness apps out there, they can be hugely beneficial to weight loss goals as they make you aware of how much you’re consuming and moving. MyFitnessPal for instance is an awesome app for keeping track of your calories and macros & logging exercise. You can even sync it with your iPhone to keep track of your steps throughout the day!
- Other People – this can be anyone, a coach or mentor in the fitness industry, a close family member or friend battling through hard times, or personalities on instagram. Create your own little collection of inspiring characters and check in with them daily to help spur you on.
5. Look for Progress not Perfection
This is something I have to remind myself of almost on a daily basis and it makes tip number 2 even more significant. If you do not take measurements, photos or keep a record of your workouts, it’s incredibly difficult to recognise that changes are happening in your body. Instead of noticing and acknowledging your progress you can get preoccupied with perfection and get sucked in by negative thoughts & feelings when that image of perfection hasn’t been achieved. Negativity breeds failure so do yourself a favour & drop the idea that your meals & workouts have to be 100% perfect in order for you to get results. If you just aim for a little better each day you can trust the process of gradual and continuous improvement. For more on this check out my post from December about eating around the holidays.
Set aside some time (when you’re not blurry eyed & exhausted!) to sit down and review your 2015. Celebrate your accomplishments no matter how small! Then consider your commitment to your health and in the context of your life, make realistic health & fitness goals for the upcoming year. Start small knowing that your goals are a vision board, a space for them to develop and expand over time. Need some help? Don’t worry you’re not alone. If you’re reading this then you’re probably ready and willing to move forwards but maybe you just need some guidance with nutrition or a fitness program or more tips for maintaining healthy lifestyle habits. Well I’d love to help you reach your goals in 2016 so please reach out to me & get the support you need on your journey to a healthier you.