Hands up. Who has made New Year’s resolutions and barely two weeks’ into January hung up their shiny new trainers, binged on chocolate and as for dry January…well, it is the weekend!
I came hurtling into the New Year with great intentions of getting back on the clean eating wagon and smashing it in the gym. After all, 2015 was just practice and 2016 is the real deal, right? I was doing well too. New diary in hand I planned my workouts, my meals and even threw in a few motivational quotes for good measure. Back in the gym I felt good, I was enjoying eating fresh, clean food and the feeling of being satisfied rather than stuffed full and sluggish.
Then I got the mother of all colds (I’m surround by tissues, blurry-eyed and red-nosed as I write). This was enough to knock me, prematurely, off my perch and seeking out carbs and sugar wherever I could find it! At first I berated myself for failing so quickly on my resolution to get back to a healthy lifestyle. With the promise of new beginnings that the New Year brings, I also wanted to make changes to my work life only to be disappointed, a week into the year, of the apparent lack of opportunity to do so. Then I realised the problem was not these ‘failures’ but the words themselves – ‘resolution’ and ‘failure’.
By resolving to make, often big, lifestyle changes we are immediately putting immense pressure on ourselves and setting ourselves up for failure. No wonder then that the first week of January feels the longest of our lives and with the weekend looming we think “oh, sod it, one glass of wine won’t hurt!” And let’s face it, that usually becomes drinking the whole bottle and feasting on takeaway!
Far better, I’ve realised, is to set goals. If you’ve never been to the gym before, saying you’ll go 5 times a week is unlikely to happen. Rephrase this to “I aim to go to the gym twice a week” is much more realistic, achievable and anything over this is a bonus. Once twice a week becomes routine then try 3 times a week and so on.
Likewise, my key goal this year is to get back to clean eating (it’s why I started this blog in the first place), yet today the leftover box of Celebrations got raided. But it’s ok. I’m human. I’m not perfect. Now and then I am going to indulge and that’s ok. So long as it stays as a moment and doesn’t become a regular habit. I’ll draw a line under it and tomorrow go back to clean. Working to a 70/30 principle also means it’s ok to do this occasionally. After all to deprive yourself only makes you crave the thing you can’t have even more.
This time of year also sees us re-evaluate our lives and the phrase ‘new year, new me’ gets bandied around a lot. Let’s be honest – there is no ‘new me’, we attempt it with the whole ‘resolution’ thing but by February most of us are back to our usual selves and habits. What’s wrong with that? Absolutely nothing I say, because really why do I need a new me? The 2015 me was pretty awesome already.