The dreaded ‘New Year, New Me’ phrase has come around yet again and boy are we all sick of it already…but deep down a lot of us really would like to start afresh this January and maintain a healthier lifestyle for the new year. So is it really possible to stay focused and motivated?
Probably the most important part of getting into a new routine (and making it last) is to put everything into steps that are gradually added one by one. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all tried (and failed) to drastically change our routines with the click of a finger and have always eventually ended up reverting back to our old ways. The key reason for this appears to be that trying to alter every little detail all at once is just too difficult and in fact not at all productive.
Separating parts of whatever it is you’d like to do into gradual stages is a much more effective way of actually making sure you keep up this different routine. Adding one or two new aspects every other week is a good way of beginning to get into the habit of something. Let’s take healthy eating for example; deciding to introduce 2 pieces of fruit to a meal every day is a small step to a bigger change, then the following week you may decide to also introduce vegetables to another meal every day. That way you're easing yourself into this change and making it a habit rather than something you have to remind yourself to do each time.
To make a change, setting goals and having an idea of what you’d like to achieve is extremely key. But, having a goal that's actually achievable is even more important. Starting off small and eventually working towards a bigger goals means that you're less focused on the end result and more focused on achieving each small goal as they come around. If, for example, you're end goal is to lose a certain amount of weight throughout 2017, start by setting a smaller goal to that like cutting something unhealthy out of your diet. By having smaller goals that are easier to achieve in a faster amount of time, this gratification of reaching them more regularly makes it easier to persevere and eventually lead towards to end goal (which essentially makes it not seem as impossible as it may have done at the start).
Something to keep in mind when setting goals throughout the New Year is that there will be set backs. Success and achievement is never a straight route and it's easy to let the first few setbacks deter you from pushing on. I'm sure we're all familiar with the viral videos that have been circling around the internet for the last few years containing famous faces' success stories; the message behind them all being to remind us that failure played a big part in getting to where they are today.
Don't get me wrong, it's one thing me sitting here typing away at this motivational post pretending like failure shouldn't affect you, but of course deep down I know it's a lot harder than it seems. The best advice I can give for this would be to talk to people about your goals. If you make the close people around you aware of what you're hoping to achieve and keep them updated throughout your journey, when setbacks do arise, talking to those people will most likely urge them to encourage you to continue and talk through how to push past the hiccup. It may even make you see the setback in a new light and not as terrible as you may have initially thought!
So what are my personal goals for 2017? Well throughout the first half of last year I took up regular training and gradually changed my diet; by the time it got to Summer I'd never felt better in myself, physically and mentally. That being said, Winter happened and yep you guessed it... I slowly reverted back to my old ways. January has hit and I'm now super disappointed in myself for letting it slip because I feel like it's all back to square one...classic...
This year my goals are to get back to where I was (and keep it up this time). I've joined a new gym, I've thrown out all of the bad left over Christmas treats still lingering in the cupboards and I've already begun setting time apart each week for various forms of exercise. For me, it's not so much about 'weighing less' (I've never even owned a set of weighing scales...they are the work of the devil!) but rather feeling better in myself on the inside, for living a healthier lifestyle.
Towards the end of last year, myself and my best friend decided to test out how long we could go without eating meat. This wasn't for any particular reason other than I came to the realisation that I was basing every single meal around what meat I was eating, and quite frankly I felt heavy and clogged up because of it. How long did we last? A month. Pretty impressive I thought. With this in mind, I'd also like to reduce the amount of meat I consume on a weekly basis and make a point of being more adventurous with vegetarian alternatives.
Let me know what your personal goals are for 2017 and if you've got any particular tips and tricks for sticking to the routines.