New Year – New You… continued…

I’m still thinking about New Year resolutions and whether or not they’re a good idea or not. They can be, if you have a plan in place to help you achieve them, but if not, you could end up feeling worse about yourself for not managing to stick to it.

I’m going to have a look at some of the ways we can plan to succeed. By putting a few simple steps in place before we embark upon these resolutions, we can drastically improve our chances of success and positive feelings about ourselves.

If you haven’t already read the first “New Year – New You” blog, I would recommend going back there for a read first before moving on to this one.

Okay, so following on from the previous blog, hopefully we have the sleep resolution under control and are moving towards an improved and healthier sleep pattern. Now it’s time to have a look at some of the other ways we can improve our health without having to make drastic, unsustainable changes.

First up…

Drink more water

Yes we all know we should be drinking 2 litres a day, but seriously, I’d be like a watering can if I did that! Can you imagine? I’d have to interrupt every treatment to run to the loo and would be running 15 minutes behind by lunchtime! Not happening!

So how about starting with a glass of water in the morning instead of tea or coffee? No-one said the water has to be cold either. A cup of hot water with  a slice of lemon in the morning cleanses the system and hydrates the skin.

As your body becomes accustomed to the increased amounts of water being consumed, it processes it more efficiently and you’ll find you don’t have to run to the loo as often. Gradually increasing your intake gives your body a chance to get used to it and you’ll find it so much easier to tolerate. Why not start with 300 ml a day for a week and increase it by 200 ml a week until you reach your optimum level. And who says it has to be 2 litres? Like food and exercise, there’s no “one size fits all”. You’ll soon work out what’s good for you.

Exercise more

What for?

Do you want to get fitter so that you can participate in some activity or do you want to look better for a holiday or event that is coming up? Perhaps you want to improve strength and flexibility so that you can remain independent for longer?

Whatever your goals are you’re going to need some sort of motivation to keep you going when you really don’t feel like it!

What sort of exercise will you do? What do you enjoy? Do you like to exercise alone or with company?

There’s so many options and it’s important that you at least sort-of-enjoy what you’ve chosen to do! To be fair, you probably won’t enjoy it that much at the start, but once you start experiencing the results, you’ll feel more motivated. How about putting a picture up somewhere you’ll see it daily of what you’re aiming for?

So let’s start basic – it’s widely accepted that we should be walking 10000 steps a day. Well I’m sure that’s great if you live in a warm climate, but Caithness in January is not appealing! I guess we could treadmill, but that’s not appealing either!

And who says it has to be 10000 steps? Again, it’s this one-size-fits-all attitude. How about starting with 5000? I know some days, if I’m sat at the computer I might only do 2500 – 3000 steps. How easy would it be to add another 2000 – 2500 to that? You can do that tidying the kitchen – or at least I can! Set your new target low so that you feel like you’ve achieved something when you hit your goal. Next month increase it to 6000. By the time the better weather comes, who knows – you might even be doing 10000 steps a day and loving it!

How about a home exercise programme? There are lots of excellent personal fitness instructors who will work with you on a one-to-one basis or a group if you prefer that. They’ll recommend specific exercise activities and give nutritional advice based on your end goal. But the best bit is they’ll hold you accountable! A great option if you need a little extra encouragement!

Or try a home yoga programme. You’ll find YouTube videos or online yoga instructors who will work with you. You can choose how long or how intense you wish your session to be so if you’re having a “can’t really be bothered” day, you’ll find a 15 minutes wake-up session! I like them! And 15 minutes a day really does make a difference! I started doing yoga sessions in July last year to improve my strength whilst paddleboarding and I can’t believe how much stronger and flexible I feel already. The difference is so notable that now I don’t want to not do it. I haven’t had any pain or stiffness in over 5 months. Stronger muscles support your joints and helps preserve good posture resulting in fewer injuries and less discomfort. Absolutely well worth the effort and I feel good knowing I’m doing something positive to support my health.

Eat better

I’ve saved the best to last, haven’t I?

None of us want to give up our treats – and why should we?

We just need to monitor the intake so that they are a treat and not our main diet!

I find the best approach is to just not buy as many biscuits, cakes, crisps etc.

I still buy some, but when I take them home I put them away in the highest cupboard so that I can’t reach them easily. It requires deliberate, conscious thought to get the steps and retrieve the sweeties. By the time I’ve got the ladder I’ve usually talked myself out of sabotaging my good work and grabbed a handy banana instead.

Bananas and apples are always placed in convenient bowls and require no effort to obtain. Sometimes the banana just doesn’t cut it and I have the chocolates too, but hey, I’m human and the chocolate doesn’t win every time so I’m still quid’s in!

Reducing salt is an easy win as is reducing fat. There are so many great healthy alternatives available to us. It really doesn’t have to be hard. And even if we do have a proper pig-out day, it is only one day and not important in the grand scheme of things! Forgive yourself and move on! Tomorrow’s another day in our exciting journey called life!

Please share your tips with us!

How have you made simple changes that have had a big impact?

We’d love to hear your stories!

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