So with Christmas and New Year celebrations out of the way, 2018 is well and truly underway! I was lucky enough to be granted Annual Leave over Christmas and had an entire week off! I was then back to work over New Year and celebrated at midnight on the upper deck of a huge A380 with a plane full of (surprisingly) sleeping passengers.
After indulging over Christmas – like 99% of us do – it’s time to set some new goals and get motivated! But where to start? And how do we set goals and resolutions that last longer than a week?!
Unfortunately I don’t hold the secret to that – but I can give you my top 5 tips for easing into the New Year with a sustainable yet ambitious routine/lifestyle.
1 – Try not to be over-ambitious
It’s great to aim high and write out our ideal goals of what we want to achieve this year – but actually putting them into practice can be tricky right? If I had never ran before and told you I was running a marathon next month you would think I was crazy right?! Same with exercise and eating habits! If you didn’t even make 1 gym session last year, don’t set a goal of going to the gym every single day in 2018 – your body and lifestyle will go into shock and there’s no way you will be able to keep it up for more than a month! Try and introduce new habits gradually – start with 1 or 2 workouts a week and then after a month or so, add in another/up the intensity/add extra weight and so on…
2 – Eat the Chocolate!
You’ve probably still got a load of chocolate and Christmas goodies still sitting in the cupboard after the festive season right? Eat them! Okay, not all in one go but if you promised yourself to cut out EVERYTHING bad for you after filling your face with sugary treats for a whole month (don’t worry, we all did it!) then your body will still crave a daily sugar hit, making your ‘Clean Eating’ super difficult and you’ll probably end up moody, angry and having the biggest ‘Cheat Day’ ever. Have a couple of pieces of that Chocolate Orange after dinner if you want! (And if you’ve still got some left to do so, you’ve made it last wayyy longer than I did!) It’s not going kill you if everything is in moderation – you can slowly reduce your sugar intake and naughty foods over time – cold turkey is not the way (well it’s definitely not for me!).
3 – Warm up and Cool Down
9 times out of 10, when I’m teaching classes in gyms, I will get at least 1 person leaving after the main workout is completed, before I start the cool down and stretches. Of course I don’t know what every single persons reason is, but I have seen/heard people not be bothered with warm ups, cool downs and most importantly, stretching. Be kind to your body and make sure you (at least) cool down and stretch after workout so you don’t risk being really achey or worse, getting an injury! Because there is nothing worse than planning a your workouts but not being able to complete them because you are too achey or injured – it just starts a downwards spiral of excuses!
4 – Be a Commitment-phobe
A lot of gyms and studios have New Year sales which is great! But a lot also have free trials and inductions. Your post Christmas bank balance will thank you if you make use of these free trials and it is also a great way of finding out what kind of exercise you like best before commiting to a membership or package. If you really want to save the pennies then a great way to spend your Saturday morning is to head to a local park near you and run at a Parkrun event! It is a completely free timed 5km route which you can run or walk your way round – with a great atmosphere and usually a chance for a coffee and cake after!
5 – Buddy Up
We all know it can be difficult to motivate ourselves to actually get out of the house for a workout – especially in January when the mornings are dark, the evenings are dark and there isn’t even the Christmas glow to get us through the miserable and cold days! Find a friend/boyfriend/girlfriend/pet to exercise with and I promise you it will ease the pain! (and make you feel guilty if you miss a workout and leave them on their own haha!) You can plan together and motivate each other to push a bit harder, run a bit further and generally just keep going when it gets tough!
January doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, so get out there and smash your resolutions… sustainably of course!