You know, I’m really not a fan of a new year. While I love the feeling of being on holidays, long summer days and running off my own time schedule, there’s something about a new year that lingers in the air. I’m not into new year’s resolutions (more about that later) so that doesn’t really bother me. I think it’s actually how quickly it feels like time passes. Because I swear it was just last week that I was stepping off the most awesome 40th birthday cruise in all my sea legs glory. And booking your next appointment with the hairdresser in eight weeks’ time puts you close to April (insert eye roll here). I’m not sure I’m ready for April yet. I certainly wasn’t done with January before stupid February pushed its way into my life.
Why does it bother me so much this year? Well 2018 is bringing some massive lifestyle changes to me. At the end of 2017 I knew those changes were coming and I was embracing them with open arms, anxious to get started on a new chapter in my life. After the last year of emotional turbulence, I finally feel like I’m in a place where I’m relaxed, in control of the things I can control and pretty happy with the direction life looks to be taking. So lets bring on the changes already!! My arms are getting tired holding them out for so long! For the last two months I’ve been waiting for the trigger that will put all of that change into action. I’m not going to lie, it’s been frustrating waiting for it. Still waiting for it now! But it has also been a great lesson in not letting factors outside of my control get the better of me. This could have easily led me down a path of anxiousness and paralysis by analysis (put your hand up if you can relate). I have instead been taking each day as it comes, not really planning past the end of the next week for anything big (except for my next hair appointment closer to April). While it has been frustrating, I’ve not been letting that frustration rule the way my life runs in the meantime. Sure, I’ll have a little dummy spit every now and then (as I’ve been assured that’s a healthy thing to do) but I’m keeping on with day to day life.
Which brings me to the new years resolutions …. I don’t like them, never have. I’ve tried them however I just don’t get what it is about a new year, a whole 365 days (or 366 in a leap year) that sparks a need to make significant change in your life. Because let’s face it, it’s now mid-February … who’s talking about their new years resolutions now? I see a lot of the memes that congratulate all those who started in the gym in January that are still there now it’s February. It’s funny because it’s true. It’s nearly like it’s standard to get all excited about new years resolutions to just let them fade off into the background come February and then not ever talk about them again until next January.
I truly believe that if you want to make a change in your life then the time to do it is now. Right this very second. Why are you waiting for a new year? A new month? A new week? Are you waiting to be ready? Because if you wait for all of those things, another excuse will make its way in front of you, stopping you from taking those steps you need to take to get what you want. Apologies if I sound like I’m telling you to suck eggs here, but your first step should be a plan that maps out how you are going to get where you need to be (most people will come up with a goal but not ever think about a plan to get there). Because this is a fitness/wellness blog, lets take the example of losing weight. It’s a pretty common goal for people, usually with some not so talked about reasons why (more about that next time). It could be as simple as “I want to lose 10kg in 3 months” and your goal can be that simple, it’s the plan that has the details.
You have your goal. Great. Now you need to ask yourself, what am I willing to change to achieve my goal? What habits got me here in the first place? Am I willing to change those? Because if nothing changes, then nothing changes. Evaluate your situation. I’ve played around with all sorts of fad diets in my youth and one thing that taught me was that weight loss happens through what you put in your mouth. And that fad diets are not sustainable. So have a good (honest) look at your diet. Record it in a diary if you have to (being sure to record everything in it) so that you can see where you might be going off track. That extra can of coke in the afternoon contains a lot of sugar (thank you google for telling me it is more than nine spoonfuls). Would you sit with a bowl of sugar and eat nine spoonful’s? Probably not. Perhaps it’s that small change you can make to your food intake that will make a difference. By not having a can of any soft drink as a regular part of your day, it could make a massive difference.
Identify those small changes you need to make, then make them! The key to achieving any goal is consistency. Any diet that says you can’t have something in particular, for me, will just make me crave it more. And when I do get my hands on it, I will eat it until it’s gone (I’m sorry Tim Tams … you deserved a longer life than what you had). So be realistic about your changes, be kind to yourself too. Be consistent with all of the foods that will benefit you rather than consistent with the foods that will sabotage you.
Something I find that people rarely do when they take up a weight loss journey (or any journey to achieve a goal), is that no one checks where they are on the map. It’s great to map out how you are going to get there, but you know what? Life happens and sometimes you end up down some side streets and when you come out the other end, you have to consult the map to find out if you are still on the right path. Let’s take this in the context of exercise for weight loss. Things that need to go on your map include what you are physically capable of doing (think of any injuries or limitations you might have), what you are willing to do (no use saying you’re going to run if running bores the pants off you) and what you enjoy doing (because what you enjoy you will return to). Does this mean you work out with a group? Work out alone? Choreographed classes? You need to know these things before you get started. Once you’ve decided what you will enjoy doing, what you can do and what you are willing to do, get on and do it. After a couple of weeks, check the map again. Is what you are doing working for you? If you are getting results (and note that results can be as simple as “I’m feeling better about myself for doing this” rather that the number on the scales decreasing) then keep doing what you’re doing. If you aren’t getting the results you want, first ask yourself are the results I’m expecting realistic? If they are, adjust what you are doing.
Before I go to far down that rabbit hole of dos and don’ts, my point is that if you aren’t constantly evaluating where you are at, you may well end up quite a long way from where you want to be and really pissed off at the world for being there. That constant check in not only keeps you on track but it also allows you to make adjustments to your map if life inevitably happens to you along the way. To some extent, that constant checking of the map also helps keep you focused to arrive at your destination. There’s nothing wrong with stopping off every now and then to check out the sights or even to try some different things. Right then, I’m off to check out where I am on my map because I think I’ve wandered off down a few side streets.