If you found yourself faltering over your new year resolutions at the weekend, do not despair as you are in good company, more people have given up on resolutions after a week than are sticking to them. It doesnt mean we have to give up on them for good, but we might need a bit more help to keep on the straight and narrow than we thought.
We are all individuals and so there is never a one size fits all approach that will work for everyone, but these tips are all research based and from personal experience I find them really helpful when making a lifestyle change:
- Focus on adding good stuff rather than obsessing over what you are giving up. For example, dont just leave a gaping hole in your diet where sugar or chocolate used to be, but explore the shelves of your local health food for interesting ingredients you can try out or enjoy more fresh fruit, your favourite fruit that is, dont try and force yourself to eat things that you really dont like.
- Track your progress. There are some great diary apps now, but any beautiful notebook will do the trick just as well. When we keep notes of what we eat, our exercise and our progress, whether thats our fitness levels or our weight, it has been proven to make us much more likely to keep going.
- If you find an exercise or new healthy foods that you enjoy, they will become part of your lifestyle, rather than just a short-term blip. Its amazing how many different options there are now on offer, from heated outdoor lidos to live streamed classes you can take at home to running apps that will have you reaching 5k from a standing start in surprisingly little time. And there are so many healthy foods to try out, a simple thing like sautéing our kale in coconut oil has won us over to the green side.
- Commit to change. This is probably one of the main reasons so many of us struggle with resolutions. To genuinely make a change we need to first contemplate, then raise our consciousness (e.g. fully acknowledge how many pounds overweight we might be, how many units of alcohol we have really been drinking on average or how truly unfit we are), prepare for it (give away tempting chocolates to colleagues, clear diary for shopping, cooking and exercising, find recipes we want to cook), and then act. All to often we jump straight to the action part, when we arent really convinced deep down its such a great idea or havent thought it through.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. It takes about 30 days to create a new habit, so until that time you need to exercise your willpower muscle. This is why breaking big goals up into little ones for the day and week really helps. The changes you make need to be things that you can realistically achieve with how your days are currently set up. If you need to rush to nursery to pick up your children after work and then make dinner and get them to bed, you are more likely to be able to create a healthy habit at lunchtime, for example. Be honest about what you really want and how you can do it.
We were taught a wonderful meditation last week than can work for any kind of manifestation, whether healthy, wealthy or wise.
Find a quiet space where you can take a few minutes each day. First all you need to do is to focus on your breathing. In and out In and out When you are feeling focused on the breath, begin to breathe as though through the heart for a minute of so. Then take a deep breath through your heart and enter the garden of your inner imagination. Hear the birds and notice the flowers, the trees, all the details. Walk to an empty bed of fertile soil and over the next few minutes plant the seeds of your hopes and goals. Give them a nice water and bless them for containing everything they each need to grow and fulfil their potential. Sit for a moment in the garden before gently bringing your breath back to your tummy and then bringing your attention back to where you are sitting or lying. Simply spend a few minutes each day watering the seeds and notice how they begin to grow. If one should stop growing or not appear, you can plant that seed again.
Its a lovely way to draw in energy and also set your intentions.