This post has possibly come a little late, or, this post has possibly come at the perfect time. At a time when the cravings are returning, the motivation vanishing and the “new-year-new-me” slogan is starting to irritate you, read this – it might help.
We all start the new year exercising frantically, eating nothing but lettuce and green smoothies and trying desperately to keep our bedroom floors immaculate, as after all, 2017 is your year.
We aim to perfect every single fault that we have found in ourselves, losing that cellulite on our thighs, transforming our sometimes lazy selves into impossibly organised dairy users, shedding every ounce of stomach fat so we finally achieve our “bikini body”, and drinking what seems to be 48 litres of water instead of eating to “cleanse us” after some uneducated social media star suggested it.
In truth, we all start the year completely wrong.
We start the year trying to be someone we are not, and denying ourselves of what makes us, well, essentially ourselves. Our radical and unique quirks, tendencies and intricacies are covered up, discarded or suppressed.
Why begin with such a negative mindset? One which practically sets us up to fail, feel miserable and increasingly self-conscious?
Let’s make 2017 a happy year, by starting with realistic and positive resolutions.
TURN YOUR “FAULTS” INTO YOUR FAVOURITE THINGS
For the last three years now, one of my resolutions has always been the generic “love yourself” or “become confident with your body” kinda shizz. Whilst I think they are very important and positive goals to have, three years down the track and only just having achieved it, I now realise that as a whole, self-love takes a long time to embrace.
For myself, I started with one thing at a time. I have an athletic build, but I have always, always despised my broad shoulders. Last year I brought myself an off-the-shoulder top, a top which an article on google warned that “girls with big shoulders should NEVER wear.” So did it stay in my draw to gather dust? Nope. I rocked it. I worked on my weakness, and with time, I grew to love them. Like my muscular looking thighs I always struggled to accept I realised that I wouldn’t be able to swim, run or do what I can do without my body looking that way. It is purpose-built for my life and it helps me do awesome things, it was about time I started helping it back.
LESS IS MORE
When it comes to goals associated with diets or exercise, we often are far too unrealistic and harsh on ourselves. Like we experience every year, this results in us eating nothing but lettuce for 12 days straight or a week of running 7 kilometres every day (!!) no matter if you’re sick, tired or hungover – which of course ends in a massive chocolate binge and the remaining 11 and a half months of the year re-assuming your couch potato status.
So is it even a possible feat to become one of those fitness crazy people who seem to have no sugar cravings whatsoever – (aka aliens) – ?? Well, hats off to you if you can achieve that, but for the rest of us who are seemingly less disciplined, the trick is to lower those expectations.
With exercise, still aim to do something everyday. But slow down, that “something” is not a half marathon or a 50km bicycle ride. If you are up late and studying, break once every hour and bust out some star jumps or push ups to get your blood flowing and concentration maintained. Do stair reps or sprints and your nearest public stairway or footpath, aim for one more rep each week. Squat whilst brushing your teeth. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and walk or jog round your block to wake you up for the day. Do 15 crunches every commercial break when you’re watching TV.
For dieting, don’t be hard on yourself! Remember how wicked and important our bodies are, and that they need to be nourished. If you want to cut out sugar, some of us can’t deal with the cold turkey approach. Limit yourself to one sweet treat per day, eat it slowly and enjoy it. When you’re ready decrease it to twice and then once a week, and you’ll soon get into an achievable and sustainable habit. If you want to cut down on portion size but find yourself always snacking (100% me), don’t punish yourself – or your stomach for that matter. Reach for more filling and sustaining snacks, a handful or almonds, popcorn, a banana or even some yummy date bliss balls are easily palatable and way(yyy) better for you.
Expect less, achieve more.
READ MORE, SLEEP EARLIER
Sleep is a priority for a lot of people. But when it actually comes down to it, 98% of us find ourselves tucked up in bed at 11pm scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, with the “just five more minutes” mantra repeating over and over in our head. Studies have proven that healthy sleep habits not only make you feel more energised and refreshed but also means that your immune system isn’t worn down, plus it can actually help with weight loss. So, getting more sleep sounds like a pretty good deal right? If you want to hit two birds with one stone, buy a good book and set an alarm 40 minutes earlier than your usual bedtime. That way when your alarm goes off, you can switch off your devices, improve on your breadth of reading AND best of all, enjoy a longer, more restful sleep.
SMILE. ALL THE TIME.
If you want to feel better about your life in 2017, this is a good place to start. The most uplifting, relieving and beautiful things on this planet – are smiles. Smiling releases both endorphins and serotonin (hormones that relieve symptoms of pain and also act as anti-depressant) but also makes yourself and everyone around you feel infectiously better. Smile at strangers in the street. Smile at the checkout lady in the supermarket. Smile at your cat (or fluffy equivalent). Smile at yourself in the mirror. Just smile. All the time.