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Why you should use the New Year to your advantage

SuccessI have mixed feelings about the whole ‘New Year’ thing. Apart from the fact that I’d be too worried about the taxi queue to even consider going out in Chelmsford on New Years Eve, I see the ‘fresh start’ connotations of a New Year as both good and bad.

The bad is that the success rate of a New Year exercise or diet regime is pitifully low. We know that the gyms go big on advertising on January, and we know that by March, most of the people have dropped off after their initial enthusiasm has waned. The gyms are less busy again. The old habits creep back in.

And yet we still get on that merry-go-round.

My gut feeling about all of this is that if you were serious about losing weight, exercising more, or trying to be ‘healthier’, then you would be doing it already. You don’t need some arbitrary date on a calendar to get going. Just start.
 
Using the New Year impetus
But this year, I feel a little different. You see, a New Year does indeed present you with an opportunity to write a new chapter. It’s a whole year with blank pages waiting to be filled in. It also helps that your friends, family and colleagues are all likely to trying something too, so there will be more support, more understanding about your ‘weird’ diet, and there’ll be extra impetus to keep going. If you see people quitting, use that to your advantage and tell yourself you won’t quit. If you see people succeeding, know that you can too.

Me and Angie are personally in this space this year. 2015 was a tough year for us in many ways, and for a variety of reasons we found ourselves eating things we wouldn’t normally eat, ordering the curry when we were too exhausted to cook and hadn’t planned well, and finding more excuses to have dessert.

The New Year has coincided with us starting to regain our health, being highly aware of the effect that our eating and exercise levels have had on our health and appearance, and interacting with a lot of people who are looking to make big changes in 2016. So, this year we’re going to ride the wave and start to change our priorities so that good food and exercise get nearer to the top than they have been for the last six months.

Start small. Really small.
If I were you, there are a couple of things I would do to try to make this New Year about lasting change, rather than yet another flash in the pan.

First, set small, realistic goals – aim to exercise once a week, not every day. If you’re changing your diet, change one meal at first. Focus on dinner only, and make it as healthy as possible. And if there’s some habits you want to change, start with one.

For us, that will mean making time to train or practice every single week, and getting back into the habit of using smaller bursts of exercise to keep our movement levels high.

The reason I like small goals is that they allow you to gather momentum throughout the year. Taking on big, unrealistic goals will likely leave you struggling to stick to the dramatic new regime, and you’ll find yourself back where you started before you know it. If you start small, you build a big goal-snowball that builds and builds. This isn’t a sprint – this is a year-long marathon, and our aim is to be ‘better’ (whatever that means to you) in 366 days time (yup, it’s a leap year!).

New Year’s Resolutions, and the New Year in itself are full of energy and optimism. This year, grasp that energy with both hands and make a positive change that will last a lifetime.

If you’re interested in Personal Training in the New Year, drop me a line at keith@liveasimplelife.co.uk.

Photo Credit: jordipuente-coaching via Compfight cc

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