Sound familiar? Are you starting to plot and plan your New Years resolution right now? If so, and it isn't the first time in your life that you have done this, let me ask you a question...If you've tried many New Years' resolutions in the past and none have stuck, what makes this year's any more likely to be successful? I'm not saying you shouldn't improve your health, not at all. But before you commit to an overwhelming diet or fitness regime, make sure you are in a good place to do so. Make sure you are ready to get the most return for your investment of time and money. How? Read on. I really believe (based on my experience and understanding of literature on behaviour change) that changing your mindset is the only way you will improve your health for good. Now there isn't a magic 10 step plan for this, but I believe there are stages you should go through before you take action and embark on another health kick in January only for it to end in February.
So if you really want to make some changes, grab a pen and paper and work through the exercises below. You might even need to give yourself a week or so to mull over each exercise before moving on to the next.
1: Get Real: What does your CURRENT health actually look and feel like? Pay attention to your body, how does it feel? Move? How much energy have you got? What about your mind, what are your automatic thoughts like? Negative, self critical?
2: Get Clear: Imagine yourself in 5 years time. What age will you be? What will you look like? If you change nothing about your health and lifestyle, as it is right now, then how will you feel? Would any ailments you have now feel better or worse? If your diet is the same as it is now in 5 years time, would you be heavier or slimmer? Are you in better or worse health than you are now? Who would be required to look after you? How much care would you need?
3: Get set: what does BEING HEALTHY actually mean to YOU? What do you want to feel, look and move like?
4: Get Honest: How important is it to you to be healthy? Why do you want to get healthy? What is in it for you and your family?
5: Get Aware:
What are you eating? I mean, write it down, pay real attention. Most of the time we forget those extra biscuits. Why are you eating it? What mood are you in when you reach for the junk, sugar or carbs?
How are you spending your time? How much of it is moving or getting your heart rate up?
6: Get going: What small everyday changes can you make? Add just one thing a day. Maybe drink more water or have an early night. Try adding more walking or standing. If adding these is overwhelming and you can't sustain them, what makes you think you will uphold a diet or exercise regime? Start now with what you've got, it doesn't need to be a mammoth shift, small changes definitely lead to great gains because they're more sustainable in the long term.
7: Get researching: what sort of trainer/health coach/ nutritionist do you want? Follow them on social media? How do they talk? Would they irritate or infuriate you? Or would the support and push you on? It doesn't actually matter which of these they do, what matters is what you want. How do you like to be spoken to? You are more likely to be successful if you stalk/follow/listen/read what your chosen trainer/professional has to say for a while. If you're a match, then craic on. Your money and goals are likely to be in very safe hands.
8: NOW begin...the gym, the 'diet' the plan, the regime etc...
Now that you have taken your time with the exercises above and hopefully been really honest with yourself, then you will be in a much better place to implement changes and invest money in your health. Why? Because the reasons why you want to do it will be more meaningful, motivating and whatever you choose to do will be more manageable. Your New YEAR, New YOU mantra is more likely to be, well, a year long, and not a month or two at best!
Good luck and get in touch to let me know how you get on!