3 realistic new habits for January to make 2018 your best year yet
The first of January is a tough day for a lot of people. You might feel a tad overindulged, hungover, under-the-weather and generally unhealthy after the holiday.
If you’re suffering a serious lack of inspiration to fulfil those well-intended resolutions you swore to the night before, don’t worry. This is completely normal - it’s what you do with those guilty, negative thoughts that matter and ultimately get you where you want to be. Living well, feeling well and eating well doesn’t happen overnight. We have to be realistic in the goals we set - going from buckets of sugar and alcohol to spin classes and avocado salads isn’t going to work.
If you go at it too fast and too radical you’ll crash and burn. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Start slowly, bringing these three positive changes into your life until they become happy, healthy, natural new habits:
1. Nourish a ‘move-more’ mindset
Anyone can make exercise part of their lifestyle. But the most important part of your body you need to focus on first is not your tum, glutes, or thighs… it’s your brain. Start each day with the intention to move more and give yourself little reminders throughout the day. Jump off the bus a little earlier and walk the rest of the journey home. Take the stairs, not the lift. Walk over to a colleague to chat to them instead of emailing them.
Slowly, schedule exercise into your daily routine - but don’t push yourself. Power-walk, jog, swim laps, sign up for a genuinely enjoyable gym class. Find a fitness routine you love and excuses won’t even enter your mind.
2. Eat the most natural meals you can
Cooking every meal from scratch isn’t always realistic, but there are steps you can take to limit processed food. Focus on fresh vegetables, fruit, fish, poultry, grass-fed meat (the less mass-produced, factory-farmed anything, the better), grains (brown rice, quinoa and couscous are super quick to cook), nuts, seeds, pulses and beans.
For new habits in January, try to make your own soups, curries, stews and warm salads - perfect antidotes to an overindulgent festive season. Bringing smoothies into your diet can make you feel energised very quickly, especially if your digestion is a little sluggish after Christmas and New Year. On top of your food intake, make sure you’re working up to drinking three litres of water a day. Just an extra half-pint every hour can help.
3. Sort out your sleep
If your new year’s resolution is to lose weight, but daily smoothies and sweat-a-thons aren’t working, that’s because you’re missing a vital piece of the puzzle. The value sleep has on your fitness, health, mind and entire life is hugely undermined.
Think about it - if you’re tired, you’re more inclined to reach for a caffeine injection or sugary boost. That’s because sleep activates your hunger hormone. Sleeping resets your body clock, gives your brain time to absorb the day’s events and prepares you for a happy, healthier, more productive day ahead.