2020 is within our grasp and a new year always develops various feelings within our core; feelings of hope, excitement and slight anxiety to an extent. When a New year lurks around the corner it is the perfect opportunity to tune into our selves for a moment and reflect on the year that has passed. Enjoy having moments of stillness to absorb and appreciate all aspects of the year.
An inspiring quote by Robert Browning reads: “how sad and bad and mad it was - but then, how it was sweet” I am a firm believer of reflecting and thinking back on all facets of the year. The good and the bad. After all we tend to gain much more in life by learning from sad, bad and mad experiences.
The new year always holds new opportunities and New Year’s resolutions have come a very long way, if we look back at history. I am not a New year’s resolutions person, (each to its own) however I do like the idea of reflecting on a passed year, identify how I can improve on different aspects of life and try to in each year make better and happier choices, whether it is work, health, relationships, religion etc.
Now with all the goals set and in place, the most important of all should be feeling grateful for all the little things we have in life. We always want to strive for better when a new year starts, however why not for one second think back and reflect on all your little blessings. There honestly is so much we can be grateful for. The smile you receive from a stranger when walking in a busy shopping centre, a warm hug on your birthday, being healthy to go for a walk-in nature with your four- legged companion, having a loving and caring family are just a few examples.
Health and nutrition usually form part of our New year’s goals/resolutions list. Whether it is to lose weight, get fit or get lifestyle associated diseases under control. There are ways to make this a lifestyle and habit instead of just making it a yearly wish list.
Motivation is what gets your started and habit is what keeps you going.
These days, social media is seen as a platform for aspiration to set goals in terms of diet and exercise. Facebook and Instagram have millions of healthy quotes, pictures, and food ideas that feature every few seconds. And somehow a specific post sparks an interest and we jump on the bandwagon to start eating healthy once again and to start some sort of exercise regime. Our motivation is extremely high when January 1st arrives and we get super excited to make healthy lifestyle choices. However, not too long after seeing that sparkly post, we lose track and motivation. And we fall back into our old behaviour of skipping meals, drinking six cups of coffee per day and over-eating at supper time.
So the golden question is …How do we stick to healthy eating and an exercise routine? I am not the world’s greatest expert; however, I do know what works for me and this is something that I find working for a lot of people as well. Forming a habit is the answer, and of course not to focus on too much at once. Martin Luther King Jr stated it admirably: “You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
By this I specifically refer to dietary goals. For example: Start with eating regular balanced meals, drink a enough water daily and start exercising three times a week. Continue doing this for two months (eight weeks) – this is usually when certain behaviours start to become a habit. And this is only the start of achieving a new healthy routine. Look at specific bad dietary habits and try to adapt and change them slowly.
Perceptibly, there are a lot of factors that do tend to come in the way; i.e. emotions, social events, work schedules and food addictions are just a few to mention that can hinder success. But ultimately in order to achieve success, is to identify the pitfalls and work around them and always keeping the goal in mind; whether it is losing weight, getting more fit or controlling blood sugar levels.
It is not an easy task, but I always say you must be 100% committed to reach that specific goal. Otherwise forming a habit will not be on the cards.
Motivation comes in various forms and once you have been motivated, find a support system (family, friends, work colleagues) to support and motivate you whilst on the behavioral journey. It honestly just makes the journey so much simpler.
Never rush the process of habit changing. Be patient and always remember how far you’ve come. Progress and working hard is so much more rewarding than perfection.
“It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” —F. Scott Fitzgerald
Have a happy, healthy and Delicious New Year.