I know there are a million articles about New Year's fitness resolutions at the minute but I am going to approach it in a slightly more unconventional way.
If you are tired of too-strict diet and exercise regimes and tips that fail before February even starts, try these slightly less popular but more effective resolutions to help you get fit and improve your health in 2018.
1. Don't Ban Alcohol Throughout January
Are you telling me I can drink?
Dry January or dry whatever, is good in theory but there is no real health gain if you abstain for a month and then go back to drinking just as heavily as you were for the rest of the year.
This time of year is still a social, family gathering, friend meet-up time of year and why do you want to put yourself under too much pressure to live up to difficult expectations when all you have to do is learn how to manage it instead of banning it.
A healthier, longer term outlook is to simply drink a bit less every week. If you are dying for a beer or glass of wine by February, then the total ban is not a great approach for you.
2. Eat meals that fill you up. Don't Restrict - ADD.
Instead of restricting foods and turning into an all biodynamic, organic, clean eating, vegetarian, low calorie, evangelistic dynamo, why not simply eat more foods that make you feel full.
Have you ever heard of "Positive Dietary Displacement"
Precision Nutrition experts describe Positive dietary displacement as skipping out on the massive dessert brownie for only a small piece, because you are satisfied from a nutritious meal of whole, real foods?
This is positive dietary displacement: when someone eats enough nutritious food each day, leaving little or no room for the non-nutritious foods.
When people eat this way, it generally leads to:
What a complicated method that is? Not.
Instead of restricting, you can add in the good stuff that makes you feel full therefore negating the need and desire for high calorie, processed foods.
Good examples of foods that make you feel full are most lean proteins (fish, meat, nuts, eggs etc) or high fibre foods like vegetables especially the green kind.
If you do not like these foods, simple google "high fibre fruits and veg" and then find recipes and voila, you will have a list of healthy foods and recipes to add to your diet.
3. Prioritise Your Sleep.
I will write an entire article about this in the future because I struggle with this in certain areas.
One aim is to get to bed at least 8 hours before you wake up and keep your phone out of your room.
When Arianna Huffington (of huffington post and thrive global fame) collapsed in 2007 from burnout, she radically changed her approach to life and is now one the world's biggest advocates of sleep health.
When someone of this stature changes her life like this, it is important to listen.
Many of you are super busy and like to play the "one less hour of sleep is one more hour of productivity" card but that story doesn't play out in the long run.
You can find out more here:
4. Integrate Exercise Into Your Life
I know you want to wake up every morning at 6:00am, chug down a pint glass of egg yolks and set off ROCKY STYLE.
Let's be fair, that will last about 2 days.
It is more realistic to integrate training into your life gradually.
Remember, you have all year to get fit.
If you are unfit, training 4-6 days per week initially will be too much. You will be too sore after sessions and will not recover appropriately to maintain the level of training.
A good idea to make exercise a habit is to start integrating it into your daily routine. Walk the kids to school, cycle home from work, go to the gym on the way to work, have walking meetings etc.
Join a class and start 2-3 times per week until you get fitter and then increase the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
5. Take A Mini Break Every 12 Weeks.
This probably sounds weird but this was one of the best things I did with my family in 2016 and 2017.
We book a mini break away every 12 weeks.
We just go local, somewhere no longer than 3 hours away and we have a break away from computers, work and general busy life.
It gives myself and my wife something to aim for and keeps us focused during the 12 weeks.
You can do it more regularly if you want.
I never really admire anyone who tells me they have accrued 14 weeks of annual leave.
Really, what is the point?
I hope you enjoyed these tips. If you are stuck and do not know where to start - try this FREE health and fitness starter kit that will give you some simple, powerful tips to get going no matter what level of fitness you are at.
Enjoy and feel free to SHARE with colleagues and friends if it helps.