It’s not quite Christmas yet but I bet a good percentage of humans around the world are already thinking about new year’s resolutions and how to achieve that “new year /new you” promise that every advertising email and magazine is talking about at this time of the year.
I’m all for having goals but I’ve never been a ‘get rich quick’ or ‘get fit quick’ kind of a person. My motto is something along the lines of “find something you love to do and your body will sort of all fall into place without you having to grit your teeth every day and make ‘sacrifices’ “.
Life is just too short for crash diets and crazy exercise regimes that bring you no joy. Life for me is all about little changes here and there, listening to my body, going with the flow (quite often going backwards as well), recognising that the natural nature of the world/life/etc. is up AND down.
When a new year approaches I don’t make resolutions as such but I often think about new things I’d like to get into the habit of doing. I could write down a long list* but I know that long lists are not doable for me. Instead I focus on one or two things at a time. Next year I’ll first try to tackle my late night snacking habit (wish me luck, I’ll need it).
Here are a few things that once upon a time were not habits for me but have become that over time. They are easy and quick changes you can make to your life that have many health benefits:
- Hydration: Have a large glass of water with a squeeze of half a lemon first thing in the morning / Instead of fizzy drinks, drink sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or Stur or kombucha.
- Staying active: Walk / take the stairs / walk on escalators.
When we first moved to London I always took the tube when in the city but once I realised how close tube stations are to each other and how much faster it is to walk, I walk a lot more. I also always take the stairs and escalators, it’s great for my glutes and it gets the heart rate right up if the escalator is more than 50 steps (plus I get home from work quicker :).
- Snacking: If you like to snack after dinner like I do, don’t plan to give it up cold turkey. Think about alternatives to biscuits or chocolate instead – I’m trying to have rice cakes or apple slices with peanut or other nut butter or homemade popcorn (please don’t buy the stuff in ready-made microwave bags) with coconut oil and sea salt or melted dark chocolate.
- Food swap: Eat butter, not margarine.
Because “friends don’t let friends eat margarine”. :) Buy a butter box and keep butter out of the fridge so it’s always spreadable. It doesn’t go off and it is so much tastier and better for you than anything spreadable in a tub (even when the tub is covered with a gazillion health claims).
- Sweat with JOY: Find a way to move your body that you love, don’t just stick to going to the gym if you HATE running on the treadmill, don’t exercise just to get ride of calories (that kind of stuff just sucks the joy right out of your life).
Try spinning, yoga, bootcamps, rock climbing, swimming… Join a running group or sign up to Parkrun. The options to get your sweat on are endless, the main thing is that you find the thing that brings you JOY. Habits that are fun are very likely to stick long term.
Here are some other top healthy habits (from simplyhealth).
What are your little healthy habits that you have developed over time? What ones would you like to make yours in 2015?
* My list would include dry body brushing, oil pulling, daily stretching, regular Bikram again, meditating, sleeping more and not being glued to my phone 24/7.