It is also this time of the year that you might find yourself making one or more of those fated ephemeral New Year's resolutions, that just never seem to last the distance.
You know the kind: “I am quitting chocolate!”, “I will never drink again!”, or “I will run 10 miles before breakfast each morning.” The common theme is usually focused on health, wellbeing and working towards a healthier and happier version of ourselves. It is not that these resolutions aren’t built from a solid foundation of determination and good intentions, that they are so often doomed to fail. It is usually because after stepping off the scales, or wheezing a little too much for only one flight of stairs, we feel that the only solution is drastic measures.
However, when we set unrealistic expectations and restrictions on ourselves, these New Year’s resolutions often don’t last more than a few weeks, let alone a whole year!
In theory, these resolutions are great, but in practice, they are just not realistic and if, and when, you fail to achieve them, you may find yourself feeling a little downhearted or disappointed in yourself.
This realisation is no reason to throw the concept of a New Year’s resolution out the window. It IS the beginning of a new year which makes it a fantastic time to start implementing some healthy changes into your life. However, instead of going for an ‘all or nothing’ attitude and putting strict and unrealistic restrictions on yourself, why not work towards some positive intentions instead? Positive intentions that allow for some wiggle room, but still keep you focused and on track to becoming a fitter, healthier and happier version of yourself?
The idea is to pick an area or two of your life that you feel might need a little TLC, and come up with a positive intention that you can realistically work towards as you embrace 2019.
Not sure where to start? Here is a list of positive intentions that will help you create a new (and improved) you in this new year ahead!
Make exercising enjoyable - Some people love the gym or heading out for a run, but for others, it can feel like a real drag. If this is the case for you, why not consider implementing some more ‘active’ activities that are both enjoyable AND excellent for your health and fitness?
There are so many ways you can incorporate exercise into your ‘leisure time’. For example, you could take up a new class, such as dancing, martial arts, or yoga. You could join a sports team, such as five-a-side, netball or volleyball. Or you might prefer to try some solo sports, such as golf, rock climbing or even training for a triathlon!
If you start your new year off with the intention of making your exercise time more enjoyable, you might just find that being healthy and active becomes part of your leisure time, instead of just being hard work!
Eat less processed foods - Instead of saying “I will never eat ‘such and such’ again!”, try to work towards eating healthier in general. Cutting down on fast foods, processed foods and sugar is an excellent way to improve your health.
Perhaps one of your positive intentions could be “I will try to cook from scratch more often!” This way you can use fresh wholesome ingredients and maybe even improve your cooking skills so that you can really impress your dinner guests!
Enjoy some ‘you time’ - It is not just your body that needs looking after, your mind is equally as important. Even if your focus for 2019 is to work towards advancing in your career, or spending more time with your family, it is also important to try and make some time for you to connect with yourself.
‘You time’ might be anything from taking the occasional solo road trip, practising meditation, or even simply enjoying a bubble bath and a good book. In order for you to be the best version of yourself, you need to make some time for you to just be you, without distractions or pressures from work or others.
Learn a new skill - Learning a new skill is an excellent way to stimulate and exercise your brain, as well as add to your skill set and have a little fun!
Whether your ideal new skill is taking cooking classes, learning a language, practising an instrument or simply putting yourself out of your comfort zone so that you can meet new people, challenging yourself is an excellent positive intention to work towards in 2019!
Moderation - As mentioned before, the ‘all or nothing’ attitude never seems to be very successful. Why not try to adopt a more ‘things in moderation’ attitude? For example, instead of saying you will not drink all year, why not moderate yourself to only 2 drinks and only on special occasions? Or instead of saying no more social media, why not say, only after all other tasks for the day are complete?
Moderation is an excellent way to live life, because it allows you to enjoy the things that make you happy, without allowing them to become destructive on your health and wellbeing.
Spend some time in nature - Nature is good for your soul, whether you are an outside person or not. The simplicity of peace and quiet, as well as fresh air, does wonders for your health, both physically and mentally.
So whether it be a stroll in your local park, a camping trip in the wilderness or an afternoon at the beach, taking some time out to be in nature will help enhance your health and wellbeing, improving your quality of life in 2019.
Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness is a technique that will not only enhance your experience of 2019, it will also make you better equipped to navigate the obstacles life will inevitably throw in your path.
Mindfulness is a skill that, like all skills, becomes easier with practice. You can learn how to practice mindfulness through guided meditations, however, you can also implement a little mindfulness using other simple techniques.
For example, why not write a positive intention and place it beside your alarm, so that you can read it and reaffirm it to yourself each morning. Or you can give yourself little cues, such as a note on your fridge reminding you to take a few breaths in and out and become aware of how your mind and body are feeling in that moment.
Perhaps one of your positive intentions can simply be that you will attempt to introduce more mindfulness into each and every day!
Use this New Year to create a new you, in a positive and achievable way. Happy New Year!