A new year is always a fantastic time to evaluate the ways in which you can improve many different areas of your life. Motivation is high and you are rested and ready to put positive energy into plans and projects.

A lot of us also tend to specifically focus on our health, and why? We realise we were too stressed the previous year and this leads to one of the following; less time for exercise, reduced sleep, eating for reward, emotional fulfilment or celebration. Consequently we ended up in the Doctor’s office sick and run down or with health complications such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Then come New Year many of us also look in the mirror and realise we’ve stacked on some extra kilos over the festive summer season or really struggled through what would be a normal gym class.

Time to regroup!

How to set your resolutions:

1) Break down your health resolutions into categories. Remember health is multifactorial:

Physical: This involves sleep, eat, drink (yes alcohol!) and exercise.

Mental: Associated with a healthy mind and thought process.

Social: Your relationships with your family, friends and work colleagues.

Spiritual: Doesn’t necessarily have to be directly linked to religion but the philosophy or morals and values by which you live your life. Make sure your actions are consistent with your beliefs.

Environmental: How your environment impacts upon your wellbeing. Does it make you happy? How can it be manipulated to do so?

All of these factors impact upon each other so it is important to assess each. If your relationships break down this will affect your mental health. If your mental health disintegrates your nutrition and exercise tends to suffer. You can’t build a house with one brick, you need many to keep it standing.

2) Almost everyone has heard of making S.M.A.R.T goals. Specific. Measurable. Achievable. Realistic. Time Framed. You’re probably sick of hearing it but it’s true. Without narrowing the focus and making it specific and finding a way to make it measurable, what is the point? So you want to reduce your % Body Fat in the gym – great! So measure to start and periodically over the year. Don’t complain when you’re not losing weight, you may be replacing it with muscle and you won’t know if you don’t measure.

Example Resolution: To eat oily fish two times a week (Tuesdays and Fridays) at dinner

Example Resolution: To reduce my waist measurement from 90cm to 84cm (-6cm) in 3 months.

3) How are you going to get there? No use setting the goal so reduce you waist measurement if there is no action plan to address it

Example Resolution: To reduce my waist measurement from 90cm to 84cm (-6cm) in 3 months

       Attend personal training sessions 2x/week

       Fortnightly consultations with a Dietitian

       Complete food diary

4) Assess your barriers. For each resolution consider the barriers and how you will overcome them. If your barrier to exercising is your organisational skills, set a regular routine. If your barrier is time, plan your healthy meals and shopping for the week in advance and cook in bulk.

5) Tell someone about these resolutions, this makes your accountable and share your goals and aspirations with passion.

6) Remind yourself of these resolutions. No use setting a bunch of goals and then forgetting them a month later. Put them up somewhere you will see regularly.

7) Remember this is also about forming new healthy habits. The more your repeat your resolutions the better chance and confidence you have in assuming it as a part of your lifestyle.

My Resolutions

Some of my health resolutions this year have been to work on my strength and flexibility as well as reducing my stress levels by practising yoga. After visiting my Aunt’s amazing farm over the past couple of years I have also been greatly inspired to start cooking more from scratch and more from the earth. Yesterday I started making my own probiotic yoghurt and this weekend I am going to try and make my own healthy grainy bread. I’d also like to make my own sauces, pickles, jams, tabouli and salad dressings. I have shared these resolutions with a good friend and we are going to keep each other accountable. They are also stuck on the inside of my pantry.

Have a healthy happy journey in 2014 everyone. GOOD LUCK!! Ash xx