There's still time to stick to your 2017 resolutions
Statistically, chances are you've already given up on your New Year's resolution. Would you like to get back on track? Many of us will give up on our resolutions after the first week, and more than half will give up within six months.
Whether you've decided to give up smoking, or go to the gym, or maybe travel more, how can you make sure that you stick to your resolutions this year?
I was just having a look online to see what the general advice was, and I came up with a page on the NHS website with a nice list with 10 tips to make your New Year's resolution a success, which I think pretty much summarises it.
Personally, I don't talk about New Year's resolutions because I believe psychologically, the word resolution has all these ideas of failure already embedded into it, and nobody needs that. Instead, I make plans and set goals and objectives, much as I would do at work. Some of these goals, are pretty similar to everyone else's but there are others that relate only to me.
I would like to share some of these goals with you, and share how I'm planning to achieve them. Maybe you have similar goals and will get some ideas from it. Some of these span for a month, others the whole year.
1. Complete Whole30 in January
Some of you have already seen on Instagram that I'm doing Whole30 this January. If you've never heard of it before, Whole30 is a reset for your body. I won't go into much detail here, because that's not the point of the post, but if you're curious, have a look on their website (or get in touch and I will write a post about it!).
Now, this is not something I would just recommend anyone to do, it requires effort, willpower (lots of it), and it might not be right for your personal situation. I've done it in the past and I enjoyed it, but the last time I tried, I just couldn't go through it and gave up and since I don't want that to happen again...
The first thing I need to complete Whole30 is clear reasons as to why I'm doing it. In my case, it always relates to improving my sleeping patterns, my energy levels, and to feel less bloated. Keeping these reasons clear in my mind help me get through the harder bits and trust me, there are plenty!
They offer free downloads, and one of them is a calendar. The first time I did it, I made a calendar pretty similar to theirs, but this time I just downloaded it. The calendar is great to help you physically cross out each day you've survived.
Finally, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Every time I waver, I remind myself that it's only 30 days (and a reintroduction) and that I can totally do it. Doing Whole30 helps me achieve other goals, so it all works out nicely.
2. Run 4+ times per week
Let's be honest, I used to run more than I do and now whenever I find the time, I feel stiff, tired and unmotivated.
This year, I'm planning on running more often and maybe do another long run (half a marathon again for now). How am I going to achieve this? By setting a weekly goal.
Cardio (when done right) is a great tool for weight loss. If I want to reach Goal #4 below, I need to keep it going.
The way to stick to it is by taking each day at a time. Right now, I'm not thinking about what I'll be doing next month, I just know that this week, I need to run at least four times. If I feel like running more, great! But there will be no running less.
Create a schedule you can easily stick to. For me, it works as this: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
I know I like running without worrying about a deadline, or where I'm going, so the weekend is a great option for me. Usually, I've always tried a long run on the Sunday, and why change something that works?
Weekdays are trickier. You get sucked into the hustle and bustle and it's easy to choose Netflix over your trainers, so what I do is find a running buddy I can run with. That way, they hold me accountable and I feel guilty if I don't run. Yes, even personal trainers feel like that sometimes.
However, no schedule should be so strict that it discourages you. If I miss a day because I'm too busy, or I'm exhausted, or sick, I have plenty of days left to make it up. At the end of the week, there should be at least four running days, but it doesn't matter when I actually run.
3. Go to the gym 3+ times per week
Just as with running, I need a flexible schedule to fit the gym in. This goal is suffering quite a few changes this year, because I'm adding different types of sessions. In the past, I would go to the gym and do strength training. Sometimes I would add Freeletics to it, three times a week. So far, so good.
This year, I want to go back to boxing (training only, no sparring) because I did it in the past and I loved it (another fat shredder to keep in mind!). The place where I'm planning to go has also weightlifting sessions, which means I would probably swap one of my gym days for that one, so I won't end up over-training and injuring myself.
Again, it's about finding things that I really like doing. Boxing and weightlifting, are exhausting and fun, and they always leave me feeling accomplished. The best part? This will also help me achieve Goal #4!
4. Reach 18% total body fat
Losing weight is great, but sometimes (many times) we lose it from the wrong places. We want to lose weight smartly!
You know when people say 'I want some abs' and they start doing crunches? Well, that's the wrong approach. The abs are there, you can't see them because of subcutaneous fat, and you can't pick and choose where you lose your fat from. There's no exercise that will make you lose belly fat, you need to lose it overall (and if you're a lady, we both know from where it's going to disappear first!).
Don't aim to just lose weight, aim to lose fat weight and body fat percentage. We can safely lose 1% body fat per month, so there's no reason why this goal can't happen, for me or for you (your goal might be a different percentage).
By combining cardio (done correctly), strength training, a generally active life and a healthy diet, your body will become leaner and your abs will be on display! That's the best way to tone your muscles.
As you can see, Goals #1-3 are designed to help me achieve this one. I just need to monitor this goal to make sure I'm on track, by checking weekly. If I feel I lose motivation to achieve this, the other three will help me get there through the discipline and routine I'll be creating.
5. Practise yoga and/or meditation everyday
This is going to be tough. I have only done about three yoga classes and meditated maybe another three times in my life. I just can't find the time to do it, and when I try, I suffer so much that I get discouraged.
Yoga is great for flexibility, posture and relaxation (I'm still trying to achieve the last one, maybe once I get better at it I'll stop panicking I'm about to face-plant and will start relaxing!), so it's a great addition to any training plan, especially if you live a busy life.
Meditation is amazing for clearing the mind and helping you focus on the things that matter to you, find your step again, and all that.
For this, I've created a weekly tracker on my diary, where I can see daily my progress. My plan is to practice yoga in the mornings, which should have some meditation at the end, and/or mediate in the evenings. Knowing me, the evenings won't happen as frequently, so at least I'm giving myself a head start by starting early. I have cleared out a space big enough in my living room and downloaded an app for beginners. I'll let you know how it goes, but I'm excited about it!
Meditation will need to be done in a different room as Robin, my budgie, gets very excited whenever I'm around, so he won't keep quiet.
6. Travel to Asia
This goal is a bit related to Goal #5 because, well, it would be great to go to a yoga retreat in Asia. Truth is I've been wanting to visit that corner of the planet for a while, but I've never been. I want to visit Thailand, Japan, Cambodia... Double truth is that I definitely cannot afford it, so that's why it's a goal.
Budgeting is a pain. We all know it. And that's why I spent a good part of my weekend doing so. Now, I have a clear idea of my finances and have a plan on where I can save money, which things I can live without (bye, store-bought coffee and takeaways) and which ones I need.
This is going to be the hardest goal to achieve this year, because I like my life as it is (and I really like my store-bought coffee in the mornings!). However, thanks to all my goals above, I think it can happen quite easily - all my free time is spent training, so there's no time for online shopping left!
Doing Whole30 means I will get into the habit of cooking at home once again, and we all know that saves tons of money in the long run.
My actual tactic? Set aside money every week into a savings account clearly marked as do not touch, or else and see my trip to Asia becoming a reality. I can already see myself doing the warrior pose by the beach. Om...
7. Update blog once a week
Another weekly goal. I created this website as a mean to help people find out more about health and fitness, get easy-to-understand information. Hopefully it will become a place where everyone feels like they can contribute without fear of being judged.
There's a lot of information already about fitness so you might be wondering why there's a need for yet one more blog. Let me tell you my point of view.
When I started on all this, my first place to find information was the internet. And when you do any kind of search, you find in a second five articles that tell you you definitely need to do this and forget about that, and another five telling you exactly the opposite. Well seasoned gym-goers know all about fitness (some of them think they know more than they do) but if you're a newbie, it's confusing as heck. Suddenly, you're paralysed because if you run you hurt your knees, and you should never do it if you want muscles, but then you want to lose weight, which seems the only way to do it is by eating only apricots on Thursdays, cucumber juice the rest of the weekdays and one cheeseburger during the weekend. Maybe do 15 crunches and that'll do it.
I'm exaggerating, but many people are put off by all the information out there, or follow some 10-minute workouts and when they don't see the results they want after months of working out, they get discouraged and give up. If you're a well seasoned gym-goer, don't laugh or mock the others. We all started somewhere, and we all felt intimidated working out at one point or another. There will always be someone at the gym who is stronger than us, hotter than us, slimmer than us...
My goal is to help anyone thinking fitness is not for them realise working out can be a lot of fun, especially with the right personal trainer.
So how am I planning to do this? Each week I'm picking a topic to write about. For now, the topics will be mostly aimed at beginners, but that won't always be the way. Ideally, I would like you to send me suggestions, either in comments, or through the contact page. I am aiming at posting every Monday, because I believe it's good to start the week with some positive energy and a purpose, so now you know when to expect to hear from me!
I have set a content calendar for this and I have a few topics already in the pipeline, so far so good!
8. Read more than 12 books
Reading is one of my passions, but I don't get as much time to do it as before, and when I have spare time and I sit in front of a book, either my mind starts racing around thinking about everything at the same time (reason why I need meditation in my life), or my eyes can't take it and I get sleepy.
At my office job I started a book club just for that very same reason of forcing myself to read more often. Last year I read nine books, that I can remember, and over half were fitness related.
This year, I'm keeping the book club spirit and I'm aiming at reading one
book novel per month, at least. I'm going to use my commuting to do this and hopefully use reading as a way of winding down at the end of the day, rather than planning more training sessions on my tablet!
In order to do this I've updated my Goodreads account and entered the 2017 challenge (15 books). I also have book club meetings that I will have to attend and will keep me accountable.
So there you have it, my goals for this year.
They seem like a lot, but they all connect to each other, which hopefully will make it easier for all the pieces to fall into place.
As I said on Goal #7, I'm planning to publish weekly on Monday. Hopefully, it'll be earlier than today (I had some technical problems today).
What are your goals for this year? How are you going to achieve them?