Did you make any New Year resolutions to improve your health, fitness or diet? How are they going? As badly as mine?
I purposely avoided any New Year’s Day posts along the lines of the whole ‘New Year, New You’ thing because January the 1st happened to fall on a Friday. Which meant Saturday and Sunday would be days two and three of anyone’s new campaign and, let’s face it, that’s the weekend – who starts afresh on a Friday?!
For me, like many of you out there I’m sure, the newness of the year started on 4th January – a nice, neat Monday. After a week in New York at the back end of 2015, plus travelling, eating and drinking in the name of Christmas and welcoming in the New Year, it was time to get back on track, which meant getting back into regular exercise, less alcohol and definitely less stodgy and sugary food. And no cheese (sob).
I opted to take part in Veganuary, which, because I’ve been a veggie for 30 years, I thought would be quite straightforward and a good opportunity to focus on some clean eating. I also wanted to rise to the 100 Miles in 100 Days challenge; to run or walk, you guessed it, a mile a day for 100 days (more on this in a guest post shortly).
‘Simple’, I thought.
Monday 25th January will be three weeks since ‘day one’ of 2016 and I’ve found it so difficult to fit everything in, and am not even close to getting back to the routine I had last year (which was only a few weeks ago, but feels like forever ago!) I’ve restarted my 100 miles challenge three times after failing to keep it up for more than eight consecutive days, and I’ve inadvertently tucked into non-vegan food (and suffered the shame of having it pointed out to me on Instagram – oops.)
It’s no wonder so many people fail to keep ambitious, major New Year resolutions, like launching into a whole new diet plan and exercise regime – mine were just minor tweaks to last year’s fairly well-oiled machine, but I’ve not achieved what I wanted to so far. But I’m chipping away. I’m trying to walk a mile each day, trying to re-introduce regular run days and do several Jillian Michaels sessions each week. I’m drinking tea with soya milk and avoiding all the Baileys I was bought for Christmas and going without cheese. And if I have an unexpected blip, or don’t fit in as many sessions as I hoped, I’ll just carry on and not write off everything I have achieved.
So if your New Year hasn’t got off to a flying start, don’t worry. Don’t quit, thinking you just can’t do it. Instead, think of it as a marathon and not a race. Introduce small changes, bit by bit. You’re building a new lifestyle, which takes time if it’s going to work long-term – you can’t just create that overnight (have you suddenly been able to give up your full-time job or get rid of your kids to focus on these initiatives? Exactly.)
Make gradual changes and build on them from week to week. In a month’s time you’ll see how far you’ve come, and again in another month. And in six months you’ll be amazed at what you’ve achieved.
Do not give up. Results take hard work and commitment, but just remind yourself you’re not on your own – there’s plenty of us out here going through the same thing as you!