As the New Year looms and the excess of Christmas starts to set it many of us are thinking of ways to improve ourselves and our lives in the coming year. Whether it’s quitting an unhealthy habit like smoking or starting a new one like exercising there are certain things you can do to help break or make a habit that lasts. I gave up drinking in 2015 and here are some of my top tips:
This might sound obvious but if you are trying to break a habit then get whatever it is you are trying to quit out of the house. Completely. You might have to put up with protests from others in the house (particularly if you’re trying to get rid of junk food and the kids catch you!) but explain to them why you’re doing what you’re doing and how much you’d appreciate their help. This could be your chance to change everyone’s habits for the better.
Write It Down
Sit down and make a list of the reasons why you want to break a bad habit. It’s also helpful to ask yourself honest questions about why you think you developed your particular habit. What addition has it been to your life? Most likely none but it’s best not to ignore your fears about giving it up. For example many people believe that they won’t be able to relax without a cigarette or drink. If that’s you then dig deep and question how true your beliefs about your habit really are.
Put this list, as well as a little declaration about what you want to make or break, and stick them up somewhere that you have to pass every single day.
Often the habits we wish to break are those we consider to be a way of rewarding ourselves. If so then you should decide how you might do this in a healthier or more positive way. For example if you decide that you’re going to eat more healthily in 2016 but food was always your way of treating yourself then replace it with clothes, music, a beauty product etc that you’d like instead. Your new treat doesn’t have to be expensive but it does have to feel like a treat to you.
Finding support when breaking a habit is so important. You may find that some of your friends are making similar decisions about their own habits for the New Year. If you’re going to get fit and your best friend wants to do also then why not pair up and keep each other motivated? But if you don’t have someone else in the same boat then you may need to look a bit further afield. That’s where the internet can help because there are chatrooms, message boards and private facebook groups for just about everything these days. Connect with people on the same journey as you and you may well find you make some new friends too.
Just Keep Swimming
Keep it up. Even when you don’t want to. Even when something happens that upsets you and all you want to do is run back to your habit that comforted you so well in the past. The feeling will pass eventually and when you’ve made it through and changed your default response you will feel really great about yourself. You will. I promise.
I know what you’re thinking when you look at the before picture in this story, ‘sure she has nothing to lose!’ but a stint in Oz and the sudden loss of a family member took its toll on Olga’s health and fitness and left her feeling tired and not herself. She’s not the type of woman to sit around and let something bother her so she was one of the first to sign up for my 12 week online course.
While it’s always hard to change your habits and lose body fat it gets even more complicated when you haven’t much to lose because you have to push yourself that little bit harder. You don’t see results as quickly or as obviously as you would when you have a lot to lose and it can get disheartening at times but Olga stuck with it and it paid off for her. There’s rarely a weekend that her crew of friends don’t have a night out planned but she stayed focused and chose the ones that were really worth it instead of trying to do it all at the expense of her goals.
Mid way through the course she also found out she was going to be taking a trip back to Oz in January so this motivated her even further. (If you’ve been down any Ozzie beach you’ll know the pressure!). She was famous for her ‘fakeaways’ during the course and definitely my best Snapchat communicator. No doubt she’ll be turning heads in Oz and who knows I could be preparing her for a big day in the not-so-distant future.
If you’ve read my blog before you’ll know that my advice is to stay active and eat a balanced, healthy diet during pregnancy to avoid putting on unwanted and unnecessary body fat. However that’s easier said than done for a lot of women and it’s also hard if you’ve already been battling with your body prior to becoming pregnant as had the lovely lady in this success story. Pamela had been attempting to get rid of unwanted body fat for most of her life. She had moderate success preparing for her wedding in 2012 and after the birth of her son, James, in May 2013 but after having her third child, Emma, in May 2015 she found herself piling it on again.
Back To Work
My 12 week online course came just in the nick of time for her in September 2015 as she had just three months of maternity leave left. Pamela really embodied what this course is all about and the type of woman it’s designed for. With two small babies on the go she couldn’t be accused of having much time to spare but every day she took whatever opportunities she could get to do her workout and prepare her food. Like me, her workouts often involved keeping her babies entertained and she found plenty of clever ways to do that. She kept me updated and was a regular contributor to our online support group too. In addition to following my course she took to the roads with her double buggy, rain or shine, and she has now started running too which is something she could never have imagined herself doing.
Also like me Pamela likes her meals and nights out. This course suited her because it allows for real life. She always stuck to the plan during a week leading up to a night out, then she went off and enjoyed herself and was back to it again at the start of the new week. I could really see it all clicking into place for her on this course. She got why she had to prepare meals and eat healthily for the majority of the time and she’s been able to stay motivated because she could have her nights out too. She admitted that she lacked proper knowledge about what foods were good and bad for her. She had been guilty of not eating enough during the day and then binging on the bad stuff at night. The course helped her to regulate her eating and now she eats every three hours and has learned some great go-to snacks to keep her satisfied. She’s back to work but is continuing her healthy way of living and is joining me on the No Nonsense New Year course to continue her journey. She has told me how good she feels in herself since making all of these changes and as you can see she’s looking good too!
It was really hard to get out of bed this morning wasn’t it?
It’s so cold and you’ve more than likely had a busy weekend whether it was partying, decorating the house, shopping for presents or all of those things. It only gets crazier from her on in so here are my three tips for getting through the Christmas madness without losing your joy.
Don’t mistake busy for active. Unless you are sprinting up the escalator ten times in a shopping centre you are not exercising my friend. Loook ahead each week and pencil in when you will get to exercise because the days just get away from us at this time of year and next thing you know it’s been a fortnight since you’ve done anything for your body. Sure you’re plans to exercise may not always work out but there’s a better chance that they will if you’ve at least considered them. Some days you might get a good 30 minutes+ in and others it might just be a brisk walk with the dog. Whatever it is it’s better than none at all.
Decide which parties are worth being bold for and which aren’t. A big catchup with the girls over a nice dinner might be worth it but would the pub grub at the cheapo office party really be? By all means accept the mince pies you’re offered when visiting family but there’s no need to keep a constant supply of Quality Street in your own house for the next four weeks. A little balance will serve you well.
Lower your expectations. The picture in your head of how it’s suppsed to be, how you’re supposed to look, what your mother-in-law is supposed to say, what your child is NOT suppsed to say. You have very little control over how it will all go so go with the flow instead and you’ll feel less stressed and anxious if it doesn’t fit the picture you normally have in your head.
And if all else fails you can always join me on my No Nonsense New Year 12 week online course to repair the damage! More details here.