It’s around this time of year that you generally start feeling a bit groggy and look to all the changes you’ll make in the new year. I know there’s a collective eye rolling in January at the new gym goers but I think the new year is a perfect time to pick new goals and work towards them. The trick is to keep them going all year round. Attempting to establish a regular gym routine in January is fine, but no good if you do it every year and every year it’s fallen by the wayside by February.
I have partnered with John Lewis as part of a campaign to live a fit and healthy life year round. Given the timing, I have decided to do so by giving you my top tips to turn your new years resolutions in to your new lifestyle.
1. Keep it realistic.
If you’re currently not exercising at all, don’t set yourself a goal of working out 6 days a week. If you want to train for a marathon or ultra, don’t go out and run 20+ miles on January 2nd. The key to forming a new habit is keeping it manageable. That way you won’t become overwhelmed and easily discouraged when things don’t work out instantly.
2. Don’t be discouraged easily
There will always be set backs. Work might get busy, or there could be a whole load of events keeping you from your routine, or you may pick up a niggle in your knee. This will always happen. The key is not letting it stop you; keep focussed on your goals and remember that every step, no matter how small or infrequent, is a step in the right direction.
I can tend to be quite defeatist and can be very easily discouraged – I fall in to the “I’ve missed my hours planned run, no point doing 15 minutes instead” and “I ate one bad thing, so the whole day is ruined” camp and it’s a mindset I am really trying to change. One setback (or a series of them!) won’t stop you if you are otherwise consistent and dedicated. Stay positive.
3. Be prepared!
It can be particularly difficult to start and maintain any kind of exercise or healthy eating routine in winter because it’s so damn cold and miserable. The best way to tackle this is by being prepared for what winter throws at you; identify the challenges and pre-empt the ways they could prevent or discourage you from hitting your goals.
If you know the cold weather makes you crave stodgy or unhealthy food, stock up on filling, warming healthy alternatives. I like chunky soups and the odd options hot chocolate.
Personally, I can find the cold grey weather very discouraging and know that having good cold weather kit can encourage me to head out when I would rather stay inside. John Lewis very kindly offered me so kit to help me stick to my healthy lifestyle, and knowing that the cold weather can keep me stuck indoors I decided to opt for some winter kit to see me through until spring.
First up, a down jacket has been on my wish list for a little while now. I really feel the cold and need to wrap up warm for the journey from an after work run, pre-work class or weekend swimming session. I particularly like that this Patagonia one makes me look a bit like a spaceman! It’s soft and warm yet light and packs up pretty small, so is great for packing without feeling like you’re dragging loads around. I packed it for an after work run yesterday and was so happy to have it to wear home!
My second choice was a piece of Nike hyperwarm kit, because I am obsessed with Nike hyperwarm! I am slowly building a collection and it’s my favourite. The fabrics are light and sweat wicked but they’re soft and fleecy on the inside, so feel really cosy.
Getting sassy with Dayve while taking this photo…
I took this bad boy for a run yesterday, wearing it on its own with just a sports bra underneath, and felt warm but not too hot – the perfect balance for winter running! As well as being ridiculously soft this top has a seasonal nordic print, thumb holes and a gold Nike swoosh. Excellent.
all gold everything
4. Find support
I can’t recommend social media enough for those in need of support and motivation. Twitter is full of like minded fitness folks looking to chat running/swimming/cycling/lifting/climbing and the benefits of being part of a community (even a virtual one) cannot be understated. Even better, join a local club or group. There are so many now that you should be able to find one to suit your ability level pretty easily, especially in London. For running I’d recommend Good Gym, Sweatshop’s Running Community, Nike+ Run Clubs and parkrun as great ways to engage with like minded people. Making new friends while getting fitter and healthier? A win-win.
In 2015 I plan to try and go back to Run Dem Crew. I used to adore going and made amazing friends for life (as someone who finds it incredibly difficult to make friends, this is a huge deal for me) and improved my running beyond what I ever thought I was capable of. If I’m honest, I stopped going because the numbers expanded rapidly and all those new people frightened me, but I miss it too much to stay away any longer. Time to be brave!
5. Keep it positive
Aim for something positive rather than something negative. Don’t think in terms of “I need to lose weight”, “I need to stop being so slow at running” or “stop eating junk” – these will only reinforce negative messages in your head and this is just too depressing to maintain. Think in terms of self-improvement and hitting goals; that way you have positive thoughts to drive you when things get tougher or your motivation wavers!
My resolutions? Improve my swimming, get a new half marathon PB, get a new 10k PB, get back on a scary road bike (last time I rode one I fell off and broke my elbow – I need to move past that!).
So there, my top tips for turning your new years resolution in to a lifestyle change. Do you have any more you would add? Any goals for the new year?
John Lewis sent me free kit and asked me to write on the topic of maintaining healthy lifestyle. All opinions, thoughts and messages are my own. Thank you to John Lewis for the partnership opportunity!