It’s that annoying time of year again when everyone still insists on talking about their New Year resolutions. Global discussions are taking place, even between strangers and it’s almost a certain that the majority of these resolutions are related to health and fitness. It’s January, the month when gym memberships soar as high as our good intentions, celebrity workout DVDs sit proudly on all supermarket shelves and post-Christmas desires to better ourselves in one way or another run rampant in our heads. Everyone’s excited about being someone else or something different.

Being a personal trainer could make me an extremely annoying person. The ‘New Year, New You’ sales pitch would be very tempting for me to use repeatedly in the run up and into the new year. Admittedly, I have used this clichéd term but only in jest and quite frankly it makes me cringe a little more inside every time I come across it.
So, what better time is there than now to want a new body? A healthy lifestyle? To lose weight? To stop smoking or drinking? Is it so wrong to want these things? The answer is no and yes!

The intentions aren’t wrong but it’s the method and the overthinking that’s ineffectual. Our thought process focuses on January as being the month of new beginnings and yet by the time next January has come around, no changes will have been made. In fact, by the February of this year most resolutions will have already been laid to rest and even the friends who you dared to tell your resolution to have forgotten you even mentioned it and couldn’t give two hoots. The reason for that is because they’ve been hearing about that same New Year, New Me fantasy for the past 5 years!

Your will power wanes and the feel-good factor rapidly turns into a sense of failure. What if we turned the matter on its head and you started the new year confidently, with head held high and proclaimed that you love yourself just the way you are but in your mind, are prepared to implement some small changes throughout the year? In other words, you banish the self-loathing and replace it with self-acceptance (unless you’re a serial killer of course!) How would that make you feel? The burden would be lifted, right?

Hang on a second, what about the 2 stone I still have to lose? I hear some of you say. I’m not saying you shouldn’t lose it, you definitely should but heck you can start that process anytime. You don’t have to wait for every January to come around just so you can start dieting to within an inch of your life.

Goal setting is a skill that anyone can learn. Setting yourself baby sized realistic goals throughout the year will get you a lot further than that huge elephant sized goal you so graciously present yourself with every January.

Just in case you haven’t noticed, willpower also has a lot to do with it. The saying goes “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” or perhaps it should say, “Stop being a silly arse and just throw away all that left-over Christmas chocolate!” Your mindset will determine how strong that will power is. I always say to my clients “If you’re in the right place, then it’s as easy as just saying ‘yes’. The difference between doing that 20-minute workout or eating that jam doughnut is a simple ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. If you’re struggling with this then you may have other issues to address and there are people out there who can help you, ranging from your family and friends to personal trainers and life coaches.

The truth is that we’re all on a journey of self-discovery and guess what, that journey should never end. Continue that journey and don’t stray off the path. If you do so then you take the risk of wandering through life aimlessly, with constant feelings of regret and failure. An advanced warning, you will not always succeed, you will not always win and you will miss your targets and goals but that feeling of having tried, learning from mistakes and doing better the next time and then the next time again is what matters. Taking part in life and enjoying it is what matters most.

Change is good, so embrace the little alterations, the tiny tweaks here and there and relish in your achievements, however miniscule they may be, as these small steps will eventually turn into a huge leap. Keep this mindset and by the time next January comes, you will already be the New You!

One Comment

  • Kevin Sollitt says:

    Self loathing. Always an issue but as a piscean am naturally hard on myself!
    Your article really nails a lot of relevant issues though.
    Small and realistic steps put together effectively can definitely result in an enjoyable and fruitful journey.
    I’ve already started implementing some of these, such as only having a drink at the weekends instead of the go-to “just a glass or two” of wine with every evening meal.
    Feel better already! Thanks for the reminders, it’s good to hear these thoughts and encouragement towards a holistic approach.

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