Have you arrived into February and not quite managed to get off to the healthy start you had envisaged for 2017? Join the club that’s so over-populated it makes the queue for the treadmill on January 2nd look small.
While for many the new year gives them the kick up the backside (known in the fitness world as motivation) that they need to set goals and actually stick to them, others find the cold and cash-poor month of January a dreary and depressing month that does not inspire. If this is you don’t panic because February can be a much kinder month to the mind, body and wallet and can actually be a much more practical time to start making some positive lifestyle changes. Here’s some tips to get you going:
Preparation is Key
Rather than just deciding that you’re going to eat healthily and exercise from a certain day onwards you need to prepare yourself and your life for your new changes. That may mean making a food plan, deciding when you’re going to do your food shopping and preparing some meals in advance to allow for busy days when you might not get the chance to cook. You also need to look at your diary for the week ahead and see when it will be possible for you to exercise. Often people start the week intending to exercise a certain amount of times but fail to take into account other things that they have committed to. To avoid this you need to schedule your workouts and try to make sure that you don’t allow anything else to take from those times.
Get Yourself a Fit Kit
Get yourself at least one decent workout ensemble. You don’t have to spend a fortune anymore as some of the cheaper high street shops do fabulous fitness clothes now. I have yet to meet a person who wasn’t even slightly inspired to get moving when they had a nice new outfit to do it in.
Find Your Tribe
Find a friend or a group that you can workout with. Support, motivation and accountability will get you a lot farther than if you are just flying solo. For those who have busy or unpredictable schedules and find it hard to commit to a real-life group you can now find lots of online fitness support groups of every variety. I have one such Facebook group for women who want to run in 2017 called Run with Bríd which is free to join. You can find it by entering the name into the Facebook search engine.
Find Your Thing
I’m lucky in that I enjoy keeping fit and like a variety of different exercise types but I know that not everyone feels like that. In the beginning, when you’re starting out on a fitness journey try as many different forms of exercise as you can to find what works for you. For some it’s joining a team or club, for others it might be swimming, circuit training, yoga or running. Don’t expect to fall instantly in love as it can take time (and a couple weeks of feeling like you might possibly throw up afterwards!) before you find your thing but I do believe that there is something out there for everyone.
Remember that Perfection is Overrated
You don’t have to be perfect all of the time. In fact, trying to do everything perfectly is pretty much a recipe for disaster. Work problems arise, children get sick, friends ask you out for dinner (and they DO NOT want to watch you chase a sad looking salad around your plate). You have to learn how to “fit” fitness into your life without it taking over and making you miserable.
Not getting off to a great start in the new year, new month or new week doesn’t mean that you should give up trying and the effects of a fit life will never be instantaneous. You also need to have lots of self-belief REGARDLESS of how many times you have tried before. In the words of the late, great Nelson Mandela “one cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen”.