This is traditionally the time that we start to reflect on the year and make resolutions about how we plan to make changes in our lives for the year ahead.
If, with your never-ending workload, you find yourself struggling to make time to look after yourself, hopefully this article will set you on your way to the new version of you in 2021.
Most people have very similar new year resolutions each year, with being healthier featuring very heavily. What people generally mean by this is doing more exercise, drinking less alcohol, and eating a more balanced diet. As a provider of health insurance this is something we strongly advocate.
Much as you want to be fit and know that you will enjoy the feeling of achievement it will give you, work and life pressures take over, and increasingly you don't find time to cram your own health goals into your daily routine. Here are some useful tips on how you might help yourself to set goals you can stick to
Discovering what is most important in our lives
During the current situation we have been forced to re-examine what is important in life. Maybe you have realised that there is nothing more important than aiming to be as fit and healthy as you can be. The difficult task is how to fit your ambition of the stronger healthier you into your existing lifestyle? To achieve this demands a degree of "selfishness" and dedication. Could you think of ways to combine everyday tasks with health promoting activity. Could you walk whilst you take phone calls when normally you'd sit down? Could you replace the endless wandering around the supermarket picking up the same list of shopping by doing click and collect at a local store and then walk or cycle to pick it up instead of travelling by car?
Taking even the smallest step toward a healthier you is better than just thinking about it
Be very clear about what you want to achieve and expect it to be a long-term goal
What is your starting point going to be? Really think about something that you can engage with and that is realistically achievable. Are you going to take up a new exercise you've always fancied having a go at and if so how much time do you have to dedicate to it? Is it a whole day's activity at the weekend when you have other commitments? Maybe think of something which takes less time, and you can give up "surfing the net" or "watching TV" to do it. You might also think about improving your eating habits; try new food types or start preparing food in the slow cooker so you're not reaching for the takeaway menu at the end of a long day in school/college?
Don't leave it until tomorrow, start straightaway by looking online or in the local paper for new activities to do, even with COVID restrictions you can go outside and be active.
Set realistic goals, bite-size to start giant size when you look back
To kick start the programme for change in 2021, make an end-goal, then break this down into small chunks. A perfect example is the Couch to 5k challenge that thousands of people have tackled and achieved very successfully this year. Use every little bit of help you can find to stay motivated like YouTube videos such as the Joe Wicks phenomenon and the couch to 5k app.
You'll be amazed at what you can achieve with a bit of thought and of course support and help from a variety of sources
Sharing the pain
Share your experience with people who will support you. Find yourself an accountability partner and get them to do it along with you. Engage the help of family and friends, maybe get them to join you too; the more the merrier. Be creative about how you get in touch with people by using zoom, Facetime etc. to chat and train safely.
Discuss what you want to achieve and support each other when things are going great and really help push each other when you find your initial enthusiasm waning.
Some people like to work alone but it is so much easier when you are working along with other people, train as a team
Give yourself a pat on the back
As people who work in education you will see at first hand the benefit of rewards for goals achieved. Rewards can give a real boost to ongoing progress. Maybe now is the time for giving yourself "rewards" for achieving your mini goals. I once placed a bar of my favourite chocolate treat in front of me whilst completing my last set of fixed weights. I was going to complete the routine anyway, but the treat did give me a good feeling.
Make yourself feel good, YOU ARE WORTH IT
Record progress for posterity
It is easy to forget how far you have come as you work towards your goals. Take photos, record inches lost, distances covered, how much more fruit/veg you are eating. If you have decided to reduce your alcohol intake maybe put the money in a piggy bank that you would normally spend each week?
Time passes in a flash and it will soon be 2022, make it an ambition to be a better you before then
Don't give up altogether if you have a setback, "talk yourself into it" rather than finding excuses not to do it
It's very easy to see the set back as a reason to give up. What is the set back and what caused it? What changes can you make to keep on track?
Find the determined you, take the first step by putting your kit on and you'll find it easier to engage with the "get up and go" you. Remind yourself that you won't achieve your goal if you give up altogether, remember the hare and tortoise story from your youth take it steadily. Think through how much you encourage your students when they are learning something new, you don't let them give up.
When times get tough it is always easier to give up, don't let that be you in 2021, be a WINNER
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