Over the last few days we have been blessed with some beautifully sunny, if cold, weather; always a welcome invite for a nice long walk. Snowdrops, crocuses, and daffodils are popping up all over, and there is blossom on some trees too. These are Nature’s harbingers of spring, providing a much needed ray of hope that we are moving more into the light and soon to wave goodbye to winter.
As we approach spring equinox (this year on 20 March), it’s good to start preparing, at least mentally, for our “spring into action”. I always advise clients to hold fire on their New Year’s resolutions until this point.
1st January prompts a high percentage of people to resolve to do something positive for their health. Why? We all know deep down that it underpins our ability to enjoy life to the full. Poor health drains us of our energy and enthusiasm, trapping us in a life which is far smaller than it is meant to be. Disappointingly, though, resolutions at New Year are soon broken and forgotten as the timing is simply not right. Nature, in her wisdom, has been lying low and conserving energy until conditions are right for new growth and it’s a good idea for us to follow her cues so that we can enjoy not only the best health possible but also more success in our ventures.
With more light and natural energy available around us, spring equinox is an ideal time to support us in new resolutions. Over the next few weeks, I invite you to look at your current health picture and think of ways that you would like it to improve. On 20th March, you can then take your first step on your journey to a happier, healthier you.
If you are just starting out on this journey, it can all seem a little daunting, and the risk of biting off too much too soon can lead to a feeling of overwhelm, rapidly followed by you giving up and feeling a failure.
Below are just a few thoughts on how to make positive changes that stick.
- Set sensible and achievable goals. If you currently are a 6-cups-of-coffee, tied-to-the-PC-all-day-with-a-demanding-job type of person, setting yourself the goals of going beverage cold turkey, walking 10K steps and meditating for an hour each day, won’t last. This is a slight exaggeration but some people approach changes in a gung-ho fashion and soon run out of steam.
- One thing at a time. Better the tortoise than the hare. Allow yourself time to bed in a change, just one at a time, until it becomes second nature and you wonder afterwards how it was never always so! The Japanese have a word for this: Kaizen, which means “good change”. Continuous self-improvement in small steps can reap long-term healthy habits.
- Drink water EVERY DAY. I make this the number one change for all my clients. If you do nothing else, introduce this.
- Have a clear vision of why you are making changes. “I want to be healthier” isn’t always a strong enough reason to keep you going, but e.g. “I want more energy and less pain so that I can play with my children” can help motivate you when the going gets a bit tougher.
- Get curious about new things. E.g. Learn how to make a green smoothie and experiment with which combinations make your taste buds sing.
- Be gentle with yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people. If you have a relapse into old habits one day, don’t beat yourself up and definitely don’t give up. Brush yourself down and start again tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day!!
- Listen to your body. Just because it’s “good for you”, doesn’t mean it is good for you personally. Running is brilliant for some people, but for others, more benefit can be gained by doing gentler exercise.
- Recruit a buddy. Making big changes long-term can feel lonely and daunting. Buddying up with a friend can provide much needed encouragement (as well as accountability).
- Have fun on the journey. Don’t think in terms of deprivation, so often the case when changing diet. Instead see it as an adventure into an exciting world of new and delicious foods, of enjoying more energy, learning new skills, and perhaps meeting new people.
Enjoy 🙂 🙂
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