Have you thought much about the motivations for your New Year’s resolutions? Yes, those ones that you’ve already broken and it’s not even February yet. Chances are they’re based on how other people see you, which is why they’re really quite hard to stick to.
Instead of thinking about losing weight or making sure your hair’s brushed when you do the school run, put yourself first. That’s right, unashamedly decide to commit to little acts of self-love and you might find the other stuff comes more naturally.
Exercise for you, not your waistline
If you’re trying to stick to a new exercise regime because you are feeling the pressure to lose a few pounds, chances are you’re going to find it tough. Lots of people see getting more active as a punishment and do it because they feel like they have too, which it’s not exactly the most motivating technique in the world.
Firstly, choose a type of exercise you actually like, because dragging yourself around the block for your weekly jog is never going to be fun if you hate running. It’s different for everyone, but some people like the serenity of swimming and others love a group dance fitness class. These will release the endorphins to help you associate exercise with happiness.
Focus on the positives of exercise, like how much better you did than last week and how you’re lapping anyone who hasn’t got off the sofa this evening. Think about having your own time away from the kids or work to achieve goals that are actually yours and not anybody else’s.
Make time to see your friends
Don’t rely on essential oils or a calming tea the next time you get stressed, go and see a friend instead. Talking stuff out with a mate or helping to cheer them up will actually bring your own stress levels down and at the very least, being present in the moment with them will stop your cycle of worry.
It’s so easy to prioritise work and home life over friendships, but before you know it they can feel pretty distant. Even worse, this can lead to even more stress, as catching up with friends somehow ends up being added to the ever-increasing to-do list. Take time out and have a laugh with some mates – you’ll feel better for it.
Don’t judge yourself too harshly
So, you’ve broken all your resolutions already? So what? So has everyone else. And you wouldn’t be as downright rude to them about it as you are to yourself. Pick yourself up and have another go. There’s 11 more months of the year left and by December you will certainly be able to see improvements, but only if you don’t focus on beating yourself up about it.
Fuel up to feel good
We’ve all heard the phrase you are what you eat, but most of us interpret that to tell ourselves off for indulging in something we shouldn’t. Taking pleasure from good, wholesome food is important and should take the focus away from what you can’t eat and onto the good stuff instead. If you eat a miserable-looking piece of celery, you’re bound to be miserable – see, the mantra’s right!
Start with The Little Blog of Vegan’s mixed berry smoothie bowl, because the vibrant colours will improve your mood even before all that vitamin C hits. Or what about a mackerel and mango curry from The Curry Guy? This dish has so much good stuff in it, you’ll want to cook it all the time. Or have a go at a different kind of chicken main meal with all the flavours of the Mediterranean. Emma Eats and Explores shows you how with this Greek-style chicken traybake.