It was the 1st of January 2021 and the chorus was deafening. ‘’Going to run every day’’, ‘’no more cigs’’ and ‘’done with takeaways’’ rang out across the nation, all reaching a voluminous crescendo with that familiar refrain of ‘’never drinking again’’.
A week later and such an austere existence is proving difficult to maintain. In fact, in recent years, wellness experts have recommended a shift from such absolute resolutions into something termed ‘new year’s intentions’. Rather than making unrealistic declarations of denial and abstinence, this year, why not enact positive, holistic change instead, which is ultimately much easier to sustain. Here are some ideas; our 5 achievable, sustainable new year’s health intentions for 2021.
CULTIVATE A REALISTIC, DISCIPLINED FITNESS ROUTINE
With gyms closed, you may be concerned about losing any gains you made in 2020 or maintaining your goal weight which you’d been working so hard to maintain.
But just because your usual exercise regime has been disrupted by government ineptitude, doesn’t mean you should abandon any fitness goals you’d carefully curated for the new year.
Instead, use this time to cultivate a realistic but disciplined fitness routine. Though, of course, the best way to start bulking is in the gym with the right free weights, machines and support, you can still achieve a lot at home, and much of this is done in the mind. Make sure you’re still setting aside a strict, set time each day to work out, so when the gym does reopen, you’re in a drilled, devoted fitness rhythm from the jump.
NO SCREENS FOR THE FIRST HOUR OF THE DAY
The rolling, nerve-racking news cycle of 2020 doesn’t look like it’s going to see any let up this year. Many have warned to expect things to get worse before they get better.
Waking up with a spring in your step is always tough in the Winter months, and with bad news pervading and working from home blurring the distinction between downtime and deadlines, it can be hard not to launch into negativity as soon as you open your eyes each morning.
One way you can reclaim a little serenity is by imposing some self-discipline where screetime is involved, particularly in the morning and just before bed. Give yourself some time to nurture a positive mindset early doors, before you read a work email or engage with a deluge of messages from your family WhatsApp group. Do so, and you’ll be able to tackle the day as a whole with greater clarity and patience.
ADD AN EXTRA VEGETABLE OR PIECE OF FRUIT TO EVERY MEAL
It’s long been acknowledged by scientists and nutritionists that ‘5-a-day’ isn’t actually a sufficient amount of fruit and veg to truly reap the benefits they provide. In fact, we should be consuming at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. Doing so has been linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. Experts also recommend that of the minimum 7 items, the majority should be vegetables.
Don’t let these numbers, ratios and calculations throw you or discourage your healthy eating goals. Instead, a simple trick is to simply add an extra piece of fruit or vegetable to each mealtime. So, throw in some diced banana to your morning bran, some sliced tomatoes to your lunchtime sarnie and a handful of frozen spinach to your curry tonight. Done!
DRINK AN EXTRA PINT OF WATER A DAY
Water is so important to the functioning of your body and brain. Hydration keeps your muscles healthy while you’re exercising, stops you from being so exhausted afterwards and it keeps your brain sharp, too. Drinking 2-3 litres of water per day is the average for a healthy adult in a mild climate, but it’s quite rare that Brits consume that amount.
This year, endeavour to drink more water, particularly when you first wake up and around half an hour before mealtimes, which can regulate hunger and ensure you don’t get dehydrated.
To help you get your daily dose of H20, get into the habit of going to bed with a jug of water next to your bed, then as soon as you wake up gulp down a couple of glasses of it. If you work in an office, always have jug of water on your desk – this will help remind you to drink it throughout the day.
SPEND A LITTLE TIME OUTSIDE EACH DAY
It’s been reported that 65% of Brits suffer from Vitamin D deficiency, which is needed for maintaining healthy teeth, bones and muscles. As such, the NHS recommend that between October and early March, when the UK experiences short days and long nights, people should take a Vitamin D supplement of 10mg a day, particularly if you’ve been spending a lot longer than normal indoors. Right now, that’s most of us.
Aside from nutritional concerns, it can be good for the soul to spend some time outside each day. Giving yourself time away from screens and the familiar four walls of home can give your mood a real boost, so why not set a simple intention this year to spend a little more time outside each day?
Now there’s an achievable pledge that we’re on board with!