Are punishing goals really an effective way of starting the year?

It’s almost half- way through January as I write this and I wonder how you are getting on with your goals?

The last 2 years have been tough for all of us as we’ve had to navigate ever-changing rules and regulations, uncertainty, isolation and for many, illness.

That’s why I’m encouraging you to make BE KIND TO YOURSELF your New Year’s resolution for 2022.

And it’s much harder said than done.

We’ve spent most of our lives pushing ourselves to achieve, plan and grow and the last two years has put a stop to a lot of that. There has been a upside to this – as a result of forced isolation and lockdowns many people experienced a much-needed slowing down of their lives. We’ve had more time to think and reflect, more time to enjoy simple things and focus on ourselves. We’ve spent a lot less time rushing from appointments to social commitments and other meetings,  and less time commuting. But this additional time (if you had it) was tinged with anxiety and uncertainty, meaning that it wasn’t as restorative as it could have been.

When I look back over the last two years I find it difficult to distinguish what happened when over this time. Everything I try to remember is either pre-COVID or during COVID (not that that has ended yet) but it’s difficult to pinpoint when. All the lockdowns have merged and to be honest I’m not really sure how many there were.

We’re still in a place of uncertainty unfortunately. And that takes many forms and will be different for each of us.

So, at a time like this it’s not appropriate to enforce strict goals, regimes and demanding expectations of ourselves. This is a time to be gentle in our expectations.

gentle goals journal

I’d encourage you to set small weekly goals for yourself and make them realistic. Now is a great time to think about habits you’d like to change that will in time result in better health and weight loss. Here are some examples of gentle goals:

  • Resolve to eat less processed food. Swap crisps and other unhealthy savoury snacks for chopped raw vegetables and hummus.
  • Replace sugary snacks with a piece of fruit. At this stage don’t worry which fruit you choose – it will always be better for you than a muffin or chocolate bar.
  • Assess how much tea and coffee you drink and have the intention to be drinking one less in two weeks’ time.
  • If your consumption of take-aways has increased commit to choosing a healthier provider next time you do.
  • Find ways to be more mindful. This might be achieved through observing nature when you are out on a walk, or savouring your food when you eat, rather than being distracted by your phone or a screen.
  • Move more. Use your phone or smart watch to determine your average weekly or daily number of steps and challenge yourself to increase this by 25% in the next fortnight.
  • Keep a gratitude journal. Simply write down three things a day that brought you joy or you are thankful for. It could be as simple as feeling the sun on your face or a positive interaction with someone. After a few days of doing this you will be far more aware of positives than negatives in your life.

And as we get back to normal (whatever that is!) make sure you save some time for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day to close your eyes and take deep breaths.

If you think you would benefit from working with a Nutrition Coach please get in touch. I offer a free 15-minute Discovery Call to prospective clients where you can find out how I work and how I might be able to help you. Simply email me and I will send you a link to book yourself in.

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