It’s the new year and most of us are full of resolutions. Some of us are doing this for the umpteenth time and swearing this is really the year it’s all going to work. Others are thinking in a completely different dimension, because that new engagement ring is pointing to a wedding date in the near or far future. If you’ve failed miserably with the usual health an fitness goals in the past, we’d like to show you a new way of following it. We suggest resetting your mind to think differently about the whole enterprise. Ready? Pick as many of our suggestions below as you want. Let’s go.1. See what it’s really like – a dot diary Start by doing nothing except keeping a diary. But here’s a crucial bit: it has to be one of those ‘month at a glance’ things. Day-by-day doesn’t work, because the key here is to reveal all your habits to see plain and clear. So, get something that will show you the next thirty days. It can even be a page printed from Google. Next, make a legend. What do you want to track? Water you drank – blue dot. Junk food you ate – orange dot. Fruit – red dot. Exercise – green dot. Anything at all. At the end of each day, put in all the dots. Don’t fib – this is a discovery, not a judgment. Start tracking from today. You’ll start to see your habits, plain as day, after about a week. And at the end of the month, maybe you’ll discover you drink far less water than you thought and ate a lot more junk food. And when you see it all laid out like this, you can make a decision where to change. Seeing is believing. 2. One thing at a time – we make too much change too soon For many people, the reason for failure is that they change too much at once. Even when you’re super motivated, it’s hard to start a brand new life from tomorrow. You simply can’t, from tomorrow, wake up half an hour early, do 15 minutes of stretching, make a high-protein breakfast and a healthy lunch, get off two bus stops earlier on the way to work, refuse all offers of sweets from coworkers, remember to sip that water all day, cook a healthy dinner, do that new hobby you promised you’d take up, and then go to bed half an hour earlier. And that’s EVERY. SINGLE. DAY? Admit it, you were exhausted just reading that. And that’s precisely the problem. The answer is to change one thing at a time. ONE THING. Start with the simplest, like water. Ok, from tomorrow, I’m going to drink four cups of water a day. After just a few days, you’ll notice you’ll be recognising thirst more easily and reaching for water automatically. A few days after that, you’ll notice your skin is glowing. Result! Once you settle into your water routine, add the next thing. Then add the next one. Small step by small step, your daily habits will be transformed. 3. Start just when everyone is quitting – next monthAgain, this step follows the one above. We are suggesting starting slowly for a reason, especially in January. Why? Because by the time you are grooving nicely along with your new habits, almost everyone else will have quit their resolutions. This is where you win against the crowd mentality. It’s much easier to quit your good habits when everyone around you has also quit theirs and is already moaning about it. You are going to do the opposite. Set the start date for next month. You’ll feel powerful and motivated without all the outside influence. Plus, if you decided to go to the gym, it won’t be so full of resolutioners anymore. Win! 4. Introduce a new thing you actually likeEvery lifestyle change program will tell you it’s important to reward yourself. Some say, a tiny reward every day (a glass of vino!). Others, a big reward once a month (new shoes!). But how are these things rewarding when you do them anyway? You drank wine and bought shoes before, no biggie. Treating everyday things as rewards simply doesn’t work for most people. We suggest trying something completely new. How about getting some luxury cosmetics and treating your skin to a major boost of radiance? Or going for a professional massage? A photography course? Ideally, it would be something you’ve always wanted to try but never got around to it. You don’t have to make it a weekly or a monthly thing. Try it once and if you love it, you’ll do it again. If you don’t, you get to do something else. Simple and so good for you! 5. Don’t do anything until you do the thinking firstAlbert Einstein was never a bride, but when he shared his definition of insanity, he may have been talking to all of us. He said: ‘insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. Apply this to all the times your resolutions failed. Let’s say, every year, you followed the same health and fitness advice: good food and vigorous exercise. Sooner or later, it stopped. Why keep doing exactly the same thing every single year when you already know it can’t be sustained? This is why we recommend doing the thinking first. Think about why you do things the way you do. Why do you quit just as you start seeing results? Why can’t you say no to the last piece of birthday cake at work? Your job is to ask the questions. Then, we highly recommend asking someone to help you find the answers. That someone would be a professional nutritionist, or the team at Motivation, or perhaps a personal trainer. You do not have to seek the answers yourself when other people already have them and know how to act on them. Anything can be achieved with the right health and fitness advice and support. Your only job is to find it and trust it. The following professionals may be of interest: Essential Oils Ireland – natural health, beauty and lifestyle products. They offer a way to radiance that’s all natural and encompasses skincare and relaxation with natural cosmetics and aromatherapy. There’s even a special blend to help brides calm their wedding day nerves!Mindbodybeauty.ie – health supplements and cosmetics. They’ll help you pick the perfect combination of care products and nourishing supplements, so you’ll really see results. No more confusion at stores packed with options! This is where you’ll find the stuff that works for YOU.Motivation Weight Management – a highly personalised approach to weight loss. If you need an answer to the question ‘why do I always quit’, then you’ll find it here. A successful journey to wellness starts by talking to the right people.Mukrim Alrawi Personal Trainer – body toning expert. You might personalise most (or all) of your wedding, why not personalise your approach to fitness too? Exercises that really work for you aren’t on a celebrity DVD or on YouTube. The best results come with a customised workout.6. Wedding planning – it’s not a full time jobAnd finally, this is specifically for the brides-to-be. You have all heard someone say ‘I’m too busy to eat healthy, I’m too busy to make time for the gym’. If you let the wedding take over every waking moment of your life, you will soon be that person. Like anything in life, moderation is key. If all you do is sleep, work and plan the wedding, your chances of following any health and fitness advice are practically nil. You should have at least one wedding-free day per week, and every second weekend. Involve your other half as much as possible so the whole planning burden isn’t just yours. Do this from the start, not when you reach the ultimate exhaustion point. The more important thing is your health and well-being. When you’re healthy and fit, you’ll be a radiant bride. No crash diets, no painful last-minute workouts. It’s quite a relief when you think about it that way.
Main photo by Rachel Lambert Photography
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If you think the bride should always have the last word, then Rachel is on your side! A devoted fan of everything quirky, unusual, colourful or crafty, she loves scouting WOL's real weddings for unique and fun touches. When not gazing at pictures, she's dispensing no-nonsense advice on everything from reception entrance songs to bridesmaid problems.