seriously, just google 'yoga mountain' sometime
Unless one of your new year's resolutions has been to avoid the internet since we ticked over into the first of January, then it's unlikely you've been spared the slew of feel good, do good, get the life/body/romance you want, here's why your resolutions won't stick, how to transform your life in 5 easy steps, stock photography of someone standing on a mountain in a yoga pose articles.

New year, new you. While every day is a blank page, the first day of the new year is like the first page in a leather-bound moleskine, a Dear Diary of endless possibilities that, much like my own attempt at journaling, start off with the best of intentions but that eventually wind up bitching about that thing that person did that time, zomg. A native of the antipodes, the push to step up when the clock strikes 12 on December 31st (or at the very least once the hangover has gone) is even further fueled by the fact that it's high summer. How easily the determination to feast only on fresh juice and salads is coerced by our Home and Away lifestyle of long sunny days on white sandy beaches.
Now, I'm as guilty as the next person when it comes to imagining 'this year will be different', only to find that - unless I did something especially monumental such as changing countries and/or jobs (ok, to be fair I do keep doing that) - it's generally very much the same as it ever was by the time December the 31st rolls around again. Plus or minus a couple of kilos (usually plus). Back in the real world of 9-5 workdays and grocery shopping at 6pm on Tuesday, routine mostly gets the upper hand on the best of intentions 9 times out of 10.

To be honest I was very nearly going to follow this merry trend of posting my annual to-do list. My personal situation is in a lot better shape than it has been in quite a while and so I've been thinking a little more imaginatively about what I could or should do with my year. I got as far as writing up a draft before deciding it was self indulgent and boring and really only a conversation worthy of post new years socialising over one of the glasses of wine I promised myself I wasn't going to have...

But I have been reading a dozen a day of those Seize the Year motivational posts over the last couple of weeks and I'm here to break it down, without the aid of crunchy homemade granola mountaintop yoginis or images of salad.
Salad! Nothing makes us happier than salad!
1. January the 1st doesn't mean anything. Yes, it can be a fun and much needed psychological boost, but it's really just our collective decision about where one rotation of the sun ends, and the next begins. We shouldn't be looking at our lives in terms of neatly defined blocks that start anew once a year. Any day you choose can be the day you decide on your fresh start, and it's always better to start when you're ready rather than when it's forced on you. And to be clear in your intentions of why you want to make changes.

2. If you really enjoy the idea of January 1st being your annual new start boost, that's fine - I can relate! But you don't have to change everything, at once. Try one goal at a time and ease into it. Is your goal to exercise more? (of course it is, it always is). Start with a regular but achievable exercise plan and develop it from there. If you can't stick at one change, how do you expect to manage half a dozen? Consistency is key, and I know this because I'm lazy and inconsistent.

3. If you're feeling stuck in a rut, try making small changes to your routine. Change your daily walk route, try a different restaurant, prepare something completely different for breakfast (no, not vodka), update your CV (you should always keep it updated, you never know...), change your morning alarm ring - and don't look at your phone first thing in the morning (I thought this was just one of my weak pathetic human bad habits but recently learned that it's a very common habit for all of us)

4. Pay up front, but don't be stupid about it.
6-8 week blocks of whatever new thing you're interested in taking on are fantastic. They're basically the only way I can get myself to do anything and they're good for several reasons; a) you've paid up front and usually that counts for something for at least 4 weeks in everyone's mind b) you're generally starting to see some small and encouraging progress by the 4 week mark c) the financial loss isn't too bad if you decide you can't be bothered after a couple of weeks and d) you're only committed for short blocks of time.

5. Don't transform your enthusiasm into consumerism.
So you've decided you're going to take up cross country skiing? Great! But before you start giving your credit card a workout on electrically heated gloves and NASA-approved ski suits with in-built GPS navigation units that run on pixie dust, make sure it's something you've really committed to. How many of us have spare rooms stuffed with unused gym equipment, potting wheels, dressmaker dummies or Swiss exercise balls? Try some classes, rent equipment or borrow from a friend first if you can. If the image you present while doing something is as - or more - important to you than the thing you're doing, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons (unless of course you're training to be a fashion model, in which case, carry on).
Having said that, it's always a good idea to invest in a decent pair of fitted running shoes. Even if you only ever end up wearing them to walk to the shops.

Happy 2014 everyone!
.............Maybe I should go for a run....

No comments