December 31st is possibly the only day of the year that ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ really does mean that. January 1st dawns and we imagine the perfect version of ourselves and set our resolutions to be there quickly without slipping once…
And then a little way in life hits and we slip up. The gym trip gets missed, the number on the scale takes the wind from our health kick sails, we remember at the last bite of the cookie that we no longer eat cookies, the thought hits right with the caffeine from the habitual vanilla latte that we had in fact (until that glorious moment) given up, and then in an instant we are the person we were last year and we don’t feel on track any more to be the vision of perfection that seemed so within reach on December 31st… Good morning January 3rd, hit snooze, make coffee, roll into work and grab a cookie.
Sound familiar? I think too often, with the desire to become the people we want to be, we try and go from zero to sixty in two seconds powered purely by the momentum of a full stomach after Christmas. That works great until the momentum wares off and real life kicks in. To really make a change at the start of the year we have to go slow, pick off something manageable and sustainable and aim not for perfection but instead for taking one small step that we can sustain. Realize that you might have an off day and understand why it happened and how to get back to where you were headed, learn something about yourself in the process that will help keep you from hitting that roadblock again. That small step might feel less noble and life changing on January 1st but when you’re still going strong on February 1st, and March 1st and April 1st, you’re going to feel like a champion!
So my suggestion to you this New Year is to let perfection go and ask yourself what just one step forward looks like for you. There’s no right answer. There’s not an ideal, it’s personal, it depends on who you are, where you are headed and where you are now. The important thing is to celebrate that you’ve taken a step and to celebrate the people around you. If December 31st looks like 3 pumps of mocha in your latte and January 1st looks like 1 pump, I’m celebrating you as much as if you change from eating takeout on the couch into a green juice drinking, 5 times a week gym goer. Do what you can, keep doing it, and be proud of yourself!
Let’s start together! It’s always easier with a little help from our friends, right?! Post a picture of your #onestepchallenge each day for 10 days sharing the healthy choices you’re making and how you’re making them part of your lifestyle. And to give you some motivation when the the cookie looks extra inviting, at the end of 10 days I’ll pick some of my faves and send some of my favorite healthy choice goodies your way. Maybe you already know what your personal #onestepchallenge is but if you need some inspiration here are a few options that could be great for you!
1) Clean up your coffee. Try going one step better on your coffee. I’m not anti the odd coffee but I’m less keen on the stuff we put in it. Try going for one less pump of syrup, or go without sugar, maybe take it black, or cut down the number of cups, or perhaps go organic. Any of those is a great health step.
2) Say no to that birthday cake at work. Our office is often full of things we wouldn’t choose to eat but sometimes they woo us so well. It’s birthday cake, you should celebrate right? It’s more than one persons birthday for us every day so if we celebrated everyone by eating their cake… You get the picture. Determining to say no is a lot easier when we take our own healthy food, trying packing lunch and snacks to help you say no to the unhealthy free food and yes to loving your body.
3) Cut the refined sugar. I don’t need to tell you, your know it doesn’t make you feel good really. And it creeps into everything, try cutting it out and sticking to more natural sweeteners; fruit, raw honey, dates – I have lots of recipes on here if you need helping though with refined sugar sweet treats!
4) Go wholegrain. If cutting refined sugars feels too daunting, you could try just making the switch to whole grain. Anything ‘white’, be it bread, rice or flour, it really isn’t loving your body. Try eating the whole grain option instead. Most places will have good whole grain options when you’re eating out and it’s easy to fill your home and switch to the whole grain alternatives. Give your body the fiber it loves and needs and go brown. Brown rice, brown flour, brown whole grain bread etc etc.
5) Hydrate! It’s amazing what simply drinking water will do for you, upping your water intake will give you more energy and help your body is so many ways, so switch out those other drinks for just the good pure stuff. I add lemon to mine, make organic herbal tea or drink it carbonated to help me when plain feels boring.
6) Get moving. Get your metabolism going and find five minutes to move. You could use your work breaks for a walk, get up early and workout, take the stairs, leave the car, meet for a walk instead of a coffee. Find a small way that you can work with your schedule to be more active in 2014 than you were last year.
7) Eat breakfast. So many people skip breakfast, and it’s so important for you! It gives you energy and nutrition for the day, gets your metabolism going, stops you from snacking on less good food… Just eat something 🙂 So many people who struggle to lose weight don’t eat breakfast to save calories but actually, starting your day with a good healthy meal can help people lose weight.
8) Go organic and/or local. Try getting more of your fruit or veggies, meat or dairy (or everything!) organic and if you can, local. Added nutrition, fewer food miles, it’s better for you and the environment. Oh and the taste is unrivaled.
9) Sleep. I’m finding a new value for sleep so this is my goal, valuing sleep and getting my 8 hours. Know what you need and build it in to your schedule.
5) Love yourself! This alone will change your life. Before you set out for the day, look in the mirror and tell yourself 3 things you love about you! If the way you think about and treat yourself is the only thing you change, I promise it will change your year 🙂
So choose your #onesmallstep – something new but manageable and not scary, something that you can sustain and let’s do it together! Post pictures and hashtag them #onesmallstep so we can encourage each other. You can do it!