*This post features an advertisement for MyProtein, but all opinions are my own and I would never share a brand that I don’t personally love! :)
It’s that time of year again when we’re all bombarded with a list of ‘healthy goals’ and ‘fitness resolutions’ we should be making.
And before you wonder, I am actually FOR New Years Resolutions (as long as they’re set in the right way!), so if you’re setting some for yourself this year then I totally respect that – because each year I usually do too.
Resolutions & Goal Setting
I don’t think there’s any harm in reflecting over any negative habits or things you want to change or be motivated by over the New Year period. Sure, it’s a day the same as any, but I for one think it’s a nice marker to remind us to self evaluate. But I do have three important questions that I ask myself when it comes to setting yourself resolutions, habits and goals…
- WHY do I really want to do this?
Setting goals and resolutions willy-nilly without really thinking deeply about WHY these changes are meaningful to you is a sure fire way to run out of steam quickly and forgetting about them. When you know your ‘why’ you’re much more likely to stick to it.
And sometimes it takes a few layers of ‘whys’ to get to the real reason… if you want to ‘run more’, WHY do you want to run more? If you answer ‘to get fitter’, ask WHY? If you answer ‘to look good’, ask yourself WHY? Keep going until you get to the true reason; you may find it was a rubbish reason, in which case, consider whether you really want to set yourself this goal (eg. ‘I want to look good to impress my friends’)? Or you may find a way to motivate yourself that you didn’t have before.
- Am I just doing this because other people are? Is it right for ME?
You can often get to the bottom of this by doing the above exercise… if you don’t have a good ‘why’, then you’ve probably just set yourself a resolution because you thought you SHOULD. But everyone’s priorities are different. For example, some people might set themselves the resolution “I won’t ever work in the evenings” – I could say the same thing for myself, but actually when I really think about it, I don’t mind working in the evenings sometimes, if it means my daytime is more flexible etc.
- How will I define success? How will I react to ‘failure’?
If you’re setting goals like ‘run more’ or ‘eat less junk food’, it’s going to be really hard to work out your progress. Try being more specific (eg. ‘Run twice a week’, or ‘Cook at least 5 meals at home each week’) – then you’ll know what success looks like. And what are you going to do if you don’t manage to meet those goals? This is equally important, because if you beat yourself up about not doing it and see it as ‘failure’, you might start to resent the whole thing. Build kindness and self-compassion into your goals and resolutions: “If I don’t meet my goal this week, I will say ‘that’s okay, this probably happened because of X, but I’m still moving forwards. Next week I’ll try harder’.
What if you ‘just want to be healthier’?
One classic resolution I hear people mentioning is ‘I want to be healthier’, or ‘Next year I will be healthy’.
And there’s nothing wrong with setting this intention at the start of the year! However, it’s very broad and quite vague, so I’d definitely recommend filtering it through the above questions: why do you want to be healthier (no, but really – why?)?, am I just saying this because other people are?, what does ‘healthiness’ look like for me?, what will I do if I ‘fail’?.
Because otherwise it’s very easy to get swept up in everyone else’s idea of what healthy is. And particularly, the media’s idea of what healthy is.
^ Wearing the MyProtein Composure Collection in ‘Rosewater’. I love these for comfort and making me feel great!
What does ‘healthiness’ look like for me?
If I think really hard about how I want to feel
- Eating food that nourishes me AND tastes flippin’ good!
When the food tastes good, it gives you happy endorphins! There are plenty of foods and recipes for meals that both nourish you AND taste great, so there’s not excuse not to feel good at the same time.
- Not feeling guilty or stressed about eating certain foods or not exercising
Guilt leads to stress, and stress is probably the LEAST healthy thing in terms of its effects on your mind and body.
- Not have stomach cramps and bloated-ness from stress, or eating certain foods
I’ve had IBS on and off throughout my life and struggle particularly with fibrous foods. So while to some people, eating bean salads and quinoa looks like ‘healthiness’, it makes me feel horrific. So that is not in my definition of health for ME.
^ I love how the leggings have a super high, elasticated waist, so that if I AM feeling bloated, I can just tuck it all in and feel confident and secure.
- Doing exercise that I look forward to and that makes me feel good
If you hate every moment of a certain type of exercise, why put yourself through that stress? There are hundreds of different ways to move, from kayaking and kick-boxing, to karate or kettle bell squats, and you might just not have found the right one yet.
- Getting enough sleep (and exercising to help with sleep!)
This is a BIG one for me. I’ve been struggling with my sleep for a couple of years now, but the biggest thing that helps is if I exercise during the day! Sleep is SO important not only for our minds but our bodies too, and so exercising is becoming more of a priority for me nowadays mainly because of this benefit.
^ These are so comfy for lounging around the house too – on those ‘maybe I’ll workout but probably not’ days!
- Being kind to myself and resting when I need to rest
Being happy and relaxed – whether that looks like watching a Netflix show instead of going to the gym, or getting a takeaway because I’ve been working late – is important for my mental health, and therefore my overall health. Call it ‘self care’ if you will – it’s just all about keeping relaxed.
- Feeling strong, confident and relaxed in my body
For me, worrying about what I look like or critiquing myself is the ultimate unhealthy habit. So for me, healthiness looks like loving my body and having fun in it!
^ MyProtein gymwear is always my fave, and I’m obsessed with this colour set. Check out their website to see all their collections and gorgeous styles!