At this time of year there is an abundance of noise around the phrase ‘New Year, New Me’ and whilst people’s intentions can be well meaning, sometimes they miss the mark. Your life is a constant work in progress and not an instant overnight transformation. My advice in general would be to try and seek some form of consistency in what you do, an often overlooked aspect of your health and fitness.
Ahead of the New Year period if you are looking to set some new goals make sure they’re sustainable and achieveable. Your health and fitness is a long haul game and much more impoartant than what you weigh, how fast you run a kilometre or a before and after picture.
Understanding Behavioural Goals
Yes… I’m going to go there. I get it, goal setting isn’t sexy but I hope I’m introducing you to behavioural goals. They’re a great way to keep you on track for your overall goal, or what I like to call an ‘outcome goal’. For example, if your (outcome) goal is to ‘lose 3kg by the end of February’ it helps to put some behavioural goals in place.
Behavioural goals for losing 3 kg’s would look something like:
‘I will commit to walking 45 minutes, 3 times every week’.
‘I will commit to going to bed before 10pm during the week’.
So if you are looking for a refresh of your weekly routine ahead of 2020 take the time to set out some sustainable and achievable behavioural goals and see how it helps you create some lifelong, healthy habits.
How much attention are you paying to sleep?
Work functions, family parties and Christmas events, you name it, we’ve all had something to attend over the last few weeks. Which puts extra stress on your system at an already busy time of the year. Which in turn, impacts your sleep patterns. Lasting longer in bed, not that kind, sleeping for 7-8 hours a night is important. Did you know that a study in 2010 from the UK and Italy showed that a lack of sleep causes many significant changes in the body and increases your risk for serious health concerns such as obesity, disease, and even early death. An even more sobering fact is that you cannot ‘catch up’ on sleep you have lost. But it’s not all doom and gloom.
When you are sleeping well your body is able to accomplish incredible things. Such as decrease the risk for adverse health conditions, manage your hunger levels, maintain your immune system and even retain your memory. According to the Sleep Foundation, aerobic exercise, strength training and yoga are the three types of exercise that specifically help you get better slumber when done regularly.
Ahead of 2020 and with the upcoming Christmas holidays it’s a great time to re-set and actively work on creating an optimal sleep opportunity of 8 hours per night. This includes;
- Creating a sleep schedule and routine
- Avoiding stimulants in the afternoon and evening
- Where possible decrease stress during the day (insert Yoga here)
- Keep your bedroom cool
- Avoid screens (as much as possible) before bed
- Exercise and move when you can during the week
Good luck with your 2020 goal setting. Remember to create those behavioural goals and see how that works for you. One final thing I’d like to add is that adequate rest is an important part of your overall health. Rest isn’t failure and rest isn’t laziness, so be mindful of factoring that into your weekly routine.