What is it about our future selves that we are so optimistic will be different from our current selves? Why, oh why, do I think “January me” will be so much more attracted to exercise and healthy food than “December me” and am annually shocked that I am not magically enthusiastic after NYE? I mean, considering that “January me” is the direct result of everything “December me” ate and drank, my expectation should be quite the opposite.
If this harsh realisation has also dampened your healthy resolutions (again!), you’re most definitely not alone – despite your instagram feed being overloaded with #detox, #healthy and #newyearnewme. “Detoxing” as a process has many very well educated sceptics, with members of the medical community quite at a loss with the popular buzz word. Your body has been breaking down and eliminating toxins (or “detoxing”, if you must) long before the word was used to sell everything from soup to mini breaks. Your liver is responsible for a lot of the heavy lifting, and yes of course after overdoing the festive season you can feel a bit sluggish. However, there is far more to be gained by treading gently, than by any extreme, restrictive punishment you can put yourself through (and as one to “go hard or go home”, believe me I’ve tried my fair share of juice cleanses and the like). Usually, putting your exhausted body into shock with a low calorie diet and a bootcamp like exercise regime (when carrying a tray of jaegers is the closest thing to weight lifting your arms have done since November) will merely slow your metabolism, and give you a worse case of the fear than too many G&Ts.
So, what do you do when you’ve eaten all the spiced beef sandwiches, your jeans are no longer “eating pants” and you just feel awful? Three old faithfuls I can always rely on, not even find painful, and constitute the closest things to new years resolutions that I can admit to.
About 6 months ago I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo. If you’re not familiar with the international bestseller and the “KonMari method”, I would definitely recommend reading it. I have moved house a total of 10 times in the last 6 years (an excellent way to declutter, should you want to try it), and yet was still able to clear out bags and bags of junk that I didn’t need or want. Marie Kondo boasts a stellar reputation – should you want her services directly, she has a 9 month waiting list, but has had no repeat customers to date. She also claims “Not only will you never be messy again, but you’ll also get a new start on life.” And while this remains to be seen, life does become a whole lot simpler when you can find something to wear within 30 seconds of getting up, you can find both gloves when it’s freezing outside and everything fits neatly into a tiny closet. The psychological impact of decluttering is not to be underestimated – everything seems to run so much more smoothly, which really fits in with the whole “new year, new me” thing but is relatively pain free!
Figure out what you want
Apparently 92% of goals fail by January 15th, so we are (almost) all in this together. Now while the idea of new years resolutions make me vaguely nauseous, January does feel somewhat like a clean slate – weddings and sun holidays are on the (distant) horizon, if you’re a student the most important semester is ahead of you (yet contains enough possible study time to avoid a freak out, if the previous term was not your best) and those shiny new diaries and calendars are yet to be scribbled on. Many people set goals for the months and year ahead, however only 3 out of every 100 people write their goals down – although people with written goals are 50% more likely to achieve them than those without. Even a simple bucket list can clarify what you want in the future if you write it down. Jack Black (not the comedian, the author of Mindstore) does a goal setting workshop on Youtube that is ideal for this time of year.
Focus on nutrition
Rather than depriving yourself, and the self-destructive mindset that goes with it, I tend to focus on feeding my poor body the nutrients (not calories) it has so sorely missed over the last few weeks. And so I add – smoothies, broccoli for breakfast, roasted sweet potatoes, omega 3 supplements, avocado on toast, poached eggs, homemade bread, mangos as a treat (the good ones are pricey, my friend), smoked salmon, homemade granola with hot fruit salad and coconut yoghurt…there are plenty of healthy foods that I do enjoy, they just tend to take a bit more effort to prepare than a toasted cheese sandwich. It’s funny how when you focus on adding all these things in, and nourishing yourself properly, it doesn’t feel anything as difficult as jumping on the gluten free, dairy free, sugar free bandwagon.
January is a depressing enough month as it is (particularly if you didn’t escape the flu epidemic that is apparently taking no prisoners) and beating yourself up for not sticking to a strict detox is not going to help. There are many ways to start 2017 off on a good note, without resorting to lettuce leaves alone. I would love to hear any resolutions you have that don’t involve “skinny tea” or burpees!