Turn your new year’s resolutions into long-term healthy habits
5th January 2020
Less than a week into January and we’re willing to bet that you’ve already broken at least one of your New Year’s resolutions – we certainly have! But those leftover Minature Heroes weren’t going to eat themselves…
Starting the New Year with a list of good intentions isn’t a bad thing, but setting yourself unobtainable goals can make you feel like you’ve failed before February has even arrived. Here at Adia, we are trying to shift our focus from short term resolutions to achievable lifestyle changes that will lead to year-long healthy lifestyle habits! Here are a few suggestions of simple swaps you can make to make your resolutions more obtainable (and more fun!)
Swap Veganuary for Meat Free Monday
In 2019, veganism became truly mainstream. Almost all major restaurants and supermarkets have tasty cruelty free alternatives on their menus and their shelves. More of us are turning to a plant-powered diet and it’s easy to see why.
If veganism is approached carefully it can have a real positive impact on your health. By replacing meat products with extra vegetables in your main meals, you will automatically increase the number of vitamins you consume each day – a winner for your diet. Better still, research has indicated that a plant-based diet can help to increase fertility in women, making it a great choice for your fertility diet plan! But veganism isn’t only great for you, but the planet too. It’s been stated that going vegan is the single biggest way you can reduce your personal impact on the earth’s climate – an issue that has never been more prevalent than it is today.
The concept of Veganuary – going vegan for the whole of January – has become a popular resolution for many people. However, for the meat lovers among us (myself included!), the idea of totally cutting meat out of your diet can be a difficult one to commit too. Not only is this change difficult to maintain but any drastic alteration to your diet can actually have a negative impact on your health. So, why not try making Meat Free Monday your goal instead? By committing to one day of plant-based meals a week, you can continue this positive change through January and beyond. Committing to one day of veganism a week eases you into the lifestyle and will give you the opportunity to get creative in the kitchen, making it exciting and fun, rather than feeling like you are cutting something out. Need some inspiration? A quick search on the hashtag #MeatFreeMondays on Instagram will give you lots of ideas!
Swap Weight Loss for Activity Gain
After over-indulging through the Christmas holidays, it’s totally understandable that we want to cut out junk food and hit the gym as soon as the 1st of Jan arrives. Whilst it’s great to set an intention and wipe the unhealthy, chocolate-filled slate clean, it’s important to have healthy, obtainable goals, rather than looking for a quick fix.
Being overweight can obviously impact your overall health as well as your future fertility and exercise is incredibly important for preparing your body for pregnancy. Maintaining a healthy BMI forms an important part of your preconception plan, even if trying for a baby feels a long way off. However, if losing weight becomes your main focus when it comes to resolutions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of crash diets and intense workouts. Whilst you may last a few weeks cutting carbs and doing two HIIT classes a day, you will soon burn out, lose enthusiasm and find yourself lying on the sofa in your gym kit eating Jaffa Cakes (or is that just me?) When this happens, any weight you have lost will come straight back on – so it’s important you make sustainable choices.
One of the best ways to reach a healthy weight that you can maintain year-round is to try to increase your activity rather than lose weight. Instead of obsessing about the numbers on the scale, focus on the numbers of steps you’ve done that week, how many minutes of aerobic exercise you’ve achieved or how many yoga classes you’ve made it to. Set yourself achievable weekly goals and try to up those goals each month. This increase in activity, alongside healthy meals (another great number to focus on is your 5 a day!) will see any excess weight fall off naturally and sustainably, returning you to a healthy BMI if yours is little high right now.
Swap Dry January for A Mocktail Mission
If you are pregnant or think you might be soon, then you are probably already teetotal – and we are very jealous about your lack of yuletide hangover! However, if you hit the Christmas sherry a little hard to last month you might be eager for a break from booze. Even if you aren’t pregnant there are a multitude of health benefits that come with cutting down on alcohol. Drinking less reduces the risk of diseases such as pancreatitis and cancer, improves your quality of sleep and strengthens your mental health. It also plays a big role in helping you prepare for your future fertility – even if that’s way down the line.
So, drinking less is definitely not a bad new years resolution, but there are better ways to do it than going cold turkey for the first month of the year. Like any of life’s naughty but nice vices, removing something from your life completely allows it to become forbidden fruit that you crave. Rather than enjoying the refreshing feeling of sober life, putting a time frame on it means you are likely to ‘reward’ yourself when February arrives – undoing all of your good work.
Rather than forcing yourself into a completely dry January, why not set yourself a challenge to try a few different mocktails each month? Not only is this way more exciting than avoiding bars and your friends for 31 days, but you’ll also likely discover some amazing alcohol-free drinks that you’ll be happy to sipple on throughout the year! You could even host a mocktail party, where you and your friends create your own concoctions – we love this bubbly peach and thyme refresher, but there are so many you could try.
Swap Positive Mental Attitude for Gratitude Journaling
There is definitely something to be said for starting the New Year on a positive note. It’s an opportunity to let go of the past, release yourself from negativity and head into 2020 with a smile on your face! But it can be difficult, if not impossible, to maintain a positive mental attitude for a whole 12 months.
Whilst mindset is incredibly important for your emotional health, trying to be positive all the time is unrealistic. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but 2020 won’t be without its pain or hardships. And neither will 2021, or 2022. Because life isn’t perfect. No matter how hard you try to stay positive, there will always be things that come along and knock you offer your happy pedestal. Denying yourself those feelings and burying them deep down in the name of ‘staying positive’ can be just as damaging for your mental health as languishing in a sea of negativity.
Rather than spending 365 days trying to ignore the bad, we favour daily gratitude journaling. This activity allows you to process everything that has happened that day – the good, the bad, and the ugly – whilst finding the one thing you are grateful for. Even on the darkest day, there will be a glimmer of light that reminds you of the good in the world. It could be something as simple as getting a free coffee at Pret, or someone letting you have the last seat on the train. Or maybe you will remind yourself of everything you have – from family to health – even if there are things you are lacking right now. We love to do our journaling in the evening, the perfect way to ground yourself after a busy day and practice some mindfulness.
What other healthy lifestyle habits are you taking on this year? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
If 2020 is the year you’d like to take more control of your reproductive health, sign up to Adia for free today! You’ll gain access to fertility experts, courses on nutrition and meditation, as well as the opportunity to order at home fertility tests!