It’s around this time every January that many New Year resolutions have begun to falter or have been totally ditched already. The second Friday in January is now known as “Quitters Friday” and Monday just passed has been dubbed “Blue Monday” as it’s apparently the most depressing day of the year. What a load of horsesh1t. They are just days of the week like any other day. I choose not to read into the nonsense that the tabloid media feel the need to perpetuate at this time of year.
I set health goals at the beginning of this year (call them resolutions if you wish). I think the beginning of a new year is as good a time as any to set goals and targets. I’ll probably reassess and set more at different stages throughout the year depending on progress. Goal setting is a worthwhile exercise regardless of the time of year. Two and a half weeks into 2018 and I’m absolutely crushing each goal I’ve set so far.
I haven’t discovered a secret formula for sticking to New Year resolutions or anything like that. I just happened to set goals that I wanted to set for myself and made sure they were realistic. So no googling lists of other people’s resolutions to see what they were doing and no world record attempts on my to-do list this year.
Here are my four health goals for 2018:
Health Goal 1 - Steps
Start as you mean to go on. Last year I managed to average over 10,000 steps a day. I'm raising the bar this year by targeting 11,000 steps on average each day in 2018. As of today my average is over 13,000 since the 1st of January so I'm well on track.
Walk when you don’t need to drive or take public transport. Take the stairs rather than the lift. All the small changes will add up.
Health Goal 2 – Resistance / Strength Training
Resistance training is necessary if you want to be strong and healthy. On top of any aerobic activity, the World Health Organisation states “Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week”. That’s part of their recommended level of physical activity for adults aged 18 to 64.
Resistance training doesn't have to happen in a gym, it could be bodyweight only at home or outdoors, although a gym can help if you’re looking to lift heavier weights and increase strength. My goal is to resistance train at least 3 times per week this year. I've started by creating a 6 week 5 x 5 plan that I commenced on the 2nd of January. As part of the plan, I execute 3 main exercises per session (e.g Squat, Bench Press, Deadlift) and increase the weight I’m lifting by 2.5kg for each exercise at each new session.
The programme is going really well so far. I’ve even started a fourth High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) session to add a mixed aerobic and resistance workout to the schedule. I’m doing this one outdoors and anyone close by in Dublin is free to join me on Saturday mornings.
Health Goal 3 - Nutrition
My nutrition goal for 2018 is: 'To eat well more often than I don't'. There's no need to over complicate it. I'll be staying away from processed foods. Eating a well-balanced diet of proteins, vegetables, fruits, wholegrain carbohydrates and healthy fats. I will not be drinking any unnecessary calories!
I have a NutriBullet which I think is an incredible machine. Depending on the day and what’s available I’ll include a mix of fruits, greens, nuts, powders and seeds to make a sensational and nutritious juice.
I’m having a Dry January too, no alcohol for the month. It’s been a really good start to the year from a nutrition point of view. I’ve had the odd unhealthy treat but all in moderation which is exactly the way it should be.
Health Goal 4 - Mental Strength
My final health goal for 2018 is to be more mindful. It's more of a mental health goal and includes some personal aspirations for the year, including: - I'm going to start practicing mindfulness / meditation every day - I'm going to journal every day - I'm going to read every day - I'm cutting out the news; no more reading or watching the negative news stories every single day - I'm going to be more mindful about what I eat and about the time I spend with my daughter and family - I'm planning on improving my Portuguese this year. I'm going to listen to at least one Portuguese podcast every day.
In other words, being mindful and mentally stimulating myself for the year ahead. Crushing this one so far!
Here are videos summarising the above goals. I've committed to these in writing and on video now!
All the above goals that I’ve set for myself are realistic and measurable.
This is what I want to achieve for myself this year.
How will you raise the bar in 2018?
If you're based in Dublin then join the Facebook group for my free outdoor interval training sessions: parkHIIT.
Would you like to get in contact with Office Worker Health? We’d love to hear from you. You can join the LinkedIn group and be sure to sign up to the newsletter below for lots of sexy updates and announcements.
Yours in health,