With a blink of eye, we’re staring down the barrel of 2020. Another year has gone by and for many of us it can all feel a bit like deja vu. Especially when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions.
So, tell me, did you manage to keep your 2019 resolutions? If you did, congratulations, I’m sure you are feeling all the better for it. If you didn’t – and let’s be honest, there are likely to be a more than a few of us – don’t despair. New Year’s Resolutions may be old hat and a bit cliché but there is no disputing it, they do provide the perfect chance to make a positive promise to yourself.
If this sounds like you, and your promise is to improve your health and fitness in 2020, here’s my biggest piece of advice. Don’t go it alone. Taking on a challenge or adopting new fitness habits will be much easier if you make the commitment with family or as part of a group of friends.
With that in mind, here are a few other tips that will help make your new year health and wellbeing wish list, a reality.
Choose your challenge wisely
Make sure your resolution is achievable. If you have never run a marathon, it’s unlikely you will be competing in the Marathon Des Sables – six marathons across the African desert – in the summer.
If you fancy running and the children are up for it too, why not set a target to go along to a Park Run as a family at least twice a month. Park Runs take place up and down the country, so there is bound to be one near you. They provide lots of support and encouragement, so are perfect for beginners.
As the year goes on you may decide going every week is a better target or planning a family 5k could give you something new to aim for.
Check the label
Putting the whole family on a diet is impractical and not necessary. Instead make a determined effort to read the nutrition labels on the food you are buying.
The Government’s traffic light system – which colours the nutritional label red, amber and green according to levels, is a great way to easily see how good the food is for you. Red means high, amber medium and green is low – in short, the more green on the label the healthier the choice.
Simply challenging yourself to make an informed selection could be enough to boost your family’s healthy over the year. It will also help educate children about nutrition and encourage them to make healthy choices too.
Remember, running isn’t for everyone. So be open minded about what ‘being more active’ means. Tearing the kids away from their screens is always going to be a challenge if the alternative isn’t seen as fun.
Government guidelines suggest adults should be moving for 150 minutes a week, kids an hour a day, so perhaps have this as your target and set a family challenge to come up with creative ways of achieving it. It’s important to remember that any activity is good activity, whether it’s 10 steps, walking for 10 minutes or running for 10 miles, anything more than last year is an improvement.
An easy way to keep the kids engaged with tracking their progress is to use a sticker chart (with a sticker for every hour achieved) or perhaps moving marbles from one jar to another for every completed activity – this way children can physically see how movement is adding up.
Share the love
Taking care of your mental health is just as important as the physical, so perhaps 2020 is a year where you aim to spend less time stressing over the small stuff, or worrying about things you cannot change.
It’s a known fact that exercise releases happy chemicals – endorphins – so if you think you could do with a mental boost, choosing a physical hobby could help lift spirits.
Why not set a target to go out for a family or group activity at least once a week? Whether it’s a quick walk to the park, a bike ride or a trip to the swimming baths, it will do you all the world of good. Perhaps you have a neighbour or friend who has had a tough 2019 and would also benefit from your weekly adventures? Including them in your activities could be enough to lift them.
Go get it!
However you plan to better your life in 2020, make sure you choose a goal that is right for you and your family or group of friends. Be specific and give yourselves something to work towards, be it a date, a monthly target or a reward for sticking to the plan.
All these little things will help make sure 2020 isn’t just full of good intensions, it’ll be full of wonderful activity achievements. Set your goal and go get it!