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January Blues Survival Guide

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Maximuscle January Blues survival guide

A new year can be daunting. We all know that feeling of failure when you realise you gave up on last year’s resolutions in the third week of January and never did manage to get back on track. Facing the twelve months ahead of us can be tough, which is why we’ve put together some tips to help you survive the January Blues and focus on successfully achieving your goals in 2016.

Get motivated

The first thing you need to do is find some motivation. Start by setting your alarm for the same time every day, and going to bed around the same time every evening. This can help to regulate your internal body clock and build the basis for a habit which will support your goal.

Next, set yourself some goals. Think about what kind of things you’d like to achieve in the year ahead, and how you’re going to accomplish these. Set your imagination free - you could choose anything from mastering a set of 15 unassisted pull-ups, to completing a marathon by the end of the year. As long as you’re passionate about your goal, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t achieve it. Take a look at this article for guidance on setting goals that you can stick to and measure easily.

Once you’ve chosen your goals, share them with your friends and family or write them down. Doing this will help to cement your aim in your mind, and can even increase your chances of success (2).

Eat right

Forget about whatever happened in the kitchen during December. It’s a new year and a new start for your healthy eating plan. Fill your trolley with a balanced mixture of foods such as chicken, fish and pulses, complex carbohydrates like wholemeal pasta, brown rice or sweet potato, and fruit and vegetables. Remember to add in monounsaturated fats too.

Getting your eating habits right will help to make sure that your body is getting a healthy well balanced diet to support your training plan. You can find out more about smarter eating smarter eating, or find a meal plan to help you achieve your goal on our website.

Exercise

Anaerobic exercise, (lifting heavy weights or really exerting your muscles through cardiovascular activity), prompts your brain to release chemicals called endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in your body (3). This is why working out regularly not only helps to keep your body in shape, but also benefits your mental state and helps you feel more upbeat.

Try following a training plan designed to help you meet your specific goal, or going for a short run each morning before work. It can be difficult to get yourself in the mood for a workout on a cold winter’s day, but once you get going it won’t take long for you to feel the benefit.

Street Gym

Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the gym; take a look at some exercises you can do at home, or make use of the ‘equipment’ you can find outside. Try pull-ups in the park on tree branches, squats using benches or sprints up and down steps. Exercising outdoors is good fun, free and means you don’t have to wait for anyone to finish using the equipment! 

Stay focused

You’ll need to stay focused if you really want to achieve your goals this year and make it through January without giving up. One way to help make this easier is to put together a plan. Whether it’s a weekly training tick sheet, a daily meal planner or a long-term programme, putting something in writing that you can follow will help you to stay on track and remain committed to your goal.

Try tracking your progress using a diary or record sheet. Keep a note of how much you’re lifting, any weight you’ve lost or how far you’ve run in a certain amount of time. Seeing what you’ve managed to accomplish will spur you on and boost your motivation levels.

It’s also important to reward yourself. If you’ve set a new PB in the gym, go home and treat yourself to your favourite evening meal without feeling guilty. Similarly, if you’ve been training really hard, don’t be afraid to take some time out to rest your mind and your body so that you can approach your next session refreshed and ready to work. After all, a healthy lifestyle is all about balance and moderation.

Never give up

Finally, never give up on your goals. You may not achieve them straight away, and some may take you into years to come, but as long as you’re working hard you’re on your way to success.

References

  1. Wake Up Early - Keys to Optimal Living
  2. Goal Setting - Forbes.com
  3. Happiness and Exercise - How Stuff Works
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