January; possibly one of the most depressing months of the year. It’s cold, the days seem shorter, our bank accounts are emptier and all of the festive excitement is over for another year. Ok I officially want to cry now.
But, fear not! There are small changes that you can make to remain positive and set yourself up for a great year ahead!
Let’s start with finances, more or less everyone has a limited cash flow in January so learn to make the most out of a bad situation and economise.
- Try shopping somewhere cheaper when doing your weekly grocery shop and opt for economy and supermarket brands over the more expensive ones.
- Plan meals in advance: why not bulk buy basic ingredients and make a curry/soup/stew/stir fry at the beginning of the week that will last a few meal times or double up as lunch the next day?
- Take a packed lunch to work instead of wasting money buying food each day.
- Give up your daily coffee habit and save it for a Friday treat, you will be surprised how much money you save.
- Plan a night in with friends and watch a film while finishing off your leftover Christmas chocolates and alcohol instead of going out somewhere. You could even have a swap shop where you each bring unwanted clothes/ items/Christmas gifts and swap them. Hello new wardrobe for no cost!
- Have a clear out and sell any unused or unwanted things on eBay – a perfect way to get rid of those bad Christmas gifts.
Next on the list is health. Did you over indulge a little over the last month? Maybe your jeans are feeling a little tighter? With a little hard work and motivation you will feel better and achieve good health and fitness in no time.
· Forget the cliché of signing up for a gym membership. Unless you actually plan on making good use of it and sticking at it, don’t waste your money! Instead opt for a pay as you go class, try something new like Zumba, spinning or boxcersize. The class options are endless so you are bound to find something you like.
· If cost is an issue take up running. Get a group of friends together and plan some evening runs or weekend walks, you could even go on walks during your lunch break. Alternatively you could take it in turns to meet at a friend’s house and do workout DVD’s or videos online.
· Start stretching. Yoga and Pilates will do your body the world of good and trust me, you will feel amazing. If high-intensity cardio is not your thing then you will find these relaxing exercises much more appealing. Classes are available all over the place or you could even practise the moves in the comfort of your own home.
· Eat clean. Forget the hundreds of fad diets and juice cleanses around. The key to a healthier diet is simple; just eat fresh fruit and vegetables and limit your carb and sugar intake. Avoid takeaways and processed foods and try to prepare meals yourself as much as possible, this way you can control the portion size and what goes in to it.
· Drink lots of water! It may seem like a challenge at first but once you get used to it you will find your body craves it. If plain water is too boring for you, add a dash of fresh lemon or lime juice. Not only will you feel better on the inside, but you will see changes on the outside too, such as glowing skin, an improved complexion and stronger, healthier hair.
The big build up and excitement of Christmas is over and it feels like everything goes downhill from here. We’re back at work and summer is a long way off yet, but now is the perfect time to plan ahead and think of what you want to achieve in the up and coming year. What can you do to make it your best year yet?
· Start arranging a summer holiday. Do you fancy a girly holiday, a relaxing week somewhere hot or perhaps that trip you have always dreamed of? By booking now and paying in instalments you will have something to motivate you and look forward to instead of getting caught up in the January blues.
· Do something for charity. Now is the ideal time to sign up for a race or to run a marathon as you will have a good few months to train and raise the money. There are so many things you can do, how about a sponsored sky dive or mountain hike? Have a think and get creative, this will give you an activity to concentrate on and work towards while also doing something worthwhile.
· Learn something new. Is your New Year’s resolution to try something different this year? How about learning another language? Or perhaps you have an interest in food and want to learn to cook? Why not take up painting or try an art and crafts class? Whatever it is that you want to do, only you can make that change so go for it – what’s stopping you?!
· Try a new look. If you have been contemplating a new hairstyle or trying something new with your make-up, go for it. Start the New Year with a change. Not only will you feel better about yourself, compliments from others will make you feel good and your new appearance will symbolise a new start and create a fresh canvas to set you up for a successful year ahead!
I hope these tips have been helpful and have inspired you to start the New Year positively and feeling good about yourself as well as the year ahead. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s what makes you happy, because life is too short to be anything different.