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My 2017 Self-Care Resolutions

As we make our way into the second working week of the year, I've been reflecting on what I want to get out of 2017. There's so much I want to do and so much I want to achieve this year. I've got so many plans and it's exciting, but it's also completely overwhelming. I'm taking on a half ironman triathlon, studying to qualify as a pilates instructor, attempting to write a children's book, growing my own little PT business... the list goes on. But I've realised that if I'm going to achieve all of these things, I need to take better care of myself. In a recent post I suggested that we all "make a resolution this January to be kind to ourselves [...] To take things one step at a time. To invest time into ourselves and to believe in ourselves." In the name of taking my own advice, I've decided to set myself a few self-care resolutions to try and live by this year.

1) To be less hard on myself
This is going to be a tough one. My inner critic likes to shout pretty loudly and I'm a perfectionist at heart. In 2017 I want to spend less time beating myself up and more time doing the things I love.

2) To take things one step at a time
This is advice I dole out all the time but struggle to actually do myself. I need to stop worrying about the bigger picture so much, because it quickly starts looking pretty vast and overwhelming. This year I'm going to do my best to break everything down into small steps so I can get sh*t done.

3) To doubt myself less
Oh hi inner critic, not-so-nice to see you again. I want this to be the year that I stop letting doubt and fear hold me back. Time to take a big spoonful of self-belief and go for it. *puts on superwoman costume*

4) To make more time for dance, books and music
Do more of what you love, and happiness will follow. Wise words from my better half there (who deserves so much credit for how ridiculously supportive he's been over the last 2 and a bit years). This year I'm going to read more, make time to play the piano/guitar more often and - the big one - I really want to fully qualify as a dance teacher. Anyone want to buy my liver so I can finance the training fees? ;)

5) To stop comparing myself to others
Basically, I need to scroll less and do more. Social media is great but it's also a bugger for making us all compare ourselves with snippets of others people's carefully curated lives. It's easy to spend so much time looking sideways that you lose sight of where you're headed and what you're working towards. 

6) To learn how to cope better with anxiety (and to be less afraid of talking about it)
I suffer from anxiety. And that's okay. I just need to get better at dealing with it rather than ostriching around (yep that's a real verb, honest...) pretending I'm okay 100% of the time, when sometimes that's not the case. Other than a couple of not so productive GP visits a few years ago, I've never really done anything to battle this particular demon. 2017 is going to be the year that changes.

What are your self-care resolutions? 

How to Set Yourself Up for a Successful 2017

Happy New Year! Hope everyone had a lovely festive season and you're all feeling ready to take on 2017 (after the surreal calamity that was 2016, it can only get better right!?).  Now is a great time to think about what you really want to achieve over the coming months, and to start making plans to make things happen. Read on for my top tips on setting goals and laying the groundwork for a successful year.

1) Set yourself achievable goals
When it comes to setting goals, it's important to strike a balance between aspiration and achievability.  Tasking yourself with something huge and unattainable sets you up to fail before you've even started. Take a minute to think about your lifestyle, figure out what's manageable and how it's going to fit in with your current commitments. You're far more likely to stick at something if you can slot it nicely into your routine.

2) Break it down and celebrate the little victories
Break your end goal down into stages, focusing on what you want to achieve in the short, medium and long term. Your overall goal might be to run your first 10k, but in the short term you just want to get into a routine of running a couple of times a week. Celebrate these milestones along the way and reflect on what you've achieved so far. It's a great way to stay focused and motivated.

3) Get excited!
In order to really achieve something, you need to be passionate and excited about it. There will be times when achieving your goal feels really tough and it's that passion that will get you through. Think about why you want to achieve your particular goal, and how achieving it will make you feel. If the excitement isn't there, it's fine to have a rethink. Life is way too short to waste time doing stuff you hate.

4) Step away from the fads! Forgo the detox teas! Eschew the dodgy supplements!
Some of the most common New Year's resolutions involve losing weight, toning up and getting fitter. Unfortunately, there's no magic pill (or teabag) that can truly get you long term results. And living off baked kale and nothing else for 6 week will just make you hangry and leave you reaching for the chocolate buttons the minute your sentence - sorry, diet - is over. The bottom line is, to really achieve a fitter, healthier version of yourself - and to maintain it - takes long-term, sustainable lifestyle changes. And as hard as it may be at times, that's awesome! Because you'll feel awesome when you can look back at how far you've come and celebrate everything you've achieved knowing that you didn't have to give yourself the runs with some questionable herbal tea in the process.

5) Don't give up the stuff you love
Hands up who swore off the booze for all eternity this morning!? But seriously, following on from my previous point, the changes you decide to make need to be sustainable for life if you want to see results. The minute you ban something, you'll crave it even more. Inevitably you'll crack (because, hello, a life without chocolate is a life that sucks) and end up bingeing on said banned thing - having more of it in one go than you would have if you'd allowed yourself to have it every now and then. It's all about balance.

6) Ask for help
Whether it's from family, friends or a professional, get yourself the support you need to achieve your goal. This is particularly relevant if your goal is fitness related - seek advice from a fitness professional to make sure your training is safe and appropriate for your aims. You'll get more out of your workouts, avoid injury and enjoy exercise way more! I've got personal training and beginners run coaching slots available so if you're based near Hitchin (Herts) feel free to drop me a line to see how I can help: jennifersophiefitness@gmail.com

Wishing you all a happy, healthy 2017. With everything that's going on in the world, it's important now more than ever that we all show kindness, generosity, tolerance and unity. Spread the love and enjoy life!

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