We’ve all been there – sprawled out across the sofa, stomach swollen from festive treats, suffering from a period of serious overindulgence. Doesn’t feel very much like a Happy New Year, does it?

We tell ourselves that as soon as January comes, things will change

“This year, I’m going to start exercising.”

“I’ve decided, I’m going to lose all my extra weight.”

“ I’m going to take better care of myself.”

As you come to set your health and well being resolutions/goals, think about what is important to you in your life. What roles do you play, and what are your personal values? What is important to you? Why do you want to achieve your goal? What positive difference will it make to your life? What will make your Happy New Year?

Make YOUR goal fit in with YOUR life to avoid stress and conflict, thereby increase your chance of success.

So how do you get going from idea to action?

1. If you feel nervous about exercising, or are unsure about any underlying health condition, have a conversation with your GP.

Once you have the go ahead, it may help to alleviate any fears if you choose a registered health professional as your instructor (such as myself). Click here to read my qualifications https://pilatesphysioplanet.com/senior-physiotherapist-and-pilates-instructor/.  You can check the HCPC register to identify accredited professionals https://www.hcpc-uk.org/

It’s normal to be nervous when trying something new, or returning to something you have done before. Some people find it helps to contact the instructor first. You can ask questions and get to know if the instructor is right for you. You can contact me through my facebook page facebook.com/pilatesphysioplanet or email me at pilatesphysioplanet@gmail.com.

2. Think about what you enjoy doing, and how it could take you to your fitness and well-being goal.

If you like being outdoors, then simply putting on a pair of comfortable shoes and walking around the block might suit you. You can gradually build up your distance as you get fitter. If you want something a little more challenging, perhaps hill walking would suit you. https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/ has an extensive list of scenic walks in Scotland.

If you like to combine fitness with socialising, then check out local teams or classes that you can join. My Pilates classes are very friendly, members enjoy a chat and going for coffee after class. Book a place here https://uk.bookingbug.com/home/56139-pilatesphysioplanet

If you like to exercise alone, you might enjoy following a gym programme that you can work through. Gym instructors can make a programme specific to you, and can review this regularly with you, to ensure you are progressing with your fitness and wellbeing. Or you could follow a fitness plan designed by the NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/12-week-fitness-plan/

If you like water, then why not head to the local pool. There may even be some aqua aerobics classes to join in – or you might like to combine a swim with some relaxation in the sauna/steam room/Jacuzzi.

If you like to exercise at home, then why not sign up to my online PhysioPilates Classes where you will get a new workout each week, delivered by a chartered physiotherapist and registered health professional. All you need is an exercise mat. I have this one from ALDI UK https://www.aldi.co.uk/crane-wipeable-fitness-mat/p/099657310710700.   It’s thicker than most mats, so more comfortable, good quality and a fraction of the price of leading brands.

3. When you’ve chosen an activity that suits your and your lifestyle, visualise doing, and enjoying it.

Research suggests that positive thoughts lead to positive actions, which set you up to enjoy your chosen activity. Think of any difficulties you could experience during your activity. Imagine lowering the intensity, or changing the exercise to suit you. Mentally preparing yourself for this lets you instinctively know that it’s OK to change any exercise which doesn’t suit you, so you can stay healthy and avoid injury (injuries tend not to equate with a Happy New Year).

4. Decide when you will exercise.

Choose a day and time most suitable for you and your lifestyle so that it can become a part of your normal routine, e.g. if you don’t have time to travel to a gym or a class to workout, make going for a walk part of your routine. Or sign up to my online classes, which last 30 minutes, so are ideal for a busy lifestyle.

5. Treat yourself in the January sales

get some new exercise gear that you feel good in. You’re more likely to keep going if you’ve bought a new outfit.

6. Give yourself a pat on the back for every sign of progress.

Praise yourself for how far you’ve come. It’s useful to keep an end goal in sight – but you’re not going to get there immediately. Changes are a work in progress, to be built on gradually, so that when you look back to where you started, all these small changes suddenly amount to a lot of progress!

7. Finally…

Enjoy whatever you choose to do, and make 2020 a Healthy and Happy New Year for you!