Healthy tip: Do it your way

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Do it your way

Set off in the right direction this January. Whether it’s to eat better, exercise more or just get generally healthier this year, we’ve got lots of ideas and tips to help you set your own goals and start getting heart healthy this January #doityourway.

Make your own goals. Think about what you want to achieve, and go out there and make it happen. Goals are much easier to keep to if they are SMART and written down in your own hand writing. Get yourself a diary or write on pieces of paper and stick them up on the fridge to remind you
If you're not 100 percent committed to your goal, the odds of staying motivated are not in your favour. The real reason why so many New Year’s resolutions fail is that people have powerful competing commitments, or reasons not to change. If you’re short of money or have limited free time in the week, joining a gym and committing to go 5 times a week is just not feasible, but maybe brisk walking and weights at home is.  If you know there’s a reason for you to quit, then address it early on and get out of your own way..  

So what are SMART objectives and how can being SMART help you achieve your goals?

S    Specific – Instead of ‘’I want to cut down on alcohol‘’, you’re much more likely to achieve this goal if you’re specific about when and how much.  For example; “I want to have at least three alcohol free days each week. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my dry days and I’ll have no more than 14 units in total each week.”  14 units is around 6 pints of 4% beer or medium glasses of 13% wine and is within the low risk alcohol guidelines for men and women. 

M  Measureable – ‘’I want to feel great in my swimwear’’ might be a motivating factor for you if you have a holiday booked in 2018, but feelings aren’t measureable; they fluctuate, so how will you know exactly when you’ve reached that point?  Use BMI, clothing size, lb /kg weight loss or better still, CMs lost around your waistline to monitor your success and know exactly when you’ve reached your goal.  Excess weight around the middle has been linked with increased blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure, all putting strain on your heart. Caucasian men should aim for a waistline of under 90cm, South Asian men should try to keep their waists under 90cm and all women should aim for less than 80cm, so check how your heart health measures up. 

A   Achievable – By setting yourself a goal too high, you set yourself up for disappointment and are more likely to feel that you’ve failed and eventually give up trying.  If you’re trying to give up smoking, it’s probably best not to go cold turkey on 1 January but try a practice quit and plan what smoking cessation techniques you will use, how you will cope with cravings and what triggers you need to avoid to prevent a relapse. 

R    Realistic – If you’re a busy parent or a full time carer, it might not be realistic to aim for the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night for every night of the week. Be kind to yourself and if for example, you enjoy staying up later at the weekend, then aim for improving your sleep hours for the majority of the week. 

T   Time measureable – Set a goal date and make sure your goal is realistic for the time frame allowed.  For example; ‘’my waist circumference will be less than 90cm by (insert date)” or ‘’I will complete a 5km race in less than 40 minutes on (insert race date) “ or why not train for the Great North Run in September to really keep the momentum going?  Not only does committing to a date keep you motivated but it also means can give yourself a reward at the end, knowing exactly when you’ve crossed the finishing line.

These tips are just examples to help you on your way to a healthier lifestyle.  Only you can set your goals; what do you want to change in 2018 to lead a healthier, happier, longer life?