By Gemma Yates
Forget January - September is a much better time for a fresh start and setting new goals. We've all been there, waking up on January 1st, beating ourselves up about weeks of indulging and vowing to eat better/go to the gym every day of the week, only to abandon it all a week later. According to research, less than 10% of us will still be on track to achieve our resolutions by mid-January.
It's not hard to see why we're setting ourselves up for failure in January – it's dark for most of the day, freezing outside, our energy levels are low and all we want to eat is cosy comfort food. In September, the mornings and evenings are lighter, meaning there is time at the beginning and end of the day to exercise, and it's generally still sunny enough that lighter, healthier meals are still appealing. Then there's that 'back to school' feeling - a summer of fun in the sun and having kids at home for 6 weeks leaves us craving routine, making it a much more natural time to set goals and actually achieve them. Plus, if you start now, come January, those healthy habits will be second nature and so much easier to stick to.
5 TIPS TO RESET THIS SEPTEMBER
1. Write Your Resolutions Down
Putting your goals down on paper gets them out of your head and makes them feel more real. Make sure they are realistic, and think about how you're going to achieve them – what can you do every day or week to get there?
2. Make Yourself Accountable
Accountability means holding yourself responsible for achieving your goals and is key to succeeding. You can be accountable in so many ways, like scheduling workout time in your diary, putting aside time on a Sunday to meal prep for the week, booking into classes ahead of time or getting a workout buddy who you won't want to let down.
3. Take an 80/20 Approach to Nutrition
Drastic changes are destined for failure, so focus on eating healthily 80% of the time and enjoying yourself 20% of the time. Think less about what you can cut out of your diet and more about what you can add in, whether that's more protein, fibre or fruits and veggies.
4. Prioritise Rest & Recovery
Holidays and summer socialising often mean a change to your sleep schedule, with later nights and lie-ins. Almost every part of our body experiences important changes during sleep, reinforcing our cardiovascular and immune systems, regulating metabolism and aiding brain function, so making sure you get enough is non-negotiable. It's also tempting to go hell-for-leather with our training after an indulgent summer, but rest days are where your strength and muscle gains are made, so neglect them at your peril.
5. Create a Morning Routine
A solid morning routine will set you up for a successful day. Aim to wake at the same time every morning, and get your exercise in first thing if you can. Studies have shown just 30 minutes of exercise in the morning can boost productivity at work, and you don't run the risk of something coming up or losing your motivation as the day goes on. Getting a hit of daylight first thing (even if it's cloudy) will boost vitamin D production and serotonin levels and aid sleep later on, and starting your morning with a healthy protein-rich breakfast will level out your blood sugar and curb those mid-morning sugar cravings.