5 Ways to stay motivated past January!

Jan 25, 2024

As new year's resolutions wear off, and life gets more mundane we often let our new habits slowly slip. This is particularly relevant with weight loss. Here are 5 ways to get you restarted. Slow and steady wins the race!

1/ Reflect and set goals

Start again with knowing what your true goals are.

So many of us are living our lives in fast forward. Lurching from one thing to the next, without real time to pause and reflect. It is natural to start doing this at the end of the year, however the run up to Christmas gets so busy that we often can’t properly slow down and reflect. So if you haven’t had the time then maybe January offers a pause to think and evaluate what you would like to do. With ‘resolutions’ often wearing off quickly, can you set ‘intentions’ instead.

Being a doctor, I would suggest health-related goal being of particular benefit! Preventing illnesses by making small improvements to the quality of your food, adjusting your sleep patterns (if needed) and working to lower stress levels are very worthwhile endeavours. 

2/ Keep a journal

Keeping a journal has huge potential health benefits. It provides a great way of dealing with stress and overwhelm. There is something very powerful about writing your thoughts and feelings down on paper. It is a great way to stop and reflect and to slow down in these busy times we live in. It also provides a great way of working through problems or difficulties. I have seen many people with stress and depression find solace in daily journal writing. There is also great value in reading over previous months/years journaling to see how far you’ve come and for entertainment value sometimes!

If the thought of writing a journal overwhelms you then a great place to start is by just putting pen to paper and writing 3 things that you are grateful for in the day. This can range from big things; nice home, friends etc to the very small: hearing a bird sing, sunny afternoon etc. Making this a daily habit will soon lift your spirits and help you find space in a busy world.


3/ Break it down

Goal setting is a great way to move forward and make changes. However it can also very quickly lead to overwhelm. Breaking goals down is an effective way to make them achievable. In effect you are setting ‘mini goals’ all the time. Remember to celebrate your small wins as you would do with larger ones, this re-enforces good habits and makes you much more likely to stick with whatever changes you want to make.

Finding the simplest version is critical to success. For you to succeed then you need to be able to consistently do what you want to do; even when you are busy, tired or unwell. For example if you want to ‘get more exercise’. How about you start with just 5 mins of HIIT (plenty of videos on youtube) and stick with this every day. 5minutes is realistic and achievable and the health benefits will certainly be worth it!


4/ Get outdoors

As human beings we are designed to be outdoors in nature. There are countless benefits to being in the outdoors that we often overlook. Whilst going for a walk up a mountain is a great way to blow off some cobwebs, a brilliant place to start would be just standing for 5 minutes in the outdoors. Yes, even standing looking out through the back door! The colours and patterns of nature are known to release calming hormones on our nervous system, lifting our mood and making us more positive. Can you have your morning coffee outdoors? Can you go for a quick walk around the garden, or five minutes down the road? Little changes accumulate, the trick is to just get started!

5/ Harness the power of friendships

With a New Year beginning it is a great time to reconnect with our friends. Humans are tribal animals, we want to be part of a group, to feel we belong and to be a ‘part of’ something. This is one reason why we care about what others think of us; it matters to our social standing within a tribe. We also know that loneliness kills more people than smoking and obesity and I see the devastating effects on people’s health every day. Friendships take time to build, they take time to nourish and take energy to maintain. Have you friends that you haven’t seen in a while? Ones that you’ve just lost connection with? Maybe someone that you have argued with? Is now the time to repair and rebuild? Is it time for a road trip to see long lost relatives? Making time to sit with a friend (face to face is always best if possible) has great value for your mental health – but also your physical health. Go and do it!

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