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How to make the most of a New Year

Hey soberinos and welcome to a brand new year!

I hope this is going to be a great year for you and that you're going to achieve everything you want to.

For me, the coming year is about sustaining levels of health and fitness with a particular focus on diet and nutrition. Not diet in the sense of short-term plans that are unsustainable but diet in the sense of continuing to fuel my body and enjoy my food in a sustainable way that works for me. I also want to get involved in more local activities and see more people face to face, make more friends and have more face-to-face fun.

It really does help to have an idea of what you want to achieve over the coming months. If you know where you're going, you stand much more of a chance of getting there. You also give yourself the power to decide HOW you're going to get there, which makes success much more likely.

The clearer and more detailed you are about your goal, the more you breathe life into what it will be like when you successfully achieve it, the more real it becomes and the more likely you are to reach it.

For instance, I have already imagined myself fitting easily into one of my favourite "dancing" dresses - in fact, I've imagined it being a little loose on me. I have imagined wearing said dress on the dance floor and having the energy and cardio fitness to be able to dance all night if I choose to. I've gone so far as to imagine myself on the dance floor, dripping with sweat, laughing, moving to the music, feet sticking to the beer-stained floor and my partner spinning me round, both of us with huge smiles on our faces.

This kind of detailed imagining is what we call "mental rehearsal" and is a key component of effective goal-setting. Bring success to life in your imagination and you will achieve success.

Once you've imagined successfully achieving your goal, you can ask yourself the question:

What needs to happen for ...?

So, for me it was:

What needs to happen for me to slip into that dress and for it to feel loose and comfortable?

The answer was:

I need to lose a couple of inches off my waist.

So, you repeat the question:

What needs to happen... for me to lose a couple of inches off my waist?

And, then you keep going until you get a little action plan in place. Mine looks something like this:

  • I'm doing more high intensity cardio and building up my stamina and staying power
  • I'm taking breaks from the computer to go outside and do 8 reps of 20/10 tabata sprinting or 5-10 minutes endurance skipping or an hour's brisk walking
  • I'm doing regular strength and resistance with weights to keep burning fat and strengthening muscle (four days a week)
  • I'm intermittent fasting 20/4 on my rest days (at least twice a week)
  • I'm eating more protein-based breakfasts
  • I've stopped buying sugary snacks and crisps (potato chips)
  • Sweet treats have become much less regular - only if I'm out meeting people or going for lunch, dinner etc
  • I'm eating fruit, nuts, yoghurt, seeds & raw veg for snacks in between meals if I need to
  • I'm using a Huel Shake for lunches
  • I'm eating Mediterranean meals in the evening - lots of oily fish, pulses and veg - occasional meat and lots of veggie dishes
  • I'm measuring my waist every two weeks for motivation and to measure progress

Notice the wording of my action plan is in the present, as if it's already happening. This is really important as it helps us to feel like we're already there. It makes it more real and gets the unconscious part of our minds on board.

Also notice how detailed the plan is - it's very specific about exactly what I'll be doing so I can imagine it clearly. This makes it much easier to achieve. I've already painted a picture in my mind of what I'll be doing and this sets up the expectation in my brain that this is what's going to happen. 

Whatever it is you want to achieve this year, however you want to be different, spend some time pinpointing the moment you'll know you've been successful (like me fitting into my dress and spinning all night on the dance-floor). Really immerse yourself into that moment using your senses to imagine what that success will be like.

When you've done that, ask yourself the "what needs to happen?" question over and over until you have a nice list of actions that you can do to take yourself towards that moment of success. Word your actions in the present tense as if they're already happening and get really specific about the detail. The more specific the better.

For those of you who want some help to stay successfully sober this year, read this article for some helpful tips: Four Tips to Help you Stop Drinking

Happy New Year!  🥳🤩💪🥰


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