Karl Henry: 'stay on track and achieve real, positive changes'
Today marks the annual ‘Ditch Your Resolutions Day’. But don’t give up - it’s time to reassess and start measuring your progress
Last week we focused on finding out exactly why you want to make adjustments in your life to improve your health and happiness. Now that you've established those reasons, you are so much more likely to stay on track and achieve real, positive changes this year.
That's particularly important, considering today marks the annual day when many of us break those resolutions, giving up after having tried so hard to stick to them.
But for you, this year is different. Normally people set unrealistic targets, trying to adhere to short timeframes, overly restrictive plans and generally just doing too much too soon, which typically ends up with them falling off the wagon this week. Instead, aim for long-term targets, always include a treat meal and ensure to take enough rest days and you will surpass all of those people who haven't.
Now it's time to move on to the next key element that so many miss out on: the Resolution Reassessment.
The more regularly you measure your progress, the more likely you will stay on track. It really is as simple as that: think back to last year when you made your resolutions, did you measure them in any way? Chances are you didn't and chances are you ditched them after a few weeks. That's the norm and that's what I'm hoping to remedy with this series.
It's crucial to remember that small changes over a long time will add up. Each person is different, but if you want to lose, for example, one stone in weight, then you need to lose 14lbs. By losing 1lb a week for 14 weeks, you can make that happen. Improving the food you eat and moving more than a couple of times a week will help you hit that 1lb target - that's the foundation of Operation Transformation and just look at our leaders as proof every year of what you can do by making those changes and measuring along the way.
Take a look at your own day and see where you can make some adjustments, whether it's diet or exercise, and you will be amazed at what you can achieve with small, steady progress.
So, what can you measure? In reality, absolutely anything. Here are some examples of what some of my clients use:
* inches, especially waistline;
* sleep quality;
* TV time each day;
* 5/10k run times;
* water intake;
* body fat;
* time spent on technology;
* heart rate.
There are so many options, so just pick at least one and keep track of it regularly. Here's the checklist to help you on your way:
* ensure that your measurement relates directly to your goals and targets - if you're cutting down your TV time, make sure you replace it with something valuable and productive, don't end up swapping one screen for another;
* measure on a weekly basis at the same time and the same day;
* record your measurements somewhere you will be easily able to find them next week;
* make those measurements visible around the house to help keep you focused;
* if you don't see change then you know you have to adapt what you're doing;
* make sure you know how to measure it.
Taking regular measurements is so easy but I can tell you from experience, it will honestly make a difference to your long-term fitness.
Week 2 to-do list
* Choose what you are going to measure and begin taking regular measurements.
* Make time for a weekly food shop - don't give yourself an excuse for a takeaway!
* Prepare or cook at least two meals.
* Smile more.
Week 2 exercise: The straight arm plank
A simple but great exercise for tackling that tricky middle part of the body.
1. Start face-down on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart and your feet together.
2. Raise your body off the floor into a press-up position, keeping your arms straight.
3. Make sure you pull your stomach in towards your spine while holding and keep your back straight.
4. Hold here for as long as you can. Aim for 30 seconds as an initial goal and then build it up.
Recipe of the week
Karl’s Superfood Vegetable Soup
- 426g tin white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium to large carrots, sliced
- 3 medium broccoli florets
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, sliced
- 1 yellow pepper, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or sliced thinly
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced
- 1 teaspoon of basil
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 organic vegetable stock cubes
- Enough water to cover the vegetables
Put all ingredients into a pot. Cook until vegetables are soft. Blend and serve immediately. Don’t forget to freeze the leftovers.