Friday 25 May 2018

Bressie: Before you can be better, you must be well...

Don't get bogged down in resolutions, says Niall Breslin, instead take steps to change the things preventing you from being your best self

Bressie: motivations can boost your will-power.
Bressie: motivations can boost your will-power.

At this stage of the new year, many who committed to a new chapter of change after an exorbitant festive season have reached the realisation that real positive lifestyle change can be more arduous than we gave it credit for.

We find great comfort in routine, and one of our human instincts is to gravitate towards things that offer us solace, so breaking habitual customs are often a test of will, and unfortunately aren't always successful.

Of course setting goals for the coming year is incredibly important, but before we put such pressures on ourselves it is important to look deeper.

Firstly, what is driving this motivation for change? This is massively important, as defining a powerful intrinsic motive will often be the scaffolding that holds up your walls when you feel like crumbling.

If you want to get fit, ask yourself, 'why?' Try to find an emotional beacon that guides you.

A friend of mine recently lost his father through premature heart disease. He himself became a father just two years previously.

He understands the hereditary nature of heart disease and has now made sweeping shifts to his lifestyle, from diet and exercise to his relationship with alcohol.

The motive behind these changes is the fact that he doesn't want to leave his child without a father, and these granite-like motivations boost his willpower.

There are others out there who are struggling with their mental well-being, especially at this time of year. They are in no position to set these goals even though they're surrounded by friends, family, drowning in Oprah Winfrey quotes on social media.

I've spent many a January in the same place.

Before you make grand plans, take a step back to make realistic and achievable baby steps. Try implementing small modifications to your life. Perhaps try mindfulness?

Don't attempt to become Gandhi overnight, but set out a simple programme.

When I started, I began with just three minutes of mindfulness a day and after two weeks I built it to five minutes, and over six months I began meditating for up to 30 minutes a day. I used the app Headspace.

Make some small changes to your diet. Drink more water, limit caffeine, look at foods that promote calmness. I found Dale Pinnock's book The Medicinal Chef great for recipes that promote calmness.

If you decide exercise is something you want to engage with, don't set out to become an Olympian overnight.

Start becoming aware of how it makes you feel. Go for a short brisk walk, two or three times a week and do this for a month, or even join me for the A Lust For Life walk/run this March.

This self awareness is vital in allowing yourself to cope, and in time, recover. Don't just implement actions, analyse how they make you feel.

So while the entire country is on an admiral crusade of self transformation, remember that before you can be better, you must be well.

Health & Living

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