Karl Henry: Why I genuinely believe that February is the real key to a new you
Here we are - what always seems like the longest month ever is now coming to an end. People get paid, those resolutions are just about still going and you are ready to get on with 2019.
For all the talk of 'new year, new you' in January, I often think that it can sometimes be the hardest month to get fit and get healthy - there is a huge amount of pressure on people to get their act together in the first month of a new year, and sometimes that pressure can be too much and it's around now that you will find out. That is why I genuinely believe that February is the real key to a new you.
If you can keep those resolutions going, eating better and exercising more, being more mindful, sleeping better and all of those other resolutions that you may have, then I think 2019 is going to be your year. February is a short month, the evenings begin to get brighter, spring os ready to revitalise you and there is a general sense of positivity in the air - get through February and those resolutions are well on their way to becoming habits, things that will keep you healthy all year round.
Even if you didn't set resolutions in January, it's never too late to start and for all of the reasons above, February is the ultimate time to get going.
With that in mind , I thought I would bring you five simple tasks to do each week in February; five things that I do myself and that I really find help me to stay healthy and on track.
Integrate these into your week and hopefully you will find them as beneficial as I do.
1 Plan your week in every sense
Planning is possibly the single most important element of health that I have learnt. Chaos is never good; plan out your food, your workouts, your shopping, your commute, your sleep - everything that you can - make it specific, get a diary and book it in the diary, plan each and every aspect for health.
Don't worry, I'm not talking obsessive health Instagram style, it's just putting aside 30 minutes each Sunday and looking at the week ahead, then planning away.
2 Do that weekly food shop
One of the habits I learnt very early on in my career is stocking the fridge and presses once a week with a large amount of healthy food. This gave me the peace of mind to know that I had all the food I wanted, that I didn't need to look for unhealthy alternatives and it was just something I didn't have to think about - one box ticked so that I could focus on other matters.
3 Stock food anywhere that you spend time
Another simple one but you will be amazed at the difference it makes. We are creatures of habit but also creatures of convenience. One of the reasons we eat unhealthy food is the fact that its so convenient. By stocking the places you spend time with healthy food, that now becomes convenient. Your car, your office, your commute and obviously home! Try it and watch what a difference it makes.
4 Exercise early in the week
How you eat and exercise early in the week will be one of the best predictors for how the rest of the week will go for you. Ensuring you get your exercise in early in the week is a statement of intent and makes it so much easier to be healthy for the rest of the week. Make Monday your exercise day - so no excuses after reading this column, out you go!
5 List, list, list
By now you will know I am a fan of planning. Making lists is a further way of doing this. Look at the different aspects of your life, compartmentalise them into specific areas and in each area make a list of what you want or need to do. As you complete each point, draw a line through that point on the list - it becomes so satisfying! What this does is give you specific actions to do in different parts of your life. No grey areas, just simplified, structured points.
* Every week, Independent.ie features The Real Health podcast with Karl Henry, in association with Laya Healthcare. In this week's podcast, Karl talks to Stephanie Preissner about body confidence. www.independent.ie/realhealthpodcast
Health & Living