Holding your feet to the fire

After spending a lifetime on a diet and yet a lifetime overweight, things finally changed for me when I started to do two things with rigour and purpose. I decided that in order to succeed I needed to 1. Be stronger than my strongest excuse and 2. Stop looking for somebody to blame. Now obviously I changed my relationship with food, and I moved more to create the calorie deficit but to do those things and sustain the outcome for what has now been three years, took a fundamental shift in mindset with personal accountability placed firmly front and centre.

I had to change my approach because I was an expert at making excuses for every problem or failure, rather than accepting full responsibility for my own thoughts, behaviours and actions. If I could pin the blame on something or someone else, it deflected the light from shining on my own shortcomings and meant I didn’t have to change what I was doing. If I couldn’t even take responsibility, how could I accept accountability? Realising this was an opportunity and acting on it has created a wave of positive outcomes not only in terms of weight loss but in other areas of my life too including a complete overhaul of my career. I fundamentally believe that accountability is the springboard for success, and we can all achieve it.
I think it helps to understand the difference between responsibility and accountability initially.

Responsibility
This is about doing the right thing at the right time, setting out priorities and acting on them without procrastination. If a job needs doing, it gets done regardless of how uncomfortable or dull it may seem. Being responsible means managing your time to accomplish the goals you set your yourself or the objectives of those you work for. When things don’t go to plan, rather than look to blame others, you take control of the situation and choose how you react and respond.

Accountability
The key difference between responsibility and accountability is that responsibility can be shared with others whereas accountability cannot. Being accountable not only means being responsible but it also means that ultimately ‘the buck stops here’ and only you can be answerable for your actions. When it comes to personal accountability, I like to think of it as a holistic commitment to myself. Its about choosing to take ownership and responsibility for every result derived from the choices you make, regardless of its success and being able to be objective and learn from it.
With that clear here’s the formula for becoming personally accountable

Zero excuses
The nagging voice inside your head is usually primed and ready with a million reasons why you can’t do something, why it’s better to postpone or why watching Netflix is a more attractive option than the task in hand. It’s so easy to give into the excuses, they seem so convincing and often require much less effort than doing what needs to be done. Taking control of the inner voice is a big element of personal accountability. When an excuse is presented, dismiss it as not helpful to you

Focus on what you want
It becomes much easier to dismiss excuses if you are immersed in what you are trying to achieve such as your goals and priorities. The subconscious mind delivers the things you focus on so if you are constantly thinking of reasons why you can’t, it will send you more reasons, yet if you constantly think about what you want to achieve, it will assist you in getting there. Write down your objectives, prioritise them and dilute the grand goals into bitesize tasks. Revisit this often and when the excuses pop up, remind yourself what it is you want to achieve and see the excuse as a barrier to this.

Share your intentions
A sure-fire way to make you accountable is to share your intentions with others. This could be with your colleagues, leaders, family or even with people you don’t know through social media. Blogging, vlogging or chatting about what you are setting out to achieve

Track your progress
Being able to see how far you’ve come is hugely beneficial as not only does it give you a sense of accomplishment it also serves to motivate further action, highlighting what’s left to do. Tracking progress will keep you honest in the pursuit of your goals. You could report in to the people you shared your intentions with so you feel accountable to others as well as yourself or perhaps use an app so you can quickly see where you are up to and what’s next.

Collaborate
There are few projects that can be completed by a single individual. Play to your strengths and where you know that you struggle, look for help from willing volunteers and engage them by being inspiring and empowering in your approach. If you are doing the things you love and using the capabilities of others to do the things that don’t appeal, getting to an outcome will be a whole lot easier.

Be your own cheerleader
Accept your own praise as the only praise required for a job well done. Gain satisfaction from knowing you have owned your goals and delivered the outcomes you expected, adapted to and learned from setbacks rather than searching for someone/something to blame and made it happen. You did it, give yourself a cheer and relish in the knowledge that external accolades are not required.

Review and Amend
Once accountability is something you practice, it’s important to know that it can become a constraint. If you are hurtling towards your goals, batting away your excuses, telling everyone what you are setting out to do and then it’s not working, it can feel like you are not able to STOP. This is when the review and amend process is crucial. Taking a step back and looking objectively at your progress, what is going well and what isn’t working is highly effective. Sometimes the right answer is to change direction, stop completely or do something else. This doesn’t mean you are shirking your accountability. If it’s for the right reasons, it’s about being realistic.

Celebrate your success
Accountability will deliver success and when it does, slow down for a moment, smell the roses and give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done safe in the knowledge that you totally owned it!

Staying Motivated in Winter

When the rain is pounding on the window panes, it’s dark and simply poking a toe out from under the duvet lets you know it’s freezing, finding the motivation to exercise can be tough. Succumbing to the lure of the snooze button may be tempting but it won’t help you reach your goals.

Here’s eight tips to help you make it happen.

Ready, set, go
If you choose to exercise in the morning the hardest task can be getting out of bed. It’s not easy to leave the comfort of the warm, cosy duvet in favour of facing the elements. To make the getting up part easier, prepare your kit the night before and lay it out next to your bed. Leave your alarm clock on the other side of the room so you must get out of bed to switch it off. As soon as you are up, make the bed. You could consider investing in a daylight emulating lamp and switch this on when you get up. The simulation of daylight will help you to feel more alert and you’ll be ready to smash your workout in no time.

Get kitted
Ensure you have the right kit to get you through cold winter workouts. If you are running or training outdoors, ensure you have a windproof jacket plus a lightweight hat and some gloves. Thermals or base layers are a must and aim for breathable fabrics. Keeping the cold out will make exercising so much more comfortable. Wear a waist bag so if you get too warm you can remove layers and stuff them inside.

Switch it up
If scraping the morning frost off your car windows or heading out into the cold evening to visit the gym is too much to bear, then why not alter your routine? You don’t have to be in a gym or treading the pavements to burn fat. YouTube is packed full of online workouts, created by reputable personal trainers. Check out The Body Coach TV or Shelly Dose Fitness. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned athlete you will find a workout that will challenge you without leaving the comfort of your living room. No excuses.

Visualise
Creating a visual representation of your goals can be remarkably compelling. If your goal is to run 100 kilometres over a month, design a chart with 100 boxes, each representing a kilometre. Colour in a box each time you run a kilometre, and this will drive you to stay focussed on your goals. You can apply this principle to all sorts of goals and it’s a powerful way to keep on track whilst also allowing you to celebrate your achievements.

Listen up
Music is always good for the soul and a blast of your favourite tune is guaranteed to put fire in your belly during your workout. That said, why not feed the mind at the same time as exercising the body? A top tip for keeping motivated is to listen to inspirational material such as a podcast, The Art of Brilliance podcast is amazing or an audio book. I often listen to Brene Brown or Jen Cincero’s books whilst smashing out my cardio workouts. It’s amazing how quickly the time flies.

Make an appointment
If you had an appointment with a professional or a friend, you wouldn’t cancel it unless something major cropped up and yet if you have the intention to exercise, it’s easy to put it off. Stop! Block out your training times in your calendar and make this time non-negotiable. Make an appointment with yourself and treat yourself with the same respect you reserve for others by not bombing out and letting yourself down.

Join Forces
Find a friend, trainer or group you can work out with over the winter season. Joining forces will help with accountability and you’ll be less likely to choose an episode of East Enders over a spin class if you are due to meet a mate there. Bootcamps, running groups and fitness classes are such great fun and mixing with like-minded people is great for the mindset too.

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Be stronger than your strongest excuse
This one is the holy grail. Remember, these are YOUR goals, it’s your body and it’s your mission. Every time you procrastinate or bypass a session, you are delaying the outcomes you are craving. Making excuses only impacts you. Focus on the task in hand, i.e. the run or the class, rather than the influencing factors such as the rain or how tired you feel. Nobody ever regrets working out after the event so suck it up, get it done and be proud of yourself for being a badass!

As featured in the Irish Daily Star

 

Bounce right back

This year I took the massive step to leave the security of a six-figure salary, bonuses and pension to do something that I truly love. Some might say this was a crazy move but at the age of forty I realised that we are not on this earth for a look around and being happy and doing something with purpose is more important than fancy titles and money. So here I am working as a life-coach, author and speaker and whilst I love my new life, it remains slightly terrifying most days. There is always the worry about the where the next client will be coming from or who will want my services and expertise anyway?

As a Mindset Mentor, I am applying everything I know about building resilience as this will serve me well as I endeavour to build my business and escape the time/money trap by developing products to enhance my offer. Resilience is the ability to get up after a knock or set back, learn from mistakes and adapt to new circumstances quickly without losing focus or wallowing in self-pity. Resilient people don’t have time for ‘woe is me’ and as a small business owner, neither do you.

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The first step in ensuring you have this all-important bounce-back ability is to have a clear sense of direction. Resilient people have solid goals and they know how to achieve them. If you know where you are planning to go and what you are trying to achieve, it provides a strong reference point on those days when everything seems to go wayward. As boring as it may be, invest time and effort developing a business plan with objectives, goals and tactical steps that will see you through at least the next few years. Make it a working document that you refer to often and create an overarching compelling vision which will keep you on course.

Once you have a clear vision, objectives and goals, here’s the top seven things I believe will keep you getting up, even when dealt the heaviest of blows: –

Choose how you react
If things aren’t going your way you can either let this consume you and respond with stress, panic or anger or you can choose to pull on your positive pants, analyse the problem and tackle it step by step. If an issue is going to happen, how you react can make an incredible difference to not only the outcome, but the journey to get there. Keep the stress levels at bay, remind yourself you can handle anything and breathe then get on with fixing it without moaning.

Develop a strong network
You don’t have to know everything. Resilient people don’t waste their time doing tasks they are not great at and they are not afraid to ask for help. Get out on the networking circuit and establish and maintain strong relationships, which is a proven way to be happier and more resistant to stress. Having a strong support network to fall back on makes life easier because you don’t feel so alone and vulnerable when the chips are down.

Reframe thoughts
Learn how to reframe negative thoughts about yourself, your business, your future and others. Having a positive outlook and being respectful of yourself and those around you will make you happier and happier people are more resilient. Whenever a negative thought pops into your head, think the exact opposite and repeat this to yourself. This will feed your unconscious mind positive thoughts and you will start to believe these to be true. If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to maintain a sense of perspective by asking yourself if this is something you’ll still be worried about in a week’s time? Is it an ‘in the moment’ crisis which is being made into a bigger deal than it needs to be?

Accept mistakes
Perfectionism and fear of failure are a common breeding grounds for self-deprecation and making a mistake can feel like the end of the world. Work on your growth mindset and see mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow. Whilst it never feels great when mistakes are made, look for the lesson and work out what you can do differently to ensure it doesn’t happen again. The more you can do this, the quicker you will recover from mistakes and the more resilient you’ll become. There is a great book by Matthew Syed, Black Box Thinking which illustrates this point beautifully.

Be Flexible
Whilst you have a vision, a plan and goals, be aware that sometimes you will need to change tact to survive. The key to resilience is not giving up whilst knowing when to change direction. If something in your plan isn’t working and your instinct is telling you to stop, do not carry on for fear that you won’t fulfil your plan. Work out what you can do instead and change direction. Effectiveness is as important as efficiency. There’s no point running at 100mph if you are running in the wrong direction. Have faith in yourself, remain agile and if something doesn’t work the second or third time, try something new.

Meditate
It’s usually the last thing on everyone’s list, especially if you are uber busy but invest 5 minutes each day in deep breathing and being still. Relaxation is important and whilst your mind may not switch off completely, it’s a proven way to calm the mind and reduce stress, boosting resilience. It’s also a great way to generate new ideas.

Have another interest
Whilst your business might be your passion and your purpose, it’s important to have another interest to keep the balance and provide an outlet for stress. Resilient people take mental and physical health seriously so find a pastime that will allow you to switch off from the day to day and recharge your resilience tank.
Have the courage to dream big and with a resilient mind you’ll recover quickly from setbacks, learn the lessons and move on to even more amazing things.

If you need help, support and guidance to help you become more resilient, get in touch www.angela-cox.co.uk/coaching 

New Year, New Way of Thinking

Having a positive mindset is the key to achieving your goals and becoming the best version of you. I can say this with clarity and purpose having completely changed my life by changing the way I think and the way I view the world. I have lost over seven stones and sustained the loss for two years, despite over 30 years of binge eating and yo-yo dieting. I’ve changed my career, giving up a six-figure salary role to become a Mindset Mentor and speaker. It’s meant I’ve had to curb my shopping habits and yet I’ve never been happier. I’ve recovered from mental health conditions and developed a love of exercise which has seen me become a UK record holder in kettlebell sport. I’ve even written a best-selling book. I now believe that if somebody has achieved something, it’s possible I can too, and the good news is, so can YOU.

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If you start the day with positive attitude it grows like wildfire and causes more positive thoughts and outcomes. Amazing things that you don’t expect start to happen and you spread joy to everyone around by presenting your best-self.
I think of my best-self like a garden. If I don’t tend to the weeds in the garden, they quickly overtake the blooms. It’s the same with negativity, if it isn’t kept in check, it stifles positivity and stops me from flourishing.

To keep my best-self blooming I practice positivity every day.

Here’s my top ten tips for you to do the same.

Approach everything with ‘I can’
When you take on a task, be it exercise, work, parking, cooking, anything! Tell yourself you can do it, even if you don’t believe it to be true. Telling yourself you can do something means you are more likely to succeed because the unconscious mind helps us achieve the things we tell it we can do. Conversely, if you repeat the words ‘I can’t’ then that will likely be the outcome too.

Be your own cheerleader
Take a few moments each day to reflect on the things you have achieved. In a world where external validation is craved by many, learning to accept one’s own praise as the best kind of praise is critical. It’s a key step in ensuring strong self-worth so grab those pom-poms and celebrate every success, no matter how small.

Put Fire in Your belly
Find a song that makes you want to get up and dance and load it onto your smart phone. Whenever you feel your mood take a nose dive or you need a spurt of energy or motivation, play the Fire in Your Belly track. My personal favourite is The White Stripes, Seven Nation Army and it never fails to get me raring to go for a run.

Plant a pound
Giving is amazing as it not only benefits those receiving, it also benefits the giver. Doing it without the recipient knowing is even more beneficial. Engage in an activity such as ‘Plant a Pound.’ Whenever you can afford it, plant a pound somewhere a stranger can find it. Leave it on a bench, on a shop shelf or beside a car in a carpark. Try to imagine how a stranger might feel when they find the pound and how they will spend it. This small action will deliver a significant amount of joy to them and YOU.

Glitter-Coat your Mondays
Happiness Expert, Dr Andy Cope reminds us that we spend a 7th of our life living on Monday. That’s a lot of Mondays so stop waking up and wishing it was Friday. Every single Monday delivers 1440 minutes for you to be amazing, so dip your Mondays in glitter and sparkle your way through every single one of those 24 hours. Who says Monday can’t be the best day of the week?

Be your Biggest Commitment
If you’re not your number one priority, your priorities are in the wrong order. No matter how many dependents, responsibilities or demands on your time you have; to be the best version of you for others, you need to put yourself at the top of the tree. Spending time on self-care and taking your own needs seriously will allow you to be a better, partner, parent, carer or colleague so don’t neglect yourself.

Consider yourself a Masterpiece
Most people want to improve their lives in some way, be it career, home, weight, fitness or looks. It’s fabulous to have goals and aspirations when it comes to getting better if you keep one thing in mind; You are a masterpiece just as you are. This premise of being ‘enough’ is critical because without it, no amount of improvement will ever feel satisfactory and you will drive yourself mad continually striving for more. If you come from a place of feeling happy and content with who you are then any steps you take to flourish will be recognised by you as successful. To believe you are magnificent now, train your unconscious mind by repeating the affirmation ‘I am a masterpiece and I choose to feel happy’ and think of self-improvement as purely adding a frame.

Curb the Green-Eyed Monster
It’s easy to let jealousy get in the way of your own progress. If you find yourself saying things like ‘It’s ok for him because’ or ‘if I had money, I’d be able to’ then now is the time to have a word with yourself. Instead of observing through green eyes, look through eager eyes instead. What is it that this person does that you can copy and bring about similar results for you? The chances are you’ll be feeling jealous because this person is highlighting your own insecurities so dig deep and compliment the very thing that is making you feel the pang of envy, and then get out there and make it happen for you.

Mind your Language
Be mindful about the language you use to describe yourself because you are always listening and what you think, you become. Tune in and recognise how often you tell yourself you are useless, stupid or fat and STOP doing it. Speak about yourself with the utmost respect. There are two quick wins you can implement immediately for instant change. When asked how you are answer ‘I’m really great, thank you’ rather than ‘I’m not too bad’ or ‘I’ve been better’ and never, ever describe yourself as ‘just’. I hear people say ‘I am just a mum’ or ‘I just work in a shop’. You are so much more than ‘just.’ If you do insist on using the word just, follow it with ‘a badass.’

Be a Superhero
Researcher Amy Cuddy has proven that if you stand in the stance of a superhero for five minutes before an interview, exam or speech, it heightens your performance. Next time you need a confidence kick, stand in a superhero pose with hands on hips and chin up and you’ll be ready to smash it like Batman or Super Girl.

Be Grateful
The ultimate way to stay positive is to practice gratitude. No matter how many clouds are in your sky, there is always sunshine somewhere, so every evening, write down 3 things you are grateful for and aim to make them non-material things. This really will show you how lucky you are to be alive.

For help with your mindset sign up for a breakthrough session with me at here or grab an exclusive membership to the Mindset Gym

Maintaining Momentum whilst Facing Fears

At the turn on 2017 I wrote an article which outlined the body transformation I’d experienced during 2016. This was a fundamental year for me and one that I class as a breakthrough in terms of finally getting to grips with a battle with binge eating I’d fought since childhood. Throughout 2017, I worked hard on my mindset and was thrilled to write another article at the turn of 2018 sharing how I’d maintained my weight and become fitter and stronger as a result.
Now as 2019 dawns, once again I’m able to report that I’ve maintained my healthy lifestyle for another 12 months, something that I never take for granted and certainly something I must graft for. 2018 has been about so much more than diet and fitness, however. It’s been about breakthroughs on a whole new level. A year that has seen my whole life turned on it’s head and the emergence of ME, my true, authentic self.
At the start of the year I was undergoing treatment for PTSD and been officially diagnosed with historic eating disorders. Realising I had mental health conditions was both a relief and a curse. A relief because there was a reason for feeling what at the time felt topsy-turvy and a curse because it was coupled with a dreaded feeling of ‘what will people think?’. Mental health has such a stigma attached to it and working in professional services, this was a concern. One is expected to be so ‘together’ and at times I felt anything but.
I have come to accept that having period of times when my mental health suffers does not make me any less capable. In fact, I now see the diagnosis as a blessing, perhaps even an awakening as it’s been the key to the kind of step-change I could only have dreamed of.

I bravely took the decision to self-publish a book I had written the previous year. It had taken only a few short months to write ‘Enough’ and I was filled with trepidation about ‘outing’ it. It’s part memoir and part self-help and whilst I knew it would benefit so many women and men, there was part of me that was frightened to put it out there. Learning to self-publish was the first hurdle and one that was filled with learning. I am pleased I took on the challenge because Enough has become a best-seller, is up for a business book award and has led me to write for several newspapers and magazines as well as to produce a children’s book and a mindset journal for women with an amazing designer Kate O’Shaughnessy. Enough was published for audio and I recorded it myself, an experience that was more difficult than it sounds. None of these things were part of the plan at the start of the year!

So, what has this experience taught me? Firstly, that I can achieve anything I set my mind too. I set an intention to write a book and I saw it through to completion. It was more than goal setting, it was about facing fears. I worried incessantly about what people would think if I wrote a book. I feared hearing the ‘who does she think she is’ or seeing the looks of disapproval from those who didn’t agree. Whilst I have experienced some of this, mainly from faceless trolls online, it hasn’t been as bad as I thought. Facing fears seems to be so much more meaningful and serves to teach us a great deal more than staying small and playing safe with goals that don’t test our limits.

I have done anything but play it safe this year. I’ve put myself through swimming lessons at the age of 40, following a scary experience jumping from a high platform into freezing water during an obstacle race. After a lifetime unable to swim, terrified of water splashing on my face, this was not exactly a goal I relished but it was another opportunity to face my fears and grow.

I then faced the fear of the unknown. I decided to step out of the security of my full-time job. A role I’d worked for years to achieve. A very interesting moment led me to this decision. I’d always told myself that when I lost weight, I’d be truly happy. I’d lost the weight and was wearing a size ten and yet was not feeling the rush of happiness I’d expected. I felt confident of course, but not what I would call happy. I’d learned that happiness is a choice and whilst I knew I could wake up and choose happy, I also knew I had to assess all aspects of my life to ensure they were contributing to that choice. The epiphany moment came when I evaluated who I was being, and this led to the realisation that at work, I wasn’t being truly ME. I also didn’t feel passionate about the work I was doing. I knew I needed to make a change and so I decided to move into a role where I could be authentically ME and in doing so, help others. I left my job and set up my own business as a Mindset Mentor, coach and speaker. All incredibly scary and yet the most rewarding thing I have done to date. Seeing the impact my work has is all the recognition I need. I now have a job that doesn’t feel like working and whilst I put in the hours and work hard, it always feels like a joy. It’s like life has become lit by a rainbow.

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The momentum of this change led me to face my ultimate fear, the fear of failure. I’d stopped using kettlebells in 2017 after a few months of training with a coach. He’d said I could be good at it but because I was so afraid failing, I stopped using them altogether and played it safe with weight training on my own. This year I decided to go for it and in May started training for a Kettlebell Pentathlon. I picked up Silver in the British Open and this drive me to enter the Kettlebell Half Marathon at the British Championships. I won gold and set a new UK record with 383 reps in 30 minutes with a 16kg kettlebell. I had no doubt in my mind that I was going to get a medal at the championships. The laser focus was incredible. Failure was not an option. I didn’t allow it to get a look in and it won’t feature in February when I compete for a place on the England Team.

As my body and mind have transformed, I’ve retired the actress and accepted I’m enough. Coming from this baseline, I can happily improve and flourish.

I’ve discovered that overcoming fear is more powerful than simply setting goals. I’m completely out of my comfort zone, learning as I go, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

It’s easy to lose momentum and motivation when results aren’t immediate, or everything feels hard. Whilst I can’t see the top of the mountain and appreciate the view, I keep putting one foot in the front of the other, no matter how scary the journey becomes. I am learning, I am growing and whilst my body is smaller, I am playing bigger. Bigger than ever.

Happy New Year all.

If you would like some help in 2019 check out my coaching offer or Mindset Gym via my website

 

 

 

How to beat the January blues

As the festive season fizzles, the party poppers have popped and there are more pine needles on the floor than on the tree, it’s easy to see why for some January can be a dismal month. Many of us must return to work and the cold, dark and often rainy days don’t induce feelings of joy. That said, we can help ourselves shine through the gloom.

Here’s my tips for avoiding the January Blues

Launch out of bed like a rocket
It’s easy to hit the snooze button on gloomy grey mornings and this can make for a stressful morning when we do crawl out of bed. Take advice from self-help writer Mel Robbins and start the day with a 54321 countdown. When the alarm sounds, count backwards from five and stand up. This simple technique stops the brain from switching into negative mode and thinking of reasons why you should stay in bed.

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Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Boost your vitamin D
Lack of daylight can impact the amount of vitamin D we absorb from sunlight. Vitamin D is important for good health so boost your intake by eating foods rich in the sunshine vitamin. Try a breakfast of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon and some freshly squeezed orange juice for a vitamin D packed boost.

Move more
It’s tempting to hibernate when it’s cold outside so consider a challenge to get you out and moving such as walking/running a ‘Marathon in the month.’ Make a visual chart with 26 boxes to represent each mile of the marathon and colour them as you go to help you stay motivated. A marathon in a month is less than a mile each day and it will get you out in to the fresh air and keep you energised. Whatever the weather, wrap up and go anyway.

Eat well
‘Diet’ is one of the most popular used words in January and whilst you may be keen to banish the post-Christmas bloat, be mindful not to restrict calories too much. Losing weight is a question of creating a small gap between the calories we consume and the calories we burn. A gap of 500 calories is enough to create sustainable weight loss. A calorie deficit greater than this will render you hungry and miserable so choose healthy, nutritious food and eat plenty of it.

Try something new
Having a new focus will help the dark days pass quicker. Rope in your friends and sign up to a tap class. Try a cookery lesson with your partner or engage in a spot of pottery painting with your kids. Hit the search engines and look for new experiences in your area. You’ll get so much out of testing yourself and spending time with friends and family.

Most of all remember that If you think January will be glum, it will be. Start each day telling yourself that today will be amazing. Every evening think of three things you have been grateful for during the day. A positive mind will make all the difference and you’ll be shining your way through the darkness.

As featured in Indulgence Magazine

Carry on Christmas

Christmas time for some is less about the rich food, champagne and party wear and more about spending quality time with family and friends, engaging in fun activities and being grateful for the little things. As we hurtle towards 2019 there seems to be more of a focus on health and well-being than ever before so how can we take the essence of a balanced festive season and sustain this throughout the year?

Be more Seven-year-old like

On Christmas Day, when the twister mat is laid out on the carpet or Aunt Dorothy suggests a game of charades, it doesn’t take us long to find the child within. We laugh until our sides ache and think nothing of looking a bit silly in front of loved ones, balancing pringles from our noses and engaging in a game of Pie Face. Yet, when the decorations come down we seem to pack our seven-year-old selves away with them and return to adult-ing. We press pause on our fun side for another year. Maybe this year, keep laughing and show your silly side a little more often.

Cook from scratch

During the festive season many families work together to create a Christmas feast. A sea of colourful veggies, roasted meats and delicious treats adorn tables up and down the country. Food is often cooked from scratch and provided we follow the 80/20 rule and load our plates with 80% veg and lean protein, it’s healthy too. How often do you cook from scratch once the season if through? The lure of convenience foods means our microwaves are pinging as soon as the New Year chimes stop ringing. Make a change and take the essence of creating healthy meals from scratch into 2019, benefitting from the array of fresh produce available all year.

Engage more

We are brilliant at engaging with friends and loved ones over the festive holidays. Connection is so good for the soul and sharing laughs, hugs and stories with those close to us is a perfect way to relax and just be. As soon as the hum drum of the daily routine kicks in we can often forget how good it feels to spend quality time with family. In 2019, aim to create more space in your life to socialise with others, share meals or even simply call those you might not see until the next Christmas season swings by.

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Made with love

There is nothing lovelier than a gift that has been thoughtfully made by somebody close. Putting time and effort into creating a special present for somebody truly shows how much you care and many of us are great at this when it comes to gift giving at Christmas. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either. It may be a homemade batch of fudge, a candle holder or a knitted scarf. Continue this tradition throughout the year for birthdays to continue spreading the love.

Just ‘Be’

We are slaves to the ‘to do’ lists, often dictated by our work schedules and the endless number of tasks we need to get done. At Christmas, even if only for a few days, this can slow down, we switch off from work and we are able to simply ‘be’. There is a lesson here for us all. Most of us are lucky enough to have two days off work each week so carve out an hour or so to just be every week and give your brain a chance to switch off.

Donate

Giving is one of the things in life that is mutually beneficial. The recipient feels great and the giver does too. Win Win! Christmas-time sees many of us donating food to local food banks or time to local charities and this is something that can be continued throughout the year to benefit others and give you a sense of satisfaction.

Walk & Talk

The annual family post-Christmas lunch stroll is a fab opportunity to grab a quiet conversation with loved ones, take in the sights, breathe in the fresh air and burn of the trifle. Making this a regular event, perhaps every weekend is a great way to stay connected, keep fit and notice the changes as the seasons progress.

Article featured in the Mirror and The Daily Express December 11th 2018

Check out my website for details of The Mindset Gym which opens on 1st Jan 2019 here