Written by: Gillian Fraser
Article source: JOY! Magazine

The start of a new year offers a great opportunity to embark on a journey of renewal, inspiration, and encouragement to introduce positive changes into our lives. Globally, January witnesses a surge in new gym memberships each year. However, these fitness aspirations often prove short-lived and elusive. If you’re anything like me, you aren’t the most fond of exercising. I realise the benefits, yet summoning the motivation to put pedal to the metal – figuratively speaking – can be a challenge. So, I’m here today to encourage you to prioritise your health by setting manageable and realistic goals.

Creating habits
Begin with small steps! The crucial key is to cultivate habits that will endure even when motivation wanes. You don’t need a gym membership, nor do you need to embark on ambitious running or cycling routines. Initiate modest practices, such as daily stretches and a brief walk. Schedule these activities at the start of your day since, let’s face it, you won’t magically “find” 30 minutes of free time. Remember, in all things, planning leads to action!

Exercise isn’t everything
Our ancestors thrived without the luxury of local gyms, reminding us that daily activity need not be confined to formal exercise. It’s the simple, routine movements that matter. In every circumstance, resist the temptation to take the easy way out. For instance, when you reach a store, deliberately choose a parking spot a bit further away, affording yourself the opportunity to walk those extra few steps.

Hydration is key!
Don’t underestimate the impact of drinking enough water. Water is critically important in our daily lives – yet most of us are severely dehydrated, and we don’t even realise it. Take the first step by investing in a water bottle and consistently using it. Set regular reminders on your phone or watch to prompt you to drink more water. The benefits may surprise you. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty; make drinking water a habit.

Be conscious of what you consume
When I was a young child, I was diagnosed with type one diabetes, a daily challenge that has become a source of invaluable lessons. Living with this condition has made me acutely aware of everything I consume, which I view as a privilege. Many people are oblivious to the quantity and nature of their daily intake. While counting carbs is not my favourite pastime, it has highlighted the hidden sugars in almost everything we consume, even supposedly “sugar-free” products. It is harrowing, but I urge and encourage you, be aware of what you consume. Check the sugar/carbohydrate content in things. The impact on your body is more significant than you might think.

Change your life today, just a little bit
These are just a few light-hearted tips to help you care for your temple. I want to encourage you to not take life so seriously, to not put so much pressure on yourself, but also to be mindful and aware of your actions (and your inactions). Knowledge and habits are the true catalysts for long-term change. I hope that this encourages you to change your life, just a little bit, today.

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Date published: 12/01/2024
Feature image: Image for illustrative purposes only. Artwork adapted from www.freepik.com

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