Overcome obstacles to keep your New Year’s resolutions – climbing back on the wagon

Source: motivationalmemo.com

So, did you start yesterday all clean and fresh and eager to get fit, get healthy, and generally take control of your life?

Are you still on a high or is the motivation already starting to wane?

If it’s the former, well done you! Small successes spur us on to achieve bigger and better things.

If it’s the latter, fear not. All is not lost! I once read that one chocolate isn’t the end of a diet. I think that’s so true. Just because you slip up doesn’t mean that you’ve failed. It just means you’ve hit a dip in the road and it’s up to you whether you give up, curl up, and never try to see what’s over the horizon, or you crawl right out of it and keep on truckin’.

Source: freedigitalphotos.net (ID-100148181)

Let’s say you decided to give up smoking, but succumbed to one cigarette in a moment of weakness. Does that mean you failed? No, it means you’re human. Instead of telling yourself that you’re a smoker, understand that you’re a non-smoker who just had a tiny setback before moving on.

I don’t drink alcohol. Never have. But, do you think that if I’d had one drink, that I’d suddenly be classed as a drinker? Of course not! One drink wouldn’t make me a drinker, the same as one cigarette doesn’t make you a smoker. Yes, it could certainly be the start of a slippery slope, but an isolated incident doesn’t define you.

One bar of chocolate doesn’t make you unhealthy, and one missed workout doesn’t make you lazy or unfit.

But you have to be careful. One incident can lead to another, and another, and… pretty soon they’re no longer “isolated incidents”; they’re a habit. Once you smoke that first cigarette, it’s so much easier to smoke another. Once you eat that first piece of chocolate, it’s so much easier to eat another.

But you don’t have to! Recognise that you have a choice. Yes, it can be hard to recover from a slip-up. But “hard” doesn’t mean impossible. “Hard” doesn’t mean failure.


Source: thepostivepage.com


Of course, the best way to stick with your resolutions is to maintain control 100% of the time. After all, you certainly have control over that first stumble. It’s much easier just to not reach for that first piece of chocolate than it is not to reach for that second piece.

As Mathew Perry, self-confessed alcoholic, recently said, once he has one drink, he can’t stop having another and another. So how does he stay sober? He realizes that, while he may not have control over subsequent drinks, he has control over whether or not he allows himself that first one.

It’s much easier to say no all the time than it is to say no after having said yes once.

But, again, it’s not impossible. Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean you can never get back on. Obviously once you’re on, you should try to stay on, but a little tumble doesn’t mean you’ve been left behind forever. Dust yourself off, straighten yourself up, and get yourself back in the driving seat. (Maybe you just need to re-define or re-evaluate your goals. Click here to read about how to achieve almost anything you set your mind to.)

Do you seriously think one little slip-up makes you a failure? If Usain Bolt didn’t win one race, do you think that would detract from his success? Do you think it would mean he’d never win a never race again?

Do you think that one blow-out suddenly means you have to scrap the budget? Does one lie-in mean you’ll never get up early again? Does one day of neglecting the housework mean you’ll never have a clean dish again?


Confession corner: I wasn’t super productive yesterday. I normally start a new year on a buzz of adrenaline, and the day is spent cleaning, de-cluttering, eating healthy, and doing some form of exercise. This year? Not so much. I got a bit of cleaning done, but that was pretty much it. I just wasn’t feeling it. (Plus, having a baby to look after is pretty much a ‘get out of jail free’ card, don’t you think? 😉 )

But I’m not beating myself up about it. I know it doesn’t mean that the rest of my year is going to be unproductive. In fact, I’m already starting to get back on track today.

Hang in there! You’re doing great. Even just WANTING to change is commendable. Recognising that a certain thing hasn’t been working for you and identifying what you need to do to change it is the first step.

Taking one or two steps back doesn’t mean you’ll never complete your journey. Keep marching on!

So tell me, how are you going to make 2014 the best year yet?


Clean your living room… AND your lungs!

I’ve read a lot about the benefits of keeping a clean and tidy home, such as:

  • Less stress (particularly when visitors drop by unannounced or with very little notice);

  • A sense of calm and order;

  • Less time wasted looking for lost items;

  • Less money spent replacing lost/broken items, or buying something only to discover you already have one tucked away somewhere;

  • Fewer accidents from tripping over clutter, etc.;…

Yes, the benefits are many, but here’s one you may not have even thought of:

Your health!

Seen as a picture tells a thousand words, here’s what I discovered over the weekend while cleaning the floors:

Under couch

Not a pretty sight! I regularly sweep, mop, and vacuum the floors in our home, but I never move furniture to do so. But, being on maternity leave and, thus, having a lot of time on my hands, I decided to have a go at cleaning under the couch. And, as you can see, it was long overdue!

I had absolutely no idea it was so bad, particularly when the rest of my floors are usually quite clean. But what horrified me more than the sight itself was the fact that I’ve clearly been breathing in all that dust and dirt over the past… oh, YEAR AND A HALF. As someone who has suffered several lung infections, I can tell you that the idea of having clean, breathable air never strays far from my mind, so this really was a big wake-up call for me.

Added to that is the fact that I’m now nine months pregnant. The idea of my baby breathing in all that nastiness, especially seen as babies spend so much time a lot closer to the ground than us adults… Well, let’s just say I won’t be leaving it so long before cleaning under the couch again.

With asthma and other respiratory problems on the rise, this is one area you can’t afford to let slip. So, for the sake of your health, and the health of your family, move one piece of furniture today (get help if it’s heavy) and get rid of all that lung-clogging grime. And, while you’re at it, plan a short trip to an unpolluted area where you can spend time getting some exercise, enjoying the wonders of nature, and taking some deep breaths of fresh air.



Star tip! How To Increase Your Water Intake

So we all know how important it is to keep our bodies hydrated – it helps our organs function better, it clears up our skin and, depending on who you talk to, it flushes out toxins too. And, with me being six months’ pregnant, I find it more important than ever to drink water to keep my body and my baby happy and healthy. In short, the benefits are numerous. And the downsides? Well, you’ll initially need to use the loo a little more frequently, but don’t worry, your body will quickly adapt.

If you don’t drink your recommended eight glasses a day, fear not! It can be done. As with everything related to your diet, if you’re in any way unsure, it’s always best to check with a medical professional first. And, as with anything you’re trying to turn into a habit, it’s best to start small and gradually increase your efforts. If you currently don’t drink any water, or very little, jumping straight in with eight glasses a day is probably not a recipe for lasting success. Start with just one glass. Drink one glass a day for a week, until you get used to it (and your bladder adapts), and then increase it to two. If you increase by just one glass each week, you’ll be hitting the recommended amount in just eight short weeks.

Ideally, you should drink your first glass of water first thing in the morning, as your body hasn’t been hydrated in several hours and may even have lost a lot of fluid during the night through sweating. (Eating a healthy breakfast is also important to re-fuel your body. But that’s for another post.)

But if you’re starting from scratch, and you don’t feel that drinking a full glass first thing in the morning is right for you, then consider just a quick mouthful, followed by a few more mouthfuls during the day. I hated water when I first started drinking it, so I used to drink a small amount right before each meal. That way I was still drinking it, but quickly following it with something I actually enjoyed.

So you’ve started increasing your H2O intake, but how do you keep it up? For me, I found it easy to forget to drink a glass, or I lost track of how many I’d already downed. What you need here is a bottle! Obviously, go for a reusable one over a disposable plastic one. Here’s mine:


Reusable bottles can be picked up quite cheaply, and I got this for free when I bought our water filter! The size you buy is entirely up to you. Eight glasses is approximately two litres but, personally, I would find a two-litre bottle far too intimidating if I filled it first thing in the morning and knew I had to make my way through the entire thing. My bottle holds 500mls, so I need to drink four a day, but I find it much more manageable. Work out what’s best for you.

But, even with all that, it can still be easy to forget it – you get caught up in other things and before you know it you’re heading for bed. So here’s what to do:


ImageLeave your bottle in a place you pass frequently, and drink a quick mouthful every time you pass.


For me, that spot is the sofa in the sitting room. The corner closest to the door, to be precise. I spend a lot of my time at home in that room – the TV is there, my laptop is there, my diaries and notepads are there. But I also pass in and out quite often, between going to the bathroom, going to the kitchen to make dinner or a snack, answering the door, etc. Every time I leave or enter the sitting room, I drink a mouthful. If the bottle is close to empty the next time I go to take a mouthful, I drain it and immediately bring it to the kitchen to re-fill it.

Maybe you work at a desk. Leave your bottle on the side of your desk and take a mouthful every time you get up to do something. Maybe you’re in and out of your car all day. Leave the bottle in your car and take a mouthful every time you hop out. (Always start the day with a fresh bottle, though – don’t leave it sitting out overnight.)

So there you have it. Start small, and gradually increase. Don’t forget to give your bottle a good clean out every now and again to prevent any nasty build-up. After all, there’s no point drinking lovely clean water (it is clean, yes?) if you’re putting it into a unclean bottle. And, just because I’m feeling generous, here’s another tip:


ImageUse a cocktail stick to clean the rings on the top of the bottle and inside the cap. Just run it right along the edge, the whole way around.


One final word: your water intake will obviously depend on your lifestyle. Although eight glasses is what’s recommended for the average person, if you’re out there running several miles a day or doing a lot of exercise, you’re going to need more water than someone who sits at a desk all day. Use eight glasses as a target, but definitely add an extra glass for each few minutes of exercise you do.

And that’s it! That’s how I manage to drink two litres of water a day. (Don’t forget that your pets also need to keep hydrated, so leave fresh water out for them too.)

If you have any other tips or tricks, I’d love to hear them. Post them in the comments section below.