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The New Year!

Updated: Feb 14

Welcome to 2023! I hope you had a fantastic festive break. I certainly did.

Christmas and New Year are a time of celebration and indulgence. We treat ourselves to plenty of great food and drink, we relax in our homes watching more television than usual, and we treat each other to gifts. For many people, there is the obvious religious significance of Christmas (even atheists like myself enjoy Christmas carols and school nativities). I don't believe that Christmas and New Year are a time to be overly concerned with diet and exercise. There is a time and place for rest and recuperation, and it is important to have fun with friends and family. I still try to exercise, and I don't stuff myself beyond what's comfortable. Besides, how much damage can you really do in 10 days? When January comes, and we return to our routines, it doesn't require much discipline to shed the extra kilogram before the end of January.

We look forward to Christmas in late autumn and early winter, when the nights get longer and the temperature drops. It's no coincidence that Christmas falls close to the shortest day. The festivities make the darker months more bearable. But what happens when it's all over? January is a notoriously miserable month for many. It's still cold and dark, and there's nothing much to look forward to. Here are three quick tips for making the most of the New Year.

  1. Have something to look forward to. You can't spend your entire life jumping from one event to another, never really enjoying 'the moment'. However, it can help to have big events to look forward to (like we do with Christmas). What about booking an Easter holiday? Or making plans to celebrate Easter? Like Christmas, you don't have to be religious, but you can still enjoy a day of great food, good films, and the company of family and friends (and chocolate).

  2. Set a realistic New Year's resolution. The Christmas break allows us time to reflect on our lifestyles, so why not make a resolution? It's vitally important to set yourself realistic goals (err on the side of too easy, because then you'll be more likely to achieve your goal). I much prefer 'process goals' to 'outcome goals' because quite often in life, we work hard and do our best, but things don't really work out because of factors out of our control. So, rather than say "I'm going to run a 20 minute 5k", say "I'm going to run 3 times per week, every week, for the next 3 months". This way, you will improve your running, and you'll have every reason to be proud of yourself, even if you don't quite get under 20 minutes at a Park Run. As a bonus, you'll develop a realistic idea of what you can achieve.

  3. Be thankful. This sounds a bit like the cheesy guff that a lifestyle coach would come out with, but I think it's important. It's easy to rush through life not noticing the small things that bring happiness. Take the time to appreciate a sunny day, encounters with wildlife, a hot shower, a good book, time spent with your family, a nice meal, or even just a warm bed. There are millions of people in the world in a worse position than most of us.

In only a couple of months, flowers will start appearing, the days will become warmer and longer, and we'll have the summer to look forward to. My family and I will soon be having to relocate to East Devon, somewhere between Exeter, Sidmouth, and Honiton. So let's approach the New Year positively.

Oh, and this is my magnificent New Year's Day chicken and leek pie. Boom.


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