Research shows that 80% of us give up on our resolutions by Valentine’s Day.
But you don’t need to make mammoth overhauls to upgrade your health, fitness, diet and emotional wellbeing.
Try these small, smart tweaks for starters:
Eat within a 12-hour window
“Even if you don’t change WHAT you eat, just changing WHEN you eat can make a huge difference to your health,” says Jules Anderson, holistic health coach at feelglorious.com.
“Our body clocks operate to a daily 24-hour cycle so, at night, while our bodies are resting, a cascade of repair and regeneration goes on.
“If we don’t give our bodies enough time to do this, then waste products can remain in our systems, causing inflammation and, ultimately, diseases such as cancer.
“Scientific research suggests leaving at least a 12-hour window to allow for this. So if you eat breakfast at 8am, don’t eat after 8pm.”
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Turbo-charge your cooking
Keep turmeric next to your salt and pepper, and get into the habit of adding it to whatever you’re cooking, advises Suzy Glaskie, founder of Peppermint Wellness.
She says: “Turmeric is one of the most anti-inflammatory substances on the planet and has been shown to help protect you from a host of health conditions.”
Pop a snake plant (aka mother-in-law’s tongue) on your bedside table
“They look good, are pretty indestructible and provide a psychological boost,” says Suzy. “NASA research has also shown they are highly effective at cleansing the air in your home of toxic chemicals.”
Pop a plant on your bedside table
“Cravings last about 15 minutes,” says Suzy. “When you feel one taking hold, set the timer on your phone for 7.5 minutes and go for a walk. When the timer beeps, turn back and walk back home.”
Listen to music while you work out
This has been shown to improve performance, increase motivation, and reduce distraction. Make a playlist of songs with 100 beats a minute, such as Sweet Home Alabama.
Eat something green every day
“Green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage and bok choy are packed full of nutrients to provide you with essential B vitamins, and vitamins D and K,” says clinical nutritionist Beth Morris.
“They also provide minerals such as calcium and iron, fibre, carotenoids and antioxidants.”
Try memorising dates and info (Image: Getty Images)
Trust your brain, not your phone
Memorise calendar dates, directions, phone numbers and instructions – it cuts your risk of developing dementia by 33%.
Add short bursts of activity
It’s the oldest quick fitness fix in the book. Any activity is good activity.
Researchers from Canada’s McMaster University found that 20-second bursts of high-intensity stair climbing can make a difference to cardiorespiratory fitness.
Walk outside before breakfast
There are three benefits to this, explains Jules. “Before eating, your body uses stored body fat for energy so you’ll burn fat. Secondly, being in daylight first thing in the morning will boost your mood, fire up your brain cells and help you sleep better.
“Finally, in winter, the cold air stimulates your fat cells, turning the less healthy white fat (the more flabby fat that stores toxins) into brown fat (which is the good fat we need for energy and keeping warm).”
Differentiate between a snack and a treat
…advises nutritionist Fiona Hunter, who says: “A healthy snack should provide something other than just calories – so some protein, fibre, vitamins or minerals. Nuts of all varieties are a great choice, as are yoghurt, fruit or oatcakes.”
Practise the 2/30 rule
The more TV you watch, the less physical activity you’re getting, increasing your odds of being overweight and getting type 2 diabetes. A study of around 9,000 people found that those who watched more than two hours TV a day drank more sugary drinks and ate more high-calorie, processed snacks.
Limit TV to two hours a day – and exercise for 30 minutes.
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Struggle to drink enough water? Use a permanent marker and divide a clear water bottle into 200ml sections and drink one section every hour. You’ll reach the magic eight glasses by dinner time.
Take a mate
If you exercise with a friend, you are more likely to exercise harder and for longer. Picking a partner who can beat you, according to a study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise, will spur you on to better your performance by up to 20%.