TortoiseNot sure about you but I gave up on New Year Resolutions a while ago as they usually only seem to last for a few weeks before they are completely forgotten about. That’s not to say I have never had a successful resolution!

The problem is that it is too easy to fall off the bandwagon and just think, “Oh well, there’s always next year!”

To really make a go of things the minute you catch yourself slipping off the path you need to address it and try and right the problem before you go back to square one. At least that way you are making a steady progression in the right direction.

My Successful Resolution

I used to smoke. Probably around 10 cigarettes a day, maybe more. I gave up smoking on New Years Day 2006. Just stopped dead without any patches or other help. As far I remember I only had a couple of cigarettes that whole year and because I hadn’t had any in so long I didn’t enjoy them. The habit was broken! I think I tried one more in May 2007, while on my Stag Do up in Edinburgh, and couldn’t even finish it and that was the last time I touched one…

So I feel comfortable in saying that I gave up smoking as a New Year Resolution back in 2006, five years ago!

In a strange way I was lucky as I really wanted to give up. Without that passion it would have been a lot harder. Then there was the added bonus that smoking was banned in pubs and so the temptations were reduced even further. Nowadays I don’t really go out to the pub very often anyway but that’s a different story…

I had attempted to give up many times before and failed miserably. I had tried patches and gum both of which helped me to stop for a few months at most. This time though I really set my mind to it and focused on the goal. In a way I cheated… I used the passing of my Mum as my incentive. Each time the temptation arose I had a strong thought of her and I used that to help me overcome the craving…

What I am trying to get at is that just deciding one day that you are going to get fit, lose weight or even give up smoking is not going to make it happen. You really need an incentive and passion to make it happen so suddenly…

I like the idea of planning for the whole year instead. If things don’t immediately go to plan then if you can and should keep trying and you have a better chance of reaching your goal. There is nothing magical about the 31st December after all. So if you start off the year with a plan and you fall off the bandwagon after a few weeks that doesn’t have to be the end of the goal. Pick yourself and try again as soon as you can and try again rather than waiting a whole year. Hopefully by the next New Year one of the attempts will become a habit…

This Year

I plan on having a bit of a health kick this year. After all the Christmas chocolates that means getting my diet, by that I mean what I eat not calorie counting, back on track. There will also, hopefully, be a noted improvement in the amount of exercise I undertake.

One thing Shirley and myself are trying at the moment is Organic Fruit & Vegetables from Riverford Organic Veg. The main farm is based in Devon but they have sister farms around the country. They deliver your selected box(es) of fruit and/or veg weekly and even offer some great organic meat boxes. When I first saw the prices I thought they were a bit steep but that was because I was used to picking up a lot of individual items in a supermarket which don’t seem to cost very much on their own. When you add up everything in the box it works out pretty good value though.

It takes a while to get used to the fact that they choose what veg to give you and you then have to plan your meals around what’s in the box. The quality is great though and the taste of some things, like carrots for example, is completely different to what you get from a supermarket, even their organic stuff.

There have been a couple of items that we were not even sure what they were but their website contains recipes and you usually get a leaflet with a few on as well which points you in the right direction. The items we didn’t recognise were celeriac and the stalks from a beetroot, both of which turned out to be quite nice once we found recipe for them…

It really encourages us to use more veg in our meals and I must say that I am really taking more time to appreciate the meals that we are preparing.

Next job is to get my bike out of the garage and get out and about a bit… What about you, have you got any hints or tips on improving health levels?

Image: Pete O’Shea

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