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New year, new you

A new year lies ahead and it’s time for a fresh start. Experts give advice on how to make changes… and stick to them

STOP SMOKING

Morning runs, afternoon power walks and bicycle rides are fast becoming standard fare for hotels in urban centres, with the cityscape dictating the route. Credit: sxc.hu

Peter Ucko, director of the National Council Against Smoking

This is the perfect time to stop smoking.

a. Drink a glass of water to wash the nicotine out.

b. Deep breathing. Take a deep breath, hold it for three seconds, and breathe out slowly. Do it five times to help you relax.

c. Distract yourself – keep busy to keep your mind off cigarettes.

d. Delay. An urge to smoke only lasts one to five minutes and then disappears. If the urge is not too strong, you can just wait for it to fade away.

With every day, month and year of being free of tobacco, your risk of serious diseases reduces, until the risk is almost the same as that of a non-smoker.

If this is your first time stopping smoking or the seventh, it doesn't matter. What matters is your willingness to choose a better life by investing in your health for 2013.

EMBRACE CHANGE

Dr Akashni Maharaj, director, Bellair Psychology Centre

Many of us make resolutions and by the second week of January, we are back to old habits.

We are creatures of comfort, and change is what we fear the most, so we do what we do best – we choose to stay in the comfort zone and revert to old patterns and old habits.

The only way to change this behaviour pattern is to fight the inner battle with positive affirmations and affirmations of worth: “I am worthwhile, I deserve the best, I can change, I have the ability to follow through and I can do it.”

Looking back on the past year, ask yourself:

Choose five things you’d like to change about yourself, like losing weight, quitting smoking, exercise, budgeting better, spending more time with the kids, spending less money, and so on.

Put them in order of preference/importance and essential need.

Once you have done that, choose the three main ones and resolve to take those on.

The other two you keep for “later”.

The first step is to see whether you can fit it into your life.

Does your schedule allow for additions such as this and would you be able to commit to it for at least the first three months? If you can answer that as a yes, then you have your first resolution set up in you plan of action for 2013.

The biggest mistake people make is taking on too many things to do at one time and not researching the viability of it all.

GET MOVING

Francisca Venter, a product manager at Virgin Active

The number one reason people give for not exercising is lack of time, but you need to schedule 30 minutes a day in your diary, like any other appointment.

Any activity is beneficial - even housework and gardening.

The main thing is to do movement that works up a light sweat for 30 minutes.

Don’t do too much too soon.

If you haven’t exercised in years, start gently and build up.

Ensure you’re eating properly, because good nutrition in conjunction with exercise goes a long way.

Reward yourself after every goal reached, which will give you something to look forward to.

SIMPLIFY

Isabelle de Grandpre, professional organiser and CEO of Neat Freak

See www.neatfreak.co.za or call 082 673 9740. - Daily News

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