Tonic for your flagging resolve

IS your resolve to keep that New Year's resolution flagging by now? Features editor Tracey Sparling asks what issues are on our minds, and comes up with a few tips from the experts for if your determination is waning.

By Tracey Sparling

IS your resolve to keep that New Year's resolution flagging by now? Features editor TRACEY SPARLING asks what issues are on our minds, and comes up with a few tips from the experts for if your determination is waning.

DETERMINATION to achieve their New Year resolutions, is driving some Suffolk people to ask for help from the professionals.

Issues like debt, unemployment, restlessness, even how to lose the weight piled on by those Christmas calories, are preying on our minds as we enter February. But at this time of year our determination to succeed with our resolutions to improve life, can start to wane.

Suffolk life coach Christine Whiting is being asked about a variety of issues. The founder of Life Resolutions based in Stowmarket, she said: “It's a reflective time of year but also quite a cathartic time. As 2007 started, people knew they had 365 days ahead of them and whatever their goal, many were thinking 'I'm going to do it this year.'

“My existing clients have new ideas on what they want to focus on, and I am also getting enquiries from people spurred on by their resolutions for the New Year. A common theme at this time of year is that people feel they are stuck in a rut. They may be looking for a job or a new job. Another theme is people wanting to be more self confident and have better self esteem, for which we offer short personal development courses.

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“Of course people are also feeling a bit sluggish and bloated after Christmas so many are looking to be healthier and slim down. We work with a local personal trainer to offer a combined package, addressing the emotional as well as the physical side. Brides in particular are also coming to us at the moment, trying to lose weight for their summer weddings rather than wait until nearer the time.”

She agreed it can be hard to stick to your goals but says life coaching can help: “Today there are constant distractions that often make our goals appear impossible, and it's such a busy time of year. That may prevent us from reaching our targets.

“I am finding that people who thought about calling us this time last year, are finally picking up the phone this month. Although you have to be prepared to put in the hard work and you must want to change your life, a life coach will support you and keep you focused. We explore ways that you can supplement your own skills and abilities with well-established life coaching techniques to let you achieve your best. You agree certain goals, and a review date to check on progress.”

She added: “If you've made that New Year resolution three times already and fear you're not going to achieve it again, it's time to do something different to make it happen now!”

Weblink: www.liferesolutions.co.uk

THE number one New Year's resolution is to lose weight and get fitter.

Yet the average new membership lasts for less than six weeks, showing our resolution fever burns out very quickly.

Suffolk football team the Ipswich Wanderers say the answer lies in the way we approach our resolutions. Ed Nichols, chairman of Ipswich Wanderers said: "With a positive and practical approach, resolutions should be achievable and everyone has the potential to be fitter, more attractive and live an altogether healthier life.”

The team has put together this seven-step programme, showing you how to avoid the pitfalls - so you should end this year fitter than you started.

Step 1 - BE GOAL FOCUSED. Decide to be positive and set yourself a realistic goal. This could be to lose a stone in weight or be able to run a mile. Give yourself a sensible time frame and set yourself mini-goals such as walking for 30 minutes everyday.

Step 2 - KEEP A FOOD DIARY. One of the easiest ways to reduce your calorie intake is to become more aware of what you're currently eating. Record your food in take for a week - you may be surprised by how much you eat - and add up the calories. The recommended daily calorie intake based on GDA guidelines is 2,000 calories for an adult.

Step 3 - REDUCE YOUR CALORIES. All diets are based on reducing calories so your aim should be to cut back on 500 calories a day. Stock up on plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables as these are low in calories and very good for you.

Step 4 - DON'T SKIP BREAKFAST! A sensible eating plan starts with breakfast. Try a bowl of porridge topped with chopped fresh fruit for a tasty breakfast that will give you bags of energy. This is a favourite with our players and helps to keep them on top form.

Step 5 - MAKE EXERCISE A WAY OF LIFE. You don't need to go to the gym to exercise. It's just as easy to exercise as home and less expensive. Invest

in a good track suit, a football, skipping rope and exercise mat. Get the family involved by going for a long walk at the weekend, or try skipping for 5-10 minutes everyday. Combine this with some mat work such as sit-ups and press-ups and you're getting there! Weblink: www. Englandstore.thefa.com

Step 6 - DRINK WATER. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times and make sure you drink at least eight glasses a day. If you do, you will be

surprised at how much better your skin looks and you're far less likely to

suffer from headaches.

Step 7 - GIVE IT A CHANCE TO WORK. Have patience. Stay engaged with your goals and if you have a bad day then look forward to a good day. It's much better to anticipate lapses in willpower and compensate for them with

strategies. For example, learning more about nutrition can help you diet

more than willpower alone. And remember you're making progress before you can see it!

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