As we are approaching the end of the year, it is a great time to brainstorm the many positive outcomes that we are thankful for. You may be thankful for a healthy year, for new friends in your life, or for re-connecting with some old ones, having the ability to spend time with your family. We are lucky in so many ways and we often become caught up and forget.

Many people like to make new year resolutions, goals for the up coming year. However, often the goals we set can be unrealistic and hard to achieve. If you want to create positive change in your life there is no time like the present. Do not wait for the new year. A start time in the future will not make you achieve the goals any more than it will if you began today. Have the strength now, why risk scheduled failure in the new year.

A common health change people aim for is to lose weight, so they join a gym. They attend the gym with great enthusiasm for the first month or two, then spend the rest of the year paying for a gym membership they barely use. This often leads to a feeling of guilt for not attending. You do not have to go to a gym to lose weight. If we maintain a balanced lifestyle, we can achieve great things. Be aware as many of us over indulge during the Christmas period. If you put weight on over the Christmas break, you may start the year in a negative light, on the back foot so to speak. Why put off something that can be actioned today?

A balanced lifestyle is one where we are able to maintain well-being through healthy living. What we consume has a big impact on the way we feel. Processed foods and those high in sugar are things we should try to avoid. Someone once told me, “If your great grandparents would not be able to recognise the food, it probably isn’t good for you.” Another way of looking at this is to simply decrease the amount of pre-packaged foods in your life. This will decrease the amount of preservatives you eat.

As many of you already know, I love growing my own vegetables. I enjoy this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it means I know exactly what has, or in my case has not, been sprayed on my food. Secondly, it gives us and our children a better understanding of seasonal produce. Food that is in season not only tastes better, but is also much cheaper and locally grown if purchasing. Thirdly, it gets us outside and gives us a sense of achievement when we are able to harvest the first tomato for the year.

Body strength, fitness and flexibility is also very important in a healthy lifestyle. While lifting weights and running on a treadmill might be enjoyable for some, I, like many others, most certainly do not enjoy it. There are many other things you can do without spending money to maintain physical fitness. You need to find something you enjoy and use every opportunity to be active. Walking is one of the easiest things we have available to us. If walking around the block is not appealing, maybe a hike in the Belair National Park among the wildlife might be better for you. If you are a music lover, put on some tunes and dance around the house, turn the lights off if you have to. No one can see you, you can be as creative as you wish.

If you want to lift weights but don’t own any, I am sure you have a couple of cans in your pantry or empty milk bottles for varying weight (you can fill them with water to your desired weight). Repetition is the key. If your kids have a trampoline, have a bounce on that, I’m sure they will enjoy seeing you increasing your heart rate on something they love to use. If you have a more traditional view on how to get fit, squats, push-ups, lunges, sit-ups and triceps dips can all be done at home. Ask Paije if you are unsure if you are doing them correctly.

When setting goals or actioning them, mental health is also important. We need strength to create positive change. If we are over stressed or busy focusing on everything else, we will not create time for self improvement. Time out to reflect or meditate is important. You maybe able to do this while doing something you love. If you enjoy the creative arts as I do, make something. You will not only find it therapeutic but you will also feel like you have achieved something. Others may find structured meditative activities such as yoga can be useful, and will also be beneficial for your strength and flexibility. Goals can be excellent if used in the correct context. You need to set yourself up to achieve not to fail. Here’s to a commitment to positive change today. Lets all be the better version of us.

Remember the time for change is now!