Feels good, doesn’t it? (Source: iStock.)
With a brand new year just around the corner, the time is ripe for thinking about how you can improve on the year that was. Don’t worry, we’re not talking about quitting sugar or using coconut oil on your hair/food/skin/children.
No, what we really need to quit in 2016 are the unhelpful mind tricks that we play on ourselves.
You are enough. Yes, you. You are real, authentic and flawed and we wouldn’t want you any other way. Stop scrolling through your Instagram feed comparing your body and lifestyle to the hyper-filtered, uber-edited versions presented by celebrities and social media stars.
Watch former Instagram It-Girl, Essena O’Neill, explain why social media isn’t ‘real’. (Post continues after video.)
Every time you see that friend who you think is more successful/happy/skinny/curvy/whatever than you, remind yourself of one thing you’re grateful for in your own life. Even your most “perfect” friends have their own private struggles, too.
In our culture of social media “likes” and reality TV evictions, it sometimes feels like we’re encouraged to judge others.
When I'm thinking nasty thoughts about someone else, the scrutiny and criticism that I apply to myself is ten times worse. And overall, I feel better about life when my mind is filled with good thoughts and intentions, rather than cruel ones. Think of it as a spring clean - for your brain.
Excuses are my best friend and worst enemy, especially when I'm trying to health-ify my life. I have an excuse for everything. I won't exercise because it's raining. I'll choose a processed snack over a healthy one, because "I might get indigestion".
I'll procrastinate about getting up and stretching, because I just have to find out whether Kit Harrington (AKA Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) has cut his hair or not. It's important! But for 2016, I want to become more focused on problem-solving, rather than excuse-making.
How about jumping along to a YouTube aerobics video, when rain prevents an outdoors jog? And I could ease slowly into a more veggies-based diet, rather than eating a whole box of spinach leaves in one go and getting diarrhoea.
By holding onto items from your past, or storing possessions that might be "used in the future", you're actually holding yourself back from fully enjoying your life as it is now. This is particularly the case with hoarding clothes.
This year, I finally donated my pre-baby wardrobe, because I felt those size 8 dresses were making me feel bad about my post-baby size 12 figure every time I opened my cupboard doors.
The same could be said for a too-small blouse you may have purchased on sale, with the idea of "slimming into" it. If you need to lose weight to fit into a new thing, you're doing your shopping wrong. The same goes for buying bras that are purposely big, for wearing after a boob job. Live in your body today and not for the past or future.
Quitting an entire food group, or undertaking a grueling, all-consuming exercise regime that leaves you with no personal life, screams one thing: "IMMINENT CHOCOLATE AND NETFLIX BENDER APPROACHING".
6. Health advice from celebrities.
It seemed like 2015 was the year of bogus health advice from unqualified celebrities. There was the Olympic swimmer who recommended cutting out dairy products to remedy a cough. There was the supermodel who obsessively tested the alkalinity of her urine. Then there was the reality TV star who said that pubic hair wasn't "clean".
Before you make drastic - or inconvenient - changes to your own lifestyle, ask yourself: does this person have a medical qualification?
7. Technology fads.
I have a confession: I often believe that a new, shiny piece of technology is all I need to transform from a sofa slob to a lean, mean, fitness machine.
So whether it's a wearable fitness tracker, a new app on my phone or a juicer, anew purchase will always make me feel that much closer to becoming healthier. But here's the thing: there's more to health and fitness than owning a new piece of technology. That technology should be used as a tool, rather than a quick-fix solution. Don't be fooled: a visit to your latest sports or tech store is not the same as maintaining a healthier a lifestyle over a longer period of time.
Make sure you use your fitness tracker wisely. (Post continues after gallery.)
I'm always sorry for something, but do I really need to be? The first word that I often say in a sentence is "sorry".
I didn't realise this was such a problem until my toddler started saying "sorry" all the time. She'd learnt it from me. I've tried switching to explaining, rather than apologising. There's no need to feel bad for everything, particularly time taken for yourself.
What do you want to quit in 2016?