New Year = New You (Happy, Sober + in Charge of Your Life)

Will 2013 be the year that finally sees you getting fit, thin, sober and more organized? Or was 2012 supposed to be the same, but somewhere in mid-January you kinda lost your motivation and slipped back into old habits?

Don’t let 2013 be another year of wasted opportunity!

Follow these guidelines and make next year your best yet! Get that killer body! While many things you desire in life depend upon external factors, what goes into your body and how well it works are basically matters that are in YOUR hands. Do not allow any negative associations with physical exercise that may have occurred in your younger years to impact what you do with your body TODAY.

You may have been the loser who got picked last for the team, you may have been the overweight kid who everyone laughed at when you ran for the school bus, but as an adult, you are fully capable of mastering any sport you wish. The human body is capable of amazing accomplishments, at any age – if you are prepared to start at the beginning and stay in it for the long haul, YOU WILL SUCCEED.

Forget the past – make it about today.

Nobody is going to take the cookies away from you. The pizza police aren’t going to show up next time you pick up the phone to place an order for a large pepperoni. The only person who can change those habits is YOU.

Getting that killer body is down to two factors, and nothing else: (1) eat more healthily and (2) move more. Each time you swap a cookie for a banana, or you force yourself to go for a run, imagine you are colouring in a block on a sheet of squared paper.

Every time you miss a run, or reach for the chips instead of a handful of raisins, erase a coloured block; you are effectively undoing your good work.

Each little square counts. Lots of little squares all colored in = KILLER BODY.

There’s only you who can color in the entire sheet, but the good news is you can do it without depending on anything, or anyone, else – it’s all down to YOU. Give up the booze! If you drink enough to worry about the effect that it’s having on your health and personal life, then it might be time to ditch the booze.

In order to be teetotally happy, you need to accept that drinking alcohol is not a pleasure that you’ll be denying yourself, but the thing that’s stopping you from fulfilling your potential.

Don’t expect miracles in a matter of days. If you've regularly binged on booze for several years, then living without it in the first instance will feel strange. You'll think about it a lot, you won’t know how to relax and you’ll maybe imagine that your life is suddenly boring without it.

It's normal – be prepared for all of those feelings.

Before you ditch the drink, set yourself up for success by getting a replacement activity ready to FILL THE GAP. It might be running, or learning to speak Italian or painting – it doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure that you aren’t sat alone at 8 pm on a Friday night with just a glass of water and your own boredom for company.

Be prepared to MAKE THE CHANGE.

After your body has become used to the physical state of living without alcohol, the only cravings you will experience will be mental. The little habits that you have developed over the years will need rewiring, recalibrating. A mental reshuffle needs to happen. Allow time for this and treat it as an exciting experiment.

Who are you going to be without booze numbing your every thought and emotion? What amazing adventures might life lead you on, now that you aren’t sat in a bar every night getting hammered with a load of drunken bores? Who knows?! This is an exciting time – don’t mar it with sadness. Embrace the change; look forward to what might be. Take Charge of YOUR Life! Everyone needs to take stock of their life at regular intervals. If we didn’t, we would just muddle along on a plateau of sameness: same mistakes, no personal growth, no new goals, no hope.

New Year is as good a time as any to write down all the things that you aren’t happy with and setting about how to address them.

Two years ago, my list looked like this: drink too much, finances out of hand, no meaningful relationship, boring job.

I only actively tackled the first one of those, and the consequences of that life-changing decision led to all the others steadily resolving themselves. You may find that, despite having a long list of issues in your life that you feel need dealing with, you might only need to get ONE of them under control and the rest will automatically get sorted out as a result.

For each point on your list, write a list of associated words beneath it. For drink too much, I wrote the following below it: mood swings, depression, fatigue, failure to meet running goals, bad relationships, overweight, inability to be the best parent I can be, and so on.

Some of the other things on my list had comparatively few associated words, and therefore it became apparent that drinking was my big issue.

So I got on top of that one first.

Nobody will do it for you, and nothing will change unless YOU CHANGE YOUR WAYS. I would not have suddenly found myself with boundless energy, a happy, sunny nature and the drive and motivation to go for a 10k run most days, if I had continued to drink - those things, which I have now, came about because I ditched alcohol. 2013 is a blank page, 365 days going free for you to use to your advantage. If you don’t set about making the little changes, you will remain the same as you are now, right through the year. Leopards do not change their spots, but in 2013, you could try being A DIFFERENT ANIMAL.

Change from within, and the results could be nothing short of AMAZING!

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