The Cole­man col­umn

The jour­ney to a bet­ter ver­sion of you is best be­gun when your head is in the right place – and be nice to your­self on the way, writes Rowan

Hertfordshire Life - - CONTENTS - rowan.cole­[email protected]­ford­shire­ @rowan­cole­man

Ah Jan­uary, the sen­si­ble month. The month of ac­count­abil­ity and ac­count­ing for those of us who are self em­ployed and badly or­gan­ised. And it’s of­ten the month for giv­ing things up and turn­ing a new page. If I had a pound for ev­ery time my mum greeted the new year with the ral­ly­ing cry of ‘I’m start­ing a new regime’ I’d have £82.

But I’m not a fan of giv­ing up any­thing much. Cer­tainly not to­tally. One thing I’ve learnt through ex­pe­ri­ence and a count­less num­ber of failed di­ets, is that set­ting your­self up to fail inevitably re­sults in, well fail­ing.

We can’t sud­denly be per­fect overnight with­out go­ing through some kind of rad­i­cal per­son­al­ity trans­for­ma­tion, and as I’m not keen on the idea of be­com­ing a Step­ford Wife kind of woman I think it’s health­ier not to try.

Why? Be­cause change takes time. I’ve been over­weight for a re­ally long time. My twins are six and I’m still car­ry­ing the baby weight. I’ve been de­pressed about this for a re­ally long time too, a de­pres­sion that peaked on a girls’ hol­i­day last June. I just felt so ugly. And yes I know that beauty comes from within and my body is a re­flec­tion of my life and moth­er­hood, and that is true, but I still felt rub­bish about my­self.

So in July I be­gan to make small changes. I joined a healthy eat­ing pro­gramme. I en­gaged the ser­vices of a per­sonal trainer. I took up Nordic walk­ing. And in the months since I’ve be­come health­ier, fit­ter and a fair bit slim­mer. And I feel good. But through­out the whole on­go­ing process I’ve been care­ful to set my­self small ob­tain­able goals, and if I fall off the wagon I’ve ac­cepted it as a part of chang­ing, not an ex­cuse to give up.

Why am I telling you this? Be­cause as far as I’m con­cerned there is noth­ing more dan­ger­ous than wait­ing for one day, month or time of year to make a change in your life. Be­cause if you fail you have a whole year ahead to feel like a fail­ure be­fore you try again.

So have a drink I say, if you want one. Don’t waste the left­over Christ­mas cake. If you want to give up smok­ing or lose weight or go back to col­lege, re­mem­ber it’s taken you a while to learn the habits you want to break and it might take time to re­learn good ones. There is no dead­line, there is no right time. The only time to em­bark on some­thing like per­sonal im­prove­ment is when your head is in the right place and you are pre­pared to al­low your­self to fail as many times as it takes on the road to suc­cess.

‘I’ve been care­ful to set my­self small ob­tain­able goals – if I fall off the wagon it’s part of chang­ing ’

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