January is a time for new beginnings - it sounds like a cliche but the sentiment rings true for many as they embark on resolutions for the year ahead.
After the excesses and pressures of Christmas and the long dark months of Winter - January is an opportunity to effect positive change.
The darkest day has passed, the end of the year that was is behind us, and 2018 is a blank canvas, yet to be painted. It is a time to focus your attention and energy to the areas in your life that you want to grow and flourish.
Small steps are often the best and most effective and hopefully over the long, dark evenings people have reflected on what they want from the coming year.
It is with these clear intentions that you can start effecting real and lasting change.
Certain things in our lives are out of our control but a lot is within our grasp if we have the motivation and discipline to follow through on our resolutions. We should constantly invest in our mental, physical and emotional health. It is the most valuable asset that we have.
With Spring approaching and 12 months stretching out in front of us there is a sense of renewed purpose which can be harnessed.
There are always the age old New Year’s mantras of losing weight and getting fit after the overindulgence of many over the festive season. There is merit in both of these for most of us and healthy eating and exercise are the cornerstones of good health.
Nowadays there are marketing campaigns encouraging people to embark on a dry January and to sign up to Veganuary and abstain from eating and using animal products. It can all be a bit daunting so take time out and make a few simple goals or aims for yourself.
Identify actions that will improve your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around you. They don't need to be drastic but in order to execute them they need to be identified and recognised. And remember you can reduce and not eliminate - you can start travelling in your chosen direction.
Reducing meat is a good choice for your health, as is reducing your alcohol consumption.
One of the simplest and most beneficial changes we can make both for ourselves and our environment is to incorporate more locally produced and organic food in our diet. As well as generally having far superior nutritional value it also allows you to escape the wrath of plastic packaging and you are supporting local industry and helping to maintain a healthy economy on your own doorstep. At local markets you can simply bring your own cloth bag and buy loose fruit and vegetables directly from the grower.
2018 will also be an important year for our planet. With more and more consumption disposing of our waste is becoming more problematic. China is refusing to take in more plastic and the dramatic effects of this can already be seen with rubbish literally piling up outside landfills in the UK.
Take a few minutes and jot down your intentions and motivations in your diary or for those more visually minded you can create a visionboard - a collage of words and images that clearly illustrate your goals and aims for the coming year.
And be kind to yourself - once you have identified the goals you want to achieve work slowly towards them. Remember it is a marathon and not a sprint and don’t be disheartened if from time to time you wander off your path. It is the long game that matters.