Say Oui! Get health, happiness & the body you want.

A Handful of Life Rules - by Lesley Maxwell

There's something about a new year that reminds me of a brand new, blank canvas, ready to fill with colour and excitement, ready to fulfil my ambitions and dreams. It's all going to happen in 'the new year'.

Many people make New Year's resolutions with grand ideas at the beginning that fall away later in the year – or never even launch.

As I live in a high-rise apartment, I often bump into my neighbour while waiting for the lift. When we talk about her fitness goals, without fail, she always says, 'I'll start next week' or 'when the kids are back at school' or 'first week in June'you get the picture.

Something can always sabotage our goals despite our best intentions, but whether it's a fitness and health goal, an upcoming competition, or writing a book, we need to set ourselves targets and good habits so that we can realistically achieve our dreams. I want to share the rules I set for myself to keep my progress on track.

Rule one

My number one rule for whatever I want to achieve is to invest in my health first.

'Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live'. Jim Rohn.

Purchase the best quality food you can afford (you know I always like organic). This goes much deeper than being on a health kick or a detox, as without our health we have nothing.

As busy people, we need to look after our bodies to keep up with the pace of our lives. It follows that you'll feel sharper mentally plus have more energy when you train by eating clean, therefore getting more out of life.

Organisation is the key when it comes to eating clean. Get into a routine – cook once, eat thrice. This is fuel for your body and mind.

Make time to train and stick to it like you would any important appointment.

Rule two

Stop spreading yourself too thinly.

I could really become unpopular for saying this, but I believe we try to take on too many things and do too much at once. Or, as I like to say, 'spread ourselves too thinly'.

Sometimes it's ok to say no to an invitation, or if someone asks you for a favour when you are well and truly busy already. In order to accomplish goals, we often have to politely decline as there are only so many hours in a day.

For example, a woman I train cancelled her session, as she had to do the ironing for her daughter-in-law. No disrespect here, but I'd have to say no to that one.

As women, we do suffer from 'women's guilt' and often put everyone and everything before our-selves. It's time to set that right and start putting ourselves first. If we look after ourselves, we can then look after everyone else better.

Rule three

Understand that not everyone will like us.

'The only way to avoid pissing people off is to do nothing important'. Oliver Emberton.

I love this quote as it's so true.

If you really want to fit in with the regular crowd then it's much easier for everyone else if you're not doing too much – or being too successful. Sure, we all have our true friends (and partners) but most people would like you to stay in your box. It's safer that way...then they don't have to do anything either.

Stay strong and stick to your dreams and goals regardless what others might think.

My mother always says, 'You can't please everyone, so you may as well please yourself'.

Rule four

Write down your inspirational moments.

Have you ever noticed your best ideas often come to mind when you're in the middle of a mindless task, such as washing the dishes, taking a shower, or out on a relaxing walk?

These are special moments when motivational ideas come to us when we least expect them. Seize those moments – write them down so you can build on them later.

An exciting idea pops into your mind out of the blue, but when you set aside specific time to be crea-tive, the idea may have disappeared. Having a word or two jotted down will inspire you and summon up the feelings and inspiration you had earlier.

Remember how you feel right now when these dreams and goals are fresh in your mind. Now's the time to get going with your project!

Rule five

Don't wait for 'permission' to reach your full potential.

When examining the roots of female brain development, Dr Brizendine revealed more telling infor-mation.

She says, 'Baby girls are born interested in emotional expression. They take meaning about them-selves from a look, a touch, every reaction from the people they come into contact with. From these cues they decide whether they are worthy, loveable or annoying.'

This could explain why often we feel we need the approval from friends and family before moving ahead with an idea for business or a personal challenge, as we are always seeking consent. So choose the friends that have your best interests at heart. Believe in yourself and make it happen.

Incidentally, as I write this article it's December, and my lovely neighbour met me near the lift this morning. 'In the school holidays I'll start,' she said.

There will always be things that need our time and attention, but always make time for yourself.