It’s around January that most of us suddenly give up booze, or start visiting the gym. Come February? Let’s not talk of that, shall we? Forget resolutions you can’t keep, we’ve quizzed the experts on how to make lasting changes in 2018 – to really boost your health, fitness and wellbeing for the long term…

Kris Pace – Kobox

If you don’t want to fall off the fitness wagon in 2018, be realistic about what you can do, but, for the love of God, do something fun! Don’t task yourself with something you’re already dreading before you start – because it’ll inevitably be a short-lived attempt. Think about your life, what you enjoy, what puts a spring in your step… then go and find that in a fitness scenario. Whether it’s music, meeting new people, or simply putting your hood up and finding complete discretion when you train, take time in finding the place that works for you. And, lastly, screw everyone else! Do this for you!

Jules Miller – The Nue Co.

Prioritise your gut health – a healthy gut is the foundation for a overall wellbeing, having an impact on everything from your mood to your skin and weight. I’d recommend taking a combined Prebiotic + Probiotic for maximum benefit. Make sure you stick with it for at least three months to see results.

Laura Willoughby MBE – Club Soda

If you want to superpower any health goals in 2018, then I would suggest you think about changing your drinking habits. What you do is up to you – drink more mindfully or go alcohol-free – but switching down a gear in the amount you drink has long term benefits all round.

Losing weight? Gain energy for the gym (and rebalance your metabolism) by saving energy sapping cocktails for special. Eating healthier? Don’t undo all that kale goodness with carb-craving booze. Want to sleep better or improve productivity? Then skipping the bottle of Pino G before bed is the best brain boosting tonic. Saving nights on the tiles for special occasions, converting to alcohol-free raving or switching down your ABV will all help and it won’t do you any harm to try – honest!

Sam Moyo – Morning Gloryville

My first piece of advice is to love yourself, love where you’re at and understand your Annual Life-force Cycle! Mine is as follows: Nov-Feb – low energy. Apr-Jun – curious/playful energy. Jul-Oct – high energy. During my low energy months, I do what I can when I feel like it – walks in parks, dancing with friends, irregular exercise and irregular meditation routines. The months are cold and I focus on saying nice things to myself, being gentle and being super forgiving when it comes to fitness.

In the curious/playful energy period I advise trying new forms of exercise, meditating, playing, dancing and eating. This is a period of exploration, re-birth and re-invention. Life is for enjoying, so always find what excites you and gives you that “Oh yes!” feeling. Last year I tried regular womb whispering, trampolining, tree climbing, and floatation tanks in my curious/playful phase. When you find the new activities that really grab you, then enter the high energy phase shooting/dancing from the hips! The High Energy phase is when I tend to be most consistent with praying, singing, dancing, excising. From rising at 5am with excitement to watch the sunrise and listen to the sounds of birds, to not letting a day go by without doing some kind of exercise.

In summary, do what makes you happy and accept that there is a natural rhythm to life. I don’t believe that one-size fits all, it is for each individual to find what lights us up. Most importantly, love yourself and speak to yourself lovingly always.

Sam Pepys – Strength & Conditioning Coach

Planning is an invaluable tool; it can help maintain focus, keep one motivated and help with the fulfilment of goals. Essentially goal setting is a form of planning. This could be anything from dropping a dress size to improving a 5k time. Establishing when you’re going to achieve it and how you’re going to go about it is pivotal. After all, a goal without a plan is merely a wish.

Goals should be Specific – be clear and have significance. Goals should be Measurable – structured in a way that allows progress to be tracked. Goals should be Achievable – attainable and realistic. Goals should be Relevant – have a meaning and fit in with other goals. And lastly, goals should have a Time specific – have a deadline; a date to work towards. SMART goals can help maintain focus in the short run and sustain motivation in the long run, increasing the likelihood of achieving or maintaining your overall goal. Setting achievable short-term markers can help with adherence to a longer-term strategy. Everything starts with a plan, right? And make it fun if you can, we all find it easier to do any activity if it’s fun…

Myles Hopper – Mindful Chef

It won’t matter how many miles you run, how many HIIT classes you sweat your way through, if your nutrition isn’t right you’re never going to feel or look as good as you really want. Exercise on its own will help you get fitter but it won’t necessarily help with weight loss. BUT when combined with good eating habits there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

Start by eating breakfast, making good lunch choices and sitting down for dinner so you can take your time and really appreciate your food. It seems easy but when life gets in the way (like it always does) you’ll be tested so do your best and remember being healthy isn’t a race. Being healthy is your life.

Rachael Woolston – Girls Run The World

Set yourself some goals – whether it’s an amazing race you want to do in an incredible place, or simply, to start moving and feeling well. Then strategise and plan how you’re going to get there, week by week, month by month so you can tick off your little goals along the way so that your year is full of little highs of achievements rather than just race day. And connect with others to share your training load, online or in a group. Our slogan is #bettertogether, because it really is!

Donna Lancaster – The Bridge Retreat

In 2018, place equal value on your internal and external health. So many people are happy to invest the time and money in maintaining their bodies through exercise, massage and other body treatments and yet are reluctant to invest similarly in their emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

However with so many people living increasingly stressful busy and sedentary lives, there is an inevitable cost. Conditions like anxiety and depression are often simply messengers, our bodies trying to tell us to slow down, look inwards and that change is needed. We ignore these messengers at our peril. With both conditions, essentially the emotional system has become overloaded and can no longer cope. Taking time out to press pause on everyday life and be in nature, allowing yourself to rest, reflect and emotionally process life events, both recent and long ago, is essential for holistic health and wellbeing.

Karina Melvin – Mindful Eating

Privilege pleasure and quality. Instead of focusing on what you feel you ‘should’ do, or committing to specific goals and routines which we often fail to maintain in the long run, intend to experience pleasure and focus on quality, as this will certainly make a positive impact to you both your physical health and the shape of your life. What I am encouraging specifically is a sense of the importance of pleasure around food. Sourcing it, cooking it and being present in the moment while eating it. Always choose the best quality you can afford and you will need to eat much less to feel satiated.

When we are eating good quality food, it’s not overly processed and our body can break it down more easily. When it is of good quality, we tend to appreciate food more and so savour the flavour, and feel the pleasurable feelings of eating something worthwhile and nourishing. When we enjoy what we are eating, our body responds by speeding up the metabolism, extracting more of the nutrients and then it lets us know we are full sooner than if we eat something which isn’t pleasurable. Indeed, you can extrapolate out this idea of privileging pleasure and quality to other aspects of your life and reap many wonderful benefits!

Annie Ross – Suss

If you are to make one change in 2018 to improve your health, I urge you to reclaim your right to choose how you spend your time and energy. Alongside demanding careers, buzzing phones and social pressures, so many of us have forgotten that we have a choice. As a first step, recognise that you are the architect of your life; that you build its foundations and choose its contents. Without realising that choice, others will schedule your diary on your behalf.

Finding time and motivation to stay true to our health goals can seem complex, frustrating and overwhelming. To simplify the challenge, be strategic and selective with your time. Rather than squeezing more into your weeks, embrace ‘JOMO’, the JOY of missing out. That choice alone can move you from a place of stress to one of space. By applying focus, prioritisation and accountability to mental and physical fitness goals you can make room to build simple, satisfying and sustainable healthy habits. Even if trade-offs are made at first, your good health will benefit work, friends, family and yourself. How will you choose to spend your time and energy?

Vonetta Winter – Vale de Moses Yoga Retreat

Practice shifting your gaze. Resolutions are often about changing behaviours, removing the unhealthy. In yoga, the concept of Tapas – fire and passion – is an invitation to move towards the things that make us feel alive, healthy, happy, well, loved, buoyant, generous, kind and compassionate. In 2018,  fill your days with those kind of activities, and then the other more harmful elements you wish to lose – that no longer serve you – will begin to fall away naturally.

Through a somatic practice like yoga and meditation, we allow ourselves the space to focus attention on the enriching aspects of life. Positivity encourages positivity. We start to feel better, empowered, and most importantly that we are enough, just as we are. Spend as much time as you can in nature too – the trees and the birds aren’t so preoccupied with unhealthy behaviours. They, like you, just are. And that acceptance is infectious.

 Nigel Berman – School of the Wild

The forest will make you happy. If you only do one thing this year, spend more time outside – especially in the woods. Increasing time in nature gives you one of the best boosts to your mental and physical wellbeing. Studies have shown a walk in the woods has multiple beneficial effects including improving short-term memory, concentration, and creative problem solving. A dose of ‘Vitamin N’ is destressing, restores your mental energy, and being around trees decreases your heart rate, lowers your cortisol levels, reduces inflammation, and does wonders for your immune system. So if you want to change on the inside in 2018, get outside.