Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Like many people I tend to start each new year looking ahead and thinking about what I want to achieve over the coming 12 months.
This is partly due to the tradition at this time of year, but also because of basic human nature; the instinct that many of us have to set targets and to have ambitions.
Not everyone has ambitions of course, or people’s ambitions can be limited by circumstance to the point that their ability to set targets and have realistic hopes for the future are hindered by material or personal circumstances. But for those of us lucky enough to be able to have aspirational plans for the future this is as good as time as any to look ahead and think about how to get things done in the months ahead.
Where our bodies, health and fitness are concerned, setting ambitious targets for ourselves usually comes down to matters of diet, behaviour and a personal investment of time and energy to reach realistic outcomes. We may find ourselves at this time of year above our ideal weight (likely, for obvious reasons) or under it (possibe, but not so likely), not exactly in the physical condition we would like to be in (likely, again) or preparing for a fitness event taking place some time in the coming year.
All of which, in one way or another, involves giving attention to our behaviour - that is, what we do with our time, social conditions and regular, repeating actions in the course of our daily lives.
Behaviour is something which, ironically, receives a great deal of attention in the mass media, whilst at the same time appearing slightly off our own personal radar, partly because of what can appear to be the mechanical and automatic nature of our repeated actions. In its broadest context, behaviour can be seen as a manifestation of how we interact with our environment, as well as the people around us, and how we engage with our world in a way that is meaningful.
Whether or not our behaviour is learnt, socially conditioned, innate or healthy are all topics for discussion. But there can be no doubt that our behaviour, particularly in relation to those around us, is important to how we live our lives and is (at least) partially under our conscious control.
When our behaviour includes what we consume, when and how much we eat (or indeed drink) we should be aware and open to the potential for personal change to improve our physical and mental condition.
Similarly, where physical exercise, mobility and independence is concerned, we should also aspire as much as possible to consciously be in control of our bodies, what we do with them and how well we maintain our physical selves, with appropriate reference to our realistic capabilities and potential.
So it's a good juncture right now to consider both aspects of our physical lives and to make, or look forward to making, sensible changes or to set goals in these areas of our lives at this time of the year. We should also be monitoring both of these areas throughout the year, making any changes that are required until the close of the year and look further forward to the decades that lie ahead when considering our health and physicality in the long-run.
Being alert at certain times of our lives, but asleep at the wheel at others, where our health and fitness is concerned is not and should never be a healthy option.
And certainly not at this time of the year.