Small Changes, Big Impact - how to set manageable goals for 2017

Small positive changes can have huge impact on your life

Small positive changes can have huge impact on your life

Unless you escaped the madness of Christmas and New Year for sunnier climates and coconut water on a deserted beach, it's the new year and you're probably feeling pretty yuck. It's super easy avoiding doing anything physical in the cold months and coupled with high sugar everything and lots of indulging this will be adding to us feeling sluggish and emotionally drained.

Big changes and resolutions whether they're work related, health or emotional can be daunting. January is cold and miserable especially for folks straight back to work, so trying to force yourself to survive on rice cakes and cabbage water whilst pencilling in a full week of gym sessions and body pump is probably not that realistic.

So you want to make positive changes..

The first port of call is to look at first how your feeling. Your thoughts, especially any negative ones. Pantanjali's Yoga Sutras refers to the yamas, which give us basic guidelines for living a life of personal fulfillment that will also benefit society. The most famous one is ahimsa, meaning non-violence. This refers not only to physical violence, but also to our words or thoughts ; specifically any negative thoughts we may have. What we think about ourselves or others can be as powerful as any physical attempt to harm. To practice ahimsa is to be constantly vigilant, to observe ourselves in interaction with others and to notice our thoughts and intentions.

So, no punishing yourself, or your body, at the gym - be kind and gentle to yourself.
Introducing small changes can reap great benefits for your soul and help you plan for the long term. Don't set yourself intentions to be completed by the end of the month, rather plan a year of positive fulfilling small changes.

Here's Tonic Retreats top 5 small changes that will make a big difference.

Pick one each week and add to your daily habits, small changes can reap big rewards.

1. Daily yoga. Yes that probably sounds terrifying! However we're not talking about an hour. Introducing just 10 minutes or even 5mins into your day will be incredibly beneficial. Start each morning with a sun salutation, just 3, then build it up. Keep adding a few more if you like as the months go by and maybe keep a diary of your progress. You will start to feel stronger in no time, and don't forget a few minutes of savasana at the end!

2. Daily Cleanse. Replace that morning coffee with hot water and lemon. You don't have to ditch the coffee totally but start the day by neutralising your body, this will help with digestion and tiredness.

3. Meat Free Monday. Not ready to commit to full vegetarianism or think that declaring you're vegan on the 1st January is insane? Change up your Monday and start the week with a veggie boost. Going meat free one day a week will lower your risk of heart disease and cholesterol and makes a positive impact to your carbon footprint. Who knows, you may end up with more meat free days than not!

4. Spread some love. Give back in anyway you can. Being kind and generous will not only help that person in need but it's proven to help alleviate the giver's depression and stress too!
Get involved in a local voluntary organisation or just look around you; maybe your elderly neighbour could do with some help with the garden, or maybe you need to pencil in some time to babysit your friends kids so they can have a night off.

5. ME ME ME. Plan some "Me" time and think about what longer term changes you'd like to make. Quitting your job and going back to university could be too much of a grand plan. So see what short courses are on for later in the year or maybe look at travelling or retreats. A retreat is a great way to spend time evaluating how you feel. You get to travel to an exciting destination without the hassle and spend quality "me time" thinking about the year ahead, whilst eating wholesome food, taking daily yoga classes and meeting new and inspiring people.

Whatever you decide for 2017, we wish you the best of luck!

Pip & Naz