Timmy Ryan’s weekly column for the Waterford News & Star
HOPE you got over the Christmas alright, as we say here in Ireland. Sometimes it can be just a bit like that, an obstacle course through a week or two of excess, TV bombardment and a generous dose of cabin fever thrown in. Get over that and you just might be ready for something new in 2020. With that in mind, consider the following merely guidelines as to what might or might not tickle your fancy by way of a gentle kickstart for the New Year. Resolutions aside, think of these as supplementary and feel free to ignore any or all of the subsequent suggestions. All going to plan, we have 12 months to play around with and that’s more than enough time to make a fair old dent in our quality of life as we enter this new decade. Ready? Let’s dive in.
‘Indulging in what you love to do this year is not only important, I would consider it essential to a healthy mind and life and if you’ve ignored or forsaken a hobby or interest, get yourself sorted and get back in the saddle.’
Start at home and take a good look around. Chances are, you have books in your house that you have not been able to get around to opening, let alone reading. Were you to actually allow yourself the pleasure of reading one book a month for the next year that would make a pretty good dent in the backlog. Yes, it is about discipline but if you bought the books with the intention of reading them then surely it is discipline with a huge amount of pleasure attached. It means going to bed 30 minutes earlier and reading or getting up 30 minutes earlier or skipping 30 minutes of TV or Social Media or Xboxing a day. Maybe you could start with just 20 minutes a day and it really doesn’t matter if you hit the target of one book within each calendar month, it’s just a guideline. The trick is to flex your reading muscle again.
If you overdid it slightly on the eating and drinking front over the festivities, stop beating yourself up over it. Take your hand off the biscuit tin or out of that last plastic container of Quality Street and tackle it head on, but give yourself a fighting chance. Don’t do something big like hitting the gym just yet. Start gently and come at it with a lighter touch. Just say no to the sweets and biscuits today.
Instead of trying to fix everything in one fell swoop, why not decide to add small simple things each week that cumulatively will mean better health and better quality of life. Just think what 52 new small habits could achieve? A glass of water every morning before you even get going on breakfast. We’re all under hydrated apparently so helping out your system first thing couldn’t be any easier. I honestly believe we don’t need diet gurus bleating in our ears when it comes to healthy eating. We all have a pretty decent idea of what we should and shouldn’t be doing and here again, small changes can reap big dividends. Maybe you don’t need that big dirty kebab every Friday night on top of 7 or 8 pints of beer. There was a time I could accommodate this “treat” comfortably. I rarely indulge now but that which is seldom is wonderful, so I reserve the right to the occasional blowout. Moderation comes to mind.
One thing I love is soup. For some strange reason though, I ate so little of it during 2019 and I can only assume it’s because I got out of the habit of having it every now and then, particularly in the colder months. How’s your sleep? If sleep, or the lack of it bothers you, possibly you may need to address your late-night PC or TV viewing habits. Hitting the sack one hour earlier every night or reading before bedtime might be just the ticket and you could feel a new person after a few weeks.
It makes me cringe when I hear people say they don’t have time to do this or that. If I told the average guy that Beyonce wanted to meet him, I somehow think he could find any amount of time to facilitate the lady yet we can’t find 15 minutes every day to just walk around our neighbourhood or walk around the block at work during lunchtime?
Indulging in what you love to do this year is not only important, I would consider it essential to a healthy mind and life and if you’ve ignored or forsaken a hobby or interest, get yourself sorted and get back in the saddle. You can’t afford not to. Crank up the music, invest in a new system if you have to, but feed the soul. Maybe art or sport is your thing. Surely there is a simple way to indulge? You wouldn’t go weeks on end without decent food, so why would you neglect your innermost desires and needs?
There are so many little avenues and alleyways we could be exploring, but as I said, these are suggestions, not rules. The blueprint must be yours and yours alone. Plenty of time to re boot the sat nav and as you are in charge, the approach can be altered to suit. The main thing is that you don’t sell yourself short and if you find yourself waning with any of your ‘tasks’, go easy on yourself and start again.
The big stick approach never works for most people so why should you be the administrator of your own punishment? Rather see it as a fun experiment where you at all times stack the cards in your favour. You may not tick everything off the list by the end of the year, but you’ll surely have enjoyed doing some stuff you might otherwise have not bothered about. It’s a win win really. Who’s up for some easy adjustment?
Wishing you a fantastic, healthy and music filled 2020. May you look back on a damn fine year when you get to New Year’s Eve.
By Timmy Ryan
Broadcaster and Liquorist