When was the last time you tried something new? We’ve got five top tips for breaking your old routine, finding your inner kid, and setting some exciting new goals for 2018…
With each new year comes a new resolve to get fitter, be happier and make the most of our time.
But sticking to resolutions and breaking from our old, established routine is easier said than done – especially when you’ve got kids! Why not plan an activity based holiday this year which is something Neilson Holidays specialise in.
UK adults only try something new every five and a half years, compared to the UK’s children who try a new activity once every six months! Why not try something new together as a family?
The study also found that the older we get, the less adventurous we become, with many 50-65 year olds admitting the last time they tried anything new was nine years ago! The need to rediscover our inner child has never been greater, with the lack of new activity affecting both body and mind.
Here, transformational coach, wellbeing consultant and founder of The Authentic Life Company, Robert Hutchinson, offers help and advice on how to develop a positive outlook on life.
1. Avoid the self-imposed Catch-22
One of the main reasons for not trying a new active pursuit is not feeling fit enough which is a Catch-22, because of course by practicing a sport you will become fitter, however it’s a genuine mental block. The problem here is self-comparison: comparing of yourself unfavourably to others who may be fitter or perhaps younger. Most active hobbies have many different levels and age bands, from entry level to championship level and from junior to senior, so the best answer to this block would be to find the right level to match your fitness and age. You may not have the same fitness levels you had when you were younger, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid doing something.
2. Make the most of the family holiday
We can see that the ability to learn a new sport does not diminish significantly with age, so why does the gap between trying new things widen as we get older? It’s likely to come down to opportunity. Learning a new activity takes time to try it out and it then takes even more time to become proficient – a tall task when you have a job and children to contend with.
One of the ways to overcome this is to start a new active pursuit on holiday when there is less pressure on your time. Going on holiday forces you to switch off your everyday autopilot and to be fully present in the moment. So learning a new activity on holiday is a win-win situation, as you can let your guard down and get involved in an activity you can do with your kids! Being out of your familiar world physically creates the time and space to try something new, to exercise, to stimulate the brain away from the everyday pressures and commitments that might get in the way at home.
3. Be inspired by your family
Humans are very sociable by nature and highly influenced by the people closest to us at home and at work. In fact, the five people we spend the most time with have a significant effect on our thinking, behaviour and outlook. If we see the process of learning a new physical activity having a positive effect on someone close to us then that will inspire us to go after the same benefits. Persisting with learning a new sport also comes into play because consistent effort over time is needed to become proficient and it’s so easy to give up. Strong incentives are necessary to encourage someone to continue through the difficulties and the most effective incentives are praise and recognition sustained over time.
4. Be mindful (without the need to meditate)
Instead of seeing the brain as an independent blob of grey matter that runs the show, we now see the brain more like a muscle which needs to be exercised to keep it in good condition. New experiences are a fundamental requirement for mental growth and the brain loves stimulation; it grows with use and it withers with inactivity. The process of learning is great for concentration and focus, and learning a new sport naturally brings full focus into the present moment. You don’t need to think about being focused when you’re learning a new activity, you just focus. There’s a huge amount of evidence to show that mindfulness reduces anxiety and stress and boosts mood and feelings of wellbeing. The state of full focus in the present moment while learning a new sport is a mindful state. Meditating with young children nearby is going to be near enough impossible, but exercising your mind with a new activity definitely doesn’t have to be.
5. Recapture a passion you loved
We’ve given up on so many of the activities we used to enjoy as children, Neilson’s survey shows that almost two-thirds of adults have given up the activities they enjoyed in childhood. However, rekindling an old passion such as netball, hockey or swimming is just as good as trying something brand new. Finding the thing you love doing the most helps you to confidently express who you are as a person and will lead to greater self-confidence as a result. You’ll also find you’re likely to join a new and appropriate group of like-minded individuals meaning you’re more likely to stick at it and continue to develop your skills and fitness doing something you love.
For more information about Neilson Beachclub holidays and how you can ‘find your thing’ or ‘do your thing’ with Neilson, visit neilson.co.uk/doyourthing