Sunday, 26 January 2014

Keep Alert and Drink More Water

Do you drink enough water? I can say without hesitation that until January 1st, I definitely did not. In fact, most days I drank a cup of coffee and a cup of tea and that was about it. Then I made a new year's resolution to drink 1600 mL of water every day, and my life changed. Literally.

Honestly, so many things in my life are better now that I keep myself hydrated. The best is that I need loads less sleep. I honestly believed that I needed 8-9 hours sleep a night (which I usually didn't get and was consequently tired and grumpy all day). Now I'm happy with 7 hours, and when I get up in the morning I drink a mug of hot water rather than necking two cups of coffee.

Other changes? I have more energy, I'm more on-the-ball at work, my workouts are better, I snack less often (turns out it's true that we tend to mistake thirst for hunger) and my skin already looks clearer. This morning, after possibly having one too many pear and apple martinis last night, I stumbled into the kitchen looking for water rather than coffee. I seriously cannot believe that such a small and simple habit has changed my life so fundamentally.

If, like me, you could do with drinking more water, I can heartily recommend the Waterlogged app. Free on iTunes, the app helps you keep track of your intake over the day, as well as giving you your numbers for the preceding week in handy graph form. If you pay for an upgrade (I haven't) the app will  keep track of all your data since you first started logging. You can also set reminders throughout the day to encourage you to keep drinking.

As a slightly (my husband would say very) anal person who believes that everything is better when in list or table form, I adore this app. I am so much more motivated to drink my daily water quota when I know I can enter it on Waterlogged, and I still smile every evening when I get to click the "I am successful" button the app developers have kindly programmed to pop up when you reach your daily goal. You know what they say about simple things and simple minds...

Monday, 20 January 2014

100 Happy Days

Do you have time to be happy? According to the people running the #100HappyDays challenge, 71% of people who committed to the challenge gave up because they didn't have enough time.

The challenge is really simple: for 100 days in a row, take a photo of something that makes you happy and post it on the social media site of your choice. says that people who commit to the challenge feel happier, luckier, more optimistic and can even fall in love during the 100 days. Sounds like maximum gain for minimum effort, I'd say. So why do over 70% of people not have enough time to commit to it?

Obviously not having "enough" time to post a photo every day is a different thing from not having time to be happy, so I would dispute their claim that the people who "fail" the challenge are too busy to find even a moment of happiness in their day. And you definitely don't need to take part in this challenge in order to be happy, or to realise how lucky you really are. But it does sound like a lovely way of reminding yourself every day that the tiny things count just as much as the big ones when it comes to happiness.

One of my new year's resolutions this year was to be content with what I already have - mainly in an effort to stop spending money on stuff I really don't need. As part of it, I've been keeping a gratitude journal, and it's mainly full of the little things in life - looking back over our wedding photos, a lie-in on an unexpected day off work, a hug from my husband, an invitation to lunch... I think the #100HappyDays challenge sounds like a lovely addition to what I've already committed to doing this year, so I'll be starting tomorrow, and I'll post some of my favourite photos here.

You can join the challenge at any time by signing up at

Wednesday, 8 January 2014


Finally, after 31 years of making them, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany about New Year’s Resolutions. The fact is that every January for about the last fifteen years, as the old year morphs into the new so promisingly, I’ve made about twelve really exciting resolutions.

Two of these I’ve disregarded the minute I’ve woken up on New Year’s Day (boring, pointless, or Too Much Like Hard Work). Nine of the remaining ten I have thrown myself at enthusiastically for somewhere between one and three days before either forgetting all about them or finding really good excuses not to worry about them any more. The final resolution often gets kept for anything up to a couple of weeks, but eventually that falls by the wayside too.

This year I suddenly remembered the resolutions I made as a child. Unlike those of recent years, usually created in an excited haze on a New Year’s Eve fuelled by bubbly and the collective enthusiasm of the assembled group for the promise of the new year, my childhood resolutions were different in three ways:

      1. They were actually important to me – I’d thought about them for weeks
      2. I only ever made one at a time
      3.  I actually kept them

Until I was about twelve, the concept of making more than one New Year’s Resolution wouldn’t even have occurred to me. Then I read The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾ (a genius book – run out and buy/borrow/steal it if you haven’t already read it) and noticed that Adrian made about ten resolutions every year. Suddenly I realised that I could too – so I did. In more recent years, Bridget Jones’ list of resolutions that fills two pages at the beginning of her Diary has probably encouraged thousands of us to make as many resolutions as we can think of in the hope that we might actually end up keeping one of them.


Finally I’ve seen the error of my ways. I can’t even remember any of the resolutions I made last year, although I know I made several. So this year, it’s all different. I’ve made two resolutions, both of which I’ve been thinking about for ages, both of which are really important to me, and both of which will make a real difference to my life if I keep them. Which, so far, I am doing.

I’ve already got an enormous sense of achievement for having managed (easily!) to keep my two resolutions for a week. If I get to the end of the year having turned my resolutions into habits then it won’t matter that I “only” made two – my life will be immeasurably better for having kept two than it would have been had I simply forgotten about another twelve.

Bring on 2014!