To Talk or Not To Talk

To talk, or not to talk during a massage; that is the question.

Actually, it is the wrong question and this is the reason why.

When I’m out and about, people naturally ask me questions about massage, muscles, their sore neck and this weird thing that their thumb has doing since that fall… all sorts of things. And I am happy to chat, discuss what you can do for your stiff neck and suggest a professional if needed for that unusual injury.

A friend recently asked me how much are you meant to talk during a massage? What is the rule here? How much chit chat does a massage therapist want?

It’s not an unexpected question, as I have heard of some massage therapists sharing how they tell their clients to shush, or on the flip side how hard it is to get people to open up.

But Woah, Nelly! That’s a great, big, nasty red flag waving in front of my eyes!

And this is why it is the wrong question.

We are all different beings. And we all respond to our environment in different ways. We all relax and calm down in different ways.

I have some clients who barely utter a word during their massage treatment. Outside of medical necessities, I barely know a personal fact about them. Which is totally OK as long as they walk out feeling their needs were met. People who talk all day in their job, and introverts in particular, can find chit chat exhausting. Having to make small talk distracts them from the joy of shutting out the world while they calm their central nervous system. To be given the freedom to connect with another person without small talk is absolutely heavenly for some.

talk during a massageI have other clients who talk like they are a solar charged toy bunny on a sunny day; it doesn’t take long for me to hear the details of their life history. Yet at the end, they report how much better and relaxed they feel. Some people can’t relax until they feel a personal connection with their massage therapist. And some extraverts can’t unwind until they get all the thoughts bouncing around in their head out of their head.

And then there’s the combination person. The one who begins with talking a mile a minute, and then suddenly, they stop. Their breathing changes. There may or may not be an occasional snuffle or snore-like sound of contentment and deep relaxation. And I know I have helped them to switch off, to shift from riled up to relaxed. By the way, snores, tummy gurgles and crazy post-massage hair are all positive signs to a massage therapist.

The key thing is it doesn’t matter if I want you to talk a lot or not at all once your massage has started. It is about what makes you comfortable. My only requirement is that you give me feedback about pressure or if an area is painful to help me give you the best possible massage experience. And we do need to consult before your massage starts to plan the best treatment for you on that particular day.

It makes me sad to hear some massage therapists have a talking or no talking rule. If yours says you MUST talk more or be silent, it might be time to find a more accommodating therapist. One who is willing to tune into your individual needs, not just make their own day comfortable.

If “to talk to not to talk” is the wrong question, then what is the right question?

I believe the right question is “will my massage therapist care either way if I am feeling chatty or not today?” Or maybe even “do they care about my needs or am I just getting a one size fits all treatment?”

I wonder, are you the Silent Client? The Chatty Chiller? Or are you more of a Massage Mood Mixer?


Ready to book a massage? You can quietly book online at a time that suits you, or get in touch if you’d like to talk a little more before an appointment.

The Benefit of Massage You Didn’t Expect

I was chatting with a client during a treatment the other day. They were telling me about the benefit they get from their remedial massage with me compared to other massages they’d had elsewhere. This particular client doesn’t see much value in a straight relaxation massage. They find it enjoyable enough at the time but they like the longer lasting benefits of remedial massage.  To them, remedial massage has a better return on investment.

Which is totally fine.

And you’ve probably heard me discussing before how some people steer clear from remedial massage and only enjoy relaxation massage, or vice versa for different people. I offer both types of massage treatment (and sometimes a combination of the two if that’s what works for you).

But it got me thinking…

As a society, do we undervalue the long-term benefits of taking time out to slow down?

We are living in a culture that seems to increasingly value the idea that being busy is best. How busy you are can be a status symbol. Being busy doesn’t measure how productive you are and being busy can sometimes be the kryptonite of productivity. I remember many days in my years working in a corporate industry where my calendar was full with compulsory back to back meetings with low value. At the end of these busy days I was mentally exhausted and didn’t have the energy to address my important tasks with the enthusiasm they deserved. On these days I was very busy, but unproductive. It didn’t matter that I worked long hours; I was still frustrated I wasn’t further ahead on my projects. And then I was tired. So very tired. All the time.

When we are switched on in busy mode for long periods of time, it can be hard to turn off. I’ve seen people who can’t wait for 30 seconds for the little green man to cross the road without the external stimulation of checking their phone. How often when you finally get to sit down on the couch at the end of the day do you feel restless and uncomfortable that you are not “doing something”? How easy do you find it to relax?

What about the benefits of actually relaxing?

In our increasingly busy lives, it gets harder and harder to rest. Between running my own business, juggling 3 young children and renovating our house, I can be guilty of not switching off. However, when I do switch off properly, I sleep better, I’m calmer, my thoughts are clearer and I have greater energy and more creative ideas. When I get back to “on” mode afterwards, I tend to be more efficient.

If you are not used to it, it can be quite challenging to stop and relax. I now lock in my down time and feel the benefits.  I book my own massage in advance (which also gives me something positive to look forward to) and allow a few times a week for some “nothing time” where I can do what I want without guilt. Sometimes it is to sit outside in the sunshine and absorb some beautiful vitamin D. Occasionally I will catch a quick nap or go out and browse the shops. Other times I will read and every so often I will put my alarm on (so I don’t go too long), shut my eyes and just breathe deeply.

There are proven health benefits of a relaxation massage.

Studies have shown the positive impact on lowering blood pressure, reducing feelings of anxiety and depression, and improved quality of sleep. I have also used traditional relaxation techniques to help within a remedial massage to gently help people move more freely. In our increasingly distant society where we use our online profiles to keep physical distance, I believe even the element of human connection within a massage has immense benefit.

But one of the greatest benefits of massage is to have time where you officially permit yourself to stop. To relax. To unwind and let your mind and body be still and refreshed. These benefits last long after your massage appointment has ended.

If it’s time you allowed yourself to unwind, get in touch to book your massage. The return on your one hour investment might help your productivity, create in you a feeling of calmness and improve the quality of the rest of your week.

You know you need to ?

When there’s no time to look after yourself

“I’ve just got to get through this next week and then I can start to look after myself properly.”

How many times have you heard a friend or family member say that? How many times have you said that? If only I had a dollar for every time that phrase was uttered or thought. Let’s just go with I’d be really rich.

We are all guilty of it sometimes. When the going gets tough, the tough battle on. Unfortunately, looking after yourself often takes back seat to that urgent deadline, that extra activity you need to run the kids to, that appointment to take your parent to, that “there is always something urgent going on” thing.

You can’t pour from an empty cup

It is a great phrase I’ve been hearing a lot in the last year. I remember being surprised during the early days of parenthood when, exhausted from endless nights and days of no sleep, I kept going. I had such a massive physical and emotional stress overload, but somehow, I pulled the energy from who knows where and tended to the needs of my babies. Being a carer is like that. Your cup gets empty and yet you pull it from somewhere to plod on. But what comes out of that drained cup is only the dregs. When we are recharged and our cup is full, what we pour is of such better quality leaving us to truly care for those in our care.

That’s the spot

So, how long have you had it? You know that spot, that niggling twinge…the one that means you have to sit/stand just right or you’re just…not…quite…comfortable.

I know, I know, it’s not that bad just YET, and you’re just really busy this week. You can COPE with it. It only bothers you when you reach, stand or sit a certain way, it’s nothing popping a couple of pain-killer tablets won’t cover. Right?

Guess what!! You don’t have to “cope with it”. Continually popping a few pills isn’t good for your health in the long term. If you are being truly honest with yourself, you will know that next week there will be another busy “thing” that is going to get in the way of looking after yourself. The longer you leave that twinge, the more settled it gets and starts to become a more permanent and chronic part of who you are rather than a temporary ailment.

Investing a little bit of time now, BEFORE it gets “that bad” means you can get back to feeling good again before you are knocked out of action for days at a time.

It has taken me way too many years to realise that if I am going to have any sort of balance in my life, I have to bite the bullet and plan for it. I’m finally booking in my health appointments, hairdresser, etc to do list things weeks in advance. And somehow, I still manage to squeeze in all the other busy urgent things around those appointments. When I haven’t pre-booked or planned out my time to look after myself, the other “things” stretch out leaving me with no time for the activities I know I NEED to do (but end up putting off).

Back to that niggling twinge.

Massage can help with your muscular aches, pains and twinges, leaving you with energy to focus on the good stuff. Your necessary or fun stuff. Massage can even help you move your neck, arms, legs, back etc further than you remember they used to move. A quality consultation at the start of your massage appointment means I can focus on the areas causing your discomfort. I can look for the cause rather than just performing a massage band aid on the area with symptoms, which means you are much more likely to feel better for longer.

Imaging waking up after a proper night’s sleep. Imagine how much more you could achieve if you weren’t slowed down by those aches and pains; if you didn’t have to adapt how you do things so you don’t get that twinge.  What if you said “I can make time to look after myself”? How much more could you give to others if your cup was full?

If you are tired of feeling tired, if you don’t want to be too busy to function at your best anymore, get in touch or book your massage appointment online today.

My top questions on what to expect when you are expecting a massage

If you have never had a massage before, it can feel a bit daunting. Everyone keeps telling you how good they feel after a massage, but what really happens behind that closed door? While every therapist does things slightly differently, there are some common things that should always happen; such as protecting your privacy, practicing hygiene, ensuring your treatment is safe, and informed consent to treatment. Read on to answer my top questions about having a massage to find out what really to expect.

Why do I have to complete a Medical History Form?

I will ask you to complete a Medical History Form primarily to ensure that whatever happens in the treatment room will be safe and appropriate for you individually. The other reason is sometimes a random event in your past can have implications to what’s happening today. That broken ankle you had years ago could be a factor in why you experience hip pain recently. ALL your information is kept private. There is a reason I won’t ask you publicly later on how your specific health concern is going; I’m not unfeeling or have forgotten, I’m just not prepared to discuss your details if others can overhear.

I’m not sure if I want Relaxation or Remedial. How do I know what to ask for?

We will talk about what you are hoping to achieve from your massage. Sometimes people are hobbling in but don’t want their pain helped, they just want to relax. That’s fine, we can plan a Relaxation Massage. Other times if it is something that needs help resolving like a sore back or headaches, then we look at a Remedial Massage. The main thing is that we talk about what YOU want. And just as importantly, what you don’t want.

Do we get straight into it? I don’t know you that well yet!

Before we start massaging, I will invite you to take a seat so we can chat privately about your medical history. This is in order to clarify any details or we even can add to it (you’d be surprised how many people forget major life events until we start chatting).

We will usually do some quick check-in’s with your body. It’s official term is an assessment but I’m not much of a fan of that as there is no actual pass or fail. It is a check-in that efficiently gives me a lot of muscle information in a short amount of time. We might look at how far you can and can’t move in specific directions with or without pain or restriction. We may have a look at how your body is balanced. It is about information gathering so we can plan the most effective massage to give you the longest possible benefits.

After our little chat and check-in / assessment I will suggest what I think we should do to help you reach your goals; the massage treatment plan. This is a negotiation; if I suggest we treat your shoulders so they can move more freely but you’d rather work on your lower back pain, then that is what we will plan for. To be honest, this usually doesn’t require very much tweaking as our initial chat has usually given clear direction.

I have to take my clothes off and lay down, right?

People usually expect they will lie down on a massage table to receive a massage. Most of the time they do but massage can also happen when seated or using a combination of laying on your front, back, side or seated. I usually ask you to remove some clothing for a massage where you are laying on the massage table, but only within your comfort level and only after I have left the room. Undies always stay on and if we are only working a part of your body, it may be appropriate to leave some of your other clothes on.

I provide you with fresh towels to cover yourself. I always knock on the door to ensure it is OK before I re-enter the room. We use bolsters and a pillow to keep you supported and will adjust the height of the massage table so I can reach you effectively (and without hurting me). On cooler days I use an electric blanket to help keep you warm during your massage. Only then will I move a portion of towel to uncover the section of your body being worked on before covering you up nice and snug again.

Will it hurt?

Before and during your massage we discuss pressure levels to ensure you remain comfortable and are enjoying your treatment. Depending on your treatment goals you may receive a combination of gentle flowing massage techniques, firmer treatment, stretching, muscle activation’s or more. I will talk to you about what will happen before it happens and if you change your mind about what we planned together before, we change the treatment accordingly.

A massage should never hurt. It might sometimes be a little uncomfortable if that fits in with you and your goals, but never actually hurt. I want you to feel better not worse! (Read my blog on ‘Why Jane Fonda Had It Wrong’ to find out more.)

What happens afterwards?

Besides feeling great? I will leave the room so you can get up and dressed and I always  knock on the door to make sure you are OK before returning.  We will have a brief chat and possibly complete some re-assessments to check on your level of improvement. I may give you some home-care tips to help you feel better for longer. We will discuss if another massage would be beneficial and can reserve your preferred time if that suits.

It sounds like we do a lot of talking. And we do, but rather than firing questions off at you, it is more of a conversational discussion. I am passionate about making you feel comfortable, protecting your privacy, and you being in charge of what happens to your body. If you still have any questions about what to expect, please get in touch here. If you are ready to experience a massage for yourself, get in touch or book an appointment on line.

It’s time to mention your unmentionables

They are there in most of our daily lives but we don’t talk about them very often.  Enough is enough. When it comes to massage, it’s time to mention your unmentionables.  So, what underwear should you wear to your massage appointment?

Underwear, undies, reg grundies, jocks, knickers, pants, briefs, panties (sorry!), or underdacks. There are many names we use to describe our undergarments and they come in so many shapes and designs. Classic briefs, bikini brief, boxers, French, g-string, boy leg, granny, shapewear, hipster, and many more types. They show us off or suck us in and can be super comfy or leave you feeling hyper aware of them. But the question many of my client’s want to know (but feel initially coy about asking) is “which underwear is best for massage?”

First and foremost, it is most important that you wear some sort of underwear to your massage appointment.

My codes of conduct prevent me from treating you if you aren’t wearing some sort of underwear. For hygiene and professional reasons, no underwear = no treatment. Full stop.

The next thing to be aware of is that I don’t really see them.  I am blissfully unaware of your cool colours or funky patterns. My process for draping (aka tucking in your covering towel) is discrete and means I don’t catch a glimpse.

Are some undies more appropriate than others?

Yes. Teeny tiny little g strings for example can be a bit tricky to tuck your covering towel into. Shape-wear that sucks in your lumps and bumps can also be on the challenging side and also will make it difficult for you to breathe and move freely and/or truly relax on the massage table. So, I would recommend you trade both of these in favour for more traditionally comfortable attire.

Boxers vs briefs?

Or even boxer briefs? If we are treating your legs, my preference would be that you wore briefs or boxer briefs rather than traditional loose boxer shorts as they are more difficult to work with when it comes to draping. I am capable of working around traditional boxer shorts (it’s just a little trickier) so, if you have forgotten when you got dressed that morning, it is not worth stressing about.

What about bras?

If you are comfortable to remove your bra as you are getting onto the treatment table, great. If you are not so comfortable, that’s cool too. I will either work around it or unclasp temporarily if I need access to where the straps lay. For complicated clasps and all over sports bras it will usually be best for you to remove or leave them at home if we are treating your back.

Most importantly it is crucial that you are comfortable in the treatment room.

If you can’t breathe or move freely, your massage will not deliver its full benefits. Similarly, if you are spending your energy agonising over your undergarments you are not being in the moment to appreciate your massage.

Please DO wear some underwear. Please DON’T stress about it. And I’ll discretely work out any of the other details.

Who is the boss of you?

Some say it is their partner.

Wise kids say it is their parents. Brave kids like to say it is them over their parents. (Occasionally kids even appear like it too)

I’m guessing your employer probably has an opinion on this as well.

But who really is the boss of you?


I was wondering if this following scenario sound familiar to you?

You have a health concern. You chat to your friends and family and they all have an opinion on what it is and what you should do about it. Eventually you organise yourself to visit your GP who uses their years of study to give you their diagnosis / opinion. They refer you to a specialist who has even more years of study and an even firmer opinion on what is going on and what you should do about it. You follow their advice. Treatment done. Sounds familiar?

But when do you actually get involved in the decision-making process about what is happening to you?

How much do you know about what is happening to you?

For many years some health professionals (and I stress SOME not ALL) have kept the rationale behind their diagnoses a secret and then dictate without negotiation what steps are to happen when and take full control to make it happen. And partially due to our uneducated state, partially out of respect to the mammoth amount of study they have done to get to their qualifications and partially because sometimes we are just over it and want not to think about it anymore, we blindly do as we are told like our well-behaved inner child tells us we have to. We do this without understanding what we are doing, why it is good for us and what any side effects could to be.

Now I am not suggesting that the experts are not experts and have an incredible amount of knowledge at their fingertips. I am not suggesting that their advice isn’t of quality. We all know there are both good and bad eggs in every profession.

I am referring to the high number of people who are having procedures and taking medication without knowing why and what the side effects are. I’ve watched people get bumped around from expert to expert and blindly following the latest “thing” without being involved in the conversation. I’ve seen people taking the blue, white, brown and yellow pills without knowing what any of them are for. The blue, white, brown and yellow pills might all be very important, but wouldn’t it be nice to be empowered enough to know why you even take them? And also to know that they aren’t counteracting each other’s hard work in the battle ground of your body?

A positive shift

I have been hearing about a shift in health care I am really excited about; using health professionals to support your health care rather than blind puppeteering. You are entitled to ask questions and have all the information before you agree to treatment. Generally speaking, nobody knows your body better than you; you usually know when something is not quite right, if not exactly what. The experts are there to be listened to and respected including listening when they say “no”. However, you are entitled to ask “why” that answer is “no” and to a second opinion. By being informed you know if you are reacting to a treatment in an expected or an unhealthy way. You are entitled to know why one course of action is more appropriate for you specifically over other options available.

So let’s negotiate

I got really cross a little while ago when I had an emergency massage treatment from a different therapist. I was particularly clear on what I wanted assistance with and was also specifically clear about a technique I did NOT want to happen (hey, I’m a massage therapist – I should have the inside scoop here!). They then proceeded to do exactly what I didn’t want to happen and then afterwards told me about expected side effects (which I was specifically wanting to avoid at that time).

I’m not sharing this experience to rant. I am a passionate believer in the importance of informed consent. That experience has reinforced my own values about ensuring a massage treatment plan is negotiated; that my clients know what I am suggesting we do, why and what any side effects are likely to be. And if they ever don’t agree for any particular reason, that’s OK, we simply re-renegotiate. Once the massage has started, if our treatment needs to change for any reason or you simply change your mind, that’s OK too! Together we will modify our plan.

I will provide recommendations and there may be reasons why what you originally ask for is not appropriate. But most importantly it all starts with a conversation. It’s your body. You get to enjoy the benefits. Let’s make sure they actually benefit you in the way you want them to.

In my treatment room, you get to be the final boss of you.


Have a question about massage or to would like to book an appointment? Click here

Your Love/Hate Relationship with Massage Homework

Massage homework. What?!? I prefer to call it after-care but let’s not worry about semantics.

You’ve had an amazing massage. You feel on top of the world. And at the end of it, your therapist gives you self-care activities to do before you come back.

“What’s with that? Didn’t we leave homework behind when we finished school? What’s even the point? Don’t I see you to feel better? So why then do I have to do anything? Isn’t that your job to make me feel better?”

OK, so here is my low-down on the deal with massage after-care “work”.


Why do I give homework?

Because I actually really do care and want you to feel better for longer!

Help muscle recovery

It may not be as profitable a business model, but I truly do want you to feel so good that you don’t need to come in for a massage quite as often. Doing some stretches will help your muscles remember the lengthened state we’ve just worked so well together to create throughout your appointment. Seeing another professional like a chiropractor, osteopath, podiatrist etc will help solve some of the causes that keep making your muscles and soft tissue feel like they desperately need a massage. Doing some strengthening exercises may assist your body to remain in balance and not to strain that area you keep feel symptoms.

By all means, don’t continue with your self-care, and come and have a massage more often. It is your body and your choice and it’s always a pleasure to see you in the clinic.


How often do I have to do my homework?

I’ll provide a recommendation for your self-care and show you what to do and how often. I will encourage you to follow the recommendation and I am a big believer in working out a plan that is realistic for you. Sometimes I will suggest you do a stretch daily or an exercise a few times a week, but it will depend on what is happening with you and your body at that time.


But I keep forgetting!

Remember to self care

Yep, we are human and forget stuff sometimes. Don’t stress, I’m not grading you! If you have missed a day, it is not the end of the world, you will not get in trouble and you are not a failure. SOME times is better than NO times. Perhaps we can come up with a prompt or time of day to help you remember next time around? Let’s have a real chat about what could or what is never going to work for your busy week.


I really don’t want to do the work today!

OK then. All good. Thank you for your honesty. As I said before, it is your body and it is your choice what you choose to do and don’t do with it. I might continue to gently educate you on the benefits of self-care but I’m not here to force you to do anything you don’t want to do. My recommendations are there to help you feel better for longer and if you don’t do them it has no impact to me (except you might need to book in for a massage again sooner). I have found many of my clients need reminding and being told about the benefits over a few treatments before they have the “A-ha!” moment and give it a go. And then they nearly always tell me how much of a miraculous difference it makes to how they feel.


Not sure about what activities might be beneficial to you? Get in touch to book an appointment to have a massage and a chat about how to make the most of your treatment in the longer term.

Fall in Love…with looking after yourself

Ah Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. And at the shops. We are encouraged to have a date night and buy an expensive gift or flowers to use this one day a year to tell someone they are important to us. I believe that one day a year of showing you care is not enough to sustain a healthy relationship and it should be much more regular than that. But I am also a realist and if Valentine’s Day helps remind people to be kind and spend some quality time together, then bring it on.

My young kids still have the purity of love in their hearts (no pun intended) that they often make cards and little notes to show how much they love us. Everybody join in…”aawwe”. Yep, I’m enjoying it while it lasts. I’ve seen enough families with teenagers to know what is in my future. It is a sweet lesson in how easy it can be to show you care all the time, not just on Valentine’s Day. But back to the grown-ups again.

I hear people talk about giving themselves completely to another as expressing their love for one another. I wonder if you appreciate what you are giving. Not the expensive, beautifully wrapped gift or witty or beautifully written card.  If you are offering yourself to your nearest and dearest, do you value the gift? Do you truly value yourself?

If you are a gift, how good a gift are you? If you are worthy of offering yourself as a gift (and I’ll let you in on a secret…the answer is YES, YOU ARE!!) then you should manage that gift (yourself) to make it the best gift it can be. Think about it. Tiffany’s wouldn’t be Tiffany’s if it didn’t come in that blue box all shiny and new. In the same way, if you spend time looking after the ones you love, you need to look after yourself so you can be presented beautifully too! We are often happy enough to splash the big bucks to show we care with the best of the best “things”, but how about splashing some time to make that gift of yourself a quality one rather than the left-over dregs of energy levels at the end of a long day?

By looking after yourself, your offering of you will be better. I am not suggesting that you need to change who you are to be valued. But by focusing some time on your mental and physical wellbeing, you will be in a better position to bring the best of you to the most important people in your life. I know that when I have some self-care going on, I have more energy, greater patience and a better sense of humour. When I neglect my self-care, I get a bit cranky, impatient, I feel selfish and my naggy side comes out.

According to the ABS* in 2017-2018 4.8 million people in Australia suffer from mental and behavioural health conditions and the numbers have been rising. That’s a lot of people. 20.5% or around 1 in every five of us. When we look further at these recent statistics, as a nation most of us are not eating properly or moving enough. We are overall not in great shape mentally and physically.

So, what are we to do about it? Most of us have really busy lives and our days are already pretty full. But if you are as important as we both know you are, it takes a little bit of juggling or re-prioritising to make it happen.  What is that thing you know you really should do to look after yourself but don’t? Is it exercise more, get a haircut, address that niggling health concern, or just regularly get an hour of peace and quiet to help your brain reset? Where oh where in your busy week could you possibly fit in anything else?

If you are a morning person, perhaps getting up ½ an hour earlier means you can fit in a leisurely uninterrupted coffee, morning run, or meditation. If you are a night owl, then make the most of those evening hours instead of wasting them on the couch. If you are one of those people that aren’t great early or late (you have that great window of energy from about 3.00 – 3.15pm), you really need to make the most of your self-care to extend that little window to a bigger one. Test it out. If you nurture that window it will grow. You probably have a friend or neighbour that would happily babysit for a couple of hours on a weekend so you could have the freedom to go out for coffee, see a movie, get a massage or go to the gym. You don’t need to feel guilty about it. That day to day grind that keeps you too busy for yourself, how much will it really suffer if you escaped for a little bit of time? You will most likely get back to it with greater efficiency if you have a break from your mundane anyway.

This Valentine’s Day, please show your most loved one you care and continue to show it throughout the year. But please also love yourself enough to show that you care about being a happier healthier version of you too.

*Source ABS, (2018) “National Health Survey: First Results, 2017-18” at[email protected]/mf/4364.0.55.001

What is Wrong with New Year’s Resolutions (and how to make them better)

In the quietness of the lull after the Christmas frenzy, many of us finally have the time to reflect on how the last year has been. We are bombarded by the media on hastily put together countdowns on the big events of the year that was, so it is natural to look upon the New Year as a time for a fresh start. To wipe the slate clean and get our physical or metaphorical house in order. 

But I’m going out in a limb today. New Year’s Resolutions, in my humble opinion, are a well-intended but flawed tradition.  Here’s what I believe is (usually) wrong with New Year’s Resolutions.

If it is important enough to change, you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to change it! If you have had the idea to change things up and set new goals back in June, you don’t need to wait 6 months to start. Even early in the year (mid January) it is not too late to set a Resolution. Waiting another 11 and a half months until the next New Year sounds like a reason to procrastinate and lose motivation. It’s better to start TODAY than wait until next year. Besides, New Year’s Day is a terrible time to start a change. You are tired from staying up late, we’ve just got over the Christmas kerfuffle.  Will power is down. It sounds much nicer to have a nap on the couch than start a new and difficult change. And we know it is a new and challenging thing or you would have already done it months ago.

Today is the best day to start the change you want to see happen

New Year’s only happens once a year. Funny that. But it IS a one-off event. Many people who “do” new year’s resolutions are only motivated when it still feels like the new year. But what about in February when you are back at work and school and the daily drudgery has kicked in again? Hmm? Huh?? Rather than making a New Year’s Resolution, why not make a New YOU Resolution that just happens to begin in the New Year? Sure, use this time to set some new goals for yourself, but consider making them an Improved “Your name” Resolution that belongs to YOU instead of belonging to the New Year.

New Year resolutions tend to be vague and negative and therefore destined to fail.  “I’m not going to do stuff anymore.” “I’m going to be a bit better.”  If my years working in a corporate environment and attending planning sessions and conferences taught me anything, it was about SMART goal setting; it was covered every time and while it got rather repetitive, it eventually sunk in. It does have merit. You might have heard it before; goals should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely). Making your goals to the SMART principle really does make a difference to reaching them. “I’m not going to lose a race” doesn’t have the same ring or power to it as “I am going to be 7 seconds faster within 6 months so I can beat Fred who is 3 seconds faster than me and win the race on 15th March”. If you need more help with SMART goals, the internet is full of the details to coach you through.

Massage and Stretching helps you get the most from your training goals.

Worse than vague, they are too big! “I am going to fit into my teeny tiny 6 sizes smaller jeans again” sounds really lovely, but where do you start? There are probably quite a few little steps to make first.  Set your big goal, but have a plan for in the meantime and work on your mini goals to get there. Focus on the small things you need to do to achieve your goal. If you are going to be fit enough to run a marathon, perhaps you need a training and recovery plan. If you are training intensively, you will need to plan the time to train and make sure you feed your body appropriate food and liquids. Booking a massage will help you get back to training faster and with fewer aches and pains. Stretching afterwards is also incredibly beneficial for muscle recovery.

Finally, most New Year Resolutions don’t have a plan for maintaining your achievement. Often our goals made in the new year have to do with finances, health, fitness and weight-loss. Once you fit into your teeny tiny jeans again or once you can run 10 kms really fast, what are you going to do then? Are you going to then run every week? Day? Month? Are you going to reward yourself or stop altogether? Once you have given up smoking for a month, you can reward yourself with the money you have saved. If you don’t have a plan you are at higher risk of falling into your old habits again. Make a plan for your long-term goal and give yourself the opportunity to review and alter your plan down the track.

Hey, if you can smash out a New Year’s Resolution and also maintain it, good for you! I mean that. You should be very proud of your staying prowess.

But for the rest of us mere mortals I recommend start when you first get the idea.  Don’t put it off. Yes, New Year’s Day is a time when the shops are closed and you have a day you can think about where you are and where you would like to be. But you can do that any time of the year. If you are going to set a goal, make it real. Something you can actually see. Make it something you actually want. There’s no good setting a goal to do something your neighbour wants but you, in fact, couldn’t actually think of anything worse. And make it positive – think about what you are gaining not what you are losing. Gaining things from an Improved You Resolution is so much more fun than missing out on something for the coming year.

Wishing you a fabulous year to come!

My Top 5 tips for surviving the silly season

Tis the season to be jolly…well burnt out. Fa la la la la la la la arrrghh…

There can be so much pressure this time of year. Hours of shopping in busy centres chasing down that perfect gift. All that food preparation for the big feast that will end up with enough left overs to feed a small nation. Sweating the credit card bill when it comes around in January and trying to not think about how big it will be until then. All the parties to attend and still have to face getting up to the kids the next day – trying really hard to not be hung over and cranky.  And, oh yeah, worrying you have forgotten to buy a gift for Great Aunt Whozit who you may or may not see but you need to have something for her just in case.

It shouldn’t be this hard!!

It doesn’t have to be. Here are my top 5 tips for surviving the silly season this year:

1. Allocate and delegate.  Make one list of what essentials need to be done and when. I have been known to make lots of random lists when I’m really busy so I don’t forget all the things. But the trouble is, random lists get misplaced, so I start a new one and then worry about what was on the first list that isn’t on the second list. Sigh. Having just one list (now) in a set location has simplified preparation allows me to have a quality sleep at night.

You can even allocate who is doing what next to each task on the list. And, it is really very satisfying crossing off each item.

If you are the type of person that has amazing ideas in the middle of the night, a notepad by your bed is good for jotting down ideas so you can get back to sleep. Just make sure you transfer to the master list in the morning. If you are tech happy and have an electronic list you may even be able to send people their jobs so they don’t forget what they have to do and when.

Rumour has it, Santa made a list and checked it twice. And you’ve got to agree he has a lot to remember this time of year and he isn’t particularly known for major stuff ups. He might just be on to something. I wonder if Santa has app alerts activated to keep the elves on task and on time…


2. Get everyone to contribute to food. It doesn’t really matter if what gets served isn’t straight out of an episode of MasterChef. I heard a great tip to ask each person what is the number one thing they really need to make it feel like Christmas. You can then outsource each “thing” to each person! Easy!! For me it is Cranberry Sauce. For my husband it is a good Chrissy ham. “Prawns? Of course, we can have prawns. Would you mind bringing them?” “Traditional Pudding? Absolutely. Thanks for offering to make it!”

You don’t need to do EVERY tradition. Pick the most important ones and get those who care most to do the decision making. If someone wants it, they can speak up or miss out. You probably usually have too much food on the day anyway, so it will be easier to eat a healthier quantity if you haven’t over-catered like every other year.

Make ahead as much as you can. My kids love these little home-made chocolate flavoured Christmas pudding treats. They keep really well and can be made weeks in advance so I don’t mind making them. It’s all the make on the day stuff that will wear you down.


3. Just Say No. This one is really hard, but should be the easiest of them all. Here is an important newsflash: You don’t actually have to go to every Christmas party. Truly! If you have 3 pre-Christmas events on the same night, IT IS OK TO ONLY GO TO THE ONE! Or even none if you are tired from your parties the day or week before. No explanations needed. Just a simple “I’m sorry I can’t make it, have fun” is all that is required. And each event doesn’t have to be the function to end all functions. Apparently moderation is the key to longevity.


4. Be realistic about what you can afford. Do your kids really need a complete set of squishies, the latest model iPhone or whatever is the latest, greatest, temporary fad this year? If you can’t afford it all, perhaps it isn’t the end of the world if they have an incomplete set or some vouchers or money to help them save up to purchase that big ticket item themselves.

If the adults are tired of all the useless gifts that go straight to the pool room, perhaps Kris Kringle is the way to go this year. Or try Experience Vouchers this year (massage vouchers are all the rage). Oh, and stock up on a couple of boxes of chocolates when they are on sale early in the month to have on hand just in case Great Aunt Whozit turns up. If she doesn’t, you can reward yourself with some yummy chocolates in January for surviving December so brilliantly.


5. Plan some me time.  Get some sleep. If you are running on empty all the things get harder.  It’s amazing what a little ol’ nana nap does for adjusting your perspective. Do something that recharges you in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  Book a Massage. Get your nails done. Hide out at the gym. Find a corner and curl up with a good (or trashy) book for an afternoon. Go for a walk with your favourite music blaring in your headphones while you block out the rest of the world. Whatever is your thing to recharge, make some time to do it before getting back to your preparations.

Back Massage


Keeping perspective during the pre-Christmas frenzy can be challenging but doesn’t have to be impossible. You don’t have to be a grinch and cancel all the fun. Just please cut yourself some slack this year. You will enjoy the season so much more if you have saved some energy for the actual event rather than burning out on a “perfect day” that you are too tired to enjoy.

Have a Happy and Safe Holiday Season, everyone.