Start the year with some marginal gains and Lagom

Having begun last year with encouraging you to do some serious decluttering (5 Ideas to get through January) this year we thought we needed to share our more realistic or achievable goals. Why do we set ourselves such big new years resolutions and put so much pressure on ourselves? Maybe it is better to set smaller more attainable targets that will make us feel happier and more satisfied. So it’s time to take advice from Dave Brailsford (Head of British Cycling) and go for small changes, or in his words, achieve marginal gains, that when put together, make a big difference.

What does that mean in practice? Well for us it means making those small changes, completing a little job, making a slight adjustment to our daily routine or making a purchase, that make a difference to our quality of life. This links to the Swedish art of balanced living called Lagom, which at it’s simplest is ‘just enough’ or ‘just right’, ‘not too little and not too much’. Lagom embraces all aspects of living  – work/ life balance, food and drink, styling our home, health and wellbeing, socialising, the environment and sustainability. Lagom is a code for living life honestly, happily and in balance – in short it helps us to achieving marginal gains every day of the year.

We have selected some aspects of Lagom to suggest ways in which to achieve some marginal gains and satisfaction during the month of January and beyond.



Joining the gym or running a marathon is amazing but it’s not for everyone and can feel very daunting. Incorporating some simple exercise into your daily routine is relatively easy and achievable. Hopefully you do take a lunch break – if not then start now!! A simple walk at lunchtime costs nothing, will get the blood pumping and your body will release endorphins that trigger a positive feeling and help relieve stress. Don’t worry about setting targets and distances – just getting out there in the first place is the goal and you’ll feel better for it.



Did you know that Swedes are in the top 3 biggest coffee drinkers in the world, a habit closely linked to fika culture. The Swedish diet is all about healthy balanced eating but fika is the sliver lining, the feel good treat. In the work place, Swedes have a 15 minute coffee break, morning and afternoon and coffee is always accompanied by home made pastries. At home a weekend fika is a table full of cakes and cookies, cinnamon buns, pretty coffee cups and candles. In essence the simple act of drinking a cup of coffee is elevated to a much more enjoyable and indulgent treat. Instead of throwing an elaborate dinner party why not just invite some friends over for coffee and treat it like a special event.



If you drink alcohol, dry January is all about allowing the body to detox and recover from the excesses of Christmas, as well as saving money. However it really is the worst month of the year to set such a big goal – short days, cold weather, lots of staying at home and watching tv and a complete alcohol ban! Then as soon as February arrives we lose all sense of moderation! Why not consider cutting back alcohol to the weekends and be a bit easier on yourself? You’ll feel better for cutting back and enjoy it far more on the occasions you do have a tipple.


The entire Swedish way of life is geared up to a green ethos. Did you know that only 1% of all household waste in Sweden ends up in landfill? The rest is recycled or used to produce energy or fuel. In Lagom, recycling should be easy and effortless. Ikea is a great place to invest in cheap and aesthetically pleasing recycling bins, which will make rubbish sorting a lot easier.

We are all becoming increasingly aware of the desperate need to reduce our plastic waste. Did you know that the plastic garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean is estimated to cover 1.6 million square kilometres. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. With this depressing and terrifying statistic in mind we can all aim to use less plastic – use bar soap instead of liquid soap, use paper straws and wooden cutlery if you’re having a party or event, reuse shopping bags, use matches instead of a plastic lighter, pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags.


Lagom can also apply to your home. Swedish interiors are generally light and uncluttered. Walls are for storage to save floor space and display items whilst keeping other surfaces clear. The feature wall embodies the lagom approach to interiors – go for colour or wallpaper on one wall because the whole room would be too much. Paint is relatively cheap and painting one wall will only take an hour or two.

Before and after………



To apply the Lagom ethos and achieve marginal gains to your wardrobe you should consider the following – review the contents of your wardrobe regularly and you may discover that something old is cool again. Get sewing and you may be able to turn an old garment into something new! Evaluate your capsule wardrobe – what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. We all have individual style – if your capsule wardrobe consists of 10 white shirts that’s ok! Try out the concept of ‘ugly matching’ this means trying clothes together in a new or different combination – you never know what you will discover.

Blog post written with reference to – Lagom The Swedish Art of Balanced Living by Linnea Dunne

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