Hello 2015!! New Year…. New Healthy Habits
Yes, I’m probably behind the rest of the world but today is the beginning of my new year.
Let me explain. Today is the day I go back to work and leave the holidays behind. While everybody else has been making (and maybe already breaking) resolutions I’ve hung out in holiday mode for the last four days enjoying the last of my free time.
I always find the end of the year a bit of a blur… the busy build up to Christmas, the day itself and the following days catching up with family and friends, then all of a sudden New Year is upon us, when we are supposed to have reflected on the past year and have come up with new goals for the coming year. It all seems a little rushed to me which is why I prefer taking my time coming up with my lessons learned on the year gone and my aspirations for the year ahead.
I have a feeling top of most people’s resolutions include getting healthy, losing weight and exercising more (or even just starting an exercise routine) which is not surprising after what could have been weeks of over-indulging on the vino, mince pies and rich food!!! But it’s fantastic that people are reflecting on their health and wanting to improve it. Always a good thing in my opinion.
But the trouble with resolutions is that people rarely keep them. There are the exceptions of course but generally this isn’t the case. It could be down to the fact that the resolution was made in haste and doesn’t really resonate, it’s is too ambitious, too vague, too unrealistic etc.
When it comes to health and happiness I actually prefer cultivating positive daily habits. Small habits that are nearly so small they seem too easy but will all add up to create lasting change. I hack my daily routine to add in a few extra habits or break some bad habits. The reason I’m starting this on the day I go back to work isn’t a coincidence seeing as my work day is quite structured so it’s easy to build habits into what is already quite a routine day.
Unfortunately the myth that it takes 21 days for a habit to stick is just that, a myth! Seemingly it can take anything from 18 days to 8 months to form a lasting habit. Yikes! So sticking with it and consistency seems to be the key.
So here are my tips on making new healthy habits:
- Decide on what you’d like to achieve and what it looks and feels like. E.g. I want to lose weight. I’ll feel lighter and more energised and sexy and I’ll fit into my jeans…. You get the drift!
- Connect with your ‘why’ of achieving the goal. Be as specific as possible. E.g. If I feel better in my own skin, lose the bloated feeling, have more energy, have glowing skin etc I will feel better about myself and have more confidence. What will feeling better about yourself and more confidence really mean for you? It could be improved relationships, having the confidence to go after the job you want etc.
- Choose a few simple actions that will get you towards your goal which you can do on a daily basis. E.g. start every day with a warm water and lemon drink; prepare your lunches every evening for the next day with nourishing delicious food so you won’t be tempted by processed convenience foods; add leafy greens to every meal; get off the bus two stops early every day on the way into work and on the way home from work… the possibilities are endless. Don’t choose too many so as to keep things realistic and achievable.
- Plan when and where you will do your chosen actions daily and every time you encounter the appropriate time, places or current parts of your routine, do the action(s). Use alarms, apps, post it notes, anything that will help remind you to take action!
- I like to keep a calendar or a journal with the actions on it and everyday I cross off when I’ve done the action(s). This will help with keeping the action(s) in mind, help with consistency and will also give a sense of achievement which will spur you on to keep making the positive actions.
It will get easier with time, and after a while you should find you do the action automatically. When this happens you’ve made a healthy habit! Yay!! Sure then you could look at creating some more healthy habits! Who needs to wait until the new year??
Here are some morning and evening habits that I would like to cultivate daily in 2015:
- Start my day with warm water and lemon
- Dry brush before I shower
- Eat protein as part of my breakfast
- Meditate for 15 minutes
- Be 10 minutes early for work
- Practice gratitude by writing three things I’m grateful for in a gratitude journal
- Organise meals and clothes for the next day so my mornings go smoother and I have more time for my morning habits.
- Go to bed at a time that will allow me get at least 8 hours of sleep
- Read a book in bed for at least 15 minutes before I go to sleep
Here’s to a happy, healthy and glowing 2015!!!