Creating and following new healthy habits can be very overwhelming, especially without a plan of attack or a solid support system to help guide and encourage you. I know all too well just how hard it is as I had to completely re-learn many things regarding my own health. I put together a quick guide on how to efficiently take the right steps to develop new healthy habits in your life today.
It is human nature to avoid admitting fault and recognizing signs of weakness. For some, it is a lot harder than for others, but it is extremely healthy to acknowledge and accept areas of growth. Without weak points, we simply could not grow and evolve over time. We were not supposed to be created the same, which allows us to come together and unite to overcome obstacles as a whole. Learning and listening to our inner self can be so therapeutic, especially when you realize that your weaknesses do not define failure. Failure is scary, almost taboo, but even the most successful inventors of our time failed many times before making a revolutionary breakthrough. If these famous examples were to have given up at the first sign of a failed attempt, then we simply would not even have electricity running our advanced technology today.
Be brave! Write down areas in your life where you see yourself being assertive and successful while also saving a space to write down those areas where you may struggle or avoid. Visibly seeing both sides of your spectrum creates a positive-negative balance to your self-worth and being. We can all do better in specific areas in our lives, but we are more apt to make those changes when we see them written down and acknowledged.
I find that I am most successful when I lay out a plan of attack rather than relying on my mind to keep track of progress. I sometimes even get overwhelmed if I don’t have a visual list to arrange and check off as I get closer to my goal. I even go so far as to create a virtual list on top of a hand-written list so I have it with me at all times. I, of course, thrive off this technique while others may not find that to be useful.
A well-drawn-out plan creates a reasonable time frame in which to ensure that the road eventually leads to the end result. Having a visual and organized route can really help guide and direct you when the path starts to get rough or unclear.
Eating healthy and whole foods can make such a huge difference in the way we feel and think! When our bodies get the nutrients and fuel we require and need to function efficiently, then we perform and operate on higher frequencies. There is so much improvement in the way we react, respond, love, study, perform, think, share, and experience. We boost our immune system, and we reduce the risk of diseases, along with fighting off pathogens we encounter.
The best way to start creating healthier nutritional habits is to eliminate the amount of processed foods within your diet. Replace unhealthy snacks with fruits and vegetables! We keep cleaned, cut, prepared vegetables in the fridge and a bowl of fruit on the counter as a healthy reminder and easy access for our kids. Eating healthier and starting new habits doesn’t mean to completely cut out family functions and events with friends. It means choosing to eat healthier when given the opportunity. Some prefer to be strict during the week but enjoy events without restrictions on the weekends, while others prefer to choose health conscious choices every day without tracking macros. We all have our specific goals and lifestyles but making a point to choose a healthier option and create a new habit is always something to be celebrated.
I cannot fully express how wonderful exercise is, not only for the body, but also the mind. I have had the pleasure of working with so many remarkable clients who have experienced the rewards of exercise induced endorphins. I like to call them the ‘happy fuzzies.’ Endorphins can quickly turn even the hardest day around in an instant.
Exercise increases blood flow and metabolism, while also increasing lean muscle tissue that aids in visceral fat burning. The stronger our bodies are, the more able they are to simply live. It reduces heart disease and the lowers the risks for most cancers and diseases. Movement is so good for our entire soul and being! There have been many studies that have shown just 30 minutes of activity per day can greatly add days to our lives.
The best way to start creating healthy exercise habits within your life is to join a gym, find some fun classes, or join a swim team or group of cyclists. You can also commit to a marathon or hire a coach or trainer to help guide and motivate you. Some classes have punch cards to win prizes after attending “X” number of classes too!
Water ensures that our body is functioning correctly, especially in our natural defense mechanisms. Staying hydrated can greatly reduce the risk of infection, especially during cold and flu season. It naturally rids the body of toxins, bacteria, and invading viruses, acting as an immune defense. We are equipped with many back-up systems to aid in attacking pathogens, some of them being mostly composed of water! The mucosa in our digestive and respiratory systems trap debris and unwelcome visitors from entering our stomach and lungs. The recommended daily fluid intake for men and women is roughly three liters, but most people do not consume this much. My advice is to get a big jug, leaving it out on the kitchen counter, and taking a drink of water every time you see it. It also helps you track your daily intake and ensure that you reach your goal by the end of the day; otherwise, you will be spending most of your night in the bathroom rather than resting.
Finding a safe place or sanctuary to retreat when things become overwhelming is extremely essential for mental health. There will always be days where you feel as if the world is sitting upon your shoulders or your mental capacity has reached its limit. We all need a safe place where we can unwind, breathe, and shut off reality. Some people can think more clearly in their sanctuary, while others come to switch the remote off.
Creating habits is never easy, so creating a personal space in which to go when it feels like you have not progressed, or if something is causing a roadblock, can be super useful. Some find themselves sitting in the car before going inside after a long day of work, while others seek solitude in a remote place with scenery such as the mountains or desert. I, however, enjoy taking Epsom salt baths in a locked bathroom. I can work and respond to emails there, or I can simply shut off the world and regroup my thoughts. Wherever this place may be for you, find it!
I have a wonderful lifelong friend who I met as a young adult and who I have always admired because of her education and kindness. She is a safe person for me to confide and ask for help when I feel as if I am not holding myself accountable to my goals or habits. She does not judge me but rather offers the best encouragement and advice that really soaks into my soul at the best time.
I highly suggest finding your ‘Monique’ in life. This person can be a family member, a friend, a cousin, a counselor, or even a coworker. Choose someone who understands your goals, your timeframe, and the reasons behind why you are trying to create a new healthy habit. Once you do find that person bound by love and trust, let them know the type of reinforcement you would like when it comes to feedback. Communicate with them as to why you trust them and what you need from them! As a coach, I like to have my clients check in with me weekly. They have the option to send in a one- to ten-page journal entry, photos, and screen shots, and then we analyze their strengths and weaknesses. This can make such a difference being able to express your trials and accomplishments to someone who is in your corner supporting every move you make.
There is absolutely no success moment too small to celebrate in life changing adventures! If you are actively working towards positive changes, then you deserve to celebrate. Fixing old ways and creating new habits is so hard with so many obstacles. There needs to be recognition; otherwise, it will be difficult to stay on track. Go on your vacation, have the date night, eat the treat, or buy the outfit because you deserve every single ounce and moment of it!