When we’re faced with the chore of “getting healthy” we often look to extremes. In the world of fitness, we tend to use mantras like “no pain, no gain”. The problem with these mantras, is well, they don’t necessary work.
Although a tough love approach may work in the short time, we have a limited amount of willpower and motivation. When both of those run out, we’re toast. That is, unless we don’t need to use motivation and willpower to maintain a healthy lifestyle. How do we do that? By establishing habits. This, my friend, is the un-sexy way to a healthy life.
What does establishing healthy habits look like? First, it looks like doing things you LIKE. Next, it’s understanding that it’s going to take TIME. See….not sexy.
To help you get started, I’ve come up with some simple healthy habits based around exercise and activity that you can begin to implement IF YOU WANT. Remember these are MY ideas and not the end all be all. Sometimes, we feel we need to go extreme, begin working out for an hour every day until we reach some state of perfection. This is not the approach I’m taking here. Instead, with healthy habits you’ll add in activity to your day almost without realizing. It’s not about punishing ourselves to get the perfect bod, it’s about finding enjoyable everyday movements that eventually add up to a more active life. With this approach, I recommend implementing one new habit each month. Any more than that, and it may not be something you’ll want to maintain.
Take The Stairs
No really, take the darn stairs, every single time.
Stand While You Work
Try to find an easy place where you enjoy standing while you type, grade, work on spreadsheets, or you know, rule the world.
Wherever you’re going, ask if you are able to walk. Want coffee? Can you walk there? This will obviously be easier for some depending on where you live, but even if you live in a rural area you can apply this habit in other situations. Are you shopping in a strip mall? No need to move the car from place to place, just walk the whole darn thing (you’ll probably save time in the process).
Make Dates Active
Are you meeting a friend for coffee? Why not coffee and a walk? Or how about you go on a bike ride with your significant other? This is not to be viewed as exercise or a way to burn calories, you’re merely trying to find a way to enjoy one another’s company in a new healthy way.
Change Your Commute
Can you walk or bike to work? How about public transportation? Even taking the train or bus will require you to walk more and be more active throughout your day. Bonus: you’ll gain that commute time and you’ll be able to get in some reading, meal planning, whatever it is that you enjoy but don’t have time for!
As you read through this list you may be having a few different thoughts. One, you could be rolling your eyes, saying “yea, yea, this is not rocket science”. Others may be overwhelmed at the thought of doing all of this in order to be more active. To the first group I say, yes, it’s not rocket science, but are you doing these things? To the latter, I’ll remind you that you should choose ONE to implement this month.
Once you form these habits, willpower and motivation are no longer an issue. It doesn’t take much, if any, of either to keep these habits going. Do you have other active habits you’ve built over the years? Share them below so we can all get more ideas!