When it comes to creating a healthy lifestyle it’s important to build a routine around habit and not restriction. Telling ourselves we can’t have this or can’t do that is not a successful way to live long-term (and it’s not fun, short term). Instead, if we can take advantage of automated habits, living healthfully will become seemingly effortless.
Think about it, it’s not stressful to have to remember to lock the door or turn off the lights before bed. You don’t sigh and roll your eyes every time you need to take a shower. These things have become automatic, and you’ve built your schedule around the fact that they need to be done daily. The same can be true of any habit. Whether that habit is walking the dog in the mornings, enjoying some meditation before bed, or my personal favorite hot water with lemon, it’s not too far off in the future that it will feel odd NOT to do these things.
Think about the last time you didn’t brush your teeth before bed. The next morning weren’t you like, “whoa, I need to brush my teeth!”? Now imagine if you had this same response to other habits. “Whew, my stress is too much, I need some quiet time” or “I feel so sluggish, I really need to go for a walk”.
Notice my motivation in these habits have to do with how I feel, not an arbitrary rule that says I SHOULD do the thing. My teeth feel gross, let me brush them. My anxiety is coming back, let me eliminate some stress. I’m lethargic throughout the day, let me get back to my morning yoga.
Rules and guidelines can get us results, but they won’t be sustainable until they become something we value as truth, and not something instagram told us to do.
So for 2018, I hope you work on your habits. Don’t necessarily worry about a specific outcome, just think in big picture terms. What could help complete your health picture? Here are some ideas to get you started, but remember, don’t do these because I say they’re good, do them if you think they’ll help you in your lifestyle.
This could be controversial but….shrug emoji. It’s no secret that I’m a Christian. I love the Lord and this single thing completely shapes who I am. Having a healthy spiritual life and a relationship with Jesus is the first step, in my opinion, to having true health and happiness. Yes, I totally love you and we can be friends if you don’t believe in Jesus, but I DO believe in Him, so it’s a no-duh that I hope you do too.
Being in a relationship with Jesus doesn’t have to be riddled with red tape and spiritual slogans. Think about how you cultivate any relationship: time and conversation.
More Coffee Dates
Just like conversation with Jesus can bring us closer to Him, coffee dates with friends can do the same. This year I plan to schedule a regular coffee date in my week, and ask a friend to join me each time. What a fun way to catch up and slow down a bit. Have a long-distance friend? Schedule a virtual coffee date, or my favorite, a walking date! Bonus points if I don’t hear about it on Instagram.
I feel like of all the wellness aspects, sleep gets the worst follow-through. We automatically assume that working out in the morning or staying up late to study is the better thing. I’m deeming 2018 as the year of sleep for me (monkey palms to face emoji). But for real. Let’s finally feel rested.
I used to preach #movemore and honestly, the majority of the country could benefit from that mantra. However, I want to be sensitive to those who tend to move too much, and tell you, it doesn’t have to be this way. Movement is supposed to be used as a tool to FEEL great not to look great. And, if something is meant to make us feel great, shouldn’t it be enjoyed? If you struggle with the idea of finding the perfect way to exercise, or if you’re looking for a workout plan that will fit in your lifestyle long-term, shoot me a message and we can chat!
Savor Every Bite
I was listening to a podcast today that said publishers have deemed the mindful eating trend as dying. No one is interested in reading about mindful eating anymore and they’re moving on to the next thing. But here, with me, this message will never end. The point of food is yes, to fuel our bodies, but also to fuel our souls.
I want you to think right now of a food that if you smelt, saw, or tasted even the tiniest bite would “take you back”. You may even unapologetically close your eyes, and put your hands in prayer over just how good it is. You can see your grandma in the kitchen, hear the music playing, see the twinkling lights. This food, while it’s giving you energy for your cells, is also giving you energy for your life. There is nothing wrong with enjoying food just to enjoy it. And in fact, I’d argue that every single bite should be as good as possible.
Mindfulness around food is not restrictive in the least, it’s the opposite: an indulgence. This year, heighten your awareness and truly learn to savor.
I know that word is awful to say, or even read, but “brain empty” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. In 2018 one of my morning rituals is going to be to brain dump. I do this occasionally anyway, but I’m going to be more intentional about it now. I’m going to sit with my bullet journal, title the page “D A T E : Brain Dump” and write away. Bulleted lists work best for me as I practice a type of rapid-fire writing that decreases inhibition and has you literally writing all. the. things.
Adopt a New Hobby
Another habit I’m going to work on is finding new habits. For me, I think this will look like trying something new each month. It can be anything, but I want to get out and explore. It’s easy for us to get swallowed up by our day to day, and for me, that means getting lost in the health & wellness world. It’s a fun world to live in, but too much of anything is not great, so bring on the artsy fartsty, non-sciencey, type-b things that I’ve never tried. I’m excited to clear my headspace and have thoughts OTHER than “fitness, food, let’s go workout together!, coffee date to talk about blogging?” It’s really all too much, and I need a life.
What habit do you hope to adopt in 2018??