Let's Start with Some Healthy Habits
Updated: Jan 21, 2020
In the last post I talk about setting your goals in a mindful way. It is about getting inside your mind and figure out what you truly want and how you would feel or behave once you accomplish those goals.
I believe it is important to write down your goals and put them somewhere you can see all the time, so you are constantly reminded of them and held accountable to them. And if it is appropriate, you may even choose to share them with your family and friends, so they can provide the necessary support and accountability for you to succeed.
Be Healthy Without Setting Goals
If goal setting is not your thing or you just don't have the time, not a problem. You can start with some healthy habits and feel better right away, whether you have goals or not. You don't have to start on new year day or any auspicious day because the idea is to develop these actions into something you will do regularly and habitually like brushing teeth or taking a shower.
Take One Small Positive Action Now
Chose a healthy habit that is effortless, consumes little time and can be easily integrated into your routine. Practice this new healthy habit consistently and observe how you feel over time. Don’t underestimate how one small positive action can consistently add up to a healthier lifestyle over the long run.
You may already be practising a good chunk of the following. You are welcome to use them as reminders or use your creativity to expand on these existing habits or add new ones.
Make a habit of drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning and between meals, because water cleanses and helps with appetite control. Add lemon, ginger, turmeric, or fresh herbs to your water. I like adding apple cider vinegar to my water every morning to support my digestive health. Sometimes if I want a bit more warmth, I would add ginger, honey, turmeric and black pepper for better absorption of the latter. In the summer, I would add lemon, cucumber and fresh mint leaves for a refreshing taste.
Eat A Rainbow
Add a piece of fresh vegetable or fruit every day. Ideally you want to eat organic, seasonal produce in a rainbow of colours, but almost any fresh fruit or vegetable will do you some good. Try to add an apple or banana or avocado or blueberries to your routine, they can be in addition to or in place of any food items with a label and expiry date. The idea is that you can add fresh, single-ingredient foods to crowd out junk, processed food.
As Michael Pollan said perfectly: "If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't."
Consider how you can fit in extra movements throughout the day. 10 minutes of physical movements every day will add up to more than an hour in a week. Make a detour to your coffee break, bathroom or meeting room. Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalators. Add a standing desk at work. Try a tree pose or stand on one leg as you brush your teeth. Do ten squats as you wait for the water to boil. Stretch as you watch your favourite Netflix show. Squeeze your buttocks as you wait in line. Challenge yourself to think of ten different ways to sit or stand so you can use different groups of muscles. Be creative. Be active.
I can recommend an entire book about sleep, and the author is happy for you to fall asleep while reading it. Otherwise try the following. Ideally there should be no digital device before bed time. I know this is tough for so many us. You can always start small with 10 to 15 mins of digital detox before bedtime and work up to an hour of digital-free time. Blackout your bedroom or use eye masks. Block out external noise with thick curtains or ear plugs. Take a hot shower. Develop a bedtime routine such as reading, meditation, stretching, writing a journal or to do list to calm your mind. Essential oils with soothing scents can be helpful. Getting some sunlight and exercising during the day can be amazing for your sleep, but try to avoid heavy food or vigorous exercise two hours before bedtime.
Learn Something New
Read or learn something new every day. Get into the habit of reading good quality articles, books and material that is valuable and worth your time. Reading does not only expand your knowledge, it improves your brain power and possibly your mood. If you don't like reading, try audible books, podcasts and educational TV programmes. Alternatively you can learn a new skill, a new language, a new hobby or an online course. Pick anything that helps to expand your horizon and is enjoyable to you.
You can call this "positive mindset", "be present", "have the right attitude", or simply "laugh" or "smile". Take a couple of minutes for some self-care, self-development and nurturing. You can start your day with positive affirmations, a smile, a compliment or a simple "thank you". Find time to pray, meditate, practice yoga, take a breather, write a journal, write a gratitude list, write a to-do list, listen to music or dance. Focus on the present, accept all your emotions, whether you are happy, sad, angry, content or disatisfied, let go of things that you cannot control, be aware of your thoughts, practice how you manage your emotions, perception or expectation. Be really curious about yourself and nurture a positive mindset.
Make These Habits Stick
As you can see, there is a myriad of healthy habits that you can add to your daily routine. They should not take much time, cost much money or effort and you should be able to feel better right away. This is how you can make these habits stick and remain sustainable.
Thank you for reading this and hope you find the material useful. Please share your thoughts or get in touch if you are interested in a health coaching programme. Sign up for a free consultation here.
1. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan
2. Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker