Creating Healthier Habits to support you in achieving a healthier lifestyle
Though well intentioned, New Years Resolutions can be, a recipe for disaster. Getting caught up in the hype and pomp of saying goodbye to the old, we tend to see the New Year as a chance to make a fresh start. Hence, we tend to make such resolutions over ambitious.
When, in the weeks and months that follow, we slip back to our old ways, our self-esteem can take a plunge with it.
A better approach, which can be applied at any time of the year, is to get into creating new habits. These can be framed in a more positive light, as opposed to the "giving up something" way that resolutions are often stated.
Setting healthier habits is just another way of helping yourself to make the improvements in your eating and lifestyle that you've been meaning to get to. So grab a notepad, sit in your favourite corner of where you live, in a comfy chair. Then think about the parts of your life you want to improve, make a note of them.
However long your list is, pick two of them and set Goals around them. Remember your new goals should be Specific Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-specific.
The trick then is, to break your goals down into healthier habits and schedule to do them for a specified time until they become the norm. That way over time you'll have little wins along the way and feel more rewarded when you achieve your ultimate goal. The habits must help you to work towards achieving the high-level goals you've set yourself this year.
If a habit does not suit or fulfil you remember to change them - you are in control.
Below I've created a simple guide to help you add some fresh thinking this year. Pick two or three healthier habits, then once they become the norm add in more from the list below, or better still choose the habits from your goals if the ones below do not fit.
Whatever you do stay focused and be consistent in your small steps towards achieving your bigger yearly goals.
Give yourself time to relax daily. It can even be as simple as a half hour reading a novel, or a walk for an hour with the dog, or a brisk walk on the beach. It could be learning to knit, flower arranging, learning a new language you've always want to learn, yoga, pilates or meditation. It's whatever that will bring you joy and take you away from your hectic life for a short time.
2 Snack smartly
Get in the habit of prepping your snacks the night before. One of the easiest is to toast nuts and seeds, leave them cool completely and add some dried fruit. Store in suitable containers (portion sized). Easy then to grab a portion or two, throw into your bag for use throughout the day.
3 Hydrate Sufficiently
As a rough guide 6-8 glasses a day. Spruce up your filtered water by adding vegetables or fruit. My favourites are sliced lemon and limes, berries and mint, thyme and rosemary, cucumber slices with mint. If water bores you then there are a variety of herbal teas to choose a few favourites. The Pukka brand have a very tasty selection to choose from, but there are lots of other herbal teas, I use these ones.
4 Clever Meal Swaps:
Simple examples are:
- If you make truffles in 1 tablespoon size make them in 1/2 tablespoon size. You make more and don't feel so bad when you eat two instead of twice the amount.
- Bake sweet potato fries instead of potato chips. Or if you have a need to transition more slowly take smaller steps use the half sweet potato and half white potato. Once your habits become embedded then improve on them again. The next stage of that habit is to replace the white potato completely and use sweet potato.
- You may want to add more green vegetables to your meals. Start with adding more green vegetables to your smoothie or a portion in your lunch or dinner and improve from there at your own pace
- If you want to reduce sugar in your tea and can't do cold turkey on it, then start with reducing the amount you use by half. If you use 2 teaspoons, lower it to 1 after a specified time (you set) reduce it by half a teaspoon at a time and keep going until you have successfully removed sugar completely from your beverage. After a few months if you mistakenly add in the sugar you won't like it.
- If you want to eat fewer takeaways, again use the principle with the sugar reduction above, reducing the number over a specified time, one at a time. You will have to include time to find and test recipes you want to make at home instead.
Other areas you might choose are
- Improve Sleep Routine
- Tidiness & Organisation
- Get fit
- Regular Exercise
- Get a healthier weight