Creating a healthy diet is about more than just opting for broccoli over pizza, it’s about creating healthy habits that fit your lifestyle that you can keep for the long term. This is something I talk about a lot with clients or in my workshops because it is truly the hardest part about creating a healthy lifestyle, and changing the habits you have established over the past 10, 20, or 30-plus years.
The temptation to go all in and change everything at once is big. Although the “rip it off like a band-aid” method may work for some people, for many it will have them crawling back to their old habits before the sun has set on day one. Rather, when creating change it is important to make choices and create healthy habits that work for YOU. What works for Jane Doe will not necessarily work for Joe Blow, and that is totally acceptable. Creating healthy habits takes time and requires trial and error. What you think will work often does not, and things you think will never work for you often do, but that’s the fun of it.
So these are 5 healthy habits that I do every day that work for me. You are more than welcome to try and incorporate some into your daily routine or take inspiration from mine to help you create your own.
1. Workout or Get Active
I have always been an active person, so working outcomes naturally to me. I love the feeling of pushing my body and seeing what it can do; be it lifting heavy weights or going for a run. No matter how busy my schedule gets, I always make working out a priority in my day and ensure never falls off my to-do list. At the start of every week, I create a rough workout schedule in my head so I know what days I will workout where and when, so it is worked right into my week. I used to be an evening workout kind of girl, but in recent years I have moved my workouts to the morning to ensure there is no reason to miss them. Most days of the week I wake up at 5:30 am and I am in the gym for a 6:00 am workout. This time is really important to me; it allows me to start my day doing something I love, helps me clear my head, and energizes my body for the rest of my day. I typically go to the gym 5 or 6 days per week, but on the days that I don’t I always ensure there is some form of activity in my day; be it a walk outside or something simple that gets me up and active. I think it goes without saying that movement is one of the most important healthy habits you can implement, so you just need to find the type that works for you.
2. Drink Water Before Anything Else
I am a coffee drinker, and I look forward to my cup of Joe every morning, but it is never the first thing that I drink in the morning. Every morning I make sure that the first thing I drink is a big glass of water. I used to make fun of people who carried a water bottle everywhere, but that is actually exactly what I do now. Every night when I go to bed, my bottle of water comes with me and sits on my bedside table so it is the first thing I reach for in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, I get up, make my bed, and all that jazz, but in the process, I am sipping from my bottle of water before I head to the gym, or while I am making my morning cup of coffee. This is a really simple healthy habit that can have a huge impact.
3. Eat Something Green
When I was learning to eat better, I was absolutely obsessed with adding more greens to my diet. If I made a dish that didn’t have something green in it, I would always add a side salad to ensure that there was something green going into my mouth. Leafy greens and green vegetables are incredibly nutritionally dense, rich in fiber, and great sources of vitamins and minerals. As my cooking skills have evolved I’ve certainly found more ways to add greens to my diet, and there is never a day that passes where I don’t eat green veggies during (at least) one meal.
4. Digital Detox Before Bed
Screens have become a big part of our everyday life, there is no way around it or out of it. Like many, I enjoy spending time on my phone, browsing online on my computer, and watching a bit of TV. In fact, I used to fall asleep watching TV and bring my phone into bed with me all of the time; a screen was the last thing I looked at before I fell asleep and the first thing I would grab in the morning. A couple of years ago we implemented a rule that we could no longer bring our phones into the bedroom, and recently I’ve stopped using my phone at 8:00 pm to help me “digitally detox” before I go to sleep. Research shows that digital screens emit blue light that actually suppresses melatonin production (your sleep hormone), making it harder for us to fall asleep and fall into a deep sleep. Adding this digital detox to my daily routine has dramatically increased my sleep habits and, in turn, my energy levels!
5. Take Some Me Time
As far as healthy habits go, I think this one is one of the most important. We live in a culture of “go, go, go” and “more is better”. Like many Type A people, I am always adding things to my to-do list, saying yes to opportunities, and keeping my days filled with things to do. Whether it is working on a blog post, going to the gym, running errands, or hanging out with friends I always seem to find time to fill my schedule with things. Although I might seem like an extrovert to some, I am mostly an introvert and I recharge by being alone and doing something for myself. Every day I try and find a little time to do something for myself that helps me keep my balance and helps to recharge my batteries for the next day. Although it would be lovely to treat myself to a massage or pedicure daily, that is certainly not realistic for time or money! So instead I try and keep it simple; be it enjoying a coffee in a local coffee shop, reading a book, going for a walk, or simply cooking my favorite meal, doing something for me helps me maintain my balance and makes me a happier and healthier person.