4 Steps Towards a Healthy Lifestyle
Creating the right mindset for a healthy lifestyle.
Throughout the years, I've found that these four things are the key to creating a healthy LIFESTYLE. They will help keep you on track and keep you going for the long haul.
- Avoid doing too much too soon
- Focus on one habit at a time
- Focus on ADDING good things (to do), instead of subtracting bad things (don't do)
- Good, better, best
Avoid Doing too Much too Soon
We've all fallen into the trap of wanting to change a lot of things, all at one time. New Years is an excellent example of this. In December, you decide you want to get healthy, and you're going to start a Whole 30 diet on January 2nd, and from that day forward, you're going to cut out all sugar, bread, dairy, etc. The thought is great, but the problem is you spent the whole holiday season eating all those things, and you're expecting yourself to go perfectly cold turkey in one day. That's a lot of pressure. You do well for a few days, but your body starts to feel detox symptoms (that's a real thing), and you're craving sugar. Life starts to get busy, and some days you run out of time to plan and prep your food, and you end up breaking your diet. Now, you feel like you've failed, and you're overwhelmed, so understandably you start to transition back to how you originally ate. You begin to think that eating healthy isn't for you, and you begin to form bad associations with the whole thing.
A better way to approach this is to focus on one thing at a time. Instead of throwing the whole food pyramid out the window, try focusing on one healthy habit at a time. It's still going to be tough, and it will take discipline and setting up some firm, bright-line rules for yourself, but it is so much more achievable. And there's nothing more motivating than when you keep a promise you made to yourself or achieve a goal you set.
Focus on One Habit at a Time
We all have unhealthy habits we want to quit. The challenge is knowing how to tackle all these habits. Most people use diets or drastic plans to make a change because they want to do it all at once. These usually, if not always, fail. The key is to commit to a lifestyle one healthy habit at a time. As we commit to one habit, more habits are compounded, and other bad habits are naturally subtracted. We call this a compound habit. Commit to a lifestyle and then find one habit to focus on at a time.
Problem: I know I need to eat a lot better, but I don't know where to start. I'm feeling overwhelmed.
Solution: Drink a green smoothie every day.
Outcome: As you focus on drinking a green smoothie every day, you'll find an increase in health, and you'll begin to progress. This habit will attract other good habits, and other bad habits will naturally disappear.
It's so important to remain focused on just one new habit. Don't worry about what other mistakes you may make or bad foods you eat. Put all your energy and focus on drinking a green smoothie every day!
Focus on Adding Good Things
One mistake a lot of us making when we're trying to create change is we start making "don't lists."
- Don't listen to bad music in the car
- Don't eat fast food
- Don't have candy during work or late at night
- Don't watch TV
When we create these "don't" lists, we put our focus on the things we don't want to do. When we repeatedly tell ourselves, "don't drink soda," our mind is always on soda. This can lead to continually feeling restricted and miserable. Instead, focusing on "drinking more water" keeps your focus on the positive task you want to achieve.
So, instead of berating ourselves over everything we aren't doing, let's pick one new healthy habit you want to add to your life. Keep your focus on that one habit and let subtraction by addition work its magic.
Good, Better, Best
If options are limited, do the best you can. Living a healthy lifestyle isn't about perfection. It's about making the best decisions you can in every situation life brings. Making that "best" choice for whatever situation you're in will give you some momentum and confidence to help you stay on the path.
If you dedicated a whole year to just focusing on one new habit every month, you'd be amazed at how much progress and growth would happen. Not only would you have 12 new, healthy habits, but a lot of your old, bad ones would naturally fall away. I know it's hard to get away from the idea that to make a change, you have to do something extreme. But, it's just not the case. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
If you want to join in on the "One Habit at a Time" challenge, but have missed some of the monthly guides, you can download them here.