They say the greatest changes come through the formation of new habits. And this is true in our home. Over the past few months my husband and I have created new, healthier habits, and it is paying off. My husband’s cholesterol has dropped by 60 points without medication, and he has lost 20 pounds. I’ve lost six pounds, and am managing my stress and anxiety, naturally. So…how did we do it? Through the creation of new routines. Months later, these changes have simply become our lifestyle.
And you can do it too!
Five Habits That Can Lead to a Healthier, Happier You
1. Schedule It In.
If you are like me, there are a million and one reasons not to go to the gym. It’s cold out. You are tired. You have too much to do. But these excuses never got me anywhere, and they probably aren’t helping you. So, add time for fitness into schedule, and adhere to that plan. Whether you go to the gym, workout from home, or take walks around the neighborhood, treat it like an appointment you can’t cancel.
2. Plan ahead.
My husband and I often found ourselves drawn to fast food and restaurants on the weekends because we didn’t plan ahead. We had run out of groceries, or we didn’t have anything planned for dinner. By thinking ahead, and having our kitchen stocked, we avoid the temptation to eat out, and eat junk. Since have decided to eat a primarily vegetarian diet, and to limit processed foods, those are the things we buy, and those are the things we make.
3. Meal plan, and meal prep.
Sometimes, after working a long day, the last thing you want to do when you get home is cook. It’s so tempting to stop at a drive-thru, or order take out. If you take a few hours on the weekend to both plan and prepare meals, then you will be more likely to adhere to your meal plan, and avoid unhealthy alternatives.
4. Stick to your plan, Seven days a week.
It is tempting to take the weekend days off. But these “off days” can really throw you into a tailspin. In the past, our weekends would be a bit “lazier.” We’d get up, and hang out in our pajamas, and by 8 am, we were starving. We’d end up going out to breakfast, and then out to lunch. We’d feel so discouraged, it would often throw us off for an entire week. Now, my husband gets up at 4am, seven days a week, to work out. Once he is done, I head to the gym. Once we start the day off like this, we are less likely to stray from our meal plan, because we are already doing so well!
5. Check yourself.
Sometimes I am so tempted to just eat that Big Mac meal, or to skip the gym. When I feel like this, I have gotten into the habit of being more mindful of these decisions, and the impact they will have. I love sweets. Love them. But they make me feel really horrible. When I think about how crummy I am going to feel after I eat a donut, chances are, I am not going to eat it. Or, if I don’t feel like going to the gym, I log into Instagram, and find my favorite fitness inspirations. It helps to motivate me, and gets me to the gym.
At the end of the day, progress is going to come from being mindful. Set those goals, create those routines and make them habits. I’m doing so, what seemed impossible, will become possible, enjoyable…your norm. The key is patience, and perseverance. You will have tough days. You will eat that donut. But as long as you can refocus, and get back on track, true, lifelong change is just around the corner.