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Healthy Habits Mastered: one day at time

When it comes to making lifestyle changes and establishing healthy habits, one thing that can make getting started more difficult, is the idea that if you make a change to your daily routine, you’re committing to that exact behaviour change forever.

For example, people often say to us they’d like to be more active.  Perhaps to exercise 3-4 times a week. 

Their next thought is that they’ll have to do this every week.  

For the rest of their life.  

The very idea of this is enough to put them off making the change. They immediately think, ‘What if I can’t keep it up?’  

At this point they don’t dwell too much about why they might not be able to keep it up.  There may be legitimate reason like work can sometimes be super busy, or they may take a holiday and aren’t able to stick to their exercise routine.  

But simply anticipating that something could get in the way, at some point in the future, is enough to prevent them getting started.  

The same situation applies when it comes to healthier eating habits.  

If you’re aiming for the ‘perfect’ food routine, every day of your life, forever, then you’ll very soon start anticipating the moments that could trip you up.  Work dinners, travel for work or pleasure, social events or family gatherings.  And if the long-term plan can’t be perfect, why bother making the effort to get started in the first place?

You get the idea.

The challenge is, that if this situation perpetuates, the result will be that you spend day after day thinking about things you’d like to be better, but you take no positive action.

Too much of this and you feel like you’re failing with healthy living. 

You’re not failing obviously, but with a negative bias to the human brain, it’s often too easy to beat ourselves up about the positive actions we don’t take regularly enough.

And the day to day routine of positive planning but no action, along with a self-critical internal dialogue can be exhausting.

We suggest a different approach

The best and most sustainable results with healthy habits come from tackling one thing at a time.  Especially when your schedule is already busy.

We spend time with clients putting their wellness and performance objectives into an order of priority.  So they can tackle them one by one.

And because getting started is usually the biggest challenge, we encourage everyone we work with them to tackle one thing at a time, for just one week at a time.  

Or even for just one day at a time.

Boost confidence with a week of increased activity

If you think you’d like to exercise 3-4 times a week, test this out for just one week and see how you get on.  

Look at the next 7 days to plan when you can fit in 3-4 workouts.  Be very specific about how long you have available for each workout, and what you’ll spend your workout time doing.  Then add the activities and times into your calendar.  

Feel calmer and happier with a few nights of better sleep

If you have a notion that you’d like to get to sleep 30-minutes earlier, look at your schedule for the next week and be realistic about how many nights this will be possible.  

Mark these days / bedtimes into your schedule.  Now focus on the first date for sleeping earlier.  Begin planning everything that will need to happen for you to get to sleep at your desired time.  What time will you need to wrap up work, how will you wind down as you approach the time for sleep and who might you need to ask for support in getting to bed / sleep on time?

A day of energy and focus with better hydration

If you feel you’d benefit from being better hydrated, spend one day focusing on drinking more water and fewer coffees / teas / sodas.

Improved strategic performance: slow down for a day 

If you’d like to test the theory that taking regular breaks throughout a busy working day could make you more productive, pick a day to test this out.  Decide in advance how many breaks you’d like, what time these breaks will take place and how long they will last.

Why the approach works

👉🏻 By breaking down healthy living goals into an order of priority, and increasing your focus on actions towards each goal for a short and limited time, you can prove to yourself that you are capable of incorporating these actions into your schedule.

👉🏻 You will quickly improve your understanding of everything you need to take into consideration to execute each of the actions.

👉🏻 A few days of progress will provide invaluable feedback on how to shape your approach for the future, including modifications to your objectives based on the reality of accommodating the actions required to achieve them into your routine. 

👉🏻 By executing the actions, you will feel physically and mentally better which is the best form of motivation to continue.

👉🏻 You will experience a sense of positive achievement which will be the catalyst to refining your plan to make it sustainable so you can experience this sense of achievement every week.

So if you’re looking to sharpen up how you feel and how you perform, take a few minutes today to think about what specific action would be most useful for you to focus on for a day or a week and then get stuck in!



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