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How to create your ideal plan for sustainable healthy habits & peak performance

We work with a lot of high performing individuals, teams and organisations.

These individuals can sometimes be a little hard on themselves. It kind of goes with the territory. To be successful you have to be striving for more and be OK with making the present a little uncomfortable in order to stay motivated to keep pushing towards greater success in the future.

There can be drawbacks to this approach though as the quest for always doing better can lead to frustration when success doesn't seem to come quickly enough. And frustration can be dangerous as it often derails a whole host of positive intentions and behaviours.

So, within this environment, we always encourage everyone to remember the value of the journey as well as the destination.

As part of adopting this mindset, we’d like you to start thinking in a specific way about your healthy habits. In an attempt to immediately begin enjoying the benefits of the positive steps you're currently taking, rather than waiting for some mythical moment in the future when you've 'mastered' healthy living.

We'd like you to shift the focus onto things that you manage to achieve each day, rather than dwelling on what you don’t get around to.

Here’s why.

Anyone can do better than their current level of success, but continually moving the goalposts can leave you feeling negative. No matter how well you perform. Even if you take 10 positive steps towards living your best life every day, overthinking about anything that you didn’t manage to achieve will result in negative emotions.

Spend every day feeling like this and, at best, your energy and motivation to keep on pushing will begin to wane at some point. At worst, you’ll probably give up trying altogether.

We hear them regularly. Negative thoughts, given voice which makes them even more effective at draining energy...’I should have gone to the gym yesterday', 'I should have got to bed earlier', 'I shouldn't have eaten that take out', 'I should have planned my day better', 'I need to drink more water', 'Why didn't I build some breaks into my day!'

But what about all the good stuff you are doing?

Acknowledging and celebrating positive behaviours puts you in a completely different frame of mind. You feel confident that you are taking action rather than your healthy habits being another thing on your impending to-do list. When you know you already have some positive actions in place, you're motivated to build on these and do more.

Immediately you feel better. Every day. Healthy living is a work in progress, not another project waiting for you to do better with.

Celebrating success makes you want to do more. Tracking what’s happening gives you the opportunity to reflect on what specifically you’d like to do more of. And why.

Thinking this way is a simple two-step process...

Step 1

Observe your positive behaviours throughout each day. Whenever you behave consistently with your desired healthy habits, write it down. You can do this electronically or in a journal / notebook as long as you have this notebook close to hand at all times.

The notes can be as simple as ‘sitting / standing with good posture’ (which I’m sure you’re doing right now), ‘staying hydrated’ (now you’re thinking about getting some water), 'I took a 5-minute break', 'stretching at the desk', 'I walked xxx steps', 'I got some fresh air'.

You only need to write down one positive thing a day but we’re pretty sure you’ll have way more than this as soon as you start paying attention to the small stuff.

You’re now recording and evolving the healthy habits that work for you. Which is how you keep your daily plan realistic and achievable. Which is how you make it sustainable. Which is why you will enjoy consistent positive results.

And while you're enjoying the journey, you are at the same time clarifying the ongoing destination. Which brings us to...

Step 2

After a few days of recording and celebrating the positives, review your notes and create a framework of daily non-negotiable healthy habits. This is now your simple checklist to follow each day. If you include all the items on the checklist, you'll have an amazing day.

The image for this post is a sample checklist that we share. There are 12 suggestions on this list but you might like to begin with 3 or 4 on your list. Or even 1 or 2 to get started with. It’s easy to add things over time and you’ll definitely be motivated to do this as you gain traction with each actions one by one and they all become unconscious habits that don't require any mental effort to sustain.

To begin with you'll probably need to keep the checklist close to hand. It could be a paper checklist or a list on your phone that you refer to periodically. It might even be your screensaver along with an aspirational photo to remind you of how you'll look and feel when you execute your healthy habits.

In time you'll just need to review and refresh your list periodically to add anything you'd like to make progress with and make sure the framework is still relevant.

One thing is guaranteed...

By taking consistent action and continually refining your plan, you are always focused on the most relevant behaviour to suit your every week. You have a basic structure that works and you can then evolve the plan as you go.

Just like you do in your professional role.

At work you don’t expect to know every element of how a project will succeed right from the get go. You have a starting point from which you build. Which means your plans and actions are always relevant because they're always judged in the context of real world feedback.

And remember, some false starts or mistakes are fine. You can’t expect not to make mistakes. In fact some mistakes along the way can be desirable as they make the end solution more robust. Everything you try or test that doesn't work, is one step closer to establishing the healthy habits that are right for you.

How to make this work for you

Simple. Incorporate the 2-step plan, starting today and schedule a weekly calendar reminder to review and evolve your framework of daily habits.



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