When writing this, I didn’t know whether I wanted to lament about how hard it is to be consistent with healthy habits or to share tips and strategies that have worked well for me in the past that I am kick starting again.
In a happy compromise, I’ve decided to do both.
The lament: My mind seems to think of a healthy lifestyle in the same way it processes the definition of a marathon. You prepare for a period of time, you meet a goal – then, you can let go and relax on the nearest couch until the next time you need to prepare for a new challenge on the path to good health.
I think we sometimes just get tired of doing all the things – there are just so many of them. And, as we get older, the need for leading a healthy lifestyle becomes even more important because wellness can’t be taken for granted in the same way as when we were younger.
My goal this month is to get back to a consistent way of being that is healthy, balanced and sustainable.
I think that part of this is letting go of perfectionism and finding ways to allow for a slight veering off of the path. It makes more sense to aim for a fitness routine that allows for flexibility. Acceptance that we won’t be able to do everything all the time is a large part of this – if we keep getting back to doing some of the things most of the time, overall we’ll be so much better off.
Tips and strategies for being consistent with exercise:
- I’ve found success with being consistent when I’ve decided that even 10 minutes of extra exercise are better than none. Usually, the 10 minutes end up turning into 30 so starting with no pressure on days when it all seems like too much helps.
- Another successful strategy for me has been to connect one new habit with another activity that happens on a consistent basis. As an example, adding in 10 minutes of ab exercises right after waking up in the morning helps with automating the process.
- Habit trackers are one of my favorite ways to stay on track. It is easy to create your own in a journal or print a fitness habit tracker from any of the free printable websites and then check off each workout and glass of water on a daily basis.
- Intentionally planning to exercise every morning. If I don’t plan for it, I sometimes allow exercise to be the last thing on my to-do list. Deciding on and committing to a specific time every day helps with adding structure to a fitness routine.
- Motivational 30 day challenges. These goes hand in hand with having habit trackers but give that extra push to get something done. Deciding to add 10 minutes a day of an ab workout for 30 days and marking that off on a tracker helps me with motivation.
- Preparing the night before. This is one that sounds obvious but needs to be considered. Having workout clothes you like wearing ready to go helps with the “all my clothes are in the wash, maybe I’ll just do this tomorrow” excuse.
Tips and strategies for sticking to a healthy diet:
- Shopping regularly for fruit and vegetables and eliminating processed snacks from my grocery list have both been important ways to stay consistent with a healthy diet. If there are apples but no chips in the kitchen, then apples become the default snack of choice!
- Intermittent fasting (only eating within an 8 hour window) has been something I’ve tried off and on and I always feel better when I do this.
- Learning new ways to cook plant-based meals has been helpful with enjoying the process of moving to a plant-based, dairy free diet. I enjoy learning about cooking tips and strategies for how to use different seasonings and ingredients to make delicious, healthy dishes with influences from around the world.
- Counting my glasses of water on a habit tracker has also been very helpful for me. I don’t naturally feel like drinking 8 glasses of water a day so it is important for me to decide to fill that water bottle and make sure that my daily water intake is where it should be.
- Allowing for treat meals. I don’t like the phrase “cheat meals” so I use the phrase “treat meals” instead. I think that if we don’t allow for the days when we just want comfort food or want to eat a favorite, not-so-healthy meal at a restaurant, then that feeling of deprivation can set in. Having treat meals once a week helps with that and if I’m moderate with the portion size, I don’t feel awful about it.
👟👟What are your favorite strategies to stay consistent with healthy habits on a daily basis?