Image via Unsplash
Jump starting a healthy change in your lifestyle is something that many people long to do. They dream of being fitter, slimmer, with less anxiety and a better balance in their lives.
But as much as we dream of these things, often they can seem entirely out of reach. How do you go about performing a complete life makeover? The task is just too immense, and although we start off with good intentions, we make a few slip-ups, allow them to turn into a losing streak, and eventually give up, no further towards the elusive new people we’re meant to be. The desire is there, the motivation is in place, and yet it just won’t seem to come together.
The reason is simple: too much big change, all at once, is overwhelming. Human beings are fundamentally creatures of habit, from where we like to sit on the bus to the dishes we order at our favourite restaurant. Change, by its very nature, is daunting. And when we try to change too many things at once, the scared little animal part of our brain objects. But people do make massive, lasting changes in their lives – what is the secret?
It all comes down to turning your challenge into a series of baby steps. Not looking at the huge end goal in case it all gets too overwhelming. Sticking to a day by day, incremental approach to changing lives that inches us towards success almost without us realising.Yep, it turns out the fable of the tortoise and the hare had a lot to teach us. By breaking down the positive changes we want to see in our lives to a series of small, do-able challenges, we can succeed, and make our wildest dreams a reality.
Drink Two Glasses of Water Before Every Meal
Most of us suffer from the twin problem of struggling to control our appetites at times and also being quite dehydrated. You may have good intentions about taking that refillable water bottle around with you at all times, but then it gets to 6pm and you realise you have hardly had a sip. Or you know you should be making healthier food choices and snacking on an apple, but the biscuit tin is calling your name. A simple hack to address both those challenges is to make yourself form the habit of drinking two full glasses of water before each meal. Not only does this keep you hydrated, but it also takes the edge off your appetite, allowing you some ‘breathing room’ to make the right choice without your hunger pushing you towards sugar and starchy carbs as a quick energy fix. Drinking water with your meals also helps the body to process and digest your food, which can lead to less bloating. And you don’t need to remember much as the drinks are tied naturally to meal times. It’s a great trick with so many benefits for your health.
Substitute One Bad Habit
From nail biting to overeating to smoking, most of us have a bad habit or two that we know our lives would be better off without. The logic to stop is all there, our brains seem to be in agreement – so why can’t we make a positive change stick? Bad habits form for a reason – the two main culprits are stress or boredom. We strive to avoid these states and in the process start doing something we shouldn’t. Then we realise and try to stop that negative behavior? It works for about a week and then we fall back into old ways. But there is a secret to overcoming them – and that is realising that you don’t eliminate a bad habit – you replace it. All of your habits, be they positive or negative, are formed for a reason and provide you with some kind of benefit, even if they also have bad consequences. That cigarette calms you down, but it’s bad for your health. The ice cream isn’t kind to your waistline, but it gives you comfort. That’s what makes these things so hard to give up, despite the facts on how bad they are for us. The real trick is all about finding an acceptable substitute with less of a bad side effect. If you need to stop smoking, try first switching to vaping before phasing it out gradually in favour of something healthier- just go to ecigwizard.com and make the swap. Going cold turkey very rarely works because your needs are not getting met, so make sure they get met in other ways first, then try the behaviour change. You’ll have much more of a chance at making it stick.
Image via Unsplash
Have A Smoothie A Day
Another change that most people would like to make is including more vegetables and fruit in our diets. We know they are super good for us, and yet most of us struggle to meet five a day let alone the 12 servings recommended in some countries. There are a couple of easy fixes for this – and the first baby step is to introduce a smoothie into your day. Simple, quick and delicious, smoothies are a powerhouse concoction combining the benefits of several fruits and vegetables in one quick hit, Find some delicious, healthy smoothie recipes, add the ingredients to your online supermarket order, and you can even pre-make enough for a couple of weeks and freeze them – or purchase pre-made smoothie mix where you just add water, orange juice or almond milk. You can even up the nutrient factor further by adding a scoop of powdered supergreens to your recipe. It’s so much better for you than sugary snacks and processed food and will make sure you cover a rainbow of fruit and vegetables, all with different minerals and vitamins that all give your body different benefits.
Create A New Nightly Routine
Aside from what you eat and drink, the amount of sleep you get is a huge key to your health and wellbeing. When we are well rested, it’s far easier to make good choices about food rather than nose diving into a Venti Caramel Mochaccino and a sugary muffin. It’s far easier to make the choice to get out and go for a run rather than hitting the snooze button for the seventh time. Getting seven or eight hours good quality sleep is essential for physical and mental wellbeing, but most of us scrape by on far less. This disrupts our mental balance and our hormones, creating a knock on effect on every other part of our health. Again, baby steps are the way to make a change, and creating an enjoyable but relaxing wind down ritual for the night time is essential. Start about an hour before you want to get in bed. Instead of skipping to the next episode of that Netflix box set, why not try a mindfulness app for fifteen minutes of calm, followed by a cleansing routine using beautiful products to get your skin glowing, a warm bath or shower -this actually sends signals to your brain to begin relaxing. Get into your pyjamas and sip a soothing hot drink such as chamomile tea, then climb into bed, spritz your pillow with a sleep-promoting lavender pillow spray, and read a chapter or two of your book for the ultimate chill out. Try your hardest to keep electronics out of the bedroom as that habit of scrolling through Instagram is the opposite of relaxing even if you feel zoned out, and the blue light emitted by phone and tablet screens disrupts our levels of melatonin, the hormone that promotes restful sleep.