Have you ever started a healthy habit only to find yourself off track a few days or months later…?
Willpower…? No, my friend it’s not about will power, its about creating healthy habits with the right tools; simple and effective tools.
We have two categories of people when it comes to creating healthy habits. The first category of people don’t know where to start. They lack clarity on what they want in terms of better health. The second category of people know exactly what they want. They have clear health goals that include practices that they should adopt to accomplish these goals. They cannot wait to start this journey that promises and guarantees heightened and sustained levels of energy. Most of us fall into this category. The challenge comes when we start on a high only to find ourselves off track and even more frustrated after a while. When we commit to eating more veggies, jogging, going to the gym, rope skipping, pilates, yoga, meditating etc; we get so excited and thrilled about this new routine for a month or two before the unthinkable happens! The momentum slows, its not fun anymore, and we cant keep up! We start being so hard on ourselves for not following through. We feel like we didn’t commit enough. Some feel like they didn’t work hard enough or push harder. We totally forget that this is not about willpower; it’s not our fault. No, its not. We just need the correct tools to keep up the momentum and support those wonderful healthy habits.
Here are my three simple and effective tips to make those amazing habits stick; making it a lifestyle.
Do you believe you deserve great health? Do you believe you are worth that goal you have written down? We sometimes have limiting beliefs drawn from the past. You have probably failed at this before and are afraid you will fail again. So, I have a question for you? Will you choose love over fear? Will you choose to Love your body and participate in your wellbeing? It’s a choice you must make. Please say YES to abundance, to energy, to vitality. Why? Because you deserve it; its your birth right my friend and you must believe in it. Your conviction in this matter matters.
2. Create your WHY.
Why are you creating these healthy habits? What will they make you feel? What will they bring into your life? Maybe you were diagnosed with high blood pressure, or high cholesterol (common conditions that we now see/ think are normal; yet they are not!) Reversing these conditions can be your why; Or maybe you want to feel good/ look good/ have that sustained energy I keep referring to so often; this could be your why.
Identify your why- its different for everybody, write It down and paste it on your mirror (I’m assuming you have a mirror that you look at everyday). Sounds cliché, I know. However, writing down your why sends your consciousness and every single cell of your body a signal that says… “hey i want this, and I mean it!”
With your WHY sorted, Schedule your activities. For instance, if you have pilates or massage (I strongly believe we should have massages twice a month as part of our self-care) on a Wednesday, block your calendar in advance. Remember if its not scheduled, it wont be done. Be very selfish with your goals by not allowing any competing interest or distractions. Remember its only through consistency that our activities become habits.
3. Learn how to meals plan.
Plan your success by planning your meals.
This is big for me. Imagine coming back home after a stressful day at work. You are so tired and hungry (terrible combination) Where is your first stop? The kitchen. Yes..? You open the fridge and there is nothing you can eat right away. Whats your next available/ convenient action...? take away! Ouch. Its not only costly to your wallet, but also to your health; especially if not made from whole fresh ingredients.
When you learn and begin planning your meals ahead of time, life becomes an adventure. You shop with a list that is consciously prepared with your health in mind, you manage your time better and experience low stress levels that often come with not knowing what to eat for breakfast/ lunch and/or dinner. My whole life shifted when we as a family sat together and created a menu based on foods we love. It feels so amazing when you feed your family or yourself (if you are cooking for one) fresh, home-cooked whole foods that contribute positively to their/your wellbeing.
Where do you start? Easy. Sit and list the foods/ingredients that you love. Pair the foods into groups (protein, starch, fats, veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds. Pick foods from each group and that’s a complete meal. Remember to keep it simple. Next step is to create a shopping list. Use the meals plan as a guide. If you can make your meals in batches the better. I do this with githeri (fresh maize and peas/beans). I soak the grains overnight, boil in the morning, store in containers and freeze. When its Githeri day, it becomes easy to prepare the veggies (cabbage, carrots, courgettes, herbs and add the de-frosted githeri. Voila! Cooking double batches is a time-saver- You can do these with sauces, soups and stews.
Lastly, savour the meals. Take time to give thanks, chew your food and experience the flavours on your plate. Be mindful. It’s a great habit for good digestion.
These are my top three tips that have worked for myself and the many patients I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Please remember it’s a journey, and just like life, you don’t walk this wellness journey alone. So here is a bonus tip; Find friends/accountability partners who will consistently remind you that its not about perfection but progress. Bring the joy by encouraging each other.
Are you surprised at how simple the tips are.? well, I warned you they were going to be simple. But again, shouldn’t it be simple? I hope you are inspired to make your health habits stick!
To your well-being