I am not a person born with an innate talent for keeping things clean or super organised. Though I do appreciate these qualities and will always strive to achieve organisation, which doesn’t mean I always do. This type of thinking though is stuck in a fixed mindset and is not helpful when it comes to implementing and maintaining new healthy habits. If I were to stay in that fixed mindset and believe that the qualities I admire in others, appear to come naturally to them. I will likely continue to struggle as I’ll have an excuse to not follow through with picking things up off the floor.
Be aware of any fixed mindsets you have about yourself.
Fixed mindsets can then lead to adopting an all or nothing mindset when we attempt to implement new habits. Just because something appears to come easily to other people, doesn’t mean they don’t have to put in effort and energy into maintaining their habit. Reminding yourself of what your priorities are, can be helpful in the early days of implementing new habits. Be kind to yourself also, because priorities can shift. My priorities can shift on whether I pick toys up off the floor or not, I must admit, but I’m careful not to adopt an all or nothing mindset, picking up some toys off the floor is better than not picking up any.
Which brings me to my first healthy habit:
Upon waking in the morning, drink half a bottle of water.
Have a full bottle of water at your bedside table, prepared the night before, so it’s ready for you to drink first thing in the morning. I’m often still in bed. Drink as much as you possibly can – half to ¾ of the bottle. Such a great way to start your day. Giving your body the chance to rehydrate, following 7 or 8 hours with no water.
I have many people tell me how they struggle with the desire to drink water during the day. It can be a challenge when we’re busy chasing kids, or on the road or in a shop or office working. Having enough water during the day is a keystone to having good health. Why does something that can be so easy, seem so daunting. Some people worry it will make them go to the toilet more, which it does, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing though. When I first woke up to the fact that I needed to drink more water in the day. I wasn’t aware of being thirsty. I discovered this was a sign my body had adapted to be chronically dehydrated. Not a sign that my body wouldn’t love being more hydrated. I started by drinking more herbal teas during the day, whilst ensuring I always had a bottle of water with me wherever I would go, in the car most importantly.
Don’t be afraid to leave the crowd.
I remember the feeling early on, in my wellness journey, when I was offered birthday cake at the office or a kid’s party and I had to learn to say no, when previously I would relish my yes answer. I was worried about seeming rude or weird. It wasn’t easy at first, as appearing normal and cool was important to me and most people feel it is normal to overeat, over drink and/or overindulge, especially on special occasions. It is normal to have this belief when you first start out, that there is something weird about people who exercise and who eat healthy, its part of what kept you eating unhealthily to begin with. There is also the fear of rejection and being left out of things that can make it difficult to ‘leave the crowd’. As humans we are wired to want to have this connection with people, this is a good thing. It is helpful to begin to make new connections with new people, who support your new goals. Being mindful of subconscious self-sabotage also, can be powerful here to help you stay true to your priorities. I can attest, that it does get easier to say no, in fact there comes even a power in being able to say no, confident in the fact that saying no for you, is for the right reasons.
We all knew this one was coming…. Exercise.
I enjoy exercising most with other people, I find it helps keep me motivated, both in just showing up and in trying my best whilst I’m there. Any exercise is better than no exercise, though. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, just enough so that your heart rate rises. Finding what works for you is important, as well as ensuring your self-image aligns with your desire to want to exercise. If you have always told yourself that you don’t like exercising with people at a gym or in a sport, or if you don’t have time to exercise, or if you don’t like waking early to allow time to go for a morning walk, or if you’re afraid of running into a snake whilst on a walk, then you are always going to default back to this identity. Start to feel as though you are someone who does like these activities, imagine what other people who enjoy going to the gym or for a morning walk think and start to let these be your thoughts as well. Take for example if a non-smoker is in a room of smokers they are not thinking – I wish I could have a smoke with them, they are thinking to themselves how glad they are they don’t smoke. A person who eats healthy and exercises enjoy the clarity and energy they receive from the strength and fitness they gain and the variety of nutrients they receive.
Know your reason for choosing Healthier food Options.
For me starting to eat healthy coincided with when I began trying to eliminate gluten from my diet. This was over 12 years ago, before commercialism clued on to making processed products gluten-free and so I naturally had to begin eating wholefood choices for me to avoid gluten. My reason for going gluten-free was to improve my irritable bowel symptoms and abdominal pain, I experienced a remarkable difference and so I still today choose to eat gluten-free. I don’t advocate that we all need to go on a gluten-free or dairy-free diet, or something free diet, everybody’s needs are different. Wholefood options are the most important and KNOWING your REASON for wanting to choose healthier wholefood options can be a powerful motivator. Improving my irritable bowel symptoms and reducing my pain was one reason, another was so I could give myself the best chance at still being around for my grandchildren. I lost my Mum to cancer when she was only 42. For others it may simply be so they can perform at their best, a common one for athletes, or to help balance hormones and improve quality of sleep and mood. Another powerful motivator is weight loss, or better blood sugar balance, or management of chronic disease. The trick is to KNOW your REASON.
Have daily routines.
Argggh routines. That used to be my reaction. Having the day’s schedule in my head counts right? Afraid not. That was the mistake I made for many years, wondering why I never really experienced any flow. The key is to have it written down. For years I thought I had a morning and bedtime routine, which consisted of various things I knew I needed to do in the morning and before bed, which I might do in random order. I didn’t see the point in writing my routines down, it just seemed like another chore I had to do.
I have learnt there really is clarity achieved when writing things down, it makes it more official, makes it more likely that you will make it a habit and it allows you the space to see where new healthy habits can be slotted in. Routines allow you to incorporate multiple tasks or habits in an easier way. Knowing what comes next, frees up energy in your mind, allowing you to more effortlessly complete your tasks and move on to the next. Be careful not to get stuck in an all or nothing mindset. Routines can’t always be rigidly followed, especially with children. I may go a week following the routine to a tee, then the following week, go off track completely, that’s ok. I just do my routine tomorrow. As an example, my morning routine looks like this – for now: –
Upon waking I rehydrate by drinking as much water from my water bottle as I can.
If my kids haven’t needed me during the night, I’ll get up earlier on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays to allow for some extra me-time. I’ll make a cup of herbal tea and write in my gratitude journal and practice my affirmations. Then I’ll have a chance to do some extra content creation for my business until my daughter wakes up;
Breastfeed my daughter;
Make my bed;
Splash my face or have a shower and get dressed.
Check my to-do list and calendar for the day.
Unstack the dishwasher.
Wake my other daughter and help kids get dressed.
Make the kids breakfast and lunches.
Make a smoothie and/or my breakfast plus take any supplements.
Brush the girls’ hair whilst having my breakfast.
Out the door for school drop off.