It takes about 4-5 weeks of repetitive action for most things to become a habit. That means that if you put conscious effort in to forming 3 fitness habits every 4-5 weeks, by the end of the year you'll have 30-40 new healthy habits. That's A LOT of healthy habits banked towards becoming your best self!
I'm not talking all encompassing, change-the-world-in-one-day healthy habits. I'm talking small, super doable habits that won't take too much out of your day. By themselves they seem small. But together, they amount to a whole new, beautiful and healthy you.
Healthy Habit 1: Go for a 20 minute walk after I have my morning coffee but before I have breakfast.
Why this habit? Starting your day off with light exercise gets your blood flowing, boosts your heart rate and helps to put a healthy spin on the rest of your day.
How many times do you come home at the end of the day thinking "holy crap, finally I get a moment to myself"? It's good to give yourself a few minutes in the morning to clear your head and enjoy some quiet time that revolves around you. You have work, responsibilities, a daily routine that requires attention and energy. Take 20 minutes to get outside, breath in the fresh air and move your muscles. It's only 20 minutes, but it's YOUR 20 minutes.
Why sandwich it between by coffee and breakfast? Schedule your walk for after your cup of coffee (or while you sip your cup of coffee), but before breakfast.
Your coffee is your cue to take a walk. It's something you do every morning because you enjoy it, not because you have to. So link your new habit to one that you already have and that you take pleasure in. Post a note on the coffee pot to remind yourself.
Your breakfast is your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You eat breakfast every morning, and you enjoy it. Use it as the end point of your healthy morning ritual.
Before you know it, your walk will become linked to the same feeling of enjoyment that you get from your coffee and your breakfast. Before long, it will feel weird to eat breakfast without taking a walk first.
Healthy Habit 2: Drink an 8-oz glasses of water when I wake up, before each meal/snack, and before I go to bed.
Why this habit? Water makes the world go 'round. The natural world and the world that is your body. Did you know that with just a 2% loss in water, you lose focus, you feel tired, you are more prone to headaches and have decreased mental performance? Staying hydrated keeps you focused, keeps you healthy, keeps you fuller longer and helps dietary nutrients get to where they need to be.
Why drink at these times? You've heard that you should drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, but somehow that seems intimidating. Less intimidating is one 8 ounce glass of water multiple times per day.
Link drinking water to things you already do. You sleep, you eat. When you wake up, that is a cue to drink water. When you sit to eat, the food in front of you is your cue to drink water. Before you settle in for the night, getting ready for bed is your cue to drink water.
Let's say you eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. If you have a glass of water at each meal, plus water when you wake up and go to sleep... that leaves you with only 1 more glass of water to get in through out the day.
Healthy Habit 3: Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies first.
Why this habit? The daily recommendation of fruits and vegetables is 10 servings. 10 servings! Be honest with yourself, do you eat any where NEAR 10 servings? Fruits and vegetables give us an array of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients that are essential to a healthy body. They make our immune system happy, our digestive system happy, our brains happy, our muscles happy. And we don't eat enough of them. Beyond the nutrients they provide, fruits and veggies are less calorie-packed than most other foods. So you'll be saving yourself some extra calories.
Why first? You eat. It's a habit you've been perfecting since you were born. It's essential to survival.
Now, the moment you pick up a plate to fill it with food, fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits FIRST. Do this before you put anything else on your plate. Picking up your plate is your cue.
Focus on veggies primarily, but don't skimp on fruit either. Filling your plate with produce first is easy to remember and eventually it will seem awkward to put anything else on the plate before your greens.
Picking up these healthy habits are simple. They don't require you to flip your life upside down, they don't require you to spend hours at the gym. These habits are designed to let you SUCCEED.
Once you've mastered them, (aka once you don't have to think about filling your plate with veggies or drinking water before you sleep), think about a few more healthy habits that you want to fit in to your day. Think about how much of a difference you can make in just a few weeks.