If you feel that you’ve been neglecting yourself recently or feeling stressed or burn-out or you’re feeling unhealthy, this is written for you. This is your wake up call to get up, stand up and take self-care to a whole new different level.
Let’s start your journey towards a healthy lifestyle with a huge emphasis on self-care. Self-care is taking care of our mind, soul, and body every day. It’s not just a single activity. Examples of this are eating nutritious meals, exercising at least thirty minutes three times a day or making sure you find a quiet time every day among others.
If you stick to a healthy lifestyle, you will reap a lot of benefits. This includes feeling healthier and more relaxed. Starting a healthy lifestyle is easy but sustaining it is where the real challenge lies. There are always lots of excuses to skip doing healthy things. This ranges from having no time to wanting to sleep longer or the inclement weather!
If procrastination gets you every time, try these things to get out of the funk:
1. Write down your goals.
Make goals that are SMARTER. This means Specific, Meaningful, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Evaluate and Readjust. Evaluating and readjusting is necessary so you can find out how you can overcome challenges and achieve your goals.
2. Make a vision board.
Practice the law of attraction and make a vision board. Pinup photos of your goal and the steps to get there. You can also add mantras, quotes or verses from the Bible to hype you up. Fill your board with meaningful cues. Whenever you feel like you are slipping back to your old habits, look at your vision board. This will motivate you to start working towards your dream.
3. Focus on one new habit.
A healthy lifestyle is multi-faceted and interconnected. It is easy to want to try a lot of new things at once and end up achieving nothing. This is why it is important to choose one new habit to achieve before adding a new one on the list. If you have many goals, you get taken in many directions. So focus your willpower on one goal for a higher chance of success.
4. Break it down.
Big goals can be overwhelming! However, when you break it down into small bite-size pieces, the small victories you have will push you to work harder. Choose to do the easiest task first before hurdling the big ones. You can try the Pomodoro technique where you set a timer for each task to keep you on track. When you are starting, just aim to finish the task. The quality of your work can come in later once the habit is formed. Oftentimes, we achieve more than what we expected.
5. Find a friend.
If you feel you need a cheerleader, tell a friend of your goals and ask for their help. He can be your accountability partner as well. When times get tough he can remind you of your goals and he can even join you on your journey towards a healthy lifestyle. You can also celebrate your achievements with him. Do not be afraid to declare your mission out loud. Post it on Facebook or on social media. The more eyes are on you, the more you are likely to stick to your plan. You can also find people who will support your goal here. This is called the Hawthorne effect.
6. Build the awareness habit.
Self-awareness or being aware of who and what you are is a good tool to facilitate behavioural change. When starting a habit, we have to know our weakness and conquer them before they conquer us. This takes a lot of mindfulness, willpower and dedication, but once we become acutely aware of it, we are well on our way to success. It is difficult to admit where we have possibly fallen short of our goals. We end up making up excuses for our behaviours. Get out of your comfort zone, know your weakness and your contributions then learn and grow from it. Find time at the end of each day to reflect and meditate on how you can improve yourself.
7. Link the habit with an established one.
Established habits serve as a reminder. So when you link new habits to old ones, it is easier to remember. An example of this would be drinking two glasses of water before eating a healthy meal. It could also be meditating for 30 minutes after getting eight hours of sleep.
8. Practice the 5-second rule.
Studies say that if you want to do something, do it within the 5 seconds. If you don’t, your brain will kill the idea through procrastination, overthinking, feeling overwhelmed or tired.
9. Commit at least 30 days.
In the 1950’s, Dr Maxwell Maltz observed that it took 21 days for his patients to accept new changes in their body. However, in a study done by Phillippa Lally, she said that it took 66 days before a behaviour becomes habitual and natural. If you want to build a habit, you should then be able to consistently try your best to stick to a behaviour for a minimum of one month. Do not worry. Skipping a day or two will not affect the process.
10. Reward yourself.
Put fun into your healthy lifestyle challenge by rewarding yourself. Example of this includes a happier outlook on life or a better-toned body. You could also reward yourself with a cheat day where you can eat what you want or buy something for yourself for the accomplishment you made. Don’t be hard on yourself.
The secret to motivating yourself to develop a healthy lifestyle lies in these three words: reminder, routine, and reward. This system makes it easier to start a habit.
Reminders initiate behaviour. This wake-up call can come in the form of a vision board or a friend. You can also download apps to help remind you of your goals and record your achievements. Routine, on the other hand, is the consistent action you take to create a behavioural change. Lastly is the reward. This is the benefit you get from developing a healthy lifestyle.
Do not rely on motivation to get you moving. What will happen if you are not in the mood? Nothing. Rely on your willpower and you will be successful in anything that you do.