Healthy Habits Your Way
Jana Beaudoin, NBC-HWC
Health & Nutrition Coach
New Year, new you?? Hmmm, do you really need to reconstruct the amazingness that is you? No! You are the CEO of your life, a rockstar in your own right. We’d like to change up the New Year’s resolution game and instead suggest a personal vision and action plan to optimize your health and longevity and add joy to the journey.
Unlike resolutions, where you jump in with wild and crazy all or nothing goals, we believe this should be a time to reflect with awareness and intention. What makes you happy and content with your life? Where do you want to grow, what changes do you want to make and why? What is your vision for health and longevity?
Start where you are and understand your why
Let’s start where you are. What is going well and how could that success guide you in other areas? Would you like to improve your health by working on your nutrition? Are you feeling stressed and want to start a meditation practice? Do you love working out but can’t seem to find the time? Do you struggle to get 7 hours of sleep a night? Have you been wanting to take a course to further your career or education?
We would encourage you to take the necessary time to reflect upon what’s most important to you, your authentic true self. Why is this important to you? Leaning into your intrinsic motivation will help you muster up the energy and confidence to take the steps necessary to embark on your journey. When you connect with your trueness you are also less likely to give up, you get that any journey has obstacles and that your goal is progress not perfection. You are not willing to give up on you, so you continually review, evaluate, adapt, and adjust.
A typical New Year’s resolution may be to hit the gym at 6am every day before work. You are excited about the prospect of this change, know it will feel good, you are off to a good start and then inevitably something happens to knock you off the rails, and somehow it seems like you can’t get started again. So, the New Year, New You resolution has bit the dust by March. (This is the truth for most New Year’s resolutions!)
Let’s rewind and take a different approach. You take that first week to create your vision for health. You remember a time when you worked out regularly. You felt strong, had more energy, you were more confident, slept better, less anxiety etc. Your vision is to incorporate exercise into your life. This is important to you because you want to feel those things you felt before, confidence, strength, energy etc. Your motivation is your overall health, you want to have the strength and stamina to do the things that matter to you. Or maybe you want to lead by example for your kids, or better manage the stress in your life; whatever it is write it down. Make it your statement. Get specific about why this goal, this vision, is important to you. If it is not important, if you don’t know your why, it is unlikely to stick. Take the time to figure out what you want. This should be about YOU!
Too often we make resolutions or goals, but it is not authentic to you, it is based on some external idea or based in comparison to others. It is critical that you take the time to find out what you want and need and then figure out how to go about your journey in a way that honors you.
Find joy in your journey
Speaking of journey, find YOUR joy in the journey. Be intentional and mindful, appreciate the challenges, successes, and obstacles. Do what you love, if you love dancing, but despise running, then dance. If meditation sounds awful, but you've always wanted to try yoga for stress, hit the mat. Instead of approaching healthy habits as a chore, create habits that will elevate your joy, those that feel good to you. Take the time to notice how you feel, before, during and after a workout, after a healthy and delicious meal, or a great night sleep, celebrate the gift of health in the moment. This awareness is what will keep you coming back. And when that 6am workout is missed because of a poor night sleep, a cold, or your kid being up all night; accept it, be okay with it, honor it. Don’t overthink it or judge yourself. Just get to it the next day, review your vision, get real with your why, and if a change is needed to your action plan, change it.
Build your action plan with SMART goals
With your why figured out, your motivation understood, next up is creating the action plan or goals. These are short term, SMART goals, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (and relevant to YOU) and time specific. Start small, getting back to our example, if you really want to create that morning workout habit, maybe start with 3 days a week, maybe instead of the gym, it’s a 25-minute workout in the basement, set yourself up for success, have the clothes out, the workout selected, the alarm set, go to bed on time etc. Get specific about how you will achieve the thing that matters so much to you. Then review, adapt, and adjust as needed. The best laid plans encounter obstacles. If the plan isn’t working, take the time to figure out why, is there another path that would work better? If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, there is a probably a better solution that is meant just for YOU!
If you need a partner or help creating your vision, give us a call. We are here to support you in your quest for optimal health and longevity.