Creating a health routine that sticks is hard. No matter how earnestly you promise yourself that “tomorrow is the day when I start to be HEALTHY.” Before you know it it’s the end of the day, and you just weren’t able to fit in a workout between your job, errands, phone calls, emails, and your family’s needs. And the other thing that’s bound to go by the wayside? The super-virtuous quinoa stir-fry that you’ve had bookmarked in your phone for a month. When schedules are tight, much like exercise, healthy dinners seems to go by the wayside. What’s a well-intentioned busy person to do? We’ve got some tips that could help you develop some lasting healthy habits.
- Make it your own.
Just because a Hollywood actress and the famous doctors on TV recommend drinking 20 ounces of warm lemon water first thing every morning, and even though it might very well make you feel fantastic, it just might not be feasible for you. Aim to incorporate habits that fit in with your personality and lifestyle. (Notice we’re not saying that you should aim for easy changes, only feasible ones. Because let’s be real – incorporating healthy changes is probably not going to be easy).
- Ditch the all-or-nothing approach.
If you have a weak moment and indulge in a few cookies, there’s no logical reason to throw the rest of your day’s efforts in the trash. If you slip up, just get right back on track as soon as you can. You can still rock it at your trainer session, eat your veg-heavy dinner, and take the dog for a walk the day of an indulgence-dabble. If you do, staying with it the next day will be all the easier.
Also, aim to incorporate changes in bite-sized amounts. Trying to take on too many healthy changes at once is a set-up for overwhelmed failure. Keep in mind that one step of progress is still progress.
- Set yourself up for success.
Make-ahead meals are bombarding the internet for a good reason. (we love the ideas that Cooking Light offers here. It’s much harder to justify a pizza delivery when a healthy meal is chopped and prepared in the fridge, patiently waiting for you to cook it. Even better? Drag out the slow cooker, fire it up in the morning, and your dinner is waiting for you when you get home.
Another common fitness deal-breaker: getting on the workout clothes. Is getting dressed for exercise first thing in the morning a drag? Sleep in your workout clothes! Is it too hard to venture back out after coming home from work? Take your exercise clothes and gear to work with you, and make the studio your on-the-way-home pit-stop. Then, when you finally do get home, you can really relax, knowing you deserve that relaxing time on the sofa.
- Treat yourself.
After you’ve kept to the healthy routine you’ve created, and seen some results from your hard work and discipline, reward yourself. Is there a perfume or cologne you’ve had your eye on? Are your workout-weary toes a little scraggly and begging for a pedicure? Go for it. Setting up some (healthy, of course) rewards will help keep you motivated, and keep the process exciting.
By the way, the end of summer is a GREAT time to develop new habits and routines. Not only is the air fresh with back-to-school-inspired new beginnings, but if you start now, your habits could be rock-solid by the time for Halloween candy and pumpkin lattes roll around.