Monday Morning Secrets: 7 New Habits to Help Keep You Living Healthy
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New Year, New Resolutions? Nope!
I am sure a lot of you may be gearing up to fulfill your health-related new year resolutions or goals. If your primary intention behind this new year’s resolution is to lose a few pounds or to ‘detox’ out of guilt or shame about perceived over-indulgence – it’s more than likely you’ll simply return to your past behaviors once the excitement around a new diet trend has settled.
Instead of talking about why you should or shouldn’t diet, I want to change the conversation a bit and talk to you about something more meaningful, actionable, flexible, and most importantly, rule-free!
I wanted to share my 7 secrets to happy and healthy lifestyle, with hopes that sharing these secrets will shed light on the importance of forming new, sustainable habits for a long-lasting impact on your health and wellness.
7 New Habits to Adopt Today
If you choose, you could implement one secret each day of the week, repeating it every week on the same day, until you have seamlessly formed 7 new habits. Let’s get started!
Monday – Set your WOTY (word of the year) and put it into practice.
Tuesday – Get connected to your food.
Wednesday – Take your “lunch break”.
Thursday – Meditate your end of the week stress away instead of reaching for foods.
Friday – Be mindful in three things.
Saturday – Create a self-care routine.
Sunday – Visualize success in implementing these secrets.
Choose a WOTY (word of the year)
Pick a one word “theme” for how you want your year to FEEL. This one word can be a guiding light to help you make decisions in all types of situations related to food, fitness, and beyond. Before you choose you WOTY, close your eyes and ask yourself, “How do I want to feel this year?” Pick a WOTY that represents that feeling and excites you. Here are some ideas to get started!
If you focus only on the end result/accomplishment and forget to enjoy the process, choose to pause.
If you want to break free from yo-yo dieting, choose freedom.
If your perfectionist attitude paralyzes you into inaction, choose progress.
If you’re always in the “stress” mode, choose silence.
If you’re flailing around, choose focus.
If you’re a self-criticizer, choose compassion.
My WOTY is balance, now it’s your turn!
Get connected to your food
I know it’s more convenient to pick up a pizza or a healthy-ish meal from a restaurant and give in to the excuse, “I don’t have enough time to go home and prepare a meal” or “I don’t know where to start.” To me, it sounds like you’re saying you have time for everyone and everything else, but YOU and your body’s nutritional needs. Eat a home cooked meal every Tuesday by putting in the labor. At the end of the meal, say to yourself “I cared for ME today and nourished my body with a home cooked meal prepared from whole foods.” This action will not only help you appreciate your food, but also embrace whole foods and increase your knowledge about new recipes and ingredients. Added bonus – money saved every Tuesday!
Take your “lunch break”
This is as simple as it sounds. Take a break for lunch and get away from work for those 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes that you are able to. Turn off your phone (if your work/life allows) or, at the very least, leave your phone at your desk. Just DISCONNECT with others to RECONNECT with yourself. Eat your lunch mindfully by making a conscious effort to enjoy the flavor and textures of the foods. Check in halfway with your fullness cues and stop eating when you feel about 80% full, as it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to let you know that you are full. Eating mindfully will also provide satisfaction in small portions. If you have time left in your lunch break after eating your meal, go for a short walk, read a book, or have a conversation with someone.
Meditate your end of the week stress away instead of reaching for foods
Think about the number of times you’ve either felt stressed or said the word “stress” out loud in a conversation this week. I’m sure quite a few times already. In today’s fast-paced, competitive, and electronically-driven life, it is easy to forget to address the toll that everyday stressors take on our body. So, what do I mean by “meditate your stress away”? Plan to do the “stress self-check” exercise to see how many times a day you use the word “stress” in a conversation or actually experience stress. Each time, you find yourself in the “stress” mode, pause for a moment to just notice your reaction and where you’re holding tension, before panicking or internalizing the stress. Immediately, take a few deep breaths and release the tension. Next pull out your phone and write down the root cause of your stress and a workable solution in the notes app. Implement the solution as soon as possible. Use stressful situations as an internal cue to slow down and reflect.
Challenge yourself to mindful and present in three different activities today. Sounds simple, right? Nope, actually requires a lot of effort, but certainly possible. This secret will constantly remind you to be PRESENT and prevent you from living your life on auto-pilot. You can choose to be mindful in your eating habits, exercise routine, reactions towards unpleasant circumstances, or family time.
Create a self-care routine
Self-care is quickly being recognized as a very integral part of a happy and healthy lifestyle. But what exactly is self-care? Self-care refers to activities and practices that we can engage in on a regular, weekly, or monthly basis to calm the noise and reconnect with our inner-self. As a wholistic dietitian, I believe that good health (both mental and physical) is a result of a healthy mind, body and soul. Self-care serves as the balance between these three forces. Create your individual self-care routine and don’t make it optional. Put it on your Saturday schedule, or else it will not happen! I promise you won’t regret it. What self-care activity are you planning to schedule this Saturday?
Visualize success in implementing these secrets
Simply put, create a visual image of what your next week will look like while implementing these secrets. For example, create an image of yourself where you are setting boundaries and priorities for yourself by letting your boss and colleagues know that you will be taking a 30 minute lunch break and won’t be able to attend any meetings during that time. You may be smiling and thinking, “has this dietitian lost her mind”? Well, just trust me. Visualize with full confidence and keep your thoughts positive. Don’t think about the response you will receive in return. All the stars will align and you will be able to take an uninterrupted lunch break on Wednesday. Visualization has super powers and you’ll be shocked when you experience it for yourself!
Time to refresh. Time to revive. Time to find a YOU that says good-bye to cleanses, detoxes, vitamin shots, spirulina infusions, ketogenic diets, colon cleanses, and the anxiety, disappointments, and shame they bring. It’s time to get REAL with your food, and yourself!
Remember, it’s not ‘new year – new me’ – it’s ‘new year – more MINDFUL and HAPPY me!’