We all know someone who we consider “health freaks”. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones who are always talking about their latest workout while chugging giant bottles of water and appear to consume bird food. If you are like me, you observe them with equal parts envy and irritation. How do they do it day after day? If you’ve been reading my blog, by now you know that I am all about balance (translation: no one can eat bird food everyday) and improving health for the joy and fulfillment it can bring into your life. I believe wholeheartedly that each of us can tap into our own inner “health freaks” by shifting our mindset and integrating a few habits consistently.
1) Understand the power of a plan. If you want to prioritize your health, you have to plan for it. Don’t wait for the inspiration of a healthy meal idea to hit you at 6 pm on a Tuesday night after a long day of work. Try thinking ahead and plan your meals for the week, making sure that you have hit the grocery store and have what you need on hand to ensure you stay on track with your health goals. Better yet, meal prep ahead of time. Plan time to workout. Find an activity you love and look for times in the week to squeeze in a workout. I would never have made it across a marathon finish line without following this habit. Often the only time I could fit in a run was early in the morning before my family was awake. Was it easy getting out the door at 5 a.m? No. But was seeing my goal achieved worth it? You bet it was. And here is the thing. No one is ever sorry they worked out! The satisfaction of a good work out beats sore muscles any day.
2) See your behaviors as an act of self love and self respect, not something you begrudgingly have to do. Sure self love is all the rage these days, but for good reason. We simply do and feel better when we take care of ourselves. It’s so much easier to think of getting in a workout when you connect it to how good you feel after it’s over. You’ve given yourself not only a wonderful opportunity to get the blood flowing but you are offsetting the stress of the day. Nourishing yourself with a meal chock full of healthy goodness knowing all the good it is doing for your body? That’s love!
3) Connect to yourself through mindfulness. The evidence is mounting that having a daily meditation practice impacts our bodies and lives in a myriad of ways. From decreases in cortisol levels to improved attention and focus it may be one of the single most important things you can do to improve your health immediately. And the cool part is that with all the free apps available (I like Insight Timer) it doesn’t have to cost a thing and can be done anywhere, anytime. Developing mindfulness directly impacts your ability to tune in to your own health. It helps you to better notice and understand hunger and fullness cues, energy levels or if you need to push harder or pull back in a workout. A meditation practice improves relationships and helps to manage the stress of day to day life. Who wouldn’t want that?
Suddenly having improved health isn’t going to just fall into your lap. You have to take action but the mindset and habits you create when you decide to act matters. It should not feel like feel like doing your taxes or spring cleaning your house or some other dreaded task. It should feel good! If you come at it with the understanding that you are adding value to your life, not just in the future but right now, it is so much easier to prioritize your health.