You want to make a change. A positive, healthy lifestyle change. Something permanent that will actually stick. You know what you want to do, you have goals in mind, but you're not sure how to get there or how to even start. Or maybe you have been making progress with your health or lifestyle goals, but you've had trouble with sticking to healthy habits or you keep getting "off track." Maybe you're doing great with developing healthy habits, and you're ready to build upon that, but you're not sure how.
There are some super important things to consider and steps to take when you're ready to hit that reset button and make real, long term changes.
Below you'll find 3 things to get you started that are completely do-able and will set you up for establishing long term success. You'll also find our 3 tips for achieving that success and creating an empowered, intuitive mindset.
HOW TO HIT THE RESET BUTTON
1. Only make a couple of changes at a time. Literally a couple.
Making 1-2 changes at a time leads to the most success. The more changes you try to do at once, the less they will actually stick. Focus on one or two at a time, master those changes, and they will become habits-- a part of your lifestyle. Then, you can start making one or two more changes and master those.
An example of this would be wanting to go from everyday carnivore to 100% vegan. It is not realistic that a big, drastic lifestyle change like that will last. Give yourself time to learn, adapt, and adjust slowly. Maybe you start with having smoothies for breakfast instead of eggs, bacon, etc. Take time to see how that change makes you feel. Then once you're loving all your morning smoothies, you move on to having plant-based protein rather than animal protein at lunch. And so on and so on until you get to where you want.
Another example would be that you want to become more mindful. Instead of saying, "I'm gonna mediate, do yoga all the time, take baths, eat more slowly, and take long walks outside!" Start slow with saying you'll take 5 minutes in the morning to meditate, pray, or set your intentions for the day. Maybe you leave yourself a post-it note on your nightstand or set an extra phone reminder/alarm in order to get into the habit. And again, you incorporate another mindful act to master and continue like this. Mindfulness is a lifelong work in progress-- take it slow and enjoy the ride!
2. Start with the morning.
In the morning, nothing "bad" has happened yet. Nothing has gone wrong to make you say, "You know what? SCREW IT!" The morning signifies a fresh, clean start. A new day. Not to mention, it sets the tone for the rest of the day.
The perfect first step to make is within your morning routine; either improving it or creating one if you don't already have one. Plus, once you accomplish a morning task, you’ll go on to accomplish another task and another. When you make positive changes to your morning, you're more likely to be in a more positive mood and make more positive choices throughout your day.
As mentioned in number one, both examples suggest starting with a change at the beginning of the day (i.e. more smoothies for breakfast or 5 minutes of meditation)! Another super easy, healthy change is to start having hot lemon water in the morning. Read about the benefits here. See also our post about The Mindful Morning Ritual.
3. Preparation is SO key!
We mean physical preparation (actions you take) and mental preparation (thinking and planing). Preparation can be whatever works for you, but there's got to be something that keeps you organized, efficient, and set up for success.
Physical actions you can do to prepare includes: Batch cooking-- having all your healthy foods cooked and ready to go for when you're busy (Visit our Instagram @barenutritionhealth for meal prep and batch cooking ideas!), proper food storage and prep (such as washing and chopping veggies ahead of time and storing in clear containers) to make healthy food choices visible and ready to eat, packing lunches or snacks to stay healthy while at work/school/away from home, and showing up to your workouts (no-brainer, here).
Mental planning you can do to prepare includes: planning/scheduling your workouts, thinking about meals for the week, making a list for the grocery store to make a couple recipes that week, thinking about the nutritional components of your meals (do you have enough veggies, healthy fats, and some protein?).
TIPS FOR LONG-TERM SUCCESS
Ok, so you've got some ways to kickstart some new healthy habits or build upon existing ones. Now, true progress happens when you continue healthy habits over the long-term. Below are our three biggest tips for long-term success. This is the more difficult part. Not because it isn't doable, but because it's about changing the way you think, changing your mindset. A mindset that is empowered rather than restrictive, intuitive rather than mind-consuming, and guilt-free rather than obsessive.
It takes practice, ongoing effort, and checking in with yourself, but once you implement this way of thinking, it allows you to achieve a truly healthy, balanced lifestyle.
1. Avoid an "all or nothing" mentality. If you go off track, accept it, forget about it, move on.
Have you ever thought, "Eh, well I ruined today/this week so now I'll just start over tomorrow/next week."? This mentality tends to lead to a binge, then feeling guilty after, then going back to being really strict on yourself, then repeating the cycle. This is unhealthy for your mind and your body.
Each meal and each day is a new opportunity to make the choices you want to make and achieve your goals. Allow conscious indulgences and missed work outs, accept these moments, and move on without guilt.
2. Be realistic with your expectations.
Often times, people get discouraged, because they want to see a lot of results in a short period of time. You feel like you've been eating healthy and exercising for a week straight and you have hardly lost weight! This makes you feel like your efforts aren't working, so you give up.
Remember, health is a lifelong investment and work in progress. Things don't happen overnight. It takes small changes, creating new habits, and building upon those changes and habits. Constant progression!
Instead, set a challenging yet doable goal for yourself. Be patient with your progress, and it will come.
3. The goal is not 100% perfection. Do not restrict yourself!
100% perfect, "healthy" living all of the time is not achievable, nor should it be the goal! The goal is more like 80-90 percent, leaving room for freedom, cravings, celebrations, indulgences, travel, LIFE. And life is not about over-restricting yourself, trying to be perfect, or setting yourself up for failure.
Striving for perfection in healthy eating and living can lead to exactly the opposite: binges, starving yourself, feeling guilty about food, obsessing over missing workouts/eating "bad," etc. Perfection doesn't exist, and we're so glad for that.
For some perspective, a goal of healthy living 80% of the time means that 1-2 "imperfect" days or 3-4 "imperfect" meals in a week's time is more than OK-- it's actually GREAT. And we promise, you will reach your goals more easily than you ever have.
The ironic thing is, you'll find so much more success this way, than when shooting for 100% perfection. It empowers you to feel great when you make all the best choices and feel free and guiltless when you indulge or skip a work out. You can truly enjoy indulgences and truly honor your body during rest days, especially knowing that you killed all week! Be happy and appreciate those 20% moments! :)