So you are liking how you feel when you are active and have actually been able to carve out 10 minutes a day for it, but you want more. Eating better seems like a really good idea and sounds “almost” doable. Oh, and drinking more water is probably a good idea too. There are so many aspects to being more fit and more healthy that it can seem overwhelming, it can also feel that if you don’t try to change everything at once, then you aren’t going to be making any real noticeable progress.
With that being said, I see so many women wanting to do it all at once. What do I mean? I see women trying to take on a full 5 day a week work out routine plus trying to get in a certain number of calories plus restricting themselves from all sorts of foods PLUS trying to drink 100 oz of water on top of it all! Let me just say, I applaud the enthusiasm of these individuals, even setting these types of goals is a step in the right direction BUT taking them all at once can most definitely mean potential burnout.
When I started working out, I did dive in 100% to being physically active 6 days a week for 30 minutes a day but nutrition and water intake were not on top of my priority list. Why? We all know that you can’t out exercise a bad diet. Well, my diet wasn’t horrible (though it did need tweaking) but I knew exercise was going to make me feel better on a daily basis and because I had not been working out at all, I really wanted to focus on creating that habit first.
A year later, the habit of working out daily is set. I barely have to think about it, even though there are still mornings when I would rather just sleep longer. In fact, the days I skip a workout (maybe a handful of times in the past year) I feel off.
Last summer, after I had been consistently working out for 3-4 months, I decided to work on my water intake. Everyday I made sure to drink at least 75-100oz of water without fail. I added cucumbers and fruit for taste, I logged my intake daily to track how well I was doing and I even talked about it with anyone who would listen (boring topic, I know, and I’m sorry for those who had to listen). Now, 9 months later, I’m consistently drinking 75-80oz of water a day without even really thinking about it. There are days when I only drink 40oz and I can definitely feel my body getting angry about it (headaches, dry lips, irritable).
This past 6 months or so, I have really decided to hone in on my diet. Not to say that I wasn’t trying for the first 6 months of getting into shape, but, I’m now listening more to what my body wants at certain times of day and trying to create a no nonsense meal plan around that.
What’s next for me? Working on better sleep habits! More on this later.
As you can see, I have really focused on three different aspects of health and fitness over the past year. I didn’t pile everything on at once because I knew that this would have just been a recipe for failure. I took things one goal at a time.
Are you wondering where to start? Not sure what goal to tackle first? Here are some tips that you can apply to yourself and your journey so as not to overwhelm yourself with goal overload.
-Look at the four at these four aspects of your daily routine (movement, food, water, sleep), which one do you feel you are lacking in the most? Focus on that one first.
-Create a goal surrounding that aspect of your routine. The goal should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound). Example: I want to cut back on my soda intake because it is an easy way to cut back on calories. I am currently drinking 4 sodas a day and I will work on cutting back to 2 sodas and replacing the other 2 with flavored water or sparkling water. I will keep a record of this and when I have consistently done this for 2 weeks, I will cut out one more soda and repeat the process for another 2 weeks until I have cut back to 1 soda a day or no sodas a day.
As you can see, this is a slow process and many people might want to rush it. Remember though, you are trying to create a habit. The idea behind a habit is that it becomes second nature and you won’t have to think about it after awhile, it will just become something that you do.
-Finally, once you have formed a good habit, reassess your goals and work on creating a new habit. Write things down in a journal, how did this new habit change you for the better? Will this new habit make it easier to begin another new habit? Maybe now that you are drinking less soda and more regular water, you feel that maybe you can drink even MORE water or maybe now that you are drinking less soda and more water, you feel less sluggish in the afternoons and are ready to start dedicating some time to walking twice a week.
-Whatever the new goal is remember to use the SMART system for setting it and WRITE THINGS DOWN. Record on a calendar the days you meet your daily goals and write down how you are feeling mentally and physically. Be mindful in this process, if you are just going through the motions it is much more likely that you will not follow through.
Tell me, what are some of your goals for the next few months? What healthy habits have you recently created for yourself?