It just seems so HARD.
It doesn’t have to be.
Let’s look at some quick and easy ways to make a real difference to your health without feeling like you’re drowning in overwhelm.
It’s really about being in the moment. Fully experiencing the present, instead of worrying about the future or perhaps rehashing the past.
Eating mindfully is a fabulous skill that can change your life if you let it. You can reacquaint yourself with the sensations of hunger and fullness. It allows you to really enjoy that special treat instead of scoffing it down while doing something else such as checking your email or Facebook.
Being mindful is asking yourself the question ‘what is it I really need?’ The answer often surprises me. Instead of a high fat, high sugar treat, it is sometimes a nap, or a sit down for ten minutes with my favorite magazine.
Being mindful is literally about smelling the roses. It reduces stress while allowing you to make better choices.
2. Be Creative With Your Time
Time? What time! I don’t have time to be healthy!
I know where you’re coming from. I used to think if only I got up a bit earlier. Or went to bed a bit later. Or somehow found whatever magical trick everyone else had up their sleeve to be so much more productive than me.
Long term that is a one-way trip to burnout and ill-health.
We need to look at things a bit differently.
The two magic words are drop and delegate.
Any activity that doesn’t align with your values needs to be reviewed with the question ‘Can I drop or delegate this?’
Can you ask for help? As a recovering perfectionist with a tendency to want to control everything, this was a biggie for me.
It does get easier!
Does it have to be perfect? (I know, how could I ask such a thing!) There is no point having a floor you can eat your lunch off if you are struggling to find the time to take the actions that will keep you healthy.
Sometimes it is just looking at things differently. For instance, exercising in three ten-minute blocks through the day is an efficient and effective way of fitting in regular exercise. Can you manage ten minutes in your lunch break? Or while you’re cooking tea?
3. Sharpen the Saw
It is SO tempting to forget this with everything we have on our plate. I’ve certainly done it in the past.
Stephen R. Covey had it right when he said in The 7 habits of Highly Effective People that ‘It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset that you have – you’.
This is all about doing more of the things that nurture your body and your soul. Getting enough sleep. Perhaps learning to meditate or enrolling for a yoga class.
Our bodies are amazing machines that keep soldiering on in the face of incredible neglect. Until they don’t and it all comes crashing down.
The upside of sharpening the saw is that you’ll be so much more productive. And healthier.
A true win-win.
4. Make It Fun
I used to be a passionate non-exerciser.
One of the keys for me in embracing exercise has been to make it fun. It is my time to listen to podcasts and audios from my mentors.
How could you make exercise fun if you’re a couch potato like I used to be? Can you exercise with friends? Or do something active with the kids? Once again, be creative and experiment.
You might just surprise yourself!
5. Adjust Your Attitude
Too often when we think about getting healthier we think about depriving ourselves. Having to go without or do things that will hurt.
Let’s turn that around to view the small changes that we are making as ways to nurture and support our beautiful bodies.
If we look at food as nourishment, can we add in some extra vegetables? Is that high sugary soda going to nourish our bodies or can we make a better choice?
Our bodies were meant to move. It doesn’t have to hurt. We just have to start.
6. Start Small
I’ve left the best til last. I used to think that the advice to make small changes at first was for everyone else. I was motivated and enthusiastic so of course I could do more!
And I failed. Again and again.
Start small. It really is the secret.
The changes you are making need to be almost insultingly tiny.
A five minute walk. Adding in an extra vegetable at tea time. You get the drift.
The key is in getting those habits established so that down the track they become a part of your life.
I’d encourage you to pick one or two things off the list and just start.
Down the track you’ll be amazed at the difference in your life and your health.
Have you found any other tips helpful in creating those healthy habits? We’d love for you to let us know in the comments below!
Claire Kerslake is a health coach, registered nurse and credentialed diabetes educator who is the founder of Loving Life With Diabetes, a website and blog where you’ll find the motivation, inspiration and support to help you create healthy habits in your life. The free video series to celebrate the launch of her upcoming online program Renew starts TODAY! Click here to get on the early bird list if you’re not already. (You’ll also receive the fabulous Zest newsletter, chock full of juicy goodness around twice a month).