How to Create a Lasting Healthy Lifestyle You Love
By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach
At this point in the year some of you may be realizing your New Year’s resolutions have fizzled out, or perhaps were not realistic to begin with so you gave up on them. Believe me, lasting changes don't happen overnight. Creating new habits takes time to establish, time to adjust what's not working into something that does work, and guidance from within on what will work best for you. The key is to create a plan that will work for you, be patient, and DO NOT GIVE UP!
I've found some that the following pillars of health are the perfect foundation for lasting change, so if you need some encouragement for those new habits, here is the foundation I build mine upon and help my clients do the same.
Start small to go big.
When you are feeling run down or tired, and look at a huge ladder or steep staircase, it can feel insurmountable; but if you take it step by step it can feel a lot easier to manage. The same is true for building your pillars of health. Each little step you take to incorporate exercise, nutrition, stress management, sleep, and hydration will get you to where you need to be. Please don't put pressure on yourself to do it all at once, especially if you are frustrated for giving up on some of your resolutions. The best way to go about it is by making small changes each week and building upon that foundation. This is much more likely to last than trying to make many changes all at once.
Commit to physical activity more often.
If you've never really found an exercise you love and stick with, take a moment to sit down and think about what activities you enjoy. Some people love going to the gym, while others prefer jogging in the park surrounded by nature. Plenty of people dance rather than lift weights, and just as many of them like swimming in the pool. Make a list of the things you enjoy doing, then devote 20 minutes per day to one of these physical activities.
Just say NO to fad diets.
Fad diets come and go for a reason -- they don't work. Your health will improve drastically when you focus on eating a rainbow of fresh foods, keep portions reasonable, and give your body what it needs. Focusing on whole foods will have you feeling full of energy within no time.
Take water with you everywhere
A nice option for this pillar is that you can shop for a new water bottle to take along with you each day. If you aren't a fan of water, get a bottle with a fruit-infusing aspect. That way, you can insert fruits and herbs to infuse your water with some flavor. You can also purchase water bottles with printed time slots on the bottle to remind you to drink throughout the day.
Turn out the lights
Sleep often falls last on our list. You can go through all those motions with exercise and eating right, and it won't make a difference until you let your body get the restorative rest it needs. Your body's cells are like the cleaning crew that comes out at night to get everything ready for the morning. Focus your intention on getting the 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to get the rest you need.
Additionally, focus on proper stress management. Try meditating, yoga, journaling, or simply breathing with intention. Finding your unique sweet spot in each of these pillars can be just what you need to feel your best every day.
It’s important to focus on the small steps you can take each day which will rep great rewards in the long run with improved health and a new found confidence.