We all know the saying: old habits die hard. Straying away from your unhealthy habits can be a trying process that takes a lot of determination and careful planning. The problem lies in how easy it is to lose patience with the hurdles that arise, which is why setting smaller goals is vital for reaching larger goals. However, if you stay motivated and dedicated to changing habits into healthier versions of themselves, they can become a part of your daily routine and make reaching goals easier than ever. Though it may seem like a daunting task, adopting new, healthier habits will benefit your life in many ways – including improving your physical and mental health and allowing you to achieve goals faster and without much thought. If you’re sitting there wondering what habits you should be changing to better your lifestyle, consider these 3 as a solid starting point:
1. Plan Meals Ahead of Time
First, it’s important to understand that overall health and well-being comes from a balanced combination of lifestyle factors rather than just one facet. This means that in order to improve one aspect of your health you need to focus on the bigger picture—your overall health profile. Maintaining a healthy weight, eating nutrient-dense foods and exercising regularly are all important aspects to keeping your body healthy and able to fight off infection. Staying on top of all of that can seem daunting, but luckily there’s one habit that can help accomplish all three of those tasks: planning your meals ahead of time. Often called meal prepping, planning meals in advance not only forces you to pay attention to what nutrients you’re eating every day, but also gives you time to accomplish other activities during the week that you might not have had time for otherwise. Both of these benefits allow you to work smarter toward your goals, whether they are fitness-focused, weight-loss-focused, or something entirely unrelated! Starting the process of meal prepping can be overwhelming, so it’s important to take it one step at a time. If you’re focused on tracking the nutrients within the meals you plan, it is beneficial to utilize a comprehensive weight loss program, such as WW, that helps you keep track of what you’re putting in your body. The implementation of such an app can help you find meals to cook, as well as show you which nutrients you are consuming enough of and which you might be lacking.
2. Keep an Agenda or Calendar
One habit most healthy people swear by is tracking their comings and goings with an agenda or calendar. When it comes to creating and setting goals for ourselves, one of the most common struggles is excitement dwindling over time. There’s no doubt that we always start the process with the best of intentions, but far too often the enthusiasm behind those goals fades. To help combat this effect, many people find it helpful to set smaller goals for various self-set deadlines rather than focusing on one huge goal farther in the future. Write these micro-goals and deadlines in your calendar or agenda, and set it up in an area where you’re sure to see it every day. This way your goals will feel more attainable and you’ll have the visualization of what you’re trying to achieve in front of you at all times. Not to mention, achieving one of your smaller goals will give you a sense of accomplishment that will revive your energy and focus for hitting your next milestone!
3. Get Sufficient Sleep
One thing that will help your overall health, productivity AND goal achievement is getting sufficient sleep. After all, getting quality rest helps your brain operate better by improving attention, problem-solving, stress management, and learning. Both the short and long term effects of proper sleep are important for achieving goals and living a healthy life. The short term benefits include increased information recall, better decision making, and emotional stability, whereas the long term benefits include protection against diseases and reduced stress levels – all important for our health. On top of the physical benefits sleep provides your body, the practice of setting a bedtime and rise-time helps your brain get used to following self-set guidelines. The exercise of setting objectives for time and duration of your sleep will directly translate over into your clarifying for other goals as well! For example, if you have fitness goals to work out 5 days a week, consider using your sleep schedule to accomplish those goals by setting a bedtime that allows you to wake up at 6 am for a workout before you get ready for work. Once you’ve done it for a few days, your biological clock will make that the norm and help you fall asleep and wake up easier than before, allowing you to get to the gym and strive toward your goals easily. This is true of so many other goals as well – being well-rested allows your brain to work smarter and leave you ready to make progress for whatever goals you’ve set.
Implementing any, or all, of these healthy habits into your everyday life can set you up for success. No matter what the goals are that you’ve set for yourself, having a clear plan in place is a great way to begin.