We have talked about how long it takes to form a new habit in E is for Excuses. But which healthy habits are best? 🧐
There are lists, so many lists, out there that are definetly informative. Do you remember the popular book, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”? Its great, I read it twice! There is another wonderful article, 18 Effective Habits of Highly Successful People, which is also chocked full of excellent advice. Of course, there is quite a bit of overlap, not just between these two lists, but among all the other similar lists out there.
I got to thinking, 🤔 about all the lists that I have seen over the years, that compile healthy habits. “Healthy” in this context, is not weight loss! There are many forms of health, and those might include diet advice or exercise recommendations. But a fit person still may be unhappy, or dealing with mental health issues. So, I was interested in a holistic approach, what shows up regularly on those lists?
I am not sure how successful I have been, but I did attempt to distill down as many lists as possible into the main core habits of healthy people, where the “core” is comprised of nutrition, exercise and mental health. Here is what I came up with!
Nutritional Core Habits of Healthy People:
- They don’t diet. Healthy eating is a way of life, and that does not mean they are especially great at living in a deprived state! I am a fan of the “80/20” rule. Eat and drink healthy for 80% of the time and 20% can be for treats or special occasions. total deprivation does not work! 😃
2. They drink plenty of water and limit their intake of pop, fruit juices, alcohol and coffee. I personally will never give up coffee ☕️ . I could loose my will to live! But I don’t add cream, milk or sugar. The overall goal here is to drink more water than all the other liquids.
3. They eat whole foods in the form of grains, produce and lean protein. Again, 80-90% of the time.
4. They eat, some form, of breakfast every day. This is a tough one for some people, but this does not mean a huge, time consuming effort. A mix of protein and healthy carbohydrates will set up a strong foundation for the day.
Exercise Core Habits of Healthy People:
- They make fitness a priority. We all have to make choices about how to allocate our precious time throughout the day. Fit people see activity as a mental break and a form of relaxation. They either use it as a platform to clear their minds in the morning, to set a strong foundation for the day to come. Or, it is an opportunity to wind down and destress at the end of the day. Some of us do both 😉
- They are realistic. If you know you can’t workout 5 days a week, then do 2 or 3. Be honest, and if you have to miss a workout for kids or the job, then miss it! But go back to it the next week, consistency is the key.
- They exercise daily. And no, that does not mean a heavy sweat session seven days a week. It could be a quick walk at lunch, or around the neighborhood, or taking the stairs when possible. Incorporating small changes will naturally evolve into more intensity as your new habits take root.
- They incorporate strength training into their workout routine. This is critical if you are looking to loose weight. If you are jumping on the treadmill and doing the same 30 minute walk at 15 minutes a mile, then your body will adapt, you need to change it up for both your body and your mind.
- They choose an activity that they actually enjoy! If you hate running-don’t do it just because you think it is good for you. Engaging in an activity that you truly like will make it fun and effortless.
Do you see something here that looks fun? That is what you should be doing! Not the work out Jessica Alba does to prepare for her next action role!
- They don’t care what other peoples bodies look like! They do not spend time comparing themselves to other people-celebrities, friends and neighbors are not the answer.
Mental Health Core Habits of Healthy People:
- They have healthy emotional outlets. We all need to destress at times. Healthy people have a goto calming mechanism. It may include meditation, exercise, reading or practicing mindfulness. It is not emotional eating, negative self talk or self harm.
- They surround themselves with positive people. This doesn’t just happen, one has to make choices, tough ones sometimes, as to who those people will be. Removing a toxic relationship will be hard, but beneficial in the long run.
- They express daily gratitude and/or volunteer. There are many studies that demonstrate a strong correlation between volunteering and happiness, and general well-being.
- They take breaks from social media and work. This is important to allow yourself time to recharge and reconnect with yourself, as well as friends and family.
- They place an importance on rest, recovery and sleep. Much like the break from social media that allows for emotional repair, this allows the body to repair at the cellular level. Overtraining taxes muscles and over scheduling stresses mental acuity. Breaks also need to be scheduled and prioritized, just like every other important detail in our daily lives.
- They welcome the opportunity to learn something new, engage in novel activities. New experiences create new neural pathways which strengthen cognitive development. The “use it or loose it” concept certainly comes into play as we age. Mental stimuli are critical in the delay of cognitive deterioration and help stem Alzheimer’s, and the onset of dementia.
This is clearly not an all-inclusive, or exhaustive list. And, I think we have all seen some variant of each of these points. There must be some truth in the sheer repetitive nature for these habits! Take a moment to self asses and see if you can’t find room in your goals to make a few small changes. 😊