After some time away, and working on getting back into a groove, I stopped to think about the ways in which I keep myself in check physically, mentally, and emotionally. Going through each day with a well-defined system of guidelines ensures my focus is where it needs to be, and keeps me feeling my best! I have my habits written out in a document saved on my desktop for easy reference. Here’s my list:
Habit 1: I eat two meals per day.
I am not a nutritionist. I am not a dietician. I believe three meals a day is too much for me. I spend less of my day seated than I used to, and I still think two meals, spaced out by about 8 hours, with a couple of healthy snacks in between, (see next rule for guidelines) is enough to keep me satiated. I played around with it until I found what works for me.
Habit 2: I mostly eat foods with only one ingredient.
Vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and fish. The fewer ingredients, the healthier the food, generally. The foods I’ll eat most of the time will not have ingredient lists (nor packaging) anyway. Follow this 85% of the time, and you’ll be solid in the diet department. I tend to keep it 100% clean when eating by myself so I can indulge a bit (and feel less lame) when in a social setting. I’m italicizing most because I have a raging sweet tooth and give into cravings sometimes (OK.. a lot. Damn you Ben & Jerry!).
Habit 3: I perform about 20 minutes of bodyweight exercise 4 times per week.
Heavy weights were hurting my joints, I wasn’t training for a specific sport, and I liked being able to exercise anywhere. Bodyweight exercises were the answer. BUT, and this is a huge BUT – this will be enough if I abide by Habit 3. If I don’t, it won’t be, and I’ll gain weight. Here’s 50 bodyweight workouts you can try!
Habit 4: I always choose a smile.
When interacting with anyone, I always choose a smile as my first expression. It makes every interaction seem light and friendly, eliminating tension and stress. Plus, it just flat out feels good to smile at someone and have them smile back. Try it.
Habit 5: I floss every day.
Ideally, before bed. If not then, at some point throughout the day, preferably after a meal. It’s cheap, easy, and the difference it made in my dentist visits, both in terms of comfort and expense, is undeniable. Not to mention it works well with Habit 4!
Habit 6: I give up the need to always be right.
This led to A LOT of arguments for me. I always wanted to win the argument – until I realized that I didn’t actually win anything. On matters of opinion, you’ll never change someone’s views. The only thing you’ll manage to accomplish is providing more stress for you and your “foe.”
Habit 7: I drink only these three things.
Water, coffee and tea. Most other drinks contain tons of sugar – most likely more than any recommended daily intake. I typically avoid anything that comes already bottled (including water! Not because it’s bad for you, but because paying for water is a pet peeve of mine), including iced teas, sodas, and fruit juices. It’s too easy to add 500 calories without even knowing it. And alcohol was the worst culprit for me so I stopped.
Habit 8: I write in my journals every morning.
I have two. A 5-year journal, which has a day’s date at the top of the page, then this year and the next four years, and is meant to capture in 2-4 sentences my overarching feeling for the day. It’s great for comparing year over year. My morning pages journal, courtesy of The Artist’s Way, helps clear my head, freeing a path for the good, creative stuff. It also acts as a therapist, helping me write my way out of stress. A problem on the page is a problem out of your head.
Habit 9: I always kiss the girl.
My metaphor for taking the risk. I will not hesitate in asking for or going after what I want. If rejected, I’d much rather know the answer right away, then to stew for days in regret by allowing fear to prevent me from asking. Ask now, eliminate uncertainty. Don’t ask, welcome regret. Regret causes stress. Stress isn’t healthy.
Habit 10: I implement new habits to stay in a constant state of improvement.
I am always looking for ways to simplify. If there is a way for something to be automated or eliminated, I’m going to find it! This is true in all facets of my life, whether nutrition, money, traveling, fitness, and interactions with others. There are ways to eliminate a lot of daily minutiae, so I always take time to stop and think about why I’m doing things.
What are some of yours?