Lifestyle Changes: Little Steps = Big Outcomes
When people think of the prospect of changing their lifestyles towards a healthier direction, it seems overwhelmingly daunting or like a giant challenge to tackle.
I have a secret for you.
It's all really possible.
If you stand at the bottom of the mountain and look all the way up at the peak, it's going to seem like it's grower taller by the second, right before your eyes. But if you look directly at what is ahead right in front of you, your mind will start to make a series of achievable calculations. Bite-sized pieces, if you will. Suddenly, the 20,000 foot tall mountain just starts as a little ledge you have to prop your foot on in order to grab that other small rock with your hand.
Break it down for yourself.
Even if you think your lifestyle is overdue for a major overhaul, your chances of success at actually makes changes that stick will be doubled if you set smaller, specific, realistic goals for yourself.
I broke down 3 common changes needed that I see with most with my clients and the general population in terms of lifestyle needs. Hopefully this guide will show you what I mean by smaller changes truly adding up in the end.
1. Goal: You need more sleep
- Because you get 5.5-6 hours on the regular
- Because you feel like the walking dead until that mug of coffee is steaming glorious caffeine into your nose
- Because you are basically feeling tired all the time and being everyone's least favorite person to be around
- Because you are having trouble losing weight, constantly feeling sore from your workouts, and can't stop the sugar cravings
You are currently hitting the sack around 12am, waking up around 6am for work.
What not to do:
Announce that you're getting 8 hours every night, going to sleep at 10pm, and waking up at 6am. Because then that last email is going to keep you until 10:15pm, then oh wait- you forgot to brush your teeth, and oh no- you can't fall asleep...maybe you'll reach for your Netflix to lull you to sleep, because that's a good idea, right?
- Set a realistic, attainable goal like 11:30pm or even 11:45pm.
- Think about it- even 15 minutes per night added up over the course of the work week = an extra 1.25 hours of sleep per week. 30 min per night=2.5 hours extra! That is 10 extra hours per month- more than an whole night's sleep
- Set an alarm for yourself as a reminder to get ready for bed, so that sneaky time doesn't slip away!
- In bed on time but having issues falling asleep? Try my tips here- but most importantly, all electronics away at least 30 min - 1 hour before bed.
2. Goal: You need exercise more
- Because a set of stairs makes you winded
- Because your clothes fit more snugly than you care to admit
- Because your job has you primarily sitting for the majority of the day
- I could list a million more reasons but the vast majority of people in this country need to simply move more
Your current gym activity includes your walk to and from work and the walk over to the fridge.
What not to do:
Vow that you are going to go to the gym 5x a week and buy a million new workout clothes because you think it'll "inspire you."
- Look at your schedule. Select 2 or 3 times during the week that you can make 30 min-1 hour of time-- and put it as an appointment in your phone calendar
- I heard you. Don't say you don't have that time- the 5 episodes on your latest Netflix binge you made it through last week say otherwise.
- Even start with 1 appointment a week- by the months end, you'll have 4 more hours under your belt than you would have otherwise!
- Take the stairs/the long route whenever possible. It all does add up!
- Say yes. Say yes to that spin class your friend invited you to. Say yes to going hiking on Saturday morning. Say yes to your alarm clock, and get your butt up to do what you said you would do.
3. Goal: You need to clean up your diet
- Because a weeknight dinner for you typically starts out as frozen in a microwavable dish
- Because the candy jar or freebies anywhere somehow finds its way into your mouth
- Because your pants are tight, you're breaking out, you feel sluggish, and slow
- Because your favorite foods includes heavy sauces, butters, fried things, salts and sugars
Your current diet looks like: breakfast sandwich + venti hazelnut mocha latte, sandwich and chips for lunch, and a burger and fries for dinner. No, potatoes don't count as a vegetable here.
What not to do:
Go to Whole Foods and spend lots of money on random other superfood you've never tried before or know how to use. It'll be sitting there a year later, and you're going to order delivery pizza a week from now.
- Make your goal to each 2 extra servings of veggies every day for the next 2 weeks. That's a snack on carrots at lunch, and ordering a side of broccoli at dinner- easy peasy.
- Make your goal to switch to a healthier breakfast every morning. Have zero time in the AM? Overnight oats takes 5 minutes to make the night before.
- Grab a piece of fruit or another natural sugar source when your sweet tooth kicks in. Chocolate needs? Switch to over 70% dark chocolate, or make yourself this smoothie with a spoonful of cacao powder.