It’s the end of January and some of your New Year’s Resolutions might already be slipping. Going to the gym 4 times a week has turned into a half-hearted workout on Monday, and your best meal prep plans went out the door with your last DoorDash delivery.
Creating lasting change in your life can be pretty difficult when you are stressed and already handling too many things. And, if you’re trying to make a lot of changes at once, that’s an additional stress that causes those positive changes not to stick.
The thing you don’t want to hear but need to anyway? Start with very small changes to your routine. We’re going to talk about how to build habits that support your wellness, and how to use a smart hydration strategy to keep you feeling great, and less likely to fall back into old and unhealthy patterns.
Step 1: Make a List
Write down all of your ideal wellness practices in one place, and next to each item, detail what benefits you hope to gain from doing that thing. This will reinforce your interest in adding each item on the list to your daily routine, and will also help you weed out any habits that Instagram guilted you into thinking you need.
Start at the top of the list, with the thing that you feel will make the most impact on your life, and add just that one thing until you don’t have to think about it anymore. Once that habit is part of your identity, add the next thing on the list, and so on. Don’t be afraid to reassess the new habits on your list if you think something will work better for you, or if something doesn’t fit. Not everyone is built to get up at 5am and run.
Step 2: Be Honest With Yourself
Before you can adopt new healthier habits, you have to understand the habits you’re already engaging in that aren’t supporting your best life. An obvious example is smoking, which might feel good in the moment, but over time has negative consequences. Worse, many smokers don’t even think about their smoke breaks; they engage in this activity without thinking about it. It could be the same with eating junk food, staying up late watching videos, or scrolling social media mindlessly when you could be going on a walk.
For your new habits will have real benefits for you, it’s important to crowd out the negative ones, or replace them (gradually and gently!) with better habits. There is no place for guilt here, we all get into patterns over time that cause momentary relief from the stress of life that don’t actually make our lives better. Look at your patterns without judgement and see the places where you are holding yourself back.
Step 3: Start Very Very (Very) Small
Changing your entire lifestyle overnight is a recipe for failure and disappointment. All of your old habits are like well-worm train tracks in your brain. Making small adjustments will help you wear new grooves for the wheels of your life to run on, and you can add more adjustments as you stay steady on the ones before. According to James Clear, renowned author on the topic of habit formation, there is scientific support for developing one new habit at a time. Research reveals that if you make a strategy to concentrate on one (and only one) objective at a time, you are 2 to 3 times more likely to maintain your new habit over time.
Step 4: Stay Hydrated
We can get derailed pretty easily when we’re not feeling at our best, and for a lot of us that’s most days of the week. Sleep and nutrition are the biggest factors that can help us stay resilient even when we’ve got so much to do we feel like a ping-ping ball. Yes, grab your second (or third) cup of coffee, but also top yourself up on electrolytes. Electrolyte Recovery Plus is a great choice for daily hydration, since it includes NO sugar, calories, or artificial ingredients, and is plant-based, so it’s ideal for your chosen healthy way of eating.
Where coffee and energy drinks are stimulants that trick your body into feeling more energetic and motivated, electrolyte minerals and vitamins are the keys that unlock the natural vitality of your cells. It’s virtually impossible to get enough electrolyte minerals and vitamins from diet alone, since so many of our modern foods are heavily processed and grown in soils that don’t contain those minerals to begin with. Starting your day with an electrolyte drink will give you the nutrient boost to feel great for the rest of the day.
The thing about electrolytes and vitamins is that you aren’t just “feeling” healthy. You’re giving your body the tools it needs to BE healthy. You’re supporting nerve communication, muscle function, and even improved cognition. Electrolytes carry a small electrical charge, which is necessary for the mitochondria in each of your cells to produce energy. It’s not life coffee energy. It’s your basal metabolic rate that turns calories from food into energy you use for basic things like breathing and complicated things like kettlebell swings.
Step 5: Forgive Yourself For Breaks (Then Get Back To It)
Ok so you missed the gym this week. You had deadlines, then you had errands, and before you knew it you were on the couch with a glass of wine on Friday night. Life can be crazy and you will get derailed from your healthy habits from time to time. It’s totally normal! Instead of stressing about it, get back to your spart habits ASAP. Again, there is no need to guilt yourself about making “bad” decisions. See where you are, accept that you did your best in those moments, and love yourself enough to get back to the habits that keep you healthy and happy.
These breaks are also a great time to assess if your new habits are in your best interest. Maybe you’ve taken on too much, and the habits themselves are overwhelming, or they might just need some tweaking to work better for you. Feeling stuck or frustrated is just a signal that it’s time to reassess and make any necessary changes to keep your healthy habits sustainable.
Step 6: Track Your Progress
Paying attention and being mindful with your behaviors and habits is a good start, but if you really want to dial in to make progress and get those habits to stick, you’re going to need to track. Tracking can be as simple or as extensive as you like. The most basic form of tracking is to simply record what you do, and what your results are. For example, if you’re working on your fitness, you could record how far you ran and how long it took, or how much you could lift on your bench press.
Adding more detail gives context to your results, and can help you pinpoint small things that might be holding you back from the results you were looking for. If you habitually note that you got poor sleep before your runs, focusing on better sleep might get you faster times.
Tracking can also be the beginning of a journaling habit, which can bring more awareness into other areas of your life. Perhaps you begin writing down thoughts during meditation, or noting the things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
Step 7: Celebrate Your Wins
Give yourself a gold star after achieving milestones on your habit-forming journey, and don’t wait for the one-year mark to do it. Did you meditate every day for a week? Gold star! Did you avoid the office donuts after your healthy lunch? Gold star! Did you get out of bed for your workout even though you didn’t want to? You get the idea. Your version of a gold star can be anything you’d like it to be, but a word of caution: avoid using junk food or old bad habits as your reward. Those are the things you’re trying to crowd out, after all.
When you reach big milestones towards your goals, and especially when you reach those goals, take time out to really celebrate! You’ve put in a lot of consistent effort and gotten the results you were after. Plan your celebrations in advance so you have a little something extra to work towards. Maybe it’s a weekend trip somewhere fun, splurging on a new outfit, or getting a massage. Pick something that feels like a reward to you, and enjoy it as you enjoy the results of your hard work.