I've been working on improving my mental and overall wellness pretty consistently over the past few years and while I have made strides in the mental health area, though I am still a work in progress ;), and improved my overall wellness with the changes I've made toward a more natural lifestyle, I feel like I still need some work in the physical fitness department.
It's been proven that making something into a habit, first off takes time, and secondly once established, increases your chances of not only completing that habit consistently, but gives you the ability to build on it and essentially level up to a harder or new habit with greater ease. Habits are building blocks. You not only add "blocks" to build them by completing a set task on a regular schedule, but you can then continue to build on these habit blocks once established, to form new or more complex habits. Basically habits are built in bite sized chunks, not by trying to eat an elephant in one bite. I am pretty sure I butchered that saying in many ways, but you get the point:)
If you've never read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, I highly recommend it. It's a great foundation to learn why building habits can lead to success and how you can go about building and incorporating habits into your daily life.
For the coming year, there are three habits that I want to try and build healthwise. The first is to walk 70,000 steps per week. I didn't want to make it a daily goal as I know with my schedule, some days I will be able to walk more than others and it also gives me some flexibility on bad weather days. I feel like this will help me not feel like I have "failed" if I don't meet the daily goal but still am able to meet the weekly count. I think it's important to be realistic with yourself when you are setting goals or building habits. 70,000 steps is an increase in the steps I routinely do in a week but it is not so far off that is is unattainable to achieve or going to be so hard at the start that I get discouraged and give up.
My next habit I want to build is daily stretching. I am going to count anything of 5 minutes or greater at least to start with as I think anything under 5 minutes would be limited on it's benefits. Stretching is important to my physical fitness not only for preventing injuries and aches and pains now but keeping me active and mobile as I get older. I don't want to be held back as I age by my body if there is something I can do to prevent it now.
My third habit is to journal or do some sort of meditation daily. I think the mental clarity you gain from meditation and journaling is something that we can all use in our day to day lives and that mental clarity can also help us in our physical health to as when we feel better mentally we tend to do better physically. I am going to count either one toward building my habit initially but would love to build on this habit once I have it established to do both the meditation and journaling daily.
Now how am I going to go about building these habits? First is committing to do this for myself and making it a priority. After all, if we don't make ourselves a priority, why will anyone else? It's not selfish to take time for yourself each day. It makes you the best version of yourself for those you care about(including yourself).
Next, I am very motivated by checking things off my "to do" list or seeing some sort of visual of task I have completed. I love using habit trackers just for that reason so I can get that satisfaction of knowing I accomplished what I set out to do and I can see that progress on the days where it may seem too hard to get started.
We are never going to be motivated every day, so sometimes that little visual jumpstart can kick in our dedication when motivation is lacking:) I've made a habit tracker so I have something a little bit fun to fill in each day while I am building my habits and wanted to share it with you in case you are looking to build some habits of your own. Just click the link here to access the tracker pictured below. It's in an editable format so that you can change the habits to whatever you want to focus on.
I plan to make a tracker for each month and will be sending them out in my bi monthly newsletter. If you are not on my email list yet and want to receive access to the free tracker each month, just click here to join. I am also going to share short updates on my progress over on instagram to hold myself accountable and maybe help motivate anyone else working towards their own habits or goals.
Another idea is to give yourself some sort of reward when you finish your tracker for the month or when you have completed the habit you are working toward a set number of days in a row. This doesn't have to be anything big, maybe it's you treat yourself to a coffee or tea while your out one day or you sit and watch an episode of your favorite show. There is nothing wrong with rewarding yourself for the effort you are putting in to yourself.
Personally I think community is key when we are working toward something. There is nothing like having others to cheer you on, motivate you with their successes or show you it's ok if your growth isn't perfect by seeing that other people have set backs too. I encourage you to not only look for people around you that you can build community with but don't be afraid to look online for community too!
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