MealEnders Blog

Master Healthy Habits in 2019

Our Weekly New Year's Email Series All in One Spot

By Tami Lyon, MPH, RD
January 07, 2019

Week 1: Reset Your Mindset

Change the way you think about your goals to set yourself up for success.

Healthy Habits

 

It’s that time again when we reflect on our lives and set goals for ourselves. Many of us revisit the same goals year after year: lose weight, exercise more, eat more greens, etc. But despite good intentions, the reality is that 80% of people fail to keep their resolutions by the second week of February—why is that?

It all comes down to one thing: habits.This includes habitual ways of thinking and acting. Habits are a way for our brains to save energy, meaning that once a habit is established, it feel like it’s just a “natural” part of your life—you don’t have to think about it or make an effort to do it.

Adopting even just one new beneficial habit can make the difference between lasting success and having to re-make the same resolutions next year.

Since we all know that mindset is the foundation of everything, let’s start by tackling that. Here are 3 quick and easy tips to set you up for success in the weeks to come.

1) Find ways to enjoy the process of making your resolution a reality.  In her research on psychology, Kaitlin Woolley of Cornell University found that the key to succeeding with long-term goals is to focus on how they are benefiting you in the present moment. For example, if your goal is to eat healthier, instead of focusing on all the food you are denying yourself, focus on all the new things you get to add into your diet. Have fun experimenting with new recipes, like these healthy non-alcoholic drinks.

2) Replace the perception of your goals as a possibility with the perception of them as reality. In her book How to Get Sh*t Done, Erin Falconer says that it’s best to avoid thinking that you “should” do something, which sets it up as a mere possibility and gives us a way out. Instead, say that you “will” and live as if you have already adopted the behavior needed to achieve your goals.

3) Give deeper meaning to your goals. Switch from a “weight loss mindset” to a “health mindset.” Think about the bigger ways in which your goals will impact your life. For example, rather than trying to lose weight for the aesthetics, focus on how it will improve your energy and allow you to show up more fully at work and with your family.

Stick with us for the next 7 weeks and together we will establish a whole host of healthy habits to help you become your healthiest, most vibrant self in 2019. Happy New Year!

 

Week 2: Start Your Day Off Right

Tricks to keep you focused and moving towards your goals from the moment you wake up.

 


Starting off the day on the right foot is critical. Not only does it set the tone for the whole day, but it is also when we are most empowered to effectively exercise our willpower. Willpower is like a battery. It recharges at night while we sleep, is strongest in the morning, and then slowly decreases throughout the day. While habits are a way for your brain to save energy, creating new habits will require a little more energy at first. So why not take advantage of the time when your willpower is the strongest?

Here are some healthy habits for getting a strong start to your day:

1) Remind yourself of your goals: Taking time to think about your goals in the morning makes it more likely that you will have them in the back of your mind for the rest of the day. This can be as simple as putting an inspirational image on the fridge. Or perhaps, leave a list of your new year’s resolutions near your coffee cup to prompt you to look at them before you get your day started. Reading through your goals will only take 30 seconds and will be well worth your time.

2) Drink 8-16 oz of water as soon as you wake up: If you can make this a habit, it will be a game changer. Drinking water first thing helps rehydrate you and cleanses the colon, plus give you an energy boost. When we are dehydrated, our blood becomes thicker and moves slower through the body. This means our cells receive less oxygen and we feel tired. Simply drinking water can give you a nice little burst of energy without needing to visit the coffee machine. A third benefit is that, since our bodies often confuse thirst and hunger, drinking plenty of water prevents overeating at breakfast due to thirst.

3) Workout: If you can, work out first thing in the morning—especially if you’re trying to start a new exercise routine. Remember, willpower is strongest in the morning—take advantage of it! Additionally, exercise has been scientifically proven to increase willpower. But don’t worry, I’m not suggesting you hit the gym for two hours every day. Just try to get some type of movement in, preferably something you enjoy so that you’ll look forward to doing it. Maybe it’s meeting your friends for a walk to get coffee. Or perhaps a light jog or some yoga. For more inspiration, check out these quick workout routines you can do without even leaving the house.

4) Choose a smart breakfast: A healthy breakfast is key to eating healthy all day. If you choose a breakfast high in processed carbs or sugar, your blood sugar will plummet a few hours later, leaving you ravenous and likely to give in to unhealthy convenience foods. Choose whole grains, lean protein, nuts, fresh fruits and vegetables. Overnight oats and chia seed pudding are nutritious grab-and-go options. Alternatively, hard boil some eggs or make breakfast egg muffins the night before. Grab a few along with a piece of fruit as you walk out the door.  

Try incorporating at least two of these healthy habits into your routine this week. Making small changes one at a time is the key to lasting success. Before you know it, you’ll have a routine established that will make achieving your health goals seem easy. Next week we’ll look at a few mental tricks to help you get to where you want to go.

*Individual Results May Vary