Expert Action Plan for Developing Healthy Habits
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
As you know, most things that you do once in a while will not really affect your life or your health in an impactful way, it is what you do regularly that will. The results we have is a sum total of the habits we follow. We each have 24 hours yet some of us manage to include more empowering and healthy habits than others, this is not good or bad, it is just about what you really want and your priorities. Having to juggle family, work, home, friends and so many other things can become challenging sometimes and you may even feel like a circus clown juggling 5 orange balls in the air.
The very powerful analogy I share with my clients is to look at yourself as a God or Goddess from Hindu Mythology and think about the number of arms and hands they have. Imagine that you too are a God or Goddess inside and you too can have it all, you just have to want it enough and strategize it smartly so it works in with your life. You may have to have a close look at your existing habits and what takes up your 24 hours and you may want to take a few things off your plate. Here is where priorities come in.
The benefits of a habit forming checklist is twofold, for one, it creates a plan that you can see with a list of all the empowering habits you want to instill and secondly, as you work your way through the days, it represents a visual image of your results.
We all need to see that we are getting somewhere and that we are indeed making progress and some goals may take time to become evident to us, but having this checklist and as you mark the boxes with ticks and crosses for when you do and do not do the preferred habits will give you a clear picture of what you are really committed to. Some people work better when they have someone who holds them accountable, you could possibly declare some of your habits to a friend and work together as buddies.
Let’s say that you want to shed a few kilos before the end of the year and you want to become more peaceful and intuitive. Any nutritionist or fitness expert or book will simplistically ask you to look at the maths. What you put in (food) minus what you take out (exercise and lifestyle) will equal your weight. A meditation teacher or yoga practitioner will ask you how much time you send in quiet with yourself a day?
The first step is to very honestly and brutally examine your existing habits, take a note book or use your phone and account for every hour of your day for at least two days from wake to sleep and what goes in your mouth including water, tea, sugar or cigarettes.
After you have done this, circle all the ones that you know are contributing to your current shape, weight and mental peace or lack there of. Now think of all the empowering healthy habits you could add to your day that you know will make a difference. For example, if yours is a very sedentary lifestyle, then surely you will need less food than someone who is running around all day. If you have never exercised then surely adding a little bit of exercise will have an effect on your output. If you are always on standby with your phone and around a lot of noise then surely this will contribute to your lack of peace.
To start with, I’d suggest that down the left side of the table, you list all the new and empowering habits you want to continue and instill. I have listed some examples below, but you may have a few of your own that you know will work depending on what your personal goal is and what you are already practicing regularly. The idea is to have at least 10 to 15 daily habits down the left and then small boxes to represent every day for the month. Then all you need to do is check the boxes in green when you do a habit and cross it in red when you don’t do a habit.
Do not list any of the ones you don’t want to do in here, if you can, try to replace a few of the disempowering or unhealthy habits with more empowering ones, a classic example which does work wonders with some of the people I have worked with is to replace cigarette smoking with sipping water from a small bottle. Replace an hour of TV with an hour on a treadmill with a TV in front of them. Replace the nightly ice-cream with a nightly light fruit or herbal tea. Are you getting the picture?
Some examples of empowering healthy habits”
- Walk for 60 minutes a day outdoors, around the block or on a treadmill
- Drink 3 litres of water a day
- Yoga or Pilates or some weight training 3 times a week (in this case, do not cross the days you were not meant to do it anyway, just leave them blank
- Writing in a gratitude journal every night
- Sitting down in silence for 15 minutes a day with your phone off monitoring your breath
- Eating 5 light healthy meals a day
- Educating yourself for a few minutes a day by researching health and fitness tips from reliable sources.
- Learning how to meditate or using a guided mediation cd daily
Once you have done this you can set phone reminders for yourself into your phones to keep you conscious. These are just some examples of empowering healthy habits you can adopt and doing so will ensure that you move towards the results you so covet. Just as dropping a 1 rupee coin into a jar daily will give you at least 28 rupees at the end of a month, or taking a vitamin supplement every day will give you the added boost you need, so too practicing your personal empowering habits will make you healthier and happier, I promise.
Click here to download a copy of the MCI’s Habit Forming Checklist for free: www.multi-coaching.com