5 Simple Steps Toward Living a Healthier Lifestyle
Updated: Jan 15, 2021
I prefer to look at taking simple steps toward living a healthier lifestyle through a bigger picture, holistic lens. Rather than viewing health through one specific lens, like diet or exercise alone, I believe true health is the totality of your physical, mental, and spiritual needs. (And social needs, too!)
In the past, when I went on a "health kick," I would focus on calories and workouts; constantly thinking in a restrictive mindset that did not foster my overall well-being.
No wonder I never stuck with those kicks.
I never stuck with them because they weren’t an effective way to create change. A healthy lifestyle encompasses not only your physical health but your mental and spiritual health, too. Hence, approaching healthy changes should also tap into all those areas.
This is not an all-encompassing list by any means, but it’s a start. It’s a start that involves simple, yet intentional steps toward living a healthier lifestyle.
1. Determine your why.
Figure out why you want to be healthier.
Do you want to look better? Why?
Do you want to be fit? Why?
Do you want to lose weight? Why?
Do you want to attract a new partner? Why?
The point of asking why so many times is to see what the root of your change is. Really dig deep.
Most likely, the first reason is surface-level, and that’s why a few months into the new year, people fall out of their resolutions. Say your goal is to get fit/lose weight. If you keep asking yourself, "why is this my goal?" It could lead to...
I want to be happier.
I want to feel worthy.
I want to be enough.
I want to be valued.
When you realize this is the root of the change, it becomes easier to see why there was an intention to get fit.
The thing is, you are already worthy, just as you are.
You are enough, just as you are.
And you are valuable, just as you are.
The number on the scale will not change how you feel inside. You have the power to become happier by realizing your worth. Because at the end of the day, when you get fit - if you haven’t addressed the root of the change, you will still feel unworthy. The internal issue will not disappear. Losing weight on the outside will not change how you feel on the inside if you haven’t focused on improving your self-image.
Determining your REAL why will help you actually follow-through with your goals, and create an emotional attachment to fulfilling them.
2. Become aware.
The next step toward change is becoming aware of your habits. 90% of the time, we are just going through the motions and we aren’t even consciously aware of what we’re doing. We’re so used to doing it a certain way we haven’t given it a second thought. We’re on autopilot and our habits have control over us.
At this stage, you don’t have to do anything about your habits. But, as you go about your day, notice what you’re doing and how you feel. Do you reach for an energy drink first thing in the morning, press snooze on your alarm until the last minute, or rush out the door while you finish preparing your lunch for work? How do you feel during that process?
Observe your habits and start thinking about why you do them and how they affect you, inside and out.
Are you having that energy drink because you need the caffeine, or because you stayed up late on your phone? Do you press snooze on your alarm because you didn’t get enough sleep, or because you’re not looking forward to your day?
Take note and write your thoughts on this in a journal or notebook.
3. Declutter your feed.
Part of a healthier lifestyle involves surrounding yourself with positive and inspiring content. If you follow people that post things that make you cringe, feel guilty, or lead to unhealthy comparison, unfollow them.
Social media is a great tool when used wisely. However, we forget that we have the power to choose who to follow and what kind of content we consume. We don’t have to remain “friends” with everyone.
Declutter your social feeds so when you enter into that space you aren’t weighed down or leave the app feeling negative. Your mental health is important and decluttering your feed is one way to improve it.
4. Develop routines.
I may be a nerd, but I loooove a good routine. Routines have helped me immensely to plan my day so I can prioritize and reach my goals in a way that doesn’t feel rushed or hectic. Routines also help you know what to expect so you feel a greater sense of control and purpose.
If you don’t have a morning or a night routine, start with whichever part of the day you’re most awake and go from there. If you’re a night owl, start creating a routine before bed. Dim the lights, plug in a diffuser (lavender essential oil is my favorite at night), layout your outfit for the next day, and journal for a few minutes. Do what will help relax you, but will also help set you up for success the next day. I like to engage in a night routine that allows me to have a slow, intentional morning as well.
I notice that when I’m out of my routine, I feel more flustered and less grounded. I’m more likely to gravitate toward unhealthy options because my lack of routine has thrown off my sense of stability. Having routines in place will motivate you to continue to work toward your priorities.
Take the time to visualize yourself as your ideal self. You at your most authentic, happy, loving, and present. I know, I know, it sounds corny but trust me, try it out.
What does she look like?
How do other people describe her?
How does she act?
How does she move?
This is something that has helped me channel into who I want to be, which, is inside of me already. We have all of the qualities we want to be (and more) within our reach, we just need to choose to be them. Visualizing ourselves in this way can help speed up the process. Do this every night before bed for two weeks and see what happens.
What do you have to lose?