Powerful habits for wellbeing
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.” -Octavia Butler
Staying ahead in the many areas of life can be a lot to manage if you don’t have the discipline to do the simple things every single day. We all have habits whether we are aware of them or not and your daily habits matter. Why? Because you cannot rely on motivation to always be there. When motivation fails, we must rely on our habits to carry us through and keep us on track.
Accomplishing great things involves consistently doing the right things over and over again, even when it’s hard. Take exercise, for example. It’s a habit that successful people credit for helping them feel energised, clear-minded, and focused. The difference between most people and those who do great things? The latter will lift the heavy weights & go on a run, even when they don’t feel like it.
Here are 5 habits I do every single day that have had a profound impact on my health & wellbeing. As a note, all of my personal habits fit in with the FX key 5 of training, nutrition, fulfilment, recovery, relaxation.
1.Tracking & preparing food in advance. (Nutrition)
I have a friend who lost 185 pounds. I asked her if she had one piece of advice to give to those looking to lose or manage their weight what would it be? She said; “If you haven’t inputted your food for the day into my fitness pal by 10 pm the night before, then you’re setting yourself up for failure” Since then, I have planned, tracked my calories and prepared my food way ahead of time.
As humans, we are astonishingly bad at managing and recognising the impact of decision making fatigue. This is the tendency to make worse choices after prolonged sessions of decision making when we are cognitively exhausted. When my food choices are planned ahead of time there is no thinking involved, all I have to do is eat it when I’m hungry – therefore saving my limited decision making and will power capacity for when I would usually make an impulsive decision to have that second cupcake and fall of track. I also try to lock in a number of my meals as routine, as opposed to making them daily choices. I find a breakfast I love and have it every day for a few weeks until I’m ready to switch it up. I know exactly what macros I’m getting – no thinking involved.
This one is a biggie. Science has proven that the benefits of meditation are too good to ignore. And while we don’t need to meditate daily to experience its positive effect on health and happiness, studies have shown that we can unlock even more benefits when we meditate for consecutive days.
When we meditate, we can enhance our focus, decision-making and lessen our feelings of fear and stress. By fundamentally shifting the way we relate to our thoughts and feelings, we can dial down the intensity of emotions that tend to take hold of us, and ultimately experience a greater sense of calm, clarity, and focus in our lives.
Meditating helps me centre my focus on what I want to accomplish in my work, personal life, health, and relationships. The mind is a very powerful tool, and when you concentrate your energies on a limited set of goals, amazing things begin to happen.
3. Morning gratitude list (Fulfilment)
The first thing I do when I wake up is reach for my notebook, coffee (of course) and sit down for 10 minutes to list the things I am thankful for. The daily practice of writing down what I have to be grateful for rewires my brain and improves my happiness.
When you take the time to focus on the good things in your life you naturally become more positive. By writing down what you are thankful for, you become more optimistic because you are choosing to see more of the positivity in your life, giving less power to negative emotions.
4. Drinking more than enough water (Nutrition / Recovery)
This one seems obvious because, well, we can’t survive without it! But it is astonishing how many people are walking round in a mild state of dehydration. I keep a 1-litre water bottle with me everywhere I go and aim to drink 2-3+ Litres a day.
Drinking enough water consistently gives so many benefits to health including;
- More energy – Water delivers important nutrients to all of our cells, especially muscle cells, postponing muscle fatigue.
- Weight loss – Water helps you feel full longer, without adding any additional calories. Drinking water or eating foods with high water content can be a big help in managing your weight.
- Better digestion – Water helps to move the digestive process along and through the system.
- Detoxification – Water moves toxins through your system faster and optimises kidney function. Inadequate hydration means inadequate kidney function.
- Skin- Forget expensive creams and cure-alls, water is the best defence against breakouts, ageing and wrinkles in the skin.
5. Reading (Relaxation / Fulfilment)
My most recent habit is that I have swapped out my usual evening fix of scrolling social media for reading 15-20 minutes of a self-development book. I have found myself sleeping better, feeling calmer and more inspired and motivated as a result of the books I have been choosing. I looked into this to discover that reading daily improves brain connectivity, aids in sleep readiness, reduces stress, lowers blood pressure and heart rate and prevents cognitive decline as you age.
You have to align your daily behaviours with those of the person you want to become.
I will leave you with this quote from the wonderful Tony Robbins; “In essence, if we want to direct our lives, we must take control of our consistent actions. It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.”