A happy and healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated, boring or expensive. It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone either. For you it may mean green smoothies and morning pilates classes, but for someone else it could mean journalling and running. Recently I’ve been feeling really motivated and I’ve been doing pretty well with my food and exercise. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen my gym check-ins on Insta Stories. However, there are definitely areas of my life that I can improve on and correct a few bad habits that I’ve picked up.
No matter how healthy you think you are, there are always tiny tweaks you can make to improve your health and happiness. I feel my best when I’m productive, looking after myself, eating well and regularly working out which is why I’m going to be making a conscious effort to make a few healthy lifestyle changes so that I can be my best, happiest and healthiest self. There are tonnes more changes I can make, but for now I’m going to be focusing on these five.
1. Waking up early
I am the worst morning person. I hate it. I hit the snooze alarm repeatedly and sleep in or lay in bed scrolling on Instagram, leaving me no time to get ready in the morning and I am late to work every day. Because of this I start every morning stressed and rushing. Great start to the day, huh? It also means that everything I want to get done for myself outside of work has to be done in the evenings because I never have time in the morning, but by the time I’ve worked out, showered and had dinner, there’s no time left in the evening either.
The solution? Wake up early every day, even on weekends. I’ve read a lot about morning routines of successful CEOs and they all wake up early, have a clear routine and do things for themselves before they go to work. I’ve written down my ideal morning routine which includes time for working out, planning, drinking lemon water & preparing my food for the day. I’ll start by waking up at 5:30am, 2.5 hours before I need to leave my house, which even allows me time for a little snooze because I’m just not a jump-out-of-bed kinda person. Once I’ve nailed my morning routine I’ll tackle my night time routine. Baby steps.
2. Minimising my belongings
Simplifying my life is a big goal for me this year and a part of that is following some of the principles of minimalism. Considering my fiancé and I live in a one bedroom flat, we have a lot of stuff. Correction, I have a lot of stuff. As much as I do my best to keep our home tidy and give everything its place, things inevitably spill out and create clutter. This takes a toll on my mood and mental state too as I hate when our home is cluttered and untidy. I feel like I can’t think straight and I’m constantly thinking about what needs tidying instead of focusing on whatever I need to be doing.
The solution? Minimalism! I’ve been intrigued by minimalism for a while now, but after reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ and watching ‘Minimalism’ on Netflix, it’s given me the drive to apply this approach to my lifestyle. I’ve already started the decluttering process and have got Michael on board too. Between us we’ve cleared 8 bin bags of clothing which we’re sending to Ghana where those clothes will be much more appreciated and also putting some items on eBay to raise some money for our wedding. I’ve still got a lot more to tackle but I feel excited. Now I’m not saying that I’m going to become a minimalist, I’m just taking the approach of only keeping what I need and what truly brings me joy and letting go of the rest.
3. Bullet Journalling
I had always struggled with dated planners because if I missed a few days I felt like the whole planner was ruined – the empty pages staring back at me in judgement. I also struggled to find something that could contain everything I wanted to note down and plan for – my fitness, my blog schedule & stats, random thoughts, my goals, my to-do list etc. Then I discovered Bullet Journalling and fell in love with it. I could decide exactly what went into it and choose how each page should look. But eventually I stopped using it and went back to my disorganised, frantic self.
The solution? Carry it around with me! I always carry a handbag that’s big enough to fit my Bullet Journal so there’s no excuse not to always have it on me. Honestly I love being able to get my thoughts down on paper, cross off my to-do list, track my workouts, plan my blog schedule, log the things I’m thankful for and more all in one place. Bullet Journalling is definitely something I want to commit to in 2018.
4. Tracking what I eat
I’ve seen the concept of “Intuitive Eating” gain popularity on Instagram and it’s great that it works for so many people and frees them from obsessively thinking about food. However, eating intuitively just doesn’t work for me. I can’t seem to get the balance right and always end up with a “treat yo’self” mentality which does me more harm than good! I’ve learned that it’s a combination of things that lead me down the slippery slope. Since finding out that I have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), I’ve learned that my hormone imbalance makes me crave carbohydrates but my body can’t handle a high carb intake and my hormones that should signify when I’m full don’t work as they should.
The solution? Log my food in MyFitnessPal. This ensures I don’t overeat and I’m also tracking macros to ensure I get the right balance of protein, fats and carbs. I’ve been doing this for about a month so far and it’s really working for me. No food is off limits, but quickly logging what I eat in MyFitnessPal ensures I make healthier choices and don’t end up binge eating like I used to do. Tracking my food doesn’t feel restrictive to me, it’s something I can maintain as part of a healthy lifestyle, but it isn’t for everyone. If you tend to obsess over calories then I would advise staying away from tracking.
5. Exercising at least 4x a week consistently
I’ve experimented quite a bit with different styles of exercise in the past, including boxing, yoga, HIIT, spin, Pilates, dance, weight training, boot camps, training solo and training on my own. I now know exactly what it is I enjoy but I struggle with jumping from one thing to the next and not sticking to anything long enough to see results.
The solution? A consistent training routine. Today I am starting a custom 8 week plan by a trainer I found on Instagram. I filled in a questionnaire and received a meal plan and workout routine that are custom to me. I have to check in with the trainer every 2 weeks and send progress pictures for my plan to be reviewed and tweaked. With only 8 weeks to go until our wedding day and with the pressure of having someone check-in on me regularly, I’m confident this will be one time I am finally consistent! Wish me luck!
So there you have it, the healthy lifestyle changes that I plan to start or continue to make my life a little easier and happier. It all sounds good written down, but now I’ve just got to take action! Thankfully I now have you to keep me accountable! Hopefully this has given you some ideas of healthy lifestyle changes you can make too, or reaffirmed some healthy habits you already have.