If you want to truly live up to your potential, health and fitness needs to be a top priority. I would be so bold to say that you really can’t have one without the other. There are always rare exceptions to the rule, but I’ve personally never met someone carrying around an extra 100 lbs. that was truly content. In the same token, I meet plenty of people who are seemingly healthy on the outside, but who aren’t active or haven’t stepped outside the office in a decade.
One of the most powerful things you can do to transform the way you feel in your everyday life, is to start making health and fitness a HABIT….something that’s done day in and day out, so much so, that you don’t even have to think about it anymore. It just becomes a way of life.
Most people who are physically fit year after year will tell you the same thing. They don’t go on “diets”. They'll tell you that they’re more focused on living a healthy lifestyle. I’m talking about waking up each day with a purpose and establishing a solid set of exercise and eating habits that not only get you into a healthy mindset as soon as your feet hit the floor, but that help set you up for success throughout your day, every day.
Do you wake up and drag yourself into the kitchen, scratch your head, and wander aimlessly through your day, or do you have a solid routine that helps keep you focused? I’m always telling people “Exercise should be like brushing your teeth.” You wouldn’t go a day without brushing your teeth would you? Well, that is exactly how you should be treating your health. Just as you brush your teeth everyday when you wake up and before you go to bed, you should be practicing a good set of daily lifestyle practices, rituals if you will, to make being healthy a top priority. Maybe you've gotten into some bad habits that are keeping you from reaching your full potential. It's never too late. Now is the time to wipe the slate clean and start turning things around. Health habits can be something as simple as drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning to scheduling time for reading or meditation.
If you have a family or children, it’s important to realize that what you do has a direct influence on others. Children internalize what they see you doing, and setting an example is one of the most powerful ways to get others in your family on board the healthy train without nagging them. If you lead, others will follow.
I’m sharing some of my health habits with you here. Even though some of these things might seem small, they make a lasting impact on my ability to be in outstanding physical condition all year round. The benefits go beyond what you can see on the outside. They help me set the tone for the day, stay mentally focused, and are helping me to create a healthy future decades from now. Here they are…
1) Drink 20 oz. water immediately upon waking.
2) Work out first thing every morning. No way to get sidetracked later in the day!
3) Drink at least 1 L of water by the end of my workout/drive home.
4) Eat 5-6 meals balanced with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats each day.
5) Drink a large glass of water with each meal. Always drink 1 gallon H20 by the day’s end.
6) Take a small cooler with 1-2 meals and water on the road when running errands or out for leisure.
7) Always carry gum.
8) Make a list before bed of all the things I want to accomplish the following day.
9) Make time to relax by sitting outside, lighting candles, listening to music, reading, or praying.
10) Check the refrigerator and plan/prepare for meals the next day.
11) Make sure iPod is charged.
12) Set aside workout clothes, shoes and towel for the next morning’s workout.
13) Fill 1 L bottle of water and have it ready to grab from the fridge for the next morning’s workout.
Simple right? It’s not rocket science, and anyone can do these things. To get started, make a list of things you can do to create good health habits. Print it out and take an inventory at the end of each day to see if you’ve stuck to the habits you’ve created. As time goes on, those daily rituals will become less of a sacrifice and more of an anchor, helping you to become more efficient and productive. Before you know it, you won’t need the list at all. You won’t even have to think about it. It will be JUST LIKE BRUSHING YOUR TEETH. If you aren’t doing so already, you’ll be amazed at how powerful making similar health habits can be. A little extra time and attention to the little things, and the rewards will pay off for years to come!
I’d love to hear what some of your health habits are. There are no rules, and no health habit is too small. They can be for you and/or your entire family. What are some things that you do or plan to start doing now to create lasting health benefits over a lifetime?