When you first start learning to do something, it feels awkward. I really hate that feeling, don’t you? Like playing the guitar for example. At the start, you have a hard time holding the instrument, your fingers burn and chords on the page look like gibberish. But amazingly enough, the more you practice and the more you play, the more natural it feels. And before long, it becomes a part of you that you love. One, that even if you dropped it for a while, could come back pretty easily. Well, the same goes for healthy habits. When you first start, it feels hard. It might even cause you to feel uncomfortable and a little pain. But over time, it will come naturally. Why? Because Practice Makes Permanent.
So here’s what you need to do when something you know is really good for you feels awkward. Keep doing it.
That’s right. Forge forward and remind yourself that the Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started and that if you can push hard enough against the awkward that it will soon become natural.
Here are 5 Habits You Need to Start Right Now (they might feel a bit awkward now, but will feel natural and oh so good soon!)
1. Drink before you feel thirsty: Staying hydrated is a key to feeling great. Water should be your primary source of hydration (for flavor add in fresh berries, lemon & lime, watermelon and basil, or oranges and mint). You should aim for 8-12 cups every day; this will help to replace the 10 cups that you lose each day when you sweat and go to the bathroom. If you feel thirsty, it means you’re getting dehydrated. Ideally, you’d be drinking enough through the day so that you don’t ever really feel thirsty.
2. Chew your food: If the food is soft, aim for 5-10 chews. Tougher veggies and meats should be chewed up to 30 times. Remember this, don’t lock and load your fork. In other words, if you’ve got food in you mouth, don’t have your fork locked and loaded ready with the next bite. Put the fork down, savor, chew, swallow, then prep the next bite. Thoroughly chewing your food will help you to eat less and better digest your food.
3. Stretch: When you get tight, you get pain. Spending even just a few minutes each day stretching can dramatically improve flexibility and prevent injury
4. Eat lots of produce: Fresh and Organic are best. Frozen is next best. Canned produce is still better than Cheetos! Work fruits and veggies into every meal.
5. Go to sleep early: Sleep matters. The quality of your life depends on the quality of your sleep. Learn more about sleep and how it relates to your weight in my article Sleep More, Eat Less: Why Lack of Sleep Leads to Weight Gain.
Consistency is key!! Make healthy happen by making healthy strategies a habit.