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The importance of Healthy Habits vs. Goals

There are so many healthy habits that we think we should try to include in our lives each day.

Go to yoga at 6:30am, drink those 2L of water, eat your probiotics, catch that class at the gym, walk to work, eat your greens, don’t have a cocktail, use natural products…

With everything there is to remember and make space for when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it is really important to identify the difference between a habit and a goal.

Habits

A habit is something that you do everyday, usually without thinking too much about it. For example, I walk 20 minutes to work every day. I used to drive and had to make a conscious effort every morning not to walk to the car when I was trying to make walking a habit. Now, I don’t even think about it. Bam – healthy habit accomplished.

They say it takes 30 days to make something a habit, so get ready to put your mind to it and go through the motions each and every day.

Goals

Now goals are a whole other beast. Goals are the things we wish we could do everyday as easily as the lovely habits we have developed. But that’s the important thing to remember about goals, they are never easy.

In my experience, the best way to go about setting goals for a healthier lifestyle is to:

  • Make them realistic for where you are at right now.

    If you can’t run a mile, then don’t make your goal to run 5 miles a day. Something like going for a run/walk or running 0.5 miles a day may be a better place to start.

  • Plan your goals in a series, not all at once.

    It’s great to have big goals, but accomplishing big goals comes from continuously chipping of smaller pieces of the (sugar-free) pie. Don’t try to go to the gym every day while on a juice cleanse if you haven’t worked out in months and eat takeout for every meal. Instead, get your gym game going and then look into making some alterations to your diet.

UnDiet Meghan Telpner

Meghan Telpner, a Toronto-based Nutritionist does a great job of presenting a week by week plan for working towards a healthier lifestyle in her book UnDiet.

All this to say that when you’re trying to reach new goals, don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to get there 100% of the time. The point of a goal is that it is something you are working towards, not something you’ve achieved. So, when you don’t make it to that gym class tomorrow morning because you went to bed too late, it’s ok…just acknowledge it, go to bed a bit earlier and try again.

Too often people treat new lifestyle goals like an all or nothing situation. The famous “I ate a brownie so my diet is over for this week” mentality just doesn’t cut it.

Here are the healthy habits I’ve made my goal recently:

For me, writing my goals down daily helps me keep them in check.

  • Yoga Tuesday & Thursday mornings at 6:30am. I picked a studio that is a 5 minute walk from my house and try to get to bed by 10:00pm the night before.
  • Non-negotiable 8 hours of sleep. If I was planning on getting up early but I don’t get into bed early enough, then I move my alarm a bit later. Sleep is coming first these days!
  • Drinking those 2L of water every day. This one I am getting pretty close to making a healthy habit! I drink a big glass of lemon cayenne water in the morning, Two 750mL bottles of water at work and one big glass with dinner. At work, I don’t let myself get up for lunch until I have finished one (sometimes I need to chug it back!) and don’t go home without finishing the second.
  • Incorporating more fermented foods / probiotics into my diet. I’m newly addicted to the Live Organics kimchi so this one hasn’t been posing too much of a problem. I buy it at Full Circle Foods in Kitchener. Because sometimes kimchi is hard to incorporate into a meal, I usually make a little side bowl of it and eat it as an appetizer before dinner. Or I eat it out of the jar while standing in the fridge…which probably isn’t ideal.

What goals have you been working towards lately and how are they going? Let me know in the comments!

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