Setting Lifestyle Habits in the Summer Months
As we head into the summer months, life gets busy. There are BBQs on the weekends, vacations, and other events that make it easy to steer away from the path of a healthy lifestyle. I often hear from my clients that they’ll jump back in “after the summer is over” or “when things slow down”. However if this is you, it may be time to stop and think: Does it have to be that way? Do we have to work hard January through May of each year, only to lose sight of our goals until after summer when we all know how quickly the holidays approach from there?
Rather than starting over, I encourage you to set healthy habits that become mindless each day from the very beginning. This means putting forth the extra effort to create habits that become things you don’t have to do, but instead things you’ve become accustomed to doing- just like brushing your teeth! When these habits are set in stone like this, you won’t think twice about going to the gym or opting for a side of veggies over jalapeno poppers.
How can we do this?
Set an ongoing appointment with yourself to get your workout in. Find a time in the day where you can exercise consistently. For some, this may be the very first thing before the rest of the house wakes up. For others, this may be just before dinner. It might even be mid-day. No matter when it is, protect it. This should become your “you” time and a non-negotiable - something you know is coming when you wake up in the morning. On a vacation with no access to the gym or other equipment? Use your sacred time to just get moving. Your “workout” of the day could be kayaking along the river or just going for a walk. The point is that you are moving your body and heading towards overall health.
Be flexible, but choose food wisely. When you cannot predict what will be served at the next BBQ or what restaurants you will be visiting when you are out of town, creating habits of choosing healthy foods over others is one of the best options. Veggies or poppers? Choose veggies. Bun or lettuce wrap? Try the wrap. Jello or cookies? Go for the Jello for a sweet treat. When healthy choosing becomes automatic, the stress of eating well when out of routine diminishes.
Grab a water bottle to stay hydrated. When it’s hot outside and we’re active, our bodies need more water than ever. To avoid becoming dehydrated, find a reusable water bottle you love (mine is my Yeti) and strive to hit an intake goal each day. For me, I aim for a little more than half of my body weight each day, which means I need to fill up my cup a few times throughout the day. I can always tell when I hit this goal - my workouts seem to flow better, I have more energy, and I’m more focused during the day.
Write down your power list, and include your habits! If you’re a list-person like me, brain-dumping all of the things you have to do that day and prioritizing is a relief within itself. Crossing them off is even better. Each day, write down your “power five” and include your healthy habits. For me, this might be to get my workout in, stick to healthy food choices, and drink enough water. My other two items become dependent on work projects, meetings, or events that vary day to day. Creating a list of five items creates focus and ensures that I get what I need to done. Including things I hope to become habits makes the perfectionist in me strive to cross them off - no matter what chaos the day brings.
Today I encourage you to tackle one aspect of your day to day life in the health and wellness department and set forth a plan to make it habit before the summer chaos hits. Once you’ve created a lifestyle in which it is automatic, start a new one. Let this be the summer you don’t start over - but keep going!