essential 7

The Essential Seven Habits, Pt. 1

One of my favorite authors is Gretchen Rubin. She has written several books on happiness and habit change and also has a blog and weekly podcast. One recent podcast episode  was about “The Essential Seven Habits”. In her research on habit change, Rubin found that the happiest and most successful people had good habits in each of these seven areas.

       December is often a time for reflection over the events and activities of the past year and setting goals for the next year. I want to challenge you  to review your past year using the categories that Rubin has suggested. If there are areas where you would like to make changes, then you can create goals and action plans in the ones of greatest concern.

Eat and Drink More Healthily

The first of the “Essential Seven” is to eat and drink more healthily. The most basic way to do this is to JERF (just eat real food!). If you are eating lots of packaged processed food  or you are eating out frequently, particularly at fast food restaurants, I encourage you to start buying fresh or frozen ingredients and cook at home. There are many quick and easy recipes on my blog.

     If you want to lose weight, if you have any regular negative health symptoms, or if there are any lab health markers that are out of range, then you may need to make further healthy eating changes. If you are not sure what to do,  call me for a complimentary 20-minute phone consultation and we can discuss your situation and how best to address it.

     If huge eating changes seem too overwhelming, choose a small incremental goal and stick to it. Some examples of small changes  include eliminating sodas, eating five servings of vegetables per day, eliminating sugar at breakfast, or drinking 8 glasses of water daily. A famous quote that applies to eating or any habit change is “little by little, one travels far.”

Exercise regularly

 Exercise is good for us both physically and mentally. It helps our bodies maintain strength well into old age and is also a wonderful mental de-stressor. Most of our ancestors had lifestyles that kept them naturally active whether they were farmers, factory workers or homemakers. Today most of us have jobs that keep us relatively sedentary for the majority of our time, and we also spend much of our leisure time watching TV or some other electronic device. Ideally we would have some daily exercise with components of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility training.

      I am one of the most unathletic people around. I was the kid who was always picked last for the kickball team during elementary school. However my nutrition studies and other research impressed upon me the necessity of physical activity for excellent lifelong health. My current exercises of choice include walking and using Classical Stretch exercise videos. I have some friends who have been running and I have also just started this with a goal of completing a 5K next year. Consider your exercise habits and whether this is an area you might choose to make improvements in for 2017.

     Part 2 of this series continues with a discussion of the essential habits of good money habits and engaging more deeply. Comment below if you have set new goals in eating or exercising.

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