So I’m not exactly the poster child for being super healthy: I can easily sleep 12-16 hours a day, I’m perpetually broke, I constantly forget to take my meds, and 97% of my diet is made up of iced coffee, Red Bull, and Taco Bell. But despite my dumpster fire of a lifestyle, I’m also a starry-eyed optimist, and I believe that I’ll get the hang of this “responsible adulting” thing eventually.
When it comes to making changes or improvements, or fixing things that you
hate aren’t so thrilled with about your life, I’ve learned that starting small is always best. I’ve had those moments when I look at myself and think, “Okay, I’ve got to get my shit together— I’m going to eat healthy and drink kale smoothies and do yoga and save all my money and lose fifteen pounds and write a book and…” Spoiler alert: none of those things ever happen, because trying to change absolutely everything at once just leads to overwhelm, disappointment, and burning out. Plus, let’s be real— kale is disgusting, I don’t care what form it’s in.
Change is good. Sustainable change is better. And sustainable change means starting small. Pick a few things about your life that could use some improvement, and go from there. Set simple, low effort goals to start with, like “I’ll walk for twenty minutes every day” or “I’ll drink three glasses of water every day”— and wording them specifically (i.e. “three glasses of water” instead of just “more water”) takes all the guess work out of how to make it happen.
Start by picking goals where you can track your progress each day or week; those small daily victories will begin to add up over time. If I’m trying to see how long I can go without giving into a craving for Chick-fil-a or Taco Bell, I’m marking off each successful day and before I know it I can’t even remember the last time I had a Triple Layer Nacho (…ugh, yum. Note to self: talking about food just makes me want it more. So stop it.)
And honestly, I think I’m talking more to myself here when I say this, but please remember to be kind to yourself. New habits take time to build, and setbacks aren’t the same thing as failure. If you have a complete and utter wreck of a day, it sucks and it doesn’t ever feel good, but it’s still only one day. One day isn’t going to make or break anything (cue inspirational Shia LaBeouf rant here). If your entire day goes to hell, start again tomorrow and remember what’s worked so far and what hasn’t.
Okay, now let’s cut the bullshit.
Knowing how to make your life better in theory doesn’t mean a #$%&@ thing if you can’t put it into practice. Historically, I suck at putting it into practice. But I’m here writing this blog because I want to learn how to practice what I preach, and because maybe you suck at making positive changes for yourself too, and we can both be terrible at this together.
So here are my five simple habits, and I’ll be checking in over the next 30 days to let you know how well (or not) I’m doing with them:
Drink water, tea, and coffee only. No soda, juice, energy drinks, or alcohol.
No fast food. None. Zip. Zero. Stop crying.
No withdrawals out of savings account. Bad touch. Leave it alone.
Take meds every single day.
No spending money on clothes or makeup. Seriously, stop crying.
I’m going to be working on these for the next thirty days (let’s just say until the end of April; close enough, right?) and we’ll see how well I do with them. I’m not quite sure how I’ll survive without Taco Bell and Red Bull at first (do Hot Pockets count as home cooking?) but by the end of next month I’ll be a whole new girl. Maybe.
So, I’m dying to know what some of your new habits are going to be. Leave a comment below and tell me all about them, or just help me mourn the impending loss of my favorite nachos.