Over the past 24 months, we’ve collectively navigated unprecedented times that had no rule book. And the resulting paradox is real: We carried tension in our bodies from holding on for dear life all while completely letting go of other areas. We gave ourselves the grace to walk instead of run, stay in bed or on the couch just a bit longer, eat comforting foods, and drink more than we may have pre-COVID. This meme got me the other day: “Remember when we would literally just pour a drink at 3pm on a Tuesday and be like haha, happy Friday”.
Because in times of extreme stress you do your best to survive. Now that we're in a position to start thriving again, it's natural to be overwhelmed or put pressure on ourselves to undo every "bad" habit, land a new job, get back in shape, make up for lost time. Since our individual experiences these last couple of years have likely been quite different, it’s important to travel a path that's personalized for you. Here’s a framework that will give you some doable steps that will leave you feeling successful with whatever shifts you're after.
It’s natural to think big results warrant big changes but I urge you to choose the softer approach.
Follow the rule of three. Instead of writing a laundry list of all the things you should do, ie: cut back on alcohol, up your veggies, ditch gluten or dairy, workout five days a week, start doing yoga, journal each day, do a juice cleanse, do a smoothie cleanse. . . pick just three things you want to commit to for the next four to six weeks. If it makes you feel better, you can pencil in the next phase but promise to not get ahead of yourself.
The smaller the better. I know, it can be frustrating. It’s natural to think big results warrant big changes but I urge you to choose the softer approach. Here are are some examples:
- Drink more water: roughly half your body weight in ounces a day OR start each day with room temp lemon water. Need more inspo? Check in with our resident hydration coach, Dani.
- Add one new vegetable and protein forward recipe a week. Here are a few favorites to get your wheels turning!
- Drink less alcohol. Found yourself pouring a wine or cocktail five days a week? No judgment, commit to cutting back to three days, sub in a fun mocktail or (try to) fall in love with an evening tea.
- Identify a comfort food you’ve been leaning on—something sweet or savory that you know isn’t helping your game—and replace it with a healthier option. If desert was on the regular, sub in sliced oranges or clementines with cinnamon after dinner. You won’t be disappointed.
- Start each day with a 20 minute walk - err SCRATCH that - commit to three days a week. See, it’s easy to overcommit and then be disappointed which can lead to feelings of failure. Spoiler alert: There is no failure.
- Have a workout studio or at home gym set-up? Add one day to your current routine.
Set calendar reminders. If you’re like me, I can have the best of intentions but sometimes I literally FORGET what I committed to. Whether it’s Google calendar, Post-it notes, a notes app or alarm reminders, plug in “your three” wherever you can. That commitment to eating more veggies might come in handy when at happy hour a reminder pops up to opt for brussels sprouts over sweet potato fries.
Stay focused. Habits generally take 21-28 days and while we can feel in the zone after 10 days, countless studies show that it’s crucial to stay the course. The longer you do the thing, the longer it will stick with you.
Celebrate. There’s nothing more healthy than celebrating commitments you’ve seen through. Buy some fresh flowers, schedule a massage or treat yourself to a class you’ve been wanting to take. I just took woodworking and it was heaven for me.
Oh and finally, tell a friend what you're working on. There’s nothing like the accountability factor and you might even inspire them to pick a few things to “unwind” with you!