One of the core pillars of my health coaching is that getting healthy doesn’t have to suck. It sounds simple, right? Almost like it should go without saying…
But then why do so many of us believe it has to be full of the suck in order to be effective?
We try crazy diets and marathon gym sessions, all in the hopes of dropping some weight or finally getting back in shape.
Except when we fall off the wagon, we go right back to living life and leaving the “suck” behind us. Only to try some more suck next time we’re getting back on the wagon.
What if living life WAS healthy?
(Be honest, did that just blow your mind?)
By that I mean, what if instead of there being two separate things – living life; and the suck of getting healthy – what if living life was healthy?
It can be!
And I’m going to put my stake in the ground and say, IT SHOULD BE!!
Otherwise, what’s the point???
Who wants to go through all that suck of getting healthy, only to then go back to living a fun life and backtracking all that progress you made? And then have to keep cycling through them?
I can see the wheels turning – this sounds awesome, right? Having your everyday life be healthy?
But how do you do it?
By doing a little work up front, we can habituate healthy – literally.
Using habits we can
- Remove the guesswork
- Reduce the effort needed
- Remove the suck
- Eliminate the remembering
When healthy behaviors are just built into your day, you no longer have to put in the mental effort that most people need to continue healthy efforts.
For a real life example, consider two women (A and B) who are both planning to get healthier.
Woman A is going the traditional route, trying the Whole 30 diet (and trying to force her husband and two young kids to do it too, or else it would mean she’s making two different meals every mealtime).
She’s also carved out 90 minutes for the gym – 20 minutes each way, leaving about 45 to actually workout. And she’s planning this four days per week.
Kudos to her! These are some big changes, and it’s going to be hard so she’s really dedicated.
Then there’s Woman B who’s decided she’s going to make just a couple new habits: for lunch each day, she’s going to have a salad. Doesn’t matter if it’s homemade, or store bought, just as long as she eats some version of a salad each week day. (her husband and kids aren’t a factor at lunch, so this one’s easy)
And after dinner each night she’s going to go for a minimum 10 minute walk (weather permitting). She’s even told her husband and kids they can come if they want!
Now, of the two examples, assuming Woman A is able to stick to that, she will absolutely see results faster.
BUT odds that she’ll be able to stick to it for longer than a few weeks are pretty slim. It’s a chore to figure out meals on Whole 30 and get everyone to like them; plus the 90 minutes 4x/week starts to wane and it’ll be maybe 1x/week before long – there’s just not enough time in the day!
Woman B though? She designed those two habits up front knowing that she can build them into the routine of her days and thus, keep them going like clockwork.
So over a period of 6 months, Woman A is pretty much back to where she started, while Woman B has not only kept up those habits, but even added 2-3 more without overhauling her life.
THIS is what habituating healthy looks like – figuring out where you can make a small healthy change that you don’t have to think about. It just becomes routine, part of who you are. And that healthy change turns into another one, and another one, until your life IS the healthy, without the suck!