How habit change can help you achieve your health goals:
Health and wellness is a hot topic right now. It seems that every year there is a new study, a new diet, and a new fad we’re eager to try. Have you jumped on the keto train yet? Look, these diets aren’t all bad and they may work for certain people but I’m here to tell you that what we really need to be paying attention to is how ancient civilizations have been living throughout history. Ayurveda is a 5,000+-year-old sister science to yoga. Both Ayurveda and yoga have the same goal of achieving enlightenment but Ayurveda focuses on food, movement, and mindfulness as medicine.
Ayurveda also emphasizes the importance of habits, routine, Dinacharya. Why? Think of it this way: what routine does a baby have? What about a puppy? Animals and infants are the purest form of love and joy and operate best when they have habits around sleeping, eating, and playing. We can harness this information and begin to build daily habits or rituals for ourselves. When we begin to follow a waking/sleeping, eating, meditation, exercise, work time, and family time schedule we are able to give our bodies a rest from trying to guess what comes next. Without a routine, we are living in a constant fight or flight environment that can bring stress to our systems over time. This can look like weight gain, low energy, interrupted sleep, brain fog, digestive issues… the list goes on.
Ayurveda says it’s best to wake up by sunrise, drink water, eliminate, meditate and move before feeding your body and going to work. Lunch should be the biggest meal of the day while dinner should really be a supper aka it should simply “supplement” your body until you go to bed around 9PM. Instead, we tend to wake up quickly, check our phones, eat a sugary breakfast on the go, rush to work, skip lunch, work late, eat a heavy dinner late, and go to bed after midnight. Can you see how this can be taxing?
I want to show you a few tips on how to start implementing healthier habits.
1. Identify your goal.
2. How will you get to your goal? Think about James Clear’s “habit, trigger, reward” system. Let’s say you want to start meditating every morning. The “habit” is meditation, the “trigger” can be a beautiful nook to meditate in, a candle to light, or a meditation app reminder on your phone, and the “reward” is the feeling of calm and accomplishment throughout your entire day. You can do this 3-step system with anything. Try it!
3. Start small. Use the Kaizen approach which means small incremental improvements. If meditation is your goal take it slow. Instead of jumping in for a 20-minute meditation start with 1 minute for a few days, then 2, then 5, then 10. The more you allow your body to slowly acclimate to this new habit the better chance you’ll have of making it stick. Getting up to 10 minutes may take you 3 weeks and that’s ok! Resist the urge to speed up the process. It’s almost like teasing your body into really wanting to meditate.
If you need more accountability than just yourself and/or want to learn all the ancient habits of Ayurveda you may be interested in my Whole Body Balance 10 habits in 10 weeks course. We’ll meet (virtually or in person) weekly for lessons and coaching calls to accelerate you towards your health goals. Since accountability is key here I make myself available to you 24/7 via email. I even send texts here and there to keep you motivated. Sign up for a free consultation at www.natashawellness.com/appointment and learn more about my offerings at www.natashawellness.com/wellnesscoaching.
Written By Natasha Gayl