Most of the time when you think about becoming more fit and healthier, you think about diet and what is done in the gym. Don’t get me wrong, these aspects of fitness and wellness are a huge and an important aspect of becoming healthy. But, a bigger aspect of making lifestyle changes, and keeping them consistent, is how behavior modification is implemented into life and the dedication to changing your behavior on a daily basis. It’s one thing to know what you want to change, it’s quite another to understand how to make the necessary changes or know ways to make the changes. Use, or at least try, some of these life hacks to make changes in your daily behavior and become a better, healthier version of yourself.
Change Your Bedtime
It wasn’t until recent years that I have become more of a morning person and have enjoyed waking up early. I was a proud night owl. It was a struggle to wake up at 7:30 in the morning and I didn’t speak to a soul until I drank at least two cups of coffee. As a matter of fact, I was so sluggish in the morning from staying up late, that I’d be guzzling caffeine all day long to get it together and be sharp. By the time a normal bedtime would roll around, I was so amped up from all the coffee, preworkout and stimulants I had all day long that getting to sleep wouldn’t happen at a decent hour. This vicious cycle continued for years! I would get enough done, be productive at work and still get to the gym, but exactly how healthy could this be?
The simple concept of changing the time you fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning can make a huge difference in productivity, health and wellness. I’m not sure about you, but when I would stay up until one or two in the morning, it wasn’t doing anything particularly productive. Mostly I would be watching TV trying to figure out how to sleep or getting food out of the kitchen. The late bed time translated into less sleep because I would still have to wake up for work in the morning. Sleep is a huge recovery time and fat burning opportunity for your body. Focus on getting to sleep on time by doing different tricks to fall asleep – such as: turning the lights and TV off or using a nonaddictive sleep aid, like melatonin.
Use the extra hour, or whatever time difference you’ve set up for yourself, in the morning to become more productive. Don’t just be awake, make good use of that time towards advancing yourself towards the new health and wellness goals you’ve set up for yourself. Which brings me to the next point of becoming more organized…
Become More Organized
Make good use of the time that you have by maximizing what is available to you. I used to “wing it” every day. I’d have an idea of what I needed to get done, but no realistic grasp on if I’d actually be able to get it done or the best method to go about getting it done. Instead of waking up earlier and farting around the house, use the extra hour in the morning to organize your day. Plan your workout for the evening, prep food, create To Do lists and have an actual plan of how you were going to go about getting everything you need done. Create organization within the way you structure your day as well as the areas that you surround yourself with. Be sure to keep your home, car and workspace tidy. You cannot create organization in life when you are surrounded by chaos.
What changed my sleep patterns was the decision to work out before I went to work in the morning. I’d wake up, lift and get my cardio in before I stepped foot in the office. This eliminated the excuse that I was too tired after work to go to the gym and freed up the whole evening to attend to big girl chores. I found out it was easier to plan in the evening and do throughout the day to accomplish what I wanted. I would structure my day to focus on fitness in the morning, work through banking hours, run errands in the evening and plan/prep my food, along with my workout, for the next day to be prepared. There are no excuses about not having enough time when you’re organized and structured appropriately with making health, wellness and fitness priorities.
Learning to embrace moderation is not as easy as some people might assume. When starting new work out programs or new ways of dieting, it’s easy to get pretty consumed in it and have that “all or nothing” attitude. I even know people that take the extreme stance on dieting and exercise for weeks or months at a time and then will go through bouts of extremely unhealthy ways for the next few weeks or months. Essentially, they create a cycle of being on the wagon without any deviation followed by a gluttonous and unhealthy “break”. Why put your body through such swings of extremes?
Gradually easing into new programs or adding new healthy habits slowly and successfully into your life makes the concept of changing your day much more manageable and less overwhelming. Do not focus on every detail and worry about a million things at once. Create simplicity and master one new concept of healthy living into your daily routine before adding another. Keep your life organized and as simplistic as possible to create long term dedication and consistency to health and wellness.
Using some simple fundamentals, like going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, can make all the difference in how you structure your day and what can be accomplished. Aim to achieve and complete as much as possible every day with a focus on bettering your health and wellness – even if it’s just one new healthy habit a month.
Written by: Samantha Meinrod