Happy 2016! As the New Year unfolds and you consider your New Year’s resolutions— or what I prefer to call goals— I wanted to share some SIMPLE habits that will help you achieve long-term success this year!
People often think they have to go to extremes to reach their goals but in fact, it is quite the opposite. It is about creating simple yet effective habits that will eventually become mindless and just a part of your everyday life. When we go to extremes, it is like a pendulum swinging in one direction, only setting ourselves up to swing back in the completely opposite direction. Rather than creating unrealistic resolutions, I want to share 10 SIMPLE habits that have helped me in my journey and I know will help you, too!
1. Keep a small bag of almonds in your purse at all times!
You never know when you will be out and about and need a little snack. No matter how much we try to prepare, things come up. When we find ourselves starving and without food, that is when we tend to make poor choices or even take a trip to the closest drive-through. I always keep a serving of nuts on hand and have found this to be extremely helpful when I am in need of a quick, easy and healthy snack.
2. Park in the farthest spot from the entrance
When you are out and about, rather than getting the parking spot closest to the front door, park as far away from the door as you can. Not only will you burn a few extra calories walking to the entrance, but you will also save yourself the unnecessary stress of everyone fighting for those up-close parking spots!
3. Do 10 bodyweight squats every night before bed
I adopted this several years ago and now it is just part of my nighttime routine. Tell yourself you are going to commit to 10 measly squats before you hop into bed. It takes you literally 12-20 seconds, and all those squats throughout the year will sure add up and help your backside. If squats in the morning sound better to you, perfect. Commit to 10 bodyweight squats a day and make it a part of your daily routine!
4. Every week, post a positive mantra on your bathroom mirror
Feeding your mind with positivity will help shape your week and start off each day on the right foot. I am all about positive mantras. Whenever you are having a “moment,” remind yourself of your mantra and it will help keep you on track with a positive mindset. It is just as important to feed your mind with positive thoughts as it is to fuel your body with the right food!
5. Don’t limit veggies
No matter what diet plan you are following, fill up on greens and don’t think about counting their carb or calorie content. Veggies are so high in fiber that they not only help keep you full but also take energy for your body to break down. This, in turn, helps keep your metabolism on fire. Greens will help keep you satisfied and keep you from overeating foods that can pack on the pounds. Eat your greens and don’t even think about counting their nutritional content. They are so good for you and will help keep you healthy, lean and satisfied!
6. Put your measuring cup in your nut stash
It is so easy to over-estimate a serving size, especially when it comes to nuts. Although they are SO good for you, they are calorie dense and too many can sure pack on the pounds. I like to keep one-fourth measuring cup in my container of nuts so they are measured a bit more precisely.
7. Chew gum while baking
I LOVE to bake and get creative with healthy recipes. With all the baking comes all the temptations to lick the bowl and taste away. I have found chewing gum while baking will help keep you from mindlessly licking and taking in unnecessary calories.
8. Have sliced vegetables out while you are cooking
When you cook, it is an easy time to snack. The delicious smells naturally cause you to get hungry or have the desire to eat. Without even knowing it, you can be adding an additional few hundred calories to your daily intake just by snacking wile you prepare a meal. I like to have fresh cut veggies on the counter so when I feel the need to snack, I go for those. My favorites are bell peppers, jicama, cucumber or celery.
9. Turn the tube off or put your phone down while eating
We live in such a busy world where we are always plugged into the outside world. Eating while watching TV, surfing the net or checking out Facebook can cause you consume more food than you really need. When you are preoccupied, you are unable to really listen to your body’s natural cues that you are full or satisfied. Take the time to enjoy your food and mindfully eat. Not only will it save you extra calories, but it is also healthy to unplug from time to time.
10. Use chopsticks instead of a fork
This has been a habit I have adopted and really love. It takes longer to eat with chopsticks than a fork, so you are forced to eat slower. When we eat slowly, it gives our body time to digest our food and lets us know when we are full. Chopsticks, no matter how good you get at them, force you to slow down and not over eat!
I hope you found these tips helpful! Even if you don’t adopt all these habits, finding a few that resonate with you will help you with your success in 2016. Remember, it is not about going to extremes to reach your goals, it is about finding simple ways to create lifestyle changes that are habits, NOT tasks.
Here is to a happy, healthy and fit 2016!