Top 5 Tips for [re] Starting Healthy Habits

Kids are back at school, summer is drawing to a close and October is underway, this time of year naturally brings about a fresh focus or motivation to start anew. It’s the perfect time to create or re-establish some healthy habits.

Whether it be to eat a bit healthier or get back into an exercise regime, making changes after a period out can be daunting, initial motivation although strong now can be variable and intentions not easy to stick with. As a health coach, these are the challenges I help my clients navigate all the time.

Follow my top 5 tips to get your healthy habits off to the best kick-start this October.

1. See your reality

Writing down what we eat and how we live can be an eye-opening self-discovery tool and a powerful motivator. Keep a diary for 3-7 days including details of your diet, sleep pattern, sources of stress, movement and any relaxation activities. Seeing it in black and white can make it much clearer what changes you could really benefit from.

2. Figure out what changes you need and would like to make

Health and wellbeing are under-pinned by good nutrition and lifestyle factors such as movement, sleep and relaxation; Consider what changes will benefit you. Here are some of my suggestions to consider: Aim for 50 % of your diet to be vegetables and fruit, swapping out processed for wholefood snacks, introducing a stress-reduction activity or more movement.

3. Break your goal down

Then down again, until you have achievable steps over a set period of time. I suggest working on a week-by-week time frame, reviewing your goal and re-setting for the week ahead. For example, if you want to eat more vegetables, do so very gradually adding 1 or 2 of your favourites to your existing go-to meals, then over time pushing yourself slightly more to trying new and broader varieties and new more plant-rich meals. Ease into it!

4. Adopt a realistic mindset of change

All too often, we set unrealistic goals for ourselves which leads to a sense of failure and fall-out. Change is a process which is not linear, it happens in the context of our lives which are complex and depending on your unique situation your experience will be impacted by a multitude of factors that will slow, halt or even reverse any changes you make.  This does not mean you will not make progress it merely is part of your journey. Keep your long-term goal in mind and be open to progress looking different to your initial expectations.

5. Practice compassionate acceptance, at every point of your journey

Acceptance of your situation does not mean you are necessarily happy with where you are it just means acknowledging it. This can be really hard as it often means acknowledging something you don’t want to be true. But as soon as you find strength to so this (and do it free of judgement and with kindness) it can often be a powerful motivator for change as you acknowledge what you want and what you need to do.

6. Okay, I added this one …. Work with me to optimise your ability to change. Gain the support and direction you need to get the results you want, hold you accountable and break down any barriers that come up for you along the way. Sometimes we all need a little support and that’s okay and normal!

You got this; no change is too small … X

Lindsey Jadeja is a Dual Certified Functional Medicine and Integrative Health Coach and Mental Health Nurse. A specialist in nutrition and lifestyle changes for health improvement and weight loss.

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