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The building blocks of a healthy lifestyle

Diets and workout plans are NOT the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy habits are.

I used to think that all fit, lean, and healthy people who made it look so easy had this secret diet or workout plan that I didn’t know about or just hadn’t found yet.

But now that I actually AM one of those fit, lean, and healthy people I realise that there is no secret. It’s actually pretty boring: We just have a collection of healthy habits that we do regularly and consistently.

We are what we repeatedly do.

Fancy diets and rigid workout plans are great for the health and fitness industry because they’re profitable and they keep you coming back for more.

But for the average person, they’re unsustainable in the long-term because you’re either “on” or “off” plan. You’re either being successful or a failure. There’s very little in between.

Healthy habits, on the other hand, are scalable and sustainable.

Some days you might brush your teeth for a full 2-3 minutes, but other days you might only have time for a quick 30 seconds – but you still keep up with the habit of brushing your teeth.

You don’t forget to brush your teeth on Friday night and then go “Oh well, I’m such a failure so I’ll just quit for now and start again on Monday.”

The Domino Effect:

Healthy habits work like building blocks where one healthy habit can lead to another and another and another.

It’s kind of like a domino effect where you knock over one domino and it leads to a chain reaction of knocking over the next domino and then the next and so on.

An example from my own life was that I used to be chronically tired. I had no energy to exercise and I was constantly craving sugary junk food all day long.

However, when I started prioritising my sleep over watching TV in the evenings or scrolling through social media, I found that my energy levels increased. As a result, I had more energy to be active and I experienced less cravings for sugary junk food.

Furthermore, because I started exercising more, I found that I slept better and my blood sugar was more stable. Because I ate better, I had proper fuel for my workouts and it just became this awesome upwards spiral where one healthy habit was feeding into another.

5Minute Habits:

My suggestion is to look for habits that take you 5 minutes or less to do each day.

These are short enough to fit into your busy schedule yet long enough to provide real benefit.

Of course, you can do more than 5 minutes if you’d like, but let that be a bonus. Start small and ridiculously easy so that you can’t possibly fail. Focus on building the habit of actually doing until it becomes natural and automatic.

5-Minute Healthy Habit Ideas:

  • [EAT] Set aside 5 minutes a day to plan healthy meals for the next day.
  • [EAT] Spend 5 minutes cooking extra with dinner and portion it out for lunch tomorrow.
  • [EAT] Take an extra 5-minutes to add some protein to your meal.

  • [MOVE] Do a quick 5-minute bodyweight workout while waiting for the kettle to boil.
  • [MOVE] Go for a 5-minute walk during your lunch break.
  • [MOVE] Dance for 5 minutes to your favourite songs.

  • [THINK] Read for 5-minutes from a motivational book.
  • [THINK] Take 5 minutes to visualise and recommit to your goal each morning.
  • [THINK] Meditate for 5 minutes after work to de-stress and disconnect from the workday.

  • [SLEEP] Take 5 minutes to make yourself a cup of tea to enjoy in bed.
  • [SLEEP] Do a 5-minute brain dump before bed to get all of your thoughts and worries out onto paper.
  • [SLEEP] Get up 5-minutes earlier by avoiding the snooze button.

You don’t need to completely overhaul your diet overnight and start the latest hardcore workout plan in order to start seeing progress and living a better life.

Instead, you might want to focus on simply adding in one or two small healthy habits each week and take advantage of the domino effect.

Just take 5 extra minutes each day to eat, move, think, and sleep better.

These are the building blocks that add up over time to create phenomenal long-term lifestyle change.

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