Fitness, Nutrition, Personal Development

6 Things Healthy People Do Every Morning

healthy morningNo matter your season of life, or the season of the year, it seems we are all VERY busy. We are so busy that one of the first things we sacrifice from our crammed schedule is self-care. We all know it’s important to take care of ourselves, but there is a lot of noise out there about what is really necessary to optimize our health. While there is certainly no cookie-cutter solution for everyone, below are six healthy habits that will set you up for success on your healthy living journey. Try incorporating them into your morning routine to make the rest of the day feel less chaotic.

1

THEY EAT VEGGIES AT BREAKFAST

If you take time to eat breakfast (and you should), are you eating what you need to really feed your machine? I promise you can do better than toast or bowl of cereal. Aim for a balanced breakfast that includes protein, fiber, fat and a variety of colors from real food to keep you satisfied and prevent mid-morning cravings. I love knowing that my breakfast is jam packed with super healthy real food ingredients to jump start my day. Try these simple Spinach Egg Cups for a grab-and-go option.

2

THEY HYDRATE

Since your body gets dehydrated overnight, drinking water when you first wake up is a great idea. And proper hydration is crucial for glowing skin and maintaining healthy muscles and joints. I like to add lemon to my first big glass of water to wake up my digestive system. Fill up your water bottle for the day and plan to refill it a few times during the day. There are too many benefits to being well hydrated to list here, but suffice it to say that you need to drink lots of water.

3

THEY SWEAT IN THE MORNING

If you are like me, there are way too many easy excuses to skip exercising after work. Many people find they’re most successful with exercising if it happens before heading to the office. I love getting my workout done at home in the morning with the help of the greatest library of workout videos available streamed to any enabled device. Most take only 30 minutes to do and require little or no equipment. If home workouts, the local gym, or going for a run in the morning isn’t for you, find another way to get moving in the early hours of the day. That could mean parking farther away, taking the stairs or exercising at your desk. Just 15 minutes of moderate-to-intense activity daily can help you reach your healthy living goals.

4

THEY MAKE A GAME PLAN FOR DINNER

Not only is meal prepping a huge time saver but it also ensures you always have a healthy option on hand. Before leaving the house in the morning, make a game plan for dinner by defrosting proteins or using a slow cooker to do the work for you. It’s also helpful to find a recipe and write down your shopping list so you can pre-order your groceries (we love the Kroger ClickList) or swing by to pick them up on your way home. My go-to healthy eating resource, 90/10 Nutrition, offers a meal planning service and integrated shopping list app that makes it easy to plan your trip to the grocery store.

5

THEY TIME BLOCK THEIR DAY

Whether it’s emails or social media, there are plenty of distractions that can be obstacles to getting everything done. That’s why time blocking is a great tool. Review your top to-dos, and set aside a specific amount of time for completing them. Make sure your health priorities (such as a midday workout or meal-prepping) are in the plan, too. Schedule your morning routine like you do any other important appointment.

6

THEY REST

It’s important to ensure you’re getting enough sleep, but remember to account for the time required for your morning routine. Include a few minutes to relax I love to take some quite time to journal my prayers. Don’t feel guilty for taking a few minutes to enjoy your coffee, read the news, mediate or take a walk. Set yourself up for success by allowing for some rest time every morning.

Fortitude

Delayed Gratification

14708332_1598476677123887_2044047726869028885_n

I recently read a classic book – “The Road Less Traveled” by M Scott Peck MD, and right out of the gate he says, “Delaying gratification is a process of scheduling the pain and pleasure of life in such a way as to enhance the pleasure by meeting and experiencing the pain first and getting it over with. It is the only decent way to live.”
So what?
So do the hard things first and get them over with. Early morning exercise? Yep. Fill up on veggies before cookies? Yep. Work on budget forecasting before sorting email? Ugh, yep. #preachingtomyself
Generally speaking, we expect a quick fix to everything, particularly with our health/ fitness. That’s why the latest pills, potions, magic water, etc. sell like crazy. They promise the quick fix with no effort on our part. We are unwilling to delay the gratification of achieving optimum health by doing the work and eating right. We want it now! NEWS FLASH: pills, potions, get-fit-quick schemes don’t work long term. Ever.
If you want to be your best self in any part of your life, you need to do the work. Period. Short cuts and easy buttons don’t work long term. #theend #offmysoapbox #firstthingsfirst

Fortitude

Making Time

making time

YOU WILL ALWAYS MAKE TIME FOR WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU.

I really like this quote. It reminds me that I CHOOSE how to spend my time everyday. Granted, there are things we must do (like work) that take our time whether we like it or not. But I’m often surprised at how much time I REALLY have to do the things that are important to me.
Few notes:
1. You first have to identify what is important to you. This may require some serious thought. Like me, you may find that what is actually important to you is not exactly what you first thought.

2. Take inventory of your time to identify where your time is currently spent. If you don’t like how you spent it, then CHOOSE differently next time.

3. While it is impossible to actually “make time”, we can CHOOSE to spend our time on the important things we’ve identified.

What is important to you? I hope it includes taking care of yourself – and I mean your whole self:
-your mind through reading, art, personal development, etc.
-your body through good nutrition, regular exercise, and rest
-your soul through prayer, Bible study, meditation, helping others, etc.
‪#‎liveonpurpose‬ ‪#‎beyourbestself‬

Fitness

Ready to Workout? First Things First

prepared1

Make the most of your workouts by doing these simple things before you start.

Mind Your Mindset – If you are like me, exercise is a healthy release & distraction from the demands of daily life. Prepare your mind for the “mental health break” by switching your focus off the daily demands. Think about things that are true, noble, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Think about how good it feels to do something healthy for yourself, think about how good it feels when the workout is done – that glorious natural high that gets you through the rest of the day.

Workout with a Purpose – If you are following a specific training plan, do the workout! If you have goals you are trying to reach, pursue them vigorously. This is where you recall your WHY. Why am I exercising? Why is it important to me? At the same time, not every workout can be your best, or fastest, or strongest. Remember good form and the techniques you need for your particular exercise. Get good at the skills & techniques before trying to lift more, go faster, do more reps, etc. to avoid injury.

Budget Your Time – Sometimes work, circumstances, or just life gets in the way of your scheduled workout time, or forces you to cut it short. Some exercise is better than none. Take advantage of the time you have. However, if you are routinely cutting your workout short, then you likely are not budgeting your time effectively. Make the necessary adjustments to your day to maximize your workout time. Make it an appointment in your calendar that can’t be interrupted but for emergency.

Feed the Machine – Preparing for your workout includes having quality calories and hydration in your system. For especially long or intense workouts, this preparation needs to start well ahead of your workout appointment.

Muscle Activation – Don’t forget to warm up. Don’t do static stretching before your run, for example. Instead, begin slow and controlled with movements similar to what your workout will be. These movements will help the brain and muscles communicate better and prepare your body for the work ahead.

That may feel like a lot of work before your workout, but it should really only take a few minutes. Mental preparation is important. Get maximum results from your workout time with these simple preparation steps.

Fortitude

Interview Yourself

describe yourself1

On your personal journey to becoming your best self, one important activity to consider is the dreaded self assessment. This exercise takes the idea of “apply within” to a whole new level. Fret ye not; it’s not as bad as it sounds. Start by asking a simple question.

How would you describe yourself? Here’s an opportunity for a little personal reflection. Take a few minutes and WRITE DOWN your answers. If you are like me, the description is probably really nice, with some honest yucky stuff in it too. Now here’s the hard part. Ask someone close to you to describe you honestly. Be sure to tell them this is a ‘judgment free’ exercise and they are free to be honest and you promise not to be upset with the responses.

Remember, this exercise is designed to reveal the gaps between how you see yourself and how others see you and ultimately help you to be your best self. There are lots of ways to use the intel you gather, but lets keep it simple and positive.

1. For the descriptions provided by your friend, look carefully at the ones you did NOT identify yourself. Contemplate how you can further cultivate this descriptor, or mitigate it by some behavior change. Remember, this is how others see you. Whether you agree with their assessment or not, “perception is reality” and you’d prefer people to see you as you see you.

2. Celebrate the descriptors you matched with the ones provided by your friend. You know yourself pretty well. Even if some negative descriptors matched, at least you know what to work on.

3. Check in periodically with your friend and ask how you are doing with whatever trait you are interested in. This routine check up will go a long way to helping you be your best.

Need some help to get started? I found Tom Rath’s “Strengths Finder 2.0” to be especially helpful in learning who I am and what I’m good at. Another resource to try is 360Reach, which takes a fun twist on peer assessment with questions like, “What kind of cereal describes (you) and why?”