Healthy living is often easier said than done. Look beyond the “what’s” and start asking yourself, “What works best for me?”
At this point, you may have heard there are some basic tenets of healthy living that we should all be doing. While these basic elements appear deceivingly simple, in practice, they are incredibly challenging to implement.
Here’s the challenge: The basics alone are just a list of ingredients.
What we need, is a recipe of how to actually put these fundamentals into action. And we don’t just need any recipe, we need a personalized recipe that takes into account our individual traits, tendencies, preferences, as well as our unique biology and health requirements.
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all formula to healthy living.
Healthy living is about finding the unique combination of habits and practices that work best for you. Here’s how to find your personal lifestyle:
1. Know Yourself Better
While the basics ring true for all humanity, how we implement them will vary from person to person. We are much more similar to one another than we are different, but those differences are very important. Your success will depend on how well you are able to identify strategies that align with who you are and what makes you, you.
It’s much easier to adjust your strategies to work in congruence with your personality than it is to try and wedge yourself into rigid framework that directly competes against your human nature. Reflect on times when you’ve succeeded, and times when you have struggled. What circumstances led you to be victorious, and what circumstances distracted you or prevented you from following through?
2. Employ Habit Hacks
Now that you’ve identified habits that support your human nature, the next step is to activate these habits. Forming new habits can be just as hard as breaking old ones, but the good news is there is a method to the madness. Try focusing on one habit at a time so you feel less overwhelmed and intimidated. Consider piggybacking on your pre-existing routines as the cue to trigger your new habits. Putting it on the calendar also helps encourage you to set aside time and make it a priority
3. Study Yourself
While we all thrive on real food, ample sleep, regular activity, proper hydration, and daily relaxation, our needs within each of these categories will vary. Consider using an app or a journal for a brief period to track your habits and how they impact your mood, energy level, hunger level, and performance. Not only will this serve as a source of accountability, but amongst the data you collect, patterns will begin to emerge.
For example, one person may find they can thrive on 7 hours of sleep, while others may require 9 hours to be their personal best. Similarly, two people served the same exact meal may experience drastic differences in blood sugar, energy, mood, and weight due to differences in biology, digestion, metabolism, activity level, and so on. After all, no population-based research study will ever be able to provide you with the type of personalized insight that you’ll uncover during this journey of self-discovery!
4. Give Your Lifestyle a Purpose
With today’s heightened focus on health and wellbeing, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and forget the true purpose of living a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle should be something that supports your life goals – it shouldn’t be your life goal.
Take a step back and ask yourself: What do you want to achieve, experience, or create in your lifetime? How does your vitality empower you to pursue your passions, chase your dreams, and achieve your life ambitions? Whether it’s raising a family, traveling the world, or starting your own company, every ambition becomes more attainable with optimal health and well-being.
Adapted from the original article.
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Lindsey Kane, MS, RD, LDN is a San Francisco-based Registered Dietitian helping others live a stress-free, balanced, and thriving life. By getting to know her clients inside and out, Lindsey identifies the opportunities within their everyday lifestyle to integrate subtle changes that create lasting, impactful results. Learn more at Bite For Change!