The busy woman’s guide: How to cultivate habits that support your health and wellness goals

What does vibrant health and optimal wellness mean to you? Do you feel you could be happier with more energy, better relationships, better work-life balance, more targeted self-care practices, a healthier diet, a more regular fitness routine, a more supportive environment, a sense of purpose? Consider the weak link(s) in your life today. What is getting in your way of feeling, looking and showing up of your best self? Next, look at the habits that support those weak links.

Our daily choices turn into habits and add up over time to create our external environment which manifests as our relationships, our personality, our job, and other tangible environmental factors AND our internal environment which manifests as our thought patterns, mindset and beliefs about our worthiness. Habits reflect our choices. A habit is simply a repeated action that gives you a desirable or undesirable result. Often the busier you are the more you rely on your established, habitual patterns. It makes choices throughout the day more automatic and efficient for better or for worse. Your daily habits play a key role in how healthy and well you feel.

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein

To accomplish a goal, you first must look at what habits you need to cultivate for it to become your new norm.

Here are the 5 steps to create a new habit:

  1. Start small and create sustainable daily, weekly actions
  2. Build up your new habit gradually, as the small habit becomes more automatic, increase it until that level becomes automatic and so on
  3. Schedule it, leave reminders, set environmental cues to keep you on track
  4. Aim for consistency not perfection. If you slip up one day, get back on track quickly without the shame or guilt.
  5. Take the long view. Consider habit creation as a lifestyle change, not a short-term fix.

Here are some habits to consider that will support optimal health and wellness:

  • Desired habit: Eat 1c of leafy greens per day. Add 1/4c serving of leafy greens a day to a smoothie, sandwich, salad, or your dinner plate. Buy and prep greens on Sunday and leave at eye-level in the refrigerator. Leave a sticky note on your coffee maker to remind you to eat 1/4c of leafy greens that day. Set a reminder on your smart phone at lunch and dinner to cue you to add in a serving. Once the 1/4c becomes routine, up it to 1/2c. Ultimately getting to your desired 1c serving of leafy greens per day.
  • Desired habit: Practice yoga every day at home. Decide what time of day supports this new habit. Waking up 5 minutes earlier to practice in the morning, or 5 minutes before getting ready for bed? Start with 5 minutes and roll out your mat for some gentle stretching postures. Leave your mat in plain sight, lay out the clothes you will wear to practice, choose music to play, or research a sequence online. Literally schedule the time you will practice in your calendar. Honor this commitment as you would any other appointment. Gradually increase the block of time as it suits your goals. Remember if you miss a day, move on to the next day. Don’t beat yourself up. This is about progress not perfection.
  • Desired habit: Meditate each day. Start your meditation practice with just 5 minutes. This can be simply sitting in silence or it can be a guided meditation. Find a comfortable spot, set a timer on your phone for 5 minutes and settle in by observing your thoughts. Leave a sticky note on your bathroom mirror to remind you or set a reminder on your smart phone. As this 5-minute practice becomes routine, add on 5 more minutes. Find the sweet spot of what the optimal meditation time is for you.
  • Desired Habit: Read before bed. Start by identifying 1 small step you can take each evening to cue your brain and body for sleep. If scrolling on your phone keeps you from your book, start removing it from your room 5 minutes before bed, and read a page in your book instead of scrolling. Set a timer on your phone to alert you when it’s time to put it away in the other room. Have a charger set up, and a designated spot on the counter. Remove the undesirable habit and replace it with a more positive one. Instead of scrolling for those 5 minutes, you’re reading a book. Once this becomes habitual, then you can up it to 7 minutes, or 10 minutes. Gradually increase the amount of time until you are reading for the optimal time.

Start small, start with one and look at your environment.

As a busy entrepreneur, the thought of adding in healthy habits can feel overwhelming and sound unreasonable. Time, after all, is what you don’t have a lot of. The key is to start with small increments of time, create an environment that supports your new desired habit and give yourself plenty of time. Aim for progress over perfection. You may have a day where you totally blow it, and that’s okay. Get back on track the next day and keep the momentum moving forward.

Another thing to remember as you’re implementing new habits, is to just start with one habit. Even with starting small and building gradually, if you try to take on too many new habits at once the overwhelm sets in and it feels all too easy to give up. Choose one habit at a time.

Your environment is another critical factor. Consider your physical environment. Will it support your desire to practice yoga at home?  If not, determine what isn’t supportive and make some changes. Does your social environment support your efforts to eat healthy? If you desire to meditate regularly, do you have a quiet space in your home? Do you have a pretty candle you can light or cushion to sit on? Create the physical, social and mental cues to support whatever habit you’re trying to cultivate.

You got this!

You have 5 minutes to invest in your health and wellness goals. Health habits are like any other habits they can work for you or against you. List out the habits that you feel are keeping you from looking and feeling your best, then consider a healthier alternative. Create an environment that supports the new habit and discourages the bad one. Then start small, like super small. Aim for consistency over perfection and build over time. Take the long view and before you know it you will slowly, surely create a healthy lifestyle rooted in daily habits that support you looking, feeling and showing up as your best each day!

You can have a successful business and look great too. You can be a trailblazing entrepreneur and fit into your favorite jeans. You can be a boss-mom and have amazing energy. It starts with your small daily habits. Small steps lead to big change!

As an integrative health coach, I help busy women like you move beyond limiting beliefs, self-sabotaging behaviors and bad habits to create a healthy, balanced, aligned life that allows you to show up each day feeling your best!

ashley logan

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