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Healthy Habits

January 20th, 2013

Coconut Butter Granola from How Sweet It Is via Camille Styles

This weekend I’ve been thinking a lot about why we keep some of our New Year’s resolutions… while others seem to go by the wayside practically before the year begins! I think a lot of it has to do with what we manage to work into our daily life – after all, Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Experts say the process takes 21 days before something feels habitual, and that seems to be about right from my experience. I thought it would be fun for all of us to share our very best habits as well as a habit or two that we’d really like to develop this year (I’m sure I’ll be adding a couple of yours to my list!) I’ll go first. These are a few habits that have become pretty automatic for me and really enrich the way I feel every day:

  • Long walk through the neighborhood with Adam (and now Phoebe) every morning. It feels great to get a workout out of the way first thing, and the time has become invaluable for discussing whatever’s going on in our lives.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast. I can genuinely say that I now wake up craving nutritious things like steel-cut oats, greek yogurt and grapefruit, and as a result, I start the day in a really energized way.
  • Flossing before bedtime.
  • Putting things away right when I’m done using them. It only takes a second, but the end result is a house that always feels clean and organized. Which coincidentally has a majorly calming effect on my mind, too.
  • Answering emails within 24 hours. I use the flag system in my mail program, so I can always see which emails need to be attended to and which I’ve already addressed. The result is kind of like the one above: clean inbox = clear head.

And a few habits that I’d really like to develop this year. One thing I’ve noticed about habits: You have to know why you want to do them…what’s the end result you’re hoping to achieve?

  • Stretching every night. I used to be really good about this, but stopped while I was pregnant and haven’t really picked it back up. I’ve noticed that when I stretch regularly, my muscles feel a lot less tense.
  • Nixing mindless snacking. Yep, I’m a snacker – and grabbing a few M&M’s here and a handful of granola there can add up, when it would be way better to save it for a real, nutritious meal when my brain does a better job of actually registering fullness.
  • Reading at night instead of watching TV. Another one that I used to be really good at, but that’s kind of slipped over the last year or two. I’m not planning on giving up Downton Abbey or anything (let’s not get crazy!) but there are a few not-that-great shows that I tend to watch at night, and when I think about how many books I could be reading instead…
  • Writing thank-you’s right away. I always have a growing list of notes I need to write, and I’d really like to get in the habit of sitting down at my desk every morning and getting them sent right away.

Okay, I’ve spilled – now it’s your turn! I’d love to hear what habits you’re great at keeping…and which you’d like to work on this year. Leave a comment below, and hopefully we’ll all be challenged to add one or two to our lists!

*image: How Sweet It Is

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32 Comments under :: Healthy Habits
  1. milynn says:

    Since I’ve started yoga, and feeling the immediate benefits, I’ve been stretching every night before bed, and it really does help the muscles feel less tense in the morning :) These are really great habits to pick up, and I see a few others I’m working on here too!

    • It really does feel amazing, right? Especially when you’re someone (me) who sometimes sits at a computer all day, I find that regular stretching really does wonders for my posture, as well.

  2. Heather says:

    Love these!! We have a lot of good habits and bad habits in common :) Thank you for sharing!

  3. susannah says:

    such a great post, Camille. i can definitely relate to some of your habits — both positive and negative.
    one habit i’d like to cultivate this year is being a better listener (looking directly at the person speaking and putting all my attention on her!). i have become a little lazy about this, and it is so important. i also want to send more cards of all kinds, a practice that i really enjoy and one that seems to bring happiness to others.

    • Oh yes yes yes! That is a huge one for me… always on my list of “things to work on.” I so admire my friends who not only listen, but actually remember what you’ve told them and follow up later to hear how that job interview/work assignment/doctor appointment went. It shows such a spirit of being others-focused, and definitely one I’d like to cultivate.

  4. I’m looking forward to continue reading the bible every morning (gotta love the bible app!) and I really want to start writing a journal again! :) btw, I loved the idea of reading every night instead of watching something (or in my case, turning my electronics off all together) hah xx

  5. grace hope says:

    Thanks for your post! Like your self I too have written down my goals for this year. I keep my goals in a cute journal beside my bed and look over them every other day or so and sometimes adding one or two to my list. I have kept my goals realistic and achievable, such as yours, stretching at night, reading more, eating healthier etc… I’ve also started to write down one sentence entries in my goal journal. I just write down things that have inspired me or made me happy.

    • I love the idea of a goals journal! Especially when you use it to write down little inspirations, too. Have you read “The Happiness Project?” Just finished it (loved) – and she talks a lot about the importance of recording and tracking your progress.

  6. Ellie says:

    Great post! I’d really like to try to stretch before i go to sleep as well but I’m not really sure what stretches i should do, do you have any advice on what types of stretches you do that help?

  7. Kelly says:

    Love these healthy habits and I’d love to adopt them all! Here is my list of resolutions, a few of which are fitness related: http://yellowwellie.blogspot.com/2013/01/happy-2013.html

  8. Eleanor says:

    I need to start every day with a workout again. Over the past year I have slacked off terribly and need the mental clarity and physical benefits desperately!

  9. kind of crazy how many of these we have in common (goals I’ve set & committed to in recent years)… the am walk, the nix-ing “filler” tv shows, putting things away right away, flossing, etc… but you’ve inspired me to get better about the thank you notes and the 24-hour email responses… 2 areas that are complete weaknesses of mine :)

    • That’s so funny Jeanine, we should start a resolutions club and hold each other accountable. ;) Notes and emails are tough… and I find that the more I procrastinate on them, the more buried I feel. So staying on top of that area of my life definitely gives me tons more peace of mind!

  10. I’ve been trying many things that you are too! Like putting things away now instead of later. I notice that when i do that my house is much more tidier and when it’s time to clean the cleaning is faster because the house is already put together nicely. I have three teens and I’m making them clean up after too right away. I think they rooms are looking less cluttered because of it. I love to work out outside..I call it my gym and when my boys were younger we always went for walks in the beautiful park by my home. I do floss everynight…Good thing that has paid off. Oh and the thank you notes!!! I’m terrible at that but I promised that this year I would be better at it and I wrote a thank you card to everyone who gave me a birthday present on my birthday that just passed on Jan. 6! It felt good to send them! I need to read more books too! I hardly ever watch TV except now i’m looking forward to watching The Bachelor. XOXO P.S. I’m heading to Dallas in April for a blogger conference and I’m excited! Yee haw!

  11. Great motivational post!!!!!!!! I relate to all of them. I am especially glad I cut out TV and I need to get back into my flossing routine.

    For me, I used to be really bad about taking silent time for myself. It made me crazy and stressed out. NOW, I love yoga and a nice long bath. And, it only took getting into a habit, like you said. I resolve to keep those up. They both center me and make me feel balanced and stress-free.

    As far as what habits I hope to break… my goals are to stick to a routine schedule and get good sleep. Wish me luck!

  12. Lindsey says:

    I definitely share some of your habits to work on; hello thank you notes! One thing that I have started doing in the new year is setting the alarm on my phone for 15 minutes every day and during that time I pick up any clutter or take care of any household tasks that I would normally put off until the weekend. It amazes me how much I can get done in 15 minutes and I don’t feel like I’ve lost any of my precious downtime. I can also enjoy my downtime more because I’m not looking at a pile of unfolded laundry or dirty dishes.

  13. Kerry says:

    Great post! One thing that I would like to continue doing (I only started this weekend) is walking. Its been so hard to get back into this since I found out I was pregnant- the first three months- nausea and exhaustion; when the second trimester started I started doing a little yoga but the holidays got in the way lol! and making time. The past two days, my husband and I fought the lazy bug and headed outside. It was so good! Another thing that I would like to do is try to make at least one recipe a week from my thousands of cookbooks. Have a great week!

  14. Kar says:

    Finish reading the bible, be a better friend to my top4 friends, schedule eating and sleeping time to my actual and soon to come second child

  15. Lisa // Elembee says:

    I really love the idea of starting each day with a long walk — thanks for sharing! I used to exercise regularly without a second thought, but it has been a struggle lately. I’m not very productive first thing in the morning anyways, so that would be the perfect time to take a walk and wake up a little. An easy goal I know I can accomplish, and I know that when I just get started, even with something simple, it always makes me want to exercise more later.

  16. Julie B says:

    I love this post! I’ve started the year focusing on three themes: Be Present. Be Grateful. Be Kind. The last one is especially resonating with me. I feel so often we have forgone kindness (and especially manners!) in our society for achievement and I want both! I’m trying to spend more time thinking of, and helping others. Whether it’s a smile to strangers, waving someone else on at a stop sign, holding the door, paying someone a compliment….it all adds up and brightens my day as well as others.

  17. Kaitlyn says:

    i love this post and was planning on writing one with similar themes this week! :) that aristotle quote is a great one and another one of my favorites is “consistency is better than perfection” and “you cant keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results.” some of my healthy habits are definitely a healthy breakfast, exercise 5-6 days/week, more yoga, and more myself and loved ones, and tea & reading instead of mindless snacking. have a great week!

  18. Praxis says:

    thanks for sharing! I loved the post so much I did one of my own! Totally agree with you on the stretching every night. I worked out yesterday, and before I went to bed I started stretching in the hopes that I wouldn’t wake up so sore the next day. I’m still a tad sore, but the stretching definitely helped!

    here’s my habits post if you’re interested. :] http://praxsmiles.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/healthy-habits.html

  19. Heidi says:

    Eating more clean foods and washing my face every night before bed! Thanks for sharing your healthy intentions with all of us!

    • How could I forget that one?! Washing my face every night is one of those habits that is STILL so painful sometimes (I’m procrastinating it right now, in fact), but makes a huge difference. Not only do I feel better when I wake up in the morning – my skin is so much healthier overall as a result.

  20. [...] Sunday we talked about developing healthy habits (be sure to check out the comments for amazing reader suggestions), and I mentioned that one of mine [...]

  21. em_dash512 says:

    1. Folding my laundry right when it comes out of the dryer instead of piling it on the chair in my room and letting it sit there for a week.

    2. Getting back to cooking healthy meals on Sunday nights that can last me through at least a few work week lunches. (Less bad eating/eating out and less spending!)

    3. Stop going through different exercise fads and really find something I will do 2 – 3 times a week without feeling like it’s a huge commitment or a burden. This way I won’t “treat” myself by letting myself skip 1 (then 2 then 3) sessions.

  22. Nic says:

    I’m trying to master the face washing at night too! I just bought some Bioderma Crealine which apparently French women swear by and I’m hoping the ease of a swipe off process encourages regularity!
    Stretching is also one of my constant goals: I’ve found I need to link it to another daily activity in order to maintain the habit. For example, when my daughter was old enough to sit and play in the bath on her own, i started using that 10 mins to stretch while watching/chatting to her.

  23. Casey says:

    All of your goals are things I’m trying to work in! Even the flossing :) now if I could just magically become a morning person…

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