There seem to be more and more healthy habits science now tells us we should be doing to optimize our minds, bodies and spirit. But doing them all seems to be the challenge! The six (and there are probably more) that I am focusing on are:
6 HEALTHY HABITS
- Eating a whole food plant based diet
- Getting enough quality sleep every night
- Exercising aerobically
- Exercising anaerobically (weights)
- Doing yoga
Lately, I have been struggling to just check off a few of them consistently, let alone the entire list! What makes accomplishing them all so hard is that my daily stress, schedule, energy, and motivation are constantly changing, often in ways that deplete my commitment to doing them. When I fail to follow-through on any one habit, I feel shame, frustrated, and defeated. This often leads to a cycle where other items on the list drop off as well.
Many studies suggest we all have tanks of motivational gas. Once we deplete our resources, well…we struggle! Baumeister and Vohs have a lot to say on this topic (if you like the technical research), but the essence of successfully doing all of the above things to a large extent comes down to willpower. To reap the benefits of an optimized life, we must build up our motivational muscles to delay gratification, override unwanted impulses that go against the healthy behaviors, and consciously regulate our efforts by not overshooting our goals.
Perhaps the one habit that is not on the list, but should be, is to consistently work our emotional muscles. Feeling shame, defeated, and stress are not bad, except when we don’t know how to appropriately process these emotions. Maintaining emotional hygiene may be the key that links them all together!
Now, off to yoga class I go…