January 3, 2018
Getting healthy and staying that way can seem like a big challenge. And with all the confusing health information floating around out there, it can be hard to know where to start.
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If your health is on track, this five-part series on kickstarting your wellness journey probably isn’t for you.
Instead, this series is designed for people who want to get healthy… but just can’t seem to gain any traction. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part. So, the goal here is to give you something small and easy to do each day that, if you stick with it, will make a big impact on your long-term health.
The series is divided up into the five fundamental cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. In order, we’ll go through each part and give you some tools that address each of the elements: “Frame the Day,” “Speed Up,” “Slow Down,” “Connect,” and “Fuel Up.”
Think of it like this: You already have the first few scraps of newspaper in the fireplace. This series is the match. Start small, concentrate on one thing at a time for just a few minutes each day, and sooner than you think you’ll be on your way to great health!
So, let’s begin at the beginning.
THE WRONG SIDE OF THE BED
Have you ever gotten out of bed in the morning, and nothing goes right from the very beginning? You’re out of coffee. The water heater kicked the bucket overnight, and you’re forced to take a freezing shower. You’re running late for work and can’t seem to find your keys anywhere.
It’s easy in those circumstances to just throw up your hands and wish you could crawl back into bed and start the whole day over again. Because the rest of the day already feels ruined.
Well, in the same way that the day can feel ruined from the start, it can also work in the opposite direction. You can set yourself up for success each day by starting out by spending just a few minutes framing the day ahead of you.
It’s like choosing to get up on the right set of the bed every day.
The key is to have a plan and spend an intentional few minutes getting your mind in the right place. Here are four simple tools that do just that. Choose one and do it every day this week for five minutes.
We start our wellness journey with the mind because everything else flows from that. If you aren’t approaching your journey with the right mindset, it doesn’t matter what you do after that.
Without the right frame, the picture isn’t going to turn out well.
Your health begins in your head.
1. Choose to Be Happy
Let’s say you get into a fender bender. Two choices arise. You can get angry, frustrated, and start a scene. Or, you can take a deep breath, take a moment, and decide that you’re thankful no one was hurt. It’s your choice.
In the same way, happiness is a choice. It seems overly simplistic, but the research is clear… you can choose to be happy. Or you can choose to be a grump. Spending just five minutes each morning thinking through your day and deciding, right then and there, that it’s going to be a good day… that’s a recipe for getting things off to a good start.
Think about it this way…
Whenever something arises during the day, shift your focus from thinking that you HAVE to do it, and instead frame it as something you GET to do.
Because life is a privilege. You only get one go at it. So, you might as well make the most of it. You don’t HAVE to live. Instead, it’s something you GET to do.
2. Gratitude Journal
I’m a big fan of the gratitude journal. It’s amazingly useful for getting your mind in the right place. You can read more about it here, but here’s the gist.
Grab a notebook and pen. Put them next to your bed.
Before you get out of bed in the morning, write down three things you are grateful for. You don’t have to go nuts here. Just three things. They don’t even have to be big things. Because, after a few days, you’ll probably have gone through all the obvious ones. Family, shelter, food, your hamster. By day four or five you’re going to have to think about your life in a little more depth. Rainbows. Baby ducks. Escalators.
The magic of this technique is that it forces your mind to be on the lookout for things you’re grateful for as you go about your day. And you’ll do it without even thinking about it. Your brain is going to be primed to find silver linings all around you… even when the storms set in.
The other great thing about the gratitude journal is that it quickly becomes a habit. Do it for a week or two, every day, and before you know it you’ll just do it without even thinking about it.
3. Inspirational Reading
If you’re not into the first two techniques on this list, no problem. Instead, just do five minutes of inspirational reading each morning. Choose something positive, something light. Choose something you’ll be able to stick with. If you’re religious, then choose a devotional of some kind. If you like motivational quotations, there are a ton of sites on the web dedicated to just that sort of thing.
The key is to do it for a few minutes each day until it becomes a habit… until you can physically feel its absence if you skip a day of doing it.
4. Treat Yourself to a Healthy Breakfast
Nothing builds momentum like a healthy breakfast. It’s not just literal fuel. A healthy first meal also gets you going in the right direction.
Not sure what to make? Check out these breakfast recipes from our recipe library on our site.
So, no matter which of these four you choose to do, take five minutes out of your day and do one (or more!)
The key is to get your mind right at the beginning of the day. Because without that positive framing, you won’t have anything on which to build your other tiny habits of health. With the right frame of mind, though, you’re primed for taking that next small step in your health journey.
Because that’s how health happens: Baby step after baby step after baby step. Nothing happens overnight. But when you stick with it, when you do it every day until it becomes something you JUST DO, that’s when real transformation happens.
That’s when health and wholeness combine. That’s when the happiness you’ve been practicing invades every part of you—and starts to spread to all the other people around you!
Listen to Part 1 here: