9 Simple Tips For Lasting Health & Wellness

9 Simple Tips For Lasting Health & Wellness

What is the Real Reason You Haven’t Achieved Your Health & Wellness Goals?

Probably because you’re making it too complicated!

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry as of 2017 was worth $4.2 Trillion! That is a lot of money being spent on feeling better!! The trouble that a lot of people run into is that they treat their health goals as a trendy New Year’s resolution, instead of starting simple and sticking to it because it’s a priority. Below you’ll find some super simple tips on how to make gradual changes that will lead to lasting success! 

1: Remember That True Health and Wellness is a Gradual Process

In a society where almost everything is on-demand we can sometimes forget that it takes time to create a problem and more importantly, it takes time to fix it. You didn’t gain those extra pounds, become absolutely exhausted, and/or experience early-aging overnight. It gradually came about because the right attention was put on the wrong things. Life is never as simple as we would like it to be, but we can certainly implement small safe guards and boundaries that keep us within a zone of consistency.

Where you invest your time will create the real return. In 2018 The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that on average, people spend up to three hours a day watching TV and only 10 minutes reading. You become what you think about and spend the most amount of your time on. If you leave no time for you, your body, or your mind then the change you ultimately desire will never be accomplished.

On the flip-side of all of that is factoring in human nature. Earlier this year my teenage daughter expressed a desire to be more organized with her time so she would feel like her day was filled with purpose rather than whatever happened in the moment. She created a list of all the things she wanted to accomplish on a daily basis which included chores, school, exercise, extra-curricular activities, spiritual growth, and creativity. It was a beautiful list of things I knew she greatly desired to accomplish. My concern, however, was that she was trying to implement too many changes at once and she wouldn’t be able to hold onto the routine long-term. I didn’t want to discourage her but also wanted to help her set realistic expectations. I gave her council and then watched what would happen. She became frustrated that she wasn’t able to check all the tasks and activities off of her list everyday and it left no leisure time for her to relax either. We are all very much like that, which is why I mentioned the New Year’s Resolution mentality. Every day is a new day to start afresh! If you work to become even 1% healthier than you were the day before then that is success!

2: Start With Something Simple So You Feel a Sense of Accomplishment

One of the best ways to fail at anything is to set unrealistic goals or expectations. As a business and wellness coach I have mentored hundreds of people and witnessed first-hand that people oftentimes have big goals and little commitment. What if instead we had manageable goals and a strong commitment? If we shift our thinking just a little, the outcome can be life changing. 

Instead of setting the goal to lose 30 lbs. in one month, what if the goal was to move your body everyday so as to increase your flexibility, circulation, and desire to be more active. If you hit the gym for an hour on your first day, the chances of you going again the next day are really, really slim. Instead of cutting all sugar out of your diet overnight, what if instead you set the goal to not drink sugar? Side story – we moved from Utah to Texas last year and for anyone that has visited or lived in the south you will understand that pretty much everyone drinks sweet tea or lemonade. Generally, I’m very careful about what I put into my body. I don’t drink soda, coffee, or tea, so none of that was a problem. The problem was the refreshing lemonade! I noticed over time that I started to gain a few pounds until I was 7 lbs. higher than my normal weight. WHAT?! For me that was insane because I’ve been the same weight since college (apart from the times I was pregnant). I took a close look at the changes I had made since moving here and realized that I had totally changed what I was allowing myself to drink. We were also eating once a week at our favorite Pho restaurant (which I recently discovered they put MSG in their Pho broth. MSG is a leading cause of weight gain – more on that in the next section). That was it! Stop drinking sugar, and stop consuming MSG. Just cutting out those two things I’ve lost 5 of those pounds in just one month. SEE?! Sometimes it’s the small changes that make the biggest difference!

3: Know and Understand What You Are Eating

There is a popular saying that we no longer eat food but rather food-like products. It is sad but also true for a lot of the population. When we see headlines of restaurants using plastic-like compounds in their bread, it is an automatic red flag that corporations are more concerned about the look and taste of food than they are about your health. Years ago I got into the habit of reading labels. At first people around me would roll their eyes and think I was being extreme but now that I implemented that practice I’m amazed at how often I go to visit family and see that much of the food in their home is organic, non-GMO, or at the very least at least it contains clean, simple ingredients. 

Awareness is the first step in making any kind of change. When I realized that I needed to be the advocate for myself and my family and stop assuming that if it was available to purchase it meant it was healthy, that was when the real changes started coming about. There is a HUGE rabbit hole you can get lost in with regards to this topic so I urge you to not go crazy with this. Remember, small changes can make a big difference.

There are a few things to watch out for when you’re purchasing food from the grocery store. Some wellness coaches will tell you to stay out of the center isles of the store because that’s where all of the processed foods are located. I’m not going to tell you that. Moderation in everything is critical for life balance. I know that not everyone has the time, money, or energy to prepare healthy meals three times a day. Let’s not focus on what we can’t do, but rather focus on what we can!

Reading labels is one of the simplest things you can do to help minimize the “food-like products” you purchase. I’m going to give you the 30,000 ft view on this so as to not overwhelm your brain. Here are the things in list of priority that you want to avoid when reading labels and purchasing food.

  1. Aspartame (usually found in gum).
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup (found in canned goods, breads, crackers, chips, etc…).
  3. Artificial Color (this one can be moved up to number one if you have kids that have hyperactivity. There is a proven link to childrens hyperactivity and artificial food dye).
  4. Artificial Flavor (it’s all just chemicals and not something your body needs).
  5. MSG, aka monosodium glutamate (found in most oriental food, as well as soups, dips, sauces, flavored crackers, and chips).

Remember that the wellness industry is a trillion dollar industry. Where we spend our money does matter and if you are careful with where you spend yours, you’ll gradually see more healthy foods offered.

If you’re on the go and have to stop for food somewhere there is an app called “Stop & Go Food Guide” that you can install that covers the nutritional content of the popular fast food restaurants ( Google Play /Apple Store). It will help you know the best (and worst) options on the menu so you can make the best choice available to you.

4: Understand the Role Stress Plays in Your Health

One of my biggest annoyances in life is when people will go to the doctor and list off all of their health concerns and rarely does the doctor ask in return, “What is your lifestyle like? Work? Stress? Exercise?”. Generally, they give you a “cure” for your illness in the form of a pill, which will exacerbate the situation as well as cause other problems…but I digress.

Stress! It is a huge factor in the way you feel.

In 2012 I started my own business with a one year old in my arms while homeschooling our two school aged kids. Because the business was something I loved and felt driven to do, I poured myself into it. After two years of trying to balance life and business, my body crashed. The kind of crash where I would wake up in the morning, shower, and then have to take a nap. I was exhausted, emotional, and falling out of love with my business. It was devastating to watch my life start crashing down with no way to stop it because all I wanted to do was sleep. My husband didn’t understand and didn’t know how to help. I knew I couldn’t go on like that for long and started searching desperately for answers. 

It took a while to figure it all out but the underlying issue was that I had pushed my adrenals further than they could go and they were telling me enough was enough. Your adrenal glands produce hormones that you can’t live without, one of them being cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that helps you respond to stress. Homeschooling two kids, raising a toddler, and running a business = stress. The more I stress, the more my adrenals have to work. At some point they just stopped and my bodies way of coping was to sleep because it had no ability to handle the workload any longer. 

Maybe for you it’s school, work, relationship, family, friends, or a combination of those things that keep you up at night and exhausted during the day. Whatever it is, please be aware that whether it’s toxic food, toxic work environments, or toxic people you can only handle so much. 

Stress can lead to a plethora of different health issues. Not everyone will manifest adrenal fatigue in the way that I did. Your stress can cause weight gain or weight loss, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, mental fatigue, depression, anxiety…the list goes on and on. While we can’t eliminate all stress in our life, just like we can’t eliminate all toxins, we can help minimize them! Here are some easy ways to combat stress:

  1. Listen to music that feeds your soul.
  2. Take a walk outside in nature (even if it’s just around your block) and make a point to notice your surroundings (so you can get out of your headspace).
  3. Take deep breaths…even if it’s for just one minute. Deep breathing means taking a deep breath in through the nose and then releasing it. One cycle should take around 10 seconds. Adding essential oils to the mix can also be extremely relaxing and uplifting!
  4. Find a hobby that helps you step out of your world. Maybe it’s playing an instrument, painting, writing, coloring, exercising, kayaking, or gardening. Steer clear of the destructive habits like retail therapy, binge eating, drinking, and smoking. Those types of behavior tend to cause other long-term financial & wellness issues.
  5. Get a good night’s rest. Burning the candle at both ends will not pay you a good return. It will keep you in a vicious cycle of poor health and poor decision making. Sleep is a critical part of being healthy. If you aren’t getting enough sleep and/or sleeping restfully then figure out the cause so you can figure out the solution. Word to the wise…a sleeping pill is generally not the solution. 

5: Reducing the Toxins in Your Home Will Help Your Body Focus On Important Things

Now that you understand the importance of bringing clean food into your home, what about all the other products you purchase? What about the candles, sprays, cleaners, personal care products, makeup, medications, etc.? The thing about toxic chemicals that a lot of people don’t understand is that they can be found in all of these products. They can enter through your skin and lungs doing damage to both of these but also to your nerves, tissues, and other internal organs. It may seem like a complicated thing to change all of these at once but it’s actually really simple. A lot of stores now carry brands of cleaners, haircare, and skincare products that use the power of natural cleaning agents. Again, it’s all about being aware and making a choice to buy something different. In our home we love using essential oil based products for personal care & cleaning, as well as in place of candles and scented sprays, and as a first line of defense before turning to medications. Essential oils are extremely versatile! For makeup I love the Mineral Fusion brand!!

When our bodies are overrun with toxins from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the liquids we drink, and the products we place on our body it has a really hard time keeping up. Yes, our bodies have extremely complex and amazing filtering systems through our skin, lungs, liver, kidneys, and other important organs, but it is possible to burden them to a point that they can no longer function properly. We don’t have a whole lot of control over the air we breathe when we’re away from home, but at home we don’t have to poison our environment with sprays and candles that cause respiratory harm. Being aware and making wise choices about how you spend your dollars and what you allow in your home is the first step towards better habits.

6: Do Something to Move Your Body and Clear Your Mind

Exercise for most people just feels like a chore…a super unpleasant one at that. I have a philosophy in life that all of the best things in life are hard (ie: raising kids, being married, academic achievements, work success, etc…). Having a healthy body that takes care of you is not an exception to this truth. 

Moving hinges do not rust, Moving water does not stagnate.
If you want your body to take care of you, then you need to take care of it. Moving your body not only increases circulation and works your body, but it can also be extremely beneficial to your sleep patterns and stress level which in turn helps your complexion, weight, appetite and more. Like I mentioned before, I’m not talking about killing yourself in the gym. Start out with simple movements like walking and stretching. Many YMCA’s, recreation centers, and public exercise facilities offer a variety of ways that you can slowly work yourself into new habits that will tone your body and help clear your mind. You can also keep it really simple and find a favorite path at a park, a hiking trail, or even a neighborhood that you love and take a walk. Your body and mind will thank you! In addition to feeling less rusty (both mentally and physically), your body actually releases a variety of hormones when you exercise that can help combat pain, depression, anxiety, and stress. It’s a total win-win if you can shift your perspective about exercising.

7: Everything In Life Is Better With Friends – Get an Accountability Partner

Feeling like you’re on a lone journey generally isn’t the desired aim for anyone. We are social creatures that like to have human interaction and validation from friends. Making lifestyle changes can be difficult and people are more likely to quit on themselves if no one is around to help them feel the value in continuing. I’m not saying you can’t do this alone, because you absolutely can! What I am saying is that your success rate is likely to increase if you’re not doing it alone. Going on a walk, grocery shopping, cooking, and discovering a new lifestyle can be really enjoyable if someone else is doing it with you. Ask your spouse, ask a family member, ask a friend or co-worker if they would be interested in joining you on this journey. Set your goals and your rewards together!

8: Set Goals So You Know What it is You Are Really Trying to Accomplish

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

If you don’t know where you’re going then I guess any destination will do. It’s sad that most people live their life with this mentality. They wake up and their only plan is to go to work, everything else is up for negotiation. They aren’t goal oriented and focused on a specific outcome so they don’t have any sense of accomplishment or purpose. Not you though! You care what the outcome is; you know what you want to achieve – that’s why you’re here! Maybe you haven’t written your goals out yet but you’re going to today. I’ve created a simple guidebook for you to follow that will help you narrow down what you want to achieve for your health and wellness goals.

Once you have completed the guide post up the simple step where you can read it every day. The bathroom mirror, fridge and/or pantry door, work station, etc… are great places to remind you what you’re working towards!

9: Nothing in Life is Permanent – Believe That You Can Make the Change

Fear of change is a common feeling for many people. They will stay in bad relationships, bad work environments, bad habits, and bad situations because their fear of the unknown is more prominent than the fear of the situation they’re in. After moving 15 times in the past 19 years, traveling in a travel trailer full-time for almost two years, changing jobs, starting businesses, losing and gaining friends, I have a little bit of experience in the “life change” department. What I have learned from all of it is that life always seems to have a way of working out. 

Let me share with you a powerful metaphor about life and change. Between Israel and Jordan is the Jordan River which flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The incredible part about this particular connection is the two seas that it connects. The Sea of Galilee is brimming with life and vitality, it is beautiful and productive while the Dead Sea is just that…dead. Do you know why these two seas are so vastly different? It is because the Sea of Galilee empties into the Jordan River giving it a constant flow and movement which brings about life and energy. The Dead Sea has no outlet, it has no change, it only takes and doesn’t give.

This is a strong metaphor for many aspects of life, but relating to this particular topic it demonstrates the effects that happen when we avoid change. When there is no flow, no give, no movement in our life we become the dead sea…lifeless, without energy, no ability to give. We only take and take and eventually our life sours. This, like everything else we’ve covered, is a choice. You don’t have to be the Dead Sea. You can make changes, you can succeed at your goals, you can breathe new life not only into yourself but those around you! Change is good, change is life, change is a choice! Believe in yourself!

Final Thoughts:

In all my years of teaching and mentoring others I have not been one to gloss over the tough parts, so I’m not going to do that here either. Life changes can be difficult at times. One bit of advice that I offer to those I’m mentoring is to Never Quit On A Hard Day! Your health and overall wellness is way too important to walk away from. You have way too much in life to experience and enjoy to give up on yourself. This life, your life, was meant to be loved and lived. Lifestyle changes are not easy but this will be worth it! Remember that anything in life worth having requires hard work. If you fail one day, that’s okay! Like I said before, each new day is a great day to start again. Some days you’ll make huge strides, some days you won’t make any. It isn’t about the small moments or the bumps along the way. Wellness is a life-long pursuit so try to not get caught up in the day-to-day and remember that this will likely be hard at times, but it doesn’t mean that it won’t also be enjoyable, freeing, and extremely beneficial for you and those around you! Give it your best effort and you will be rewarded.

What about you? What have you found to be the easiest lifestyle changes to implement? What about the hardest changes to make? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!