Hands up if you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution then just thrown in the towel before you even made it to the weekend…
Yeah, you’re not the only one. According to entrepreneur.com, only 9.2% of people ever manage to put those new healthy habits in place for the long term.
Working as a freelancer usually makes it even harder to make those healthy habits stick.
It’s far too easy to sacrifice your sleep for the sake of hitting deadlines. Or, to skip meals because you’re just too busy. Or, push your workouts waaay down your list of priorities because you just don’t have the time or the energy.
But, as we all know, taking care of your health is just as important as taking care of your freelance business. If you don’t bother, your productivity levels are likely to decline, your creativity muscles will weaken, you’ll keep getting sick and you’ll wind up on the fast track to burnout.
That’s why you want to do things differently this year.
You’re going to start taking care of your health, eat regularly, stop eating junk, avoid binging on cookies and coffee, find time to workout and put your health back at the top of your list of priorities.
Here are my tips on how you can do just that.
1. Set yourself awesome goals
Willpower alone just isn’t going to cut it if you’re determined to stick to those New Year’s health resolutions.
It’s not going to help you drag your bum off the office chair and get exercising, resist raiding the fridge for that leftover chocolate sponge cake (yum!) or get to bed earlier when you have deadlines looming over your head.
You need to set yourself clearly defined and realistic goals that you can measure and track, just the same as you do when you set yourself freelance business goals.
Then you’ll have that extra bit of accountability you need to help you focus on sticking to those health resolutions for 2019.
2. Schedule those workouts!
Even the most devoted exercisers in the world would much rather lie in bed for an extra hour than get out for a run or head to the gym. Especially when it’s cold outside or freelance life is particularly hectic.
That’s why a schedule is so powerful. Put your workouts into your weekly planner or diary just as you would if you had an important meeting with a client, then make sure you show up. Easy peasy.
3. Give yourself a break!
I’m a huge fan of taking regular breaks throughout the day. They help me to stay focussed and productive and also make sure that I’m not just slouching over my computer all day but actually taking care of my body and mind when I can.
Every hour or so, I make sure I stand up, go to the bathroom, stretch for a minute, or so, then pop into the kitchen to make myself a healthy drink or snack.
You should be doing the same if you want to stick to your health goals.
It’s not just your physical health that will benefit. Getting away from your desk for a few minutes also allows your brain to rest, gets those creative ideas flowing, boosts your attention span and helps improve your productivity too.
4. Learn the art of meal prep
If you find yourself grabbing a quick sandwich on the run, opting for processed food and takeaways or just skipping meals because you don’t have time, I recommend you learn the art of meal prep.
Just take a day or two per week and prepare as many of your meals as you can in advance.
This could be as basic as throwing porridge oats, plus healthy toppings, into separate portions that you can just grab and heat for your breakfast. Or, cooking in larger portions and then storing the rest to use throughout the week. If you’re a type A person, you can get really efficient about it and carefully plan every detail.
Either way, you’ll eat much healthier, you’ll avoid that processed junk, and you’ll save time in the kitchen. Awesome.
5. Stack your habits
Habit stacking is a highly effective way that you can incorporate those health resolutions into your daily routine and make them automatic.
You won’t need to use willpower or remember what you’re supposed to be doing, just let your habits take the lead. Simple.
Just take a habit you already have, such as brushing your teeth or walking the dog, then add this new healthy habit on just before or afterwards.
For example, let’s say you’ve decided to start a meditation practice this year. You want to meditate for 10 minutes per day.
Instead of just trying your best to remember to meditate and stick to your resolution, hook this healthy habit on to another existing habit. Brush your teeth, then meditate. Or, wake up in the morning, then meditate. Or, write your journal, then meditate.
The more you practice, the more automatic this new healthy habit will become and the less willpower you’ll need.
6. Remember your ‘why’
Above all else, remember why you made those health resolutions in the first place.
This is what will keep you moving forward when you get tempted to skip a meal, skip a workout or keep working into the early hours just to get a project done.
So ask yourself:
- What wasn’t working before?
- What did you want to change?
- How were you feeling that pushed you to make these New Year’s Resolutions?
Perhaps you were sick of feeling burnt out or watching your close personal relationships become strained. Maybe you realised that drinking litres of coffee throughout the day and sacrificing sleep wasn’t doing you any favours. Perhaps you got sick of feeling bloated and lethargic and wanted to take action to feel better again.
Then write your ‘why’ in big letters on your whiteboard. Or put a post-it note on your fridge. Or set yourself a Google Calendar reminder every day to remind yourself of why this matters to you.
Do this and you never need to quit your New Years resolutions again.
7. Celebrate your successes!
When you do manage to stick to your New Year’s health resolutions or you achieve your goals, it’s also important to reward yourself for all your hard work.
You might treat yourself to a fancy meal out, a day off, a new pair of running shoes, tickets to a gig, or even just give yourself a virtual pat on the back. It doesn’t matter.
What counts is that you feel proud of your achievements.
Use these tried-and-tested pro tricks such as scheduling your work, workouts and meals, setting yourself SMART goals, habit stacking and remembering your ‘why’ and you’ll crush your New Year’s resolutions and start glowing with health, energy and vitality in 2019!