Bonus: Get FRESH Habit Tracker

When I am trying to turn positive changes in my life into habits, I love being able to keep track of how I am doing.  This can be done by making a daily to-do list, marking a calendar, or adding a reminder alarm on my phone.  It helps me be more mindful of the habit I am trying to establish.

To help us in our quest to Get FRESH, I have created a habit tracker to post on a wall or mirror as a gentle reminder of the good habits we want to form.

You may have heard it said that it takes 21 days to make a habit.  Most of what I have read says it could take up to 120 days! Yikes! A good rule of thumb is 30 days.  Usually, by then the habit is pretty well established.

The Get FRESH habit tracker lists all 5 habits; Forget the Junk Food, Relish Today, Exercise, Sleep, and Hydrate.  Then for 30 days you can mark the days you accomplished your goal. For the Sleep goal, you can mark that the next morning.

The first couple of days of a new habit is quite exciting.  You are ready to make profound changes.  The subsequent few days, it will become rather difficult to get motivated. You can do it! Keep marking the squares and reminding yourself why you want you Get FRESH.

From day 11 to 20, the habit is becoming easier but don’t stop there.  It’s still a fragile thing.

Day 21 through 30 are the easiest by far but don’t be tempted to quit early thinking you got this. See it through to the end!  The habit will then be much more ingrained that way.

A reward for completing your habit tracker will do wonders motivating you. It could be a new book, a pedicure, a new outfit or even a bubble bath!

I know mine aren’t the only ideas for training a habit.

How do you form habits?

Get FRESH part 5: Hydrate

This is the final installment of the 5-part series, Get FRESH, about how to slow the negative changes in our health.  FRESH stands for Forget the junk food, Relish today, Exercise, Sleep, and Hydrate. Be sure to check out the Free Resources page for some resources to help you Get FRESH.

Water. A necessity of life. One can live several weeks and maybe even months without food but only a few days without water.

Our bodies are made up of up to 70% water so making sure we get enough of the liquid is very important. Water is in every cell and organ in our bodies including the heart, lungs, and brain.

Water helps keep our body functioning properly by flushing toxins in our sweat and urine, lubricating joints, regulating body temperature through sweat and maintaining blood pressure. Water can also help us look younger by keeping cells plump and skin from looking dry.

As we go through the season of changing ages (growing older), drinking more water can help in the battle to lose weight or keep slim.  When you drink a glass of water 30 minutes before a meal, you will have a feeling of full while you are eating, thus eat less. We can confuse the signal for thirst as a signal for hunger. So, if you feel hunger pangs, go drink a glass of water. If you are still hungry after the water consumption, then eat a bite; not junk food, of course.

How much water do I need?

Some experts say drink when you get thirsty. Most of what I have read says if you wait until then, that is when your body is beginning to get dehydrated. Remember, one can confuse the feeling of thirst for the feeling of hunger.

Others say you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 140 lbs. (I wish) you should drink 70 oz. or 9 cups of water. Of course, you might feel waterlogged if you are a little overweight.

I like somewhere between 8 and 10 glasses a day. Some days I get more, some days less.

How to drink more water

  • If you are not too keen on the taste of water and don’t want to buy bottles of water, try infusing it with fresh fruit. You can slice up lemons, cucumbers or strawberries. Or buy a bottle with an infuser in it like this.
  • Create a water schedule; drink two glasses when you wake up and a glass every 3 hours. You can set an alarm on your phone.
  • My personal favorite is after the two glasses first thing in the morning, I fill a quart sized jar with water and drink it throughout the morning. I fill it up once more, and I have 10 glasses total for the day.
  • You can also do a reward system. After your first 4 glasses then you can have a tea or soda. Just make sure that you drink the water first!
  • I would suggest you get your water quota before 8 pm. Otherwise, you will be interrupting your sleep with trips to the bathroom.
  • You will go to the bathroom more frequently. It’s your body’s initial reaction to more water intake. Don’t worry, it will calm down after a week or so.

Be looking for a bonus post in the near future that will help with your new habits; a habit tracker!

This post contains affiliate links to help pay for this blog.

Get FRESH part 4: Sleep

These past few weeks we have talked about how to Get FRESH. FRESH stands for Forget the junk food, Relish today, Exercise, Sleep, and Hydrate. Be sure to check out the Free Resources page for some resources to help you Get FRESH.

Today we talk about Sleep.

In our high paced world, sleep seems so unneeded.  It seems nothing is happening, just a waste of time. We put in 80-hour work weeks, get only 5 hours of sleep and make up for it with 8 cups of coffee throughout the day.

There is so much research out there about the importance of sleep.  There is no way I will be able to touch on it all.  Suffice it to say, sleep is important.

Sleep is not a luxury.

Yet, it is one of the first things we give up when life gets too busy.

It is estimated that 75% of people don’t get adequate sleep.

It may seem like nothing is happening during sleep, except for maybe REM or rapid eye movement.  But nothing could be further from the truth. Our brain can be more active at night than during the day; filing memories, regulating hormones, flushing out neurotoxins and restoring itself.

If you don’t get enough sleep it can mean health problems for you like obesity, diabetes hypertension and depression.  Blood pressure decreases during our sleep. So if we don’t get enough sleep our blood pressure can’t regulate leading to hypertension. It’s also during our sleep that hormones are regulating which can make an impact on depression and obesity.

According to the Sleep Foundation, “…people who don’t get enough sleep eat twice as much fat and more than 300 extra calories the next day, compared with those who sleep for eight hours.” It is due in part to the hormones both for appetite and suppressing the appetite are regulated during sleep.

Sleep ranks higher than exercise and nutrition.

Dr. Kirk Parsley, former Navy SEAL and now a sleep doctor says, “sleep is the most important thing. I think this is so much more important than nutrition, so much more important than exercise, and it just gets, maybe, 1/10 of the attention.” You can’t live a healthy lifestyle without adequate sleep. Sleep, exercise, and nutrition are all interconnected.

He goes on to say your performance when deprived of sleep can be compared to alcohol impairment. If one goes without sleep for 24 hours they will perform like they have a blood alcohol level of .1 which is legally drunk. Wow! I had never thought of it that way but it makes sense.

Sleep deprivation is also cumulative. According to Parsley, if one “sleeps 6 hours a night but you need 8, and you do that for 11 consecutive days, you perform exactly as though you haven’t slept for 24 hours. So now, you’re at the legally drunk level. Worst yet, if you’re up to 22 days, you now perform as though you haven’t slept for 2 days.”

Not only do I want to perform at optimal levels every day, but also, if I don’t get enough sleep, at least 8 hours, I will end up sick within a week. I experimented several times when I was in college and later in life, and it always happened. My body just wears down and then viruses and bacteria can flourish.

A major myth is the older you get the less sleep you need. Actually, older adults need just as much sleep as younger counterparts; 7-9 hours.  With older adults, it just might not all happen during the night. Which is why…

Naps are good.

Many high-performance people like Thomas Edison, John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill and Ronald Reagan took naps every day.  Michael Hyatt lists 5 reasons why you should take a nap every day.

I hope I have convinced you that sleep is extremely important to our health and well-being.  Don’t skimp on sleep! Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep per day.

So how do we get more sleep? Check out 5 Ways to Get Better Sleep.

Get FRESH pt. 3: Exercise

Ugh! Exercise should be a 4-letter word. I have never enjoyed exercise. Not when I was walking with my mother growing up. Not when I was in PE (physical education) in middle school, high school, college…

I never found the fun in exercise. Oh, I did it because it was good for me. But I never woke up in the morning thinking ‘Oh yay! I get to exercise today!’  It was more like ‘Oh great! (in my sarcastic voice) I have to exercise today’.

So, as you can see, I am NOT an exercise guru.  I am not one of those people addicted to the gym. Never have been.

But I do know exercise is important.

As our bodies change, it’s even more important.

If we don’t use it, we lose it. If we are not working our muscles, then they are weakening.

Let’s face it.  From the time you stop growing in your middle 20’s, your body is dying. If you are not growing, you are deteriorating.

Exercise helps slow down the decline.

To the exercise-averse, walking is one of the easiest ways to begin the decline reversal. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and a safe place to walk.  You can always walk outside in a park or neighborhood or inside in a mall or gym. You can start with a few minutes a day and work up to several miles a day. It’s great for working your heart, getting lots of oxygen to the brain and strengthening not only your legs but your core muscles as well.

It’s still not an activity that will get me out of bed in the morning, but walking is a priority of mine. And not just for losing weight.

Several months ago, I began having a health issue. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I tried several things.  The doctor told me if it doesn’t get better, I would need surgery. In my quest to find a solution, I discovered walking helped, in addition to changing a few things in my diet!  When I walked, I had very little pain.  On the days I didn’t walk, not happy.

Walking is a priority of mine.

There are so many other forms of exercise; biking, swimming, tennis, boxing, cross fit, yoga. The list is endless. Some require equipment, some don’t.

The point is we need to move our body. We need to work our muscles.

Don’t wait! Start today!  It doesn’t matter whether you were an exercise guru in the past or not. It’s not too late!

Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar understood the importance of exercise. Overweight and out of shape in his 40’s, he decided to make a change that would last him his lifetime. He states in his book Born To Win “it was hard to change the way I had been living but well worth the effort…the aging process is unstoppable…but the quality of life for an aging person is directly related to how well they cared for their bodies in their younger years.”

I don’t know about you but I want a great quality of life and will do all in my power to accomplish that!

How will you move your body today?  Let me know some of the ways you keep decay away!

Disclaimer: I am not a health professional.  These are my opinions only. If you decide to start a new exercise regime, please consult your physician to make sure you are able.

Get FRESH part 2: Relish Today

Last week I wrote to you about our changing bodies and the things we did 10 or 20 years ago we can no longer do. I encouraged you to Get FRESH. You can check out that post here. Today we will talk about the R in Get FRESH: Relish today.

I’m not talking pickles here. Relish also means to delight in something, per the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Delight in today. Delight in this minute! Enjoy your life right now!

I’ve created a little journal page, Relish journal, to help you keep track of things you delight in every day of the week. Print it off and stick it in your datebook or put it in your Bible or keep it on your bedside table. Put it anywhere you will remember to journal about the good things.

It is so easy to mull over the past; opportunities missed, mistakes made, regrets. We always need to learn from the past but then move on! Don’t get bogged down! Or maybe you keep thinking over the ‘good ole days’ when things were going right and everything was in order. Spencer Johnson in his book The Present states, “Look at what happened in the Past. Learn something valuable from it. Use what you learn to improve the present.”

The future can be a little intimidating. So much can happen. It’s easy to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet; “what if…”. Or you might be a planner. You love to dream and set goals. That’s great! The choices you make now will determine your future. But don’t stress about it either. There are a time and a place for considering your future.

Pay attention to what is important now.

When my kids were little and they wanted to play, I got on the floor with them. The dishes could wait. Playing with my kids was the most important. This is what memories are made of. Putting down my e-reader when my husband is talking to me. Facebook can wait. Communicating with my husband is what’s important right now.

I love another quote from The Present.

“Even in the most difficult situations, when you focus on what is right in the present moment, it makes you happier. And gives you the needed energy and confidence to deal with what is wrong, today.”

Be thankful for what you have. That’s another way to relish today. Look around you. What do you have to be thankful for? I’m sure, like me, you can come up with several right there! Being thankful keeps us focused on what we do have, not on what we don’t. Take delight in your assets. Take delight in those around you. Take delight in who you are today!

Check back next week for the continuing story of Get FRESH! We’ll discuss Exercise.

Don’t forget to download the Relish journal to help you keep track of the things you delighted in today!

Until then, what are ways you can relish today?

(this post contains affiliate links which help pay for this blog)