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 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.