The other day I was reaching far back into a kitchen cabinet for a bowl when I spotted the crystal Tiffany water pitcher I received as a wedding present many years ago. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used it. Yet it is beautiful. So I pulled it out, washed it and filled it with filtered water. Then up on the night stand it went with a pretty glass cup.
One of the healthy habits I espouse as an easy one is to put a glass of water on your night stand each evening. Each morning when you wake up that’ll be the first thing you drink to begin your day. It’s room temperature so it’s easy to down in a few seconds. So I’ve added one more step. I’ll keep a pitcher of water, in my beautiful Tiffany water pitcher and fill the glass up each morning. I need only refill my pitcher every few days. It makes my water drinking just a little bit more special. (It’s the same reason I use cloth napkins at dinner each night).
The late Dr. Steven Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says that in order to change and maintain a habit we must have a what, how and why to change. So in the example above: What) I want to drink half my body weight in lbs in ounces of water each day. How) by drinking a large glass of water each morning I set my body in motion to fulfill my goal each day. Why) because I know that health is my #1 asset and without it, all other priorities in my life will suffer. Drinking water improved my health.
Another fantastic book on habit forming is called The Power of Habit, Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg. He says that habits follow a 3 step process, cue – routine – reward. Again in the example above, the cue is my water pitcher, the routine is drinking 16 ounces each morning and the reward is that I’m fulfilling one thing on my health checklist each day. Change one part of the 3 step process to change your habit. For example if the cue for happy hour is a bar you pass each night on your way home from work, then change your routine and drive a different route!
My challenge for you this week is to find one habit that needs to be created/changed/eliminated. Assess your cues and routines around the habit. Lay out your workout clothes and sneakers each evening right by your bedside (a cue) so that you hop right into them. Every time you leave our office, schedule your next adjustment to make sure you don’t go too long in between adjustments, massages and workouts (routine). Grocery shop on Friday night, cook on Sunday and load your meals in Tupperware to ensure healthy, home-made meals for a healthier you (reward).
Begin your fall with healthy habits!