So…its March, how are everyone’s New Years resolutions going? Two months strong right? Okay, sorry that was a mean question to ask, and it’s not that I don’t believe that you can achieve your goals. I just think that choosing a night when many of us are a bottle of champagne deep to make life-changing decisions is kind of silly. For those of you who weren’t slamming drinks in a sparkly ensemble I apologize for the generalization.
What I’m trying to say is that making changes in your life is difficult when you set a specific date and try to make harsh restrictions. Accepting new habits takes preparation, and sometimes we don’t do it perfectly. This year my resolution was to not make a New Years resolution. I did, though, make a deal with myself to make healthier choices in comparison to last year; I see it as increasing awareness of my health, rather than restricting anything.
So far I think that I have done pretty well! While there have been a few times that I NEEDED French fries, I have not yet stooped to the level of McDonalds or other fast food that I may have let myself fall temptation to last year. I noticed that making changes related to health often requires an entire lifestyle change. For instance, in order to keep up with my exercise and eating habits, my room has to be clean. When my room is a mess I feel like my entire life is a mess and my health habits fail to succeed.
A lot of times, changing one aspect of your life brings with it a whole slew of changes creating a lifestyle shift. This is good! This is what I went through over the past few years and I have noticed that one healthy decision points me in the direction of another one. I am really involved with hot yoga and have noticed transformations in my life mentally and physically. On days that I do yoga I don’t eat much processed food, definitely no fried food, and no alcohol because these make me feel sick in class. I noticed that the more I do yoga, the more healthy I eat and the better I feel overall.
Making the connection between one healthy choice influencing another is what living a healthy lifestyle is all about. Letting go of poor habits has allowed me to deepen my yoga practice and achieve physical goals, such as specific postures or weight loss, and mental goals, such as focus and awareness. You too can find activities or other reasons in your life to be a better and healthier person. Whether it’s exercising so that you can run a 5K for cancer, or eating better so that you can set a good example and live longer for your kids, find some deeper meaning behind making the change. Whenever I catch myself eating something really naughty, I immediately realize how much I will notice this cheeseburger in my next yoga practice.
We live in a digital world where technology has all but taken over our lives, or maybe it has. Why don’t we use this to our advantage with our health goals? I have found a few apps for my smartphone that give me little reminders to perform the good habits I want to keep up with. My favorite one is an app that reminds you to drink water. I use hydro, but there are quite a few out there, and many are free. I have it set to notify me every hour between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. that I need to stay hydrated. One day I was out running errands and forgot to bring a water bottle and I feel like the app actually made me thirsty by reminding me to drink, so I went and bought a water bottle.
Another app I really like is called “Seven” and it is basically a personal trainer in your phone. If you keep your phone on loud it will make a whistle blowing sound and ask if you are ready to work out. If I’m not busy then I will slide it open and tap on “begin workout” and my personal trainer’s voice tells me to get ready. In seven minutes you complete a series of twelve workouts that are thirty seconds long each with rest times in between. It is great for getting your heart rate up and I can definitely feel the burn in my arms from the chair dips I did last night. All you need is a chair; so it is easy to do from almost anywhere, even during your lunch break at work. It also gives you milestones to complete than unlock new workouts and features of the app. Oh, and it’s free!
The last app I’ve been using is a sleep monitor called “Sleep Cycle” which measures your duration and quality of sleep. You place it next to you in your bed and turn it on when you are going to sleep. It monitors your movement to determine when you are in REM sleep, when you are in light sleep, and when you are awake. I’m not completely sure of the accuracy scientifically, but last night I woke up once at 2 a.m. to use the bathroom and again at 5 a.m. because the cat was in my room and the app recorded these awakenings. Regardless of how long I was in what kind of sleep, I like how it creates a graph for how long I slept for and how it asks what mood I am in when I wake up. It makes me able to realize patterns between my mood and how much sleep I’m getting.
I chose to use these three apps because I think that sleep, hydration, and exercise have a great influence on one another. I also think that these three factors are especially important in maintaining optimal health. There are many other apps out there that might work for you, so utilize the technology at your fingertips! Just remember that making changes in your life is gradual and not to lose patience if you aren’t perfect.
Going back to New Years resolutions, if you made one and have kept it, kudos to you! That is truly an accomplishment and you are very strong willed. Maybe you made a resolution and are feeling guilty because you broke it; don’t beat yourself up. Start taking baby steps toward your goal. I believe these apps are a great way to start a new routine because of the reminders they send you throughout the day. If you have found ways to help a new routine stick comment below!