How to keep consistent with healthy habits when life throws you off track

My dad likes to say that life is what happens when we’re making plans. My clients certainly find this to be true. They want to keep consistent with healthy habits but life always seems to block their best intentions. And the idea of work life balance starts to feel unrealistic.

You know what though? So much of that life is more predictable than we pretend. That is, we know we’ll be disrupted at work. And we’ll sometimes need to work late. We know the weather won’t always “cooperate.” It’s really not a surprise when kids create a mess or need to be picked up from some activity at the last minute. 

So, why not plan for these things?  

The problem isn’t the problem. The problem is thinking there shouldn’t be problems. Planning your calendar while expecting  ideal circumstances sets you up to not keep consistent with healthy habits. It’s one of the biggest reasons I see for people getting stuck in the lose-regain-lose-regain weight cycle. 

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To execute consistently on your plan I recommend having a backup plan. Here are three options to consider as you create yours:

  • If A, then B: This is about alternatives. “If it’s dark when I get home and I don’t feel safe going for my jog, I’ll ride my stationary bike.” Or, “ If I work late and cooking dinner feels like a drag, I’ll grab a Chipotle Wholesome Bowl on the way home.” 
  • Minimum standard: Setting a baseline minimum prevents all-or-nothing from taking over, particularly when you have an extended situation that makes it easy to put your healthy habits on the back burner. “No matter what, I exercise for 5 minutes every day. Whatever’s going on, I have a piece of fruit every morning.” 
  • Have a plethora of options: Have a list of 10 different exercises (e.g. lunges, planks, jumping jacks, even stretches) that you can combine together for a 10-minute workout. Develop a list of go-to meals that you can throw together at a moment’s notice (I talk about this in my Back on Track Challenge that’s coming up again next month – let me know if you want to be first to be notified when it’s starting). Then keep certain foods stocked that you know will fit the bill. 

These are ideas to get you going. Now brainstorm several in each category. (Even come up with your own category and share below!)  If you regularly take action on your healthy habits – or try to – this will be a significant boost to your consistency.  

Work life balance is deciding how to handle the circumstances that come at you in ways that allow you to keep consistent with healthy habits. Ultimately, you want to avoid being “surprised” by things you could readily predict. Be flexible and plan for contingencies. That’s how you create the lifestyle that “gets you there and keeps you there.”

How to stay on track even when you don’t feel like it

You’re going along, following your plan. Your clothes fit better, and you’re feeling great. But then, inevitably, one of those days hits. Or maybe it’s a whole week. And suddenly, you find yourself thinking…

“I’ve been good, I deserve a break.”

“Today, I’m just not feeling it.”

“I’ll get back on track… eventually.”

Sound familiar?

It’s the unpredictability of life we all face. But here’s the thing: to achieve and maintain your goals, consistency is key. It’s about staying committed through those tough days and weeks. Because…

stay on track
Photo by Rachel Claire

What gets you there, keeps you there.

That’s why my first four steps are crucial for staying on track. They establish and then build upon a foundation that’s sustainable for the long haul—your entire life.

If that notion feels daunting, take a moment. Reflect on how every action or inaction, no matter how small, shapes your future. It’s a perspective we often overlook, but one worth embracing. Not in a critical, I-just-ate-a-cookie-and-I’m-a-fat-pig kind of way” but rather in with mindful consideration of what truly matters to you.

This isn’t about becoming hyper-vigilant, obsessive, or perfectionistic. It’s about being deliberate. Otherwise, it’s too easy to slip back into autopilot mode, where progress stalls.

We’re wired to conserve energy, to choose the path of least resistance—a survival strategy ingrained in us for millennia. However, in today’s world, we must recognize that the easy path often leads to greater difficulties down the road.

Really!

A client once shared an adage with me: “You can choose what’s easy now, and life will be hard, or you can choose what’s hard now, and life will be easy.”

Consider the consequences of taking the easy route. Like overspending without a budget or having that extra drink when you’ve already reached your limit. What’s easy in the moment often translates to hardship later on, whether it’s a financial shortfall or struggling with weight years down the line.

The fifth step in my 5-step process—consistent execution—depends on maintaining the other steps. It means regularly identifying and reshaping sabotaging thoughts, keeping your “why” at the forefront, and continuously refining your approach based on what works.

Execution entails crafting a lifestyle that aligns with your goals and keeps you there. Surround yourself with foods you enjoy and activities you love. Make it effortless to stay on track. Keep a watchful eye on your thoughts, recognizing when your mind starts feeding you lies about it being too difficult or your inevitable failure.

And don’t wait for it to feel easier. One day, you’ll realize that it already does.

7 Practical Steps to Cultivate Better Balance and Wellbeing

In the daily rush, better balance and wellbeing can feel elusive. Like something we’ll get to when life gets back to normal. But here’s the thing: there is no perfect time. And trust me – you have the tools at your disposal to make it achievable. 

Here are seven practical steps you can take to cultivate genuine wellbeing, lasting balance, and even make strides towards your health and weight loss goals. As you consider each one, embrace the idea that these aren’t distant ideals but attainable realities.

**Step 1: Reduce Mental Overwhelm**

The stories we tell shape our lives. When you dwell on busyness, ruminate on past decisions, or indulge in self-pity, you create overwhelm for yourself. If you catch yourself doing this, redirect your focus to what you do control and identify your next best step. When you strike this mental balance, overwhelm subsides. 

**Step 2: Prioritize Your Wellbeing**

Reclaim your personal time. Block out weekends on your calendar. If that feels like too much, start with a few hours here and there. Ensure you make time for regular moments of rejuvenation and enjoyment. 

**Step 3: Disconnect to Reconnect**

Our digital age requires that we create our own work-life balance, because tech won’t automatically do it for us! Silence non-urgent notifications from apps and email, and create automated weekend email responses, soaking in a little peace and quiet. 

Photo by Annemiek Smegen on Unsplash

**Step 4: Mindful Moments**

I’ll be honest. I like to scroll now and then. IG has some freaking funny cat reels and 80’s GenX videos that I totally relate to. But mindless scrolling can end up wasting time rather than refreshing us. Find intentional ways to savor your free time. Tune into the beauty around you, compliment a stranger, or strike up a chat. Treat these mindful moments like a spa day for your mental and emotional health.

**Step 5: Reduce Sugar Intake**

Sugar might give you a quick pick-me-up, but it can wreck you on the other end. Blood sugar swings and urges for more sugar leave you exhausted. (Not to mention beating yourself up for eating junk food that you really didn’t want and made you feel like crap.) Have your go-to meals and snacks ready for any situation. And stay hydrated with water. Your mind and body will be all smiles!

**Step 6: Seek Support**

Whether you’re struggling in your personal or professional life, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. Simply discussing issues with colleagues, friends or mentors can build a network to help maintain your health. If you need more focused support for challenges related to sticking with healthy habits, consider coaching with me.

**Step 7:Use the Key Word**

Balance is all about knowing when to say yes and when to wield the mighty “no.” While saying yes can be tempting, it’s essential to say no when overcommitting would tip the scales. Embrace the power of saying no in order to protect your time, energy, and well-being.

When life comes at you fast, balance is your ticket to success, personally and professionally. It’s not a static place to “get to” but rather a way of life that you cultivate. Keep prioritizing better balance and wellbeing; they’re your path to being a Healthy Hottie and living the life you want.

8 Quick & Easy Ways to Kickstart Feeling Better and Getting Fit.

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