Do you feel you’re too busy to keep up with your health goals for this year? Check out this easy and effective way you can adopt healthy habits even if you're a busy parent!
Why We Parents Need to Prioritize Our Health
Being a work from home parent who homeschools, I have a full plate and you probably also do as well.
Guess what? That’s not a bad thing to have a schedule full of projects that you enjoy and people that are important to you.
The problem comes up when you start putting crucial things like your health on the back burner.
That's what I did these last few years; a big part of it was just dealing with this pandemic.
However, it looks like things are turning a new page and we're entering into a new phase. I want to change things up and give my attention back into getting into shape and adopting a healthier routine.
Besides the obvious medical and physical benefits of losing extra weight, there’s also this motivation of more time and energy to hang with my family and do more stuff.
I can't do that fully if I'm not taking care of my health.
This year I want to make space in my schedule to take care of those essentials. Here are three key goals I want to work towards:
- Get to a healthy weight. (physical)
- Find a sport/activity that I enjoy. (mental)
- Schedule time to catch up with loved ones. (emotional)
If you want to see how that works, I'll break it down or you can watch my video.
Healthy Habits to Add to Your Routine
First off, you can absolutely do a deep dive and get into the weeds with your health and if that's your focus, go for it.
However for many parents, the idea of finding the most optimized routine tends to lead us to analysis paralysis. With too much to do and the toxic productivity culture's push to do more, it can either burn us out or not even want to try.
To counteract that, I decide was only going to focus on key habits.
Here are the two criteria for these habits:
- there’s objective evidence of their effectiveness
- it’s sustainable and realistic for a busy parent to do
When analyzing the data and reading expert opinions, I identified three key areas where we should focus our efforts.
In those areas, there are a few key habits that can improve physical, mental, and emotional health.
- Create a consistent wind-down routine before you sleep.
- Design room to be more sleep-friendly.
- Limit how much processed food you eat.
- Be mindful when you eat.
- Stay hydrated, but be mindful of calories when you drink.
- Focus on foods primarily from plants.
- Staying active with a physical activity that you enjoy and will keep up with.
- Incorporate strength training as part of your exercise routine
You may have already picked up on this, but can you guess what those critical three areas are?
I know, I know….
But that’s why I didn’t say pay attention to because pretty much everyone knows we need to exercise consistently plus sleep and sleep well, but how many actually follow through?
So how do we break this cycle of quitting?
Turning Health Goals Into an Actual Plan
My chat with Rich about his amazing journey really motivated me to figure out how can I change my routine to align my schedule better towards those goals.
Really it's making better choices and breaking things down into three key steps.
- The first is making smart goals with my health.
- Then taking those goals and breaking them down into key habits.
- And then building up a system that makes it easier for me as a busy parent to move towards those goals.
Let's see how this would work for my goals.
Create SMART Goals
I’ve talked about this quite a few times, but I’m big fan of SMART goals.
One reason is that it’s an easy way to breakdown whatever goal you have into an action plan you can then use.
I’m scheduling an annual physical to confirm what a healthy weight is for me, but as a ballpark I’m planning on losing 30 lbs of fat.
Because I’m looking for something sustainable and not interested in a crash diet, the timeline I set is mid-December, around our next anniversary. That means I’m looking at around 2 1/2 lbs month, certainly achievable.
Keystone Habits for Healthy Living
For eating, one huge keystone habit is meal planning.
If you want to get fit and build up your exercise routine, two keystone habits to consider are do it first thing in your day and move.
Pick one of those and follow through on it for at least a month.
Finally if you want to hone in on sleeping well, the keystone habit to give your attention to is creating a wind down routine. Find something that you enjoy that isn’t screen based to help you slow down and relax. It could be reading some fiction, journaling, or if you two have the same sleep schedule a conversation where you catch up.
Building Systems to Get Fit
The last key ingredient is creating systems.
Don’t worry, these aren’t crazy productivity hacks. Think of systems as an easy on-ramp to developing better habits.
Instead of trying to change everything at once, I’ll only be focusing on one habits from each category each month.
Why? Because I want something that is sustainable. I want to develop a habit not just cross something on my list.
If you follow a lot of productivity books, like James clear atomic habits and other experts, You've seen this trend as well where you're not going for these big swings necessarily, but each day you're moving in increments.
That's what I'm doing with my healthy habits. I'm breaking them down into something that I can accomplish monthly and track.
Your Health Goals
I hope this give you a way to turn your health goals and create a game plan that fits your schedule.
I would love to cheer you on for your health goals. So please let me know in the comments! What are you working towards?
If you want to join in, make sure you're subscribed. I will be posting more tips and interviews with others about how they've hit their health goals!