Welcome to the latest edition of 52 healthy habits! Each week we tackle a new healthy habit because habits are the building blocks of a healthy lifestyle. If we try to rely on willpower or motivation to meet our goals we won't get as far because well...we're human. The secret to success is building healthy habits slowly over time. Once a healthy behavior becomes a habit, it's just something we do without having to think about it, no willpower needed.
Focusing on daily habits is a much more sane and sustainable approach to healthy living. We don't have to change all our habits all at once, just one thing at a time slowly over time. It doesn't matter if you are brand new to healthy living or have been at it for decades, there is always room for incremental improvements. I know I am personally always looking for ways to improve.
If you've been following along you know we've been tackling new habits for the last 20 weeks. (Wow, time flies when you're having fun.) This week I'd like you to come up with your own five minute healthy habit to work on. The beauty of a five minute habit is that it takes so little time there will likely never be a legitimate reason to miss it. However, five minutes a day of consistent action can be just what we need to develop a new habit. It's less about what you choose for your habit and more about developing the habit of developing habits. (hah). A five minute consistent action for two weeks can be the catalyst to real change. Five minutes a day can lead to long term success. What are you willing to tackle for five minutes a day?
What to choose? When I first did this, I chose flossing my teeth. It was one of those things that even though the dentist lectured me every six months, I only did sporadically. A healthy mouth and healthy gums are a huge part of a healthy lifestyle. It is important and it takes less than five minutes a day. Need some ideas? Here are some ideas to get your brain churning and turning. Choose one of mine or choose something that is meaningful to you and your goals. Brainstorm some of your own ideas then choose one.
FIVE MINUTE HABIT IDEAS
Run for five minutes a day
Walk for five minutes a day
Do bodyweight strength exercises for five minutes a day (one minute squats, one minute push ups, one minute lunges, one minute tricep dips, one minute plank. BOOM!)
Spend 5 minutes writing down what you're thankful for every day
Take a multivitamin or fish oil with a tall glass of water every day (takes less than five minutes!)
Read for five minutes every night before bed
Spend five minutes a day connecting with a friend in real life (on the phone or in person)
Chop veggies for five minutes every night to prepare snacks for the next day
Floss your teeth
Five minute meditation or prayer practice
Five minutes of Yoga
Five minutes of stretching or foam rolling
Five minutes of journaling
Drink two bottles of water a day
The possibilities are endless. Choose whatever you like. What do you want to improve on? Start with five minutes. You have the rest of your life to build on it.
My new habit is five minute of ab exercises every day. It's so easy, but five minutes a day is 35 minutes a week!
If you've never worked out before and want to start, then making exercise your five minute habit increases your chance of long term success over committing to hitting the gym for an hour six days a week for the rest of your life. It doesn't mean you can't do more than five minutes, of course if you want to do more, then do more. The idea is that you're only committed to five minutes. You can't fail.
When you're successful, you build confidence. When you build confidence, you feel ready to take on a little more. When you take on a little more you continue to progress forward. Your five minutes a day, eventually turns into 10, then 15, then 30 minutes a day. You build up slowly over time. It works for exercise, it works for almost any new habit you want to develop. It sounds counterintuitive, but focusing on less can help you achieve more.
TIPS FOR THE 5 MINUTE HABIT
- Choose one habit at a time. One thing only. Master it, then build on it or choose something else.
- Make it so easy that you can't fail. Success builds confidence.
- Choose something measurable. You should easily be able to tell if you did it or not. Check the box every day.
- Be consistent. Do it daily.
- Expect setbacks. $hit happens. Move on. Do the best you can.
So what five minute habit will you chose to better your life, five minutes at a time?
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I am a NASM personal trainer and RRCA adult distance running coach that specializes in strength training for runners. I offer in-person training in the Shredshed, online training and nutrition coaching. If you are interested in coaching, please contact me. Have questions? I'd love to help.
While I am a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I am not your personal trainer and nutrition coach. Since I don't know your exercise abilities, injury background or medical history, please see your doctor before beginning any new exercise or diet program. This is an opinion blog. No information in this blog is intended to be taken as medical advice or prescription. Please see your doctor and/or registered dietitian for any health concerns.