Use The “80/20” Rule To Help You Build Healthy Habits

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Turning down a gift of chocolate, saying “no” to dessert, even avoiding an outing with friends because you’re going to have to turn down a cocktail in the name of getting healthy. There’s no doubt about it- creating a healthy lifestyle can be hard! But what if there was a way to do it without feeling guilt, restriction, or failure?

There are tons of diet plans deeming certain foods unhealthy or off-limits. Your energy is spent on all the little parts of your diet instead of living life and learning to eat foods you enjoy in a way that makes you feel good mentally and physically. A more sustainable way to create a healthy lifestyle is to find a balance that works for where you are in your now and where you want the journey to take you. This is all attainable with the 80/20 rule.

Creating healthy habits

First and foremost, forming new habits takes time. Although we see what seems like miracles of friends getting healthy overnight, to maintain a healthy lifestyle is a long-term plan. Giving yourself the grace to learn and develop healthy habits allows you to create a sustainable balance. Over time you’ll realize what habits actually make you feel great and those are the habits that will become second nature.

The “80/20 rule” simply means that 80% of the time you’re committed to making mindful choices like eating whole foods and intentionally moving each day. The 20% is where you can allow yourself to skip a workout or eat a piece of birthday cake without feeling like you’ve cheated in some way. If you’re able to give yourself a break sometimes and enjoy the moments for what they are, you’ll be more successful in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and seeing lasting results. By creating healthy habits with big-picture planning you’ll discover the best way to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Nutrition, movement, and mindset

The best way to develop a new habit is by being consistent. Developing a baseline of what a healthy meal looks like will help you choose the best foods to put on your plate. A simple trick is to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, one quarter with protein, and one quarter with grains. Use the foods that are already in your kitchen, then start to substitute with fresh produce, leaner proteins, and whole grains.

Become consistent and intentional with moving your body each day. This could be as little as a 10-minute walk every night after dinner. Remember: small, attainable steps. You don’t need to jump into a 3-hour workout every other day. Be mindful to move each day; you’ll start to feel better and crave more movement with time. Develop the habit first.

Consistency in creating a healthy mindset is so important and often overlooked. You may find journaling, reading, yoga, or daily meditation to be helpful in creating a sense of balance and control within your healthy lifestyle. Whatever helps you to find peace in your day, stick with it. Rest when you need to rest and allow yourself to recharge.

Having consistency in creating these healthy habits gives you flexibility. You don’t need to punish yourself for missing a workout or not eating veggies with dinner. Instead of doing a three-hour workout or skipping a meal to make up for yesterday, just pick up where you left off and carry on. Missteps are not mistakes; it’s all part of your health journey. Sometimes the road is bumpy, but when you turn around and see how far you’ve come, the bumps just get smaller and smaller until you only see who you are today.

-Kim Luongo

Photo: Unsplash

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