Minimalist Monday: Putting Off Healthy Habits

In April I posted my spring health goals. I've had some limited success.

  • Get moving – ideally regular running again but at least several walks a week. Yes walking, no running. 
  • No more diet coke – have given this up since Lent and can hopefully live without it now. Yes
  • Less alcohol – more drink free days needed. Yes.
  • Healthier desserts – I'm looking to buy and use more fruit. No.
  • Eat more yoghurt – good for weight control and protecting the immune system. No.
  • Less caffeine – this is something which in excess negatively affects my sleep and mood. Yes.
  • Switch off laptop at least an hour before bedtime – not easy as I write many of my posts in the evening , but I will try. Hit and miss. 
  • Floss teeth – a perpetual promise to my dentist. No! Floss still sitting unopened in the bathroom. 
  • Pace rather than race – plan my days better and focus on the main tasks required so that I am not always chasing deadlines. Still working on this.
  • Eat more vegetarian meals – for nutrition and to save money. No, if I'm honest.
  • Take a multvitamin supplement and cod liver oil capsules – we have had too many coughs and colds this winter and my Mum swears by this combination. Yes! And I'm also taking evening primrose oil.

So what have I learnt from this? Here's my thoughts.

With busy lives it can often feel like there's no time left to do anything other than the essentials and sometimes not even enough time to do these. Life can seem one endless round of work, domestic tasks and helping out others. Yet we know that over working, not taking breaks and not looking after our own physical and emotional health can have a negative impact on our lives. 

Minimalism has taught me to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life but I still sometimes lack motivation to make changes. Quite often I'm fearful of starting something new in case I fail.

There are many things I know I should do but which I put off because I don't make time for them or prioritise them. I put them off until that mythical day when I think I'll have more time and motivation. Here's my list:

  • Taking breaks when working 
  • Making healthy eating choices
  • Exercise
  • Phoning or meeting up with friends
  • A date with my husband
  • Turning off my laptop/phone
  • Spending time alone
  • Spending more time with my family
  • Just being

They're all positive things to do yet I often find it hard to practise these good habits. 

It can be difficult to adopt healthy habits when we're set in our ways or to re-start them once we've let them slip. Instead of looking back at past failed attempts maybe we should forgive ourselves and make a decision to try one or two small healthy changes over the next month. We need to make these as important as our work to-do list or our list of chores. Sometimes we can be over enthusiastic in our attempts to overhaul our lives and commit to too many changes at once. 

Leo Babauta in The Power of Less suggests concentrating on developing just one habit each month. Practising one new habit at a time allows you to be more focused and mindful of that new habit. And by focusing on one change daily for a month it will become established and will make you motivated to make further healthy changes month by month.

Leo also suggests going public with your goal. So here's my one healthy habit that I'm going to develop in June. 

Regular exercise – more daily walks, and some running. I've run regularly in the past but have let it slip recently for various reasons. I'm going to be gentle with myself and start slowly. But I will let you know how I get on, honestly.

How about you? Do you think you could make one small change this month?



  1. Some excellent ideas there.
    Some I'm striving to achieve too such as exercising more, eating better, spending less time in the virtual world (a bit of a contradiction seeing as I take part in a 365 photo project & blog).
    Good luck with your goal.

  2. I could have written your list:-) When I *do* remember to floss (ummm about monthly) I am horrified by the gunk that is trapped between my teeth. Doesn't make me do it more often though!

    My habit this month is to only have alcohol if it is an 'occasion' rather than mindlessly pour myself a glass of wine every evening. Today will be the 11th day sans wine and I can already see my eyes and skin look clearer. Who'd have thought?

  3. Last month I started flossing more regularly about 2 out of 3 days, this month I want to up it to every day.

    Also I want to be generally more active, faster walks with the dogs instead of gentle strolls and yes, I should cut down on the alcohol and have lots more water in the evenings instead. As Loretta says it does help your skin and eyes look clearer.

  4. I've always heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit stick.

  5. Yes Claire I believe it's best not to try and incorporate too many new habits at once as it often becomes overwhelming.
    All your goals are worthy but getting back into your exercise routine first will probably make you feel so good you'll be able to tackle the others more easily :)
    I eat yoghurt every day with my porridge and fruit - I love and recommend it.

  6. My goals are similar and my misses are, too! While I eat healthily, it's still not enough to shift any of the weight I need to lose, so my main goal for June is move more... so far, so good ;o!

  7. Some great changes here, it wasn't until my health was compromised that I took noticed about how I lived my life and I know I won't take it for granted again! Now I live as healthily as I can and not just what I eat, stress is a poison to us so I try to keep as stress free as possible! Not easy but I'm improving! :) x


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