I’ve been thinking about my “best life” lately. I keep hearing that term, and I love it because, to me, it insinuates a well-balanced life of healthiness and happiness. It’s a life that’s imperfectly perfect.
When it comes to my best life:
I like to feel healthy. I like to sweat. I also like to have a beer and nachos and spend a day on the couch every once in awhile. I’m happiest when I’m working toward a goal. When I feel fulfilled, challenged, and am able to enjoy the little things in life. When I’m true to myself. When I’m surrounded by loved ones.
Sometimes this all feels overwhelming. To help myself stay focused, I’ve written out 23 of my favorite tips/guidelines for living a healthy, happy, fit life.
Disclaimer: I don’t follow all of these every single day. Balance is key. The end.
Sundays are for cooking. (And football.) An ounce of preparation (cooking) is worth a pound of prevention (avoiding crap at the deli next door to my office). Or whatever that saying is. Some of my favorite Sunday-preparations:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Trail mix (well, that’s a generous term. I just mix almonds and dried fruit and create four different portions for post-workout commuting)
- Hummus and carrots in individual portions
- Lunch for at least 2 days + double check I have ingredients for lunch for the rest of the week
which brings me to…
Always keep glass storage containers on hand. Because I work away from home, I portion out my lunch in advance. (Leftovers from dinner immediately get put into separate containers!) Plus you can avoid all those toxic chemicals found in plastic.
Eat leafy greens with every meal. Marissa taught me this. Now, I feel like a meal isn’t complete if i don’t include something leafy and green. (I know, I know. Who am I?! She sucked me into her wild ideas!) The boys brought home pizza the other night so I threw some kale on top, making my meal feel a teensy bit more balanced.
Avoid the center of the grocery store. I will typically* only venture in there for spices, frozen veggies, and/or tortilla chips. But that’s about it.
Keep big salad bowls on hand. I got this idea from Corrie Anne. I realized I subconsciously avoided salads at home because my bowls were small and I could fit, like, 2 tomato slices in there with the greens. When I tried to mix it, everything would fall out and make a mess. Now that I have my fancy new stainless steel bowl (with a lid!) I can throw a million veggies in there, shake it up with some olive oil, and viola. Gourmet salad, folks.
Drink hot water with lemon every morning. I always keep fresh lemons on hand so I can wake up with a nice little toasty drink during part one of my commuting triathlon (the drive – the train – the walk). It just FEELS cleansing and lovely and is a nice way to ease into the day.
Sit down for dinner. I try to enjoy my meals at an ACTUAL kitchen table. What a novel idea, I know!
Carry a water bottle. I bring it everywhere.
Consistently clean out closets. Or drawers. Any space that is clutter-filled. Once a month, I take inventory and ask myself: do I really need this? I’ll donate or toss, as they say in yoga, “what no longer serves me”.
Unsubscribe. When I get an email that I want to auto-delete, I take seven seconds to opt-out.
Find one tiny thing to do every morning that you look forward to. I’m a ritualistic coffee drinker. I don’t drink coffee on my commute…no, no, no. I like to relish it. Once I get to the office and am seated comfortably at my desk, coffee it is. I look forward to that moment.
Always have reading material. “Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.”
― Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid
Set a “get ready for bed” time. I don’t have to get immediately into bed, but I try to start the process at a specific time every night.
Hug a loved one. Self-explanatory.
Set aside 20 minutes each day for personal/professional development. Or simply “me time”. I’ll do some research on a topic I’m interested in. Read blogs. Reflect on a weakness and focus on improving it. Think about my career and strategic goals.
Spend at least 20 minutes outside. It’s hard in the winter, but I count my time walking to and from the train. Fresh air, people. It works wonders.
Keep all my ducks in a row. I’m obsessed with organization. I rely heavily on my smart phone to aid in productivity.
- I organize lists with Wunderlist.
- I keep track of noteworthy articles on Pocket.
- I’ll listen to Coffitivity if I’m having trouble concentrating.
Take the stairs. I refuse to ever wait in line for the escalator like people do in NYC (when there are stairs right next to them).
Plan workouts in advance. Schedule them. Follow through. Great for accountability.
Take my pulse every morning before getting out of bed. I keep tabs on the average. If it’s elevated more than 7 beats per second, I’ll take my workout easy (or rest!) that day.
Keep a goal in mind. Train for something. A new sport. A PR. Challenge a friend to a burpee contest. Find something, anything to work toward and be excited about.
Connect with a workout buddy I can count on. I try to surround myself with people who have similar goals. We motivate each other, especially on those inevitable down days.
We gotta take control our our health. If we take control, no one can stop us.
Everyone is different. What does your best life look like? What are some of your “rules”?