I read a blog post from Laura at Happy Sugar Habits recently. She had been reading The Productivity Project by Chris Bailey. She was asking – what makes the difference between those who successfully swap nuts for chocolate and those who struggle a bit more to make healthy eating and exercise habits stick?
In the book, Chris explains that we are not very kind to our future selves – we see our future selves as strangers and are not very considerate towards them. Which is why we find it hard to find the willpower to follow through on going for a walk or choosing nuts over chocolate. We need to get to know our future selves, we need to take a moment to imagine how we will have changed in a few months’ time, to visualise how we will be different if we stick to our new habits.
Chris also discusses the procrastination factor. We put things off. We are always going to start exercising ‘next week’ or eating healthier ‘tomorrow’. We need much more clearly defined practical goals and some accountability. Hence my sharing my 12 week journey on my blog!
Do take a look at the full blog post; this is only my summary and my interpretation to help me along the way. And it is helping me! This is the longest I have ever stuck to a healthy eating and exercise programme without ‘days or meals off’. Yes I have been ‘clean eating’ for a quite a while but to actually stick to it every day and every meal is a first. I even took my own steak and stir-fry vegetables with me to a BBQ at my sister-in-law’s house at the weekend. And not once have I said ‘oh I don’t have 20 minutes to do a HIIT workout, never mind’.
Read the full blog post - NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
It's certainly been a long time coming this year! But finally we have had some better weather and I have been busy sorting out my summer clothes and putting away the last of the winter jumpers. That always makes me feel good, I love summer dresses and light tops and sandals. I do tend to buy too much of it though and with the English weather as it is, unless we are away for a hot holiday, there is a lot that doesn't get worn. Again in my effort to streamline my wardrobe a bit more I am being more ruthless this time. If I don't 'love' it then it goes.
It does mean I now have a huge pile of washing and ironing and another huge pile that needs to taken to the charity shop and a few bits waiting for eBay.
Here are a few outfits from this last week:
The top is new and is the Shell Top from Boden worn here with my French Connection white jeans and Pretty Ballerina navy pumps from The White Company. I wore this outfit last Wednesday for lunch with my parents in their lovely garden. And my Dad is always quite happy to take a photo for me!
On Friday I was meeting my friend in Marlow for a little wander around the shops and to have lunch at Cotes Brasserie. I wore my new outfit from Mint Velvet - top, jacket, and navy jeans with my Pretty Ballerina navy pumps again. I made a couple of small purchases during our shopping trip and will share those with you soon!
On Sunday we were invited to join my sister-in-law for a BBQ in her gorgeous garden. I wore my new Zara top - from their Basics range and just £25.99. It was great, I love it, I wore it with my Mint Velvet jeans and Gap silver flip flops. I buy these flip flops every year, they are so easy to put on and I like wearing them at home. After the BBQ we went for a walk with our Westies and watched a little bit of cricket on the nearby Common, all very English!
To be able to commit to my healthy eating and exercise regime (original post here) I need to change my habits. I need to make my food choices a habit. I need to make doing my exercise a habit. So I do these things without hesitation. This paragraph helped me get forming habits into perspective:
From Gretchen Rubin’s Book ‘Better than Before’
Often when we try repeatedly to form a habit that we desire, we fail because we want to reap its benefits without paying the price it demands.
I think constantly of that stark line from John Gardner, so significant for habits, when he observed:
“Every time you break the law you pay. Every time you obey the law you pay.”
Keeping a good habit costs us: it may cost time, energy and money, and it may mean forgoing pleasures and opportunities – but keeping a good habit also has its cost.
So which cost do we want to pay?
What will make our lives happier in the long run?
I know that in the long run I will be happier if I am fit and healthy, if I have more energy, if I sleep better and if my body is toned and lean.
I was put to the test last weekend and I thought of this – keeping a habit costs us … it might mean forgoing pleasures and opportunities. My husband organised a spontaneous curry out with his brother, his wife and his sister. I had already organised my ‘on plan’ meal so I decided not to go with them. Yes I missed out on a social evening but I kept to my plan and I felt better for it. The next day was Sunday and we were going out for lunch – I knew about this so I had been able to incorporate it into my plan and had already decided what I would have to eat. It was difficult to explain why I was not coming out for the curry but ultimately the SSS Plan is only 90 days and if I can change my habits in that time then going forward eating out will be a lot easier and I will get want I want in the long run.
Do you relate to any of these?
Virtual basket – I have a habit of choosing clothes on-line and putting them in my basket, then never actually purchasing them! Actually this is quite a good plan as sometimes just the act of virtually buying them satisfies my need enough, I leave them sitting in the basket for a few days then change my mind and never actually purchase them. Or sometimes I do go back and having thought about it give them a go.
Buy and return – I do this so much! I buy in the shop or on-line, get them home and try them on and then return it all. I either realise they don’t fit, I don’t like them, they don’t suit me or I don’t need them and it all goes back. Trouble is I often buy on-line and so there is a lot of hassle in packaging it all back up and taking it to the Post Office.
Buy and never wear – Oh dear I have so much stuff sitting in my wardrobe that I like but never actually wear. I might wear it once. Or never at all. I find fabrics change, or give after one short wear and the fit doesn't seem quite right. Or I decide the item doesn't suit me after all. Or it just isn't comfortable. Or for those items I never wear, the right occasion just doesn't seem to present itself. I have wasted so much money this way. If the item has only been worn for a very short time then I will return it but more often than not it has been worn for a day or it has just hung in my wardrobe unworn for weeks and so it becomes too late to return it.
Love – Of course there are times when I buy something that I absolutely love and wear and wear and wear. Then I get excited over my Cost per Wear calculation and am really pleased with myself. Trouble is if I offset these items against all the items I have never worn, the Cost per Wear changes rather.
So something has to change! I need to get a bit better at the ‘buy and never wear' bit, I need to be sure that it is perfect as I know I waste a lot of money. I love Boden for their return policy – if it has been hanging in my wardrobe untouched for a few weeks (as long as it is not worn) I know I can still return to Boden (I think their return policy is one year, how good is that)!?
A quick spring wardrobe update – and preparation for my holiday to Turkey. I’ve ordered a new Seafolly bikini, in a lovely coral colour as well as a new maxi dress, all from Coco Bay. I hope it all fits, I am going for a capsule wardrobe of coral as the colour and I will be looking for a white trilby next!
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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