What an inspiring week I had last week! It was Living Well Week at RBI, the leading information company that I work at. It took a while to plan and develop, but it all came together in the end, and I was delighted with the feedback and impact that the event had.
Personally, I got to talk to some of the experts onsite as well as listen to most of the lunch-time keynote speakers who shared life-changing insights and tips on a range of topics. Interestingly, a common thread was the focus on creating healthy practices that turn into healthy habits!
Here are 11 insights that will help you build resilience, reduce stress, lose weight and be successful, whatever that means to you
1. Set small goals
Often we get inspired and excited to make changes in our lives and want to do it as quickly as possible once we have decided to change. The result? We set hugely stretching goals which we often fail to sustain. Perhaps you relate to this one, I certainly do. According to Anna Mason from the Healthy Employee, it’s much better to set small goals that you can smash and build confidence and then set more. Good advice.
2. You can develop your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills
30 years ago the belief was that you couldn’t change your brain. It was fixed. The good news is that medical science has shown that this isn’t the case and our brains are living and continue to change throughout our lives, and we can exercise our brain, just like any muscle in our body. For instance, the habit of practicing mindfulness for three minutes per day, according to Dr Barbara Mariposa from Mind Mood Mastery, leads to strengthening of the left frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for EQ. So give your brain a workout everyday! I certainly do, and it has made a massive difference to my life.
3. You are what you eat
A very old cliche which happens to be very true as the food and drink we consume make up the essence of the cells in our bodies. So eat a balanced diet. What does that mean? According to the Healthy Employee, it’s helpful to visualise your dinner plate with 50% vegetables, 25% whole grain carbs, and 25% protein (animal or plant-based).
4. Snack away, but what you snack on will make a big difference to your overall wellbeing
Author and naturapath, Max Tomlinson suggests getting into the habit of snacking on good things (such as nuts, seeds, fruit) rather than bad things (biscuits, chocolate, crisps). If you’re a snacker, like me, check out this post for more ideas: Snack Attack Ideas. Also the Honest Food Guide is a great framework to help you eat well. You can download the PDF for reference, here: 21407.2_HonestFoodGuide
5. Avoid sugary drinks
This was a key message throughout. I used to have the habit of drinking sodas or fizzy drinks like Lilt and Fanta which I loved, hence I drank a lot of them. At the time, I was completely unaware that I was drinking at least 8 spoonfuls of sugar per can! Once I’d become aware of that rather important fact I changed my habit of drinking sugary drinks full of empty calories, to drinking diet versions of the same drinks. The result, I lost a lot of weight.
However, as my knowledge grew, I became less comfortable consuming artificial sweeteners and decided to eliminate them from my diet, so I then shifted my drinking habit again to iced tea or spring water which serves me well to this day. What’s the lesson? Know the facts of what you’re putting into your body. Drinking a can of soda once in a blue moon is unlikely to have a negative impact on your health. However, drinking a can everyday will put you at risk. If you need some guidance on ways to cut down on sugar, check out my free book: Sugar: Sickly or Sweet
6. Healthy Habits
To build your intellectual strength, create healthy habits around these 6 areas: Sleep better by creating a bedtime ritual; keep your stress under control by good habits such as eating plenty of magnesium in your diet (raw chocolate, green beans, broccoli, spinach, oats, brazil nuts are rich sources of magnesium); exercise by getting into the habit of taking the stairs everyday instead of the elevator; keep your body hydrated by drinking good quality fluids.
The benefits, according to Max Tomlinson, author of Clean up Your Diet, include physical, mental and emotional wellbeing in the present and the future. He encouraged us to imagine your future self looking back to your present self and saying thank you for taking care of our body! A very nice thought.
7. Stop the bad habits today
They may serve you well today, but payback will come tomorrow. Many of us drink coffer to help boost our energy. The problem is that the caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands which helps us keep going in a high gear. The problem? It isn’t sustainable. and can lead to exhaustion and burnout. To prevent this state, and increase productivity, it’s important to take regular breaks to enable us to recover. According to Dr Barbara Mariposa, getting into the habit to STOP, STRETCH and BREATHE once an hour will make a huge difference to your energy levels and ability to work.
8. What is money?
This is the question that Tom Nixon (pictured left) asked us and got many answers including positive responses such as ‘freedom’, ‘power’, ‘resources’; ‘enablers’; as well as more negative reactions like conflict and a source of stress? What is your money story and how does that manifest itself in your life?
11. You can teach an old dog new tricks
The week kicked off with a 5k run led by running coach, Helen Maquire who showed us how to run more efficiently. I’ve been running for 15 years and have never invested in proper running coaching which could shave minutes of my personal best. I applied Helen’s techniques to my running just today, and it made a difference! Thanks Helen! Check out Helen’s website at: www.runningfitcoaching.co.uk
So there you have it, 11 insights from the great talks I had the honour to listen to last week. All of the talks were videoed, so I’ll add some of those here in future posts.
How can you develop habits? Research shows that coaching makes a massive difference, as part of a support system. If you’re going through a professional transition and need some help, that’s why we’re here.
Click this link or the image below to Sign-up for our Healthy Habits enewsletter. Published monthly, Healthy Habits will bring you tips and tricks to help you incorporate healthy habits into your life.