Unearthed from my drafts -- written 05/2021 and updated 10/2022.
The mistake people often do trying to build new habits or live a more healthy life, is that they have an "all or nothing" mentality. This leads to a cheat meal becoming a cheat weekend, a skipped workout to a 6 month hiatus, or scheduling so many self-improving things that it gets overwhelming and leads to more stress instead of less.
I personally is more of a fan of the "do what you can, when you can" mentality. I only have to write 1 sentence in my journal for it to count; I focus on only 1 out of 3 walking goals; and if I don't have energy for my whole evening routine it's okay to only do the rosacea-specific products.
Doing something instead of nothing
I am a big fan of the free Ate app for easy food-tracking, since all you have to do is take a photo and mark if it's on track or off track with your goals. Just the simple approach that I love, because calorie tracking always felt too time-consuming.
But the other day I realized that yes, while tracking every single thing can be hard when you cook like we do (a lot of stir-fries and a multitude of ingredients), why should that stop me from doing it at all? Why don't I just track the easy things like breakfast and snacks and just have a reasonable portion of lunch and dinner to fit into the remaining "allowed" calories? Or only log the meat and oil used to cook, since vegetables are so low in calories anyway?
So that's what I started doing this week -- it may not be perfect, but it's still giving me insight on how much my snacks actually are worth (for example, I thought a banana was 40 calories, while it's actually 100) and gives me accurate motivation to reflect on if I really want to eat this thing that is 300 calories just because I'm anxious. I'm hoping it will help me curb my emotional eating, cause I have had quite a lot of anxiety lately.
(Update: since writing this I actually found 5 mental health benefits of counting calories.)
Photo by Katie Smith
What goals can you revise and make more realistic?
It is so easy to get discouraged when you feel like you're failing. I can get quite upset if I'm not doing what I had set out to do. But that's why I am trying to be more compassionate with myself and not beat myself up. If you have read my accountability posts (find them here) you can see that while my goal for 2021 was to journal every day, I only did it about half of the days. Of course a 100% success rate would have been awesome, but I still wrote in my journal 183 times! That is awesome, and way more than 0!
So think about what habits you would like to have, how you would like to be. Then look at what your life looks like: do you actually have time to go to the gym for an hour every day as you so ambitiously set out to do? Is it possible to save $100 each week with the inflation? Can you walk 10,000 steps every day when you have a commute and a desk job?
So don't be too hard on yourself and cut yourself some slack! You're actively trying to improve and do things that are good for you. And doing one good thing is 100% better than doing none!
Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
Free mental health planner bundle!
Daily planner for anxiety, gratitude journal, self-care challenge, workout tracker, and more!
If you don't see the email, check your junk folder! It likes to hang out there. :)