How to Put Healthful Choices on Autopilot

June 09, 2016

Have you struggled for weeks, months or years to make healthier choices, but just can’t seem to do it? Do you wish you looked or felt better – physically, mentally or spiritually? Are you struggling to keep a recent New Year’s Resolution or live up to ideals you put in place years ago? If so, it could be the only secret you need is to put your healthy decisions on autopilot.

Making choices requires valuable resources. Every time you have to choose a handful of nuts over a fat slice of chocolate cake, you deplete your body’s supply of glucose, the energy molecule. Once you use enough of it making those healthy choices, you’re out … leaving you with no more willpower to resist that cake, go on that hike or send you to bed at a decent hour. Bummer.

What does this mean? That you’ve got to take decision-making out of the equation. By making it almost impossible not to make that healthy choice, you no longer have to choose, and life gets a whole lot easier … and a whole lot healthier.

Keep Wholesome Snacks on Hand
If you have to choose between heavily buttered popcorn and nuts, you’ll choose the popcorn. Make healthy choices easier by just not keeping it on hand. Instead, stock your home cupboards, gym bag and desk with healthy options such as dried fruit and flaked coconut.

Set a Regular Sleep/Wake Cycle
If you have to wonder when you’ll get up … you won’t get up until you have to. Instead, pick a time to get up and stick to it. To really ensure this tip sticks, pick a bedtime and stick to that as well.

Integrate Exercise Into Your Day Naturally

Many people hate the discomfort and sweatiness of exercise. Instead, pick workouts that work for you and don’t put you out of your way. Walk around the block on lunch, do home yoga videos or go running with a friend. Making exercise natural will make it much more likely.

Make Healthful Drinks Your Go-To
If you automatically reach for high-calorie soda or sweetened coffee, you could be adding to your waistline without even thinking about it. Often we just want something to drink as a way of busying our hands or our mouths, so wherever you can sub out high-calorie beverages for low- or no-calorie replacements, do. Better choices include water or Ujido matcha, which has a creamy, frothy texture that makes it seem like a treat. Other low-calorie options include soda water flavored with lemon or sweetened with a splash of fruit juice.

Turn Your Commute Into Relaxation Time
Too often, commutes are stressful and frustrating, keeping you stuck in the car for minutes or hours you would rather be spending with family, friends or a hot bath. Instead of just accepting the torture, do what you can to make the time pleasant. Keep a treat you love in the glove box to entice you to the car, always pack a book on tape or get into podcasts.

No one’s claiming that making these changes will automatically turn you into a marathoner or mean you never wake up after too many whiskey sours again. But by putting your tough choices on autopilot and making the healthy options easier, you’ll have a much better shot at lifelong health.

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