7 Key Habits That Keep Me Happy & Healthy Every Day

Written by Sarah Bivens

Photo by Stocksy

As a lifestyle coach, one of the most common sentiments I hear from my clients is “I need more balance in my life!”

Who doesn’t, right? Especially when we hold the idea of balance in our minds to be this elusive thing that only select members of a secret society have access to. “It might be possible for other people, but not for me,” you might say. But this only creates a block in the path of healthy living.

My truth, and what I share with my clients, is that you don’t ever really achieve total balance. Life’s circumstances inevitably pull us away for a time period. But don’t be discouraged by that! Minimizing those instances of imbalance is where real health and happiness began. So it’s not about falling off — it’s about how quickly you can get back on.

So how do we do it? How do we keep as balanced and healthy a lifestyle as possible? I recommend practicing powerful habits in seven key areas, using the easy-to-remember acronym BALANCE.

I practice what I preach as a lifestyle coach. And I can say that by addressing habits in each of these areas over the past three years, I have completely transformed the way I look at and live my life. It’s the framework for sustainable, healthy, and joyous living:

1. Breath

I don’t think it requires much convincing that breath is fundamental. If you don’t breathe, you die. But there’s more to it than that! It’s about how intentional you are in your breathing and other aerobic activities, and whether or not you take time throughout the day to check in with your breath.

Creating healthy habits around breathing allows us to tap into a peaceful mindfulness that will greatly assist us in stressful situations. Stress down, health up!

How to Practice It:

  • Aim to take 10 deep breaths throughout your day.
  • Go for a relaxing 1-mile walk or jog three to four times a week.
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2. Aqua

We know that we’re made up of 60-something percent water. You can survive days without food, but not so much when it comes to water. It’s a source of healing and vitality. And yet I deal with lots of clients who are chronically dehydrated.

Making a habit of drinking lots of water helps your body regulate temperature, detox, replenish your cells, and promote balance within your internal system.

How to Practice It:

  • Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water, every day. So if you weigh 150 pounds you'd want to drink 75 oz. of water, or as close to that as possible.
  • Drink an 8 oz. serving of fresh pressed juice a couple of times a week.

3. Lengthen

There are multiple benefits to stretching and working on your flexibility. Not only does it assist with muscle health and recovery, it reduces the possibility of injury. It can also be a great way to decompress, meditate, and check in with your body.

Interestingly, I find that clients who are extremely inflexible physically also tend to be pretty stubborn and stuck in a certain way of thinking when it comes to their personal or professional life. There’s almost always a metaphysical connection to a physical symptom. The body doesn’t lie.

How to Practice It:

  • Take 5 to 10 minutes to stretch after every workout.
  • Go to a regular yoga class or watch a YouTube video and follow along at home.
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4. Anaerobic

Our bodies are meant to move — despite what my 15-year-old nephew and his new Hoverboard have to say. But a lot of society’s habits place us in a sedentary way of life. I understand that time is a precious resource and many of us feel we don’t have it for things like working out. That’s why this is about the balance!

I may be committing personal trainer heresy by saying this, but here it is: I don’t think working out every day is healthy or balanced. I personally only work out twice a week. Then other days of the week, I practice habits like light running, yoga, and drinking plenty of high quality H20. I also sprinkle in some anaerobic habits throughout my days.

How to Practice It:

  • Hold a plank (aim for at least one minute) four to five times a week.
  • Practice air squats (aim for at least 25) four to five times a week.

5. Nutrition

When it comes to nutrition habits, there are always ways to have healthier relationships with your food. First of all, remove “diet” and all its disempowering energy from your vocabulary. Bleh. Think of it as your lifestyle instead. Your food choices are just that: choices. You can eliminate some, reduce others, incorporate new ones, and increase effective ones.

How to Practice It:

  • Create an amazing salad to enjoy four to five times a week. This means a leafy green bowl of yum (not a scoop of mixed chicken salad). Have fun with making your salads by loading them up with cucumber, tomato, or carrot. Get fancy with some avocado, mushrooms, artichokes, or peppers. Satisfy your sweet tooth with some sliced apple or a handful of craisins. Consider adding some protein like chicken or fish. Finally, add olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top. Delicious!
  • Sit down to eat without your phone, TV, or computer at least four times a week for a distraction-free meal.
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6. Cleansing

Many of us don’t take time to detox from the things that take away from our health. Cleansing is a way to heal. You can’t spell “health” without “heal”! It’s a way to release attachments. Cleansing isn’t depriving, it’s freeing.

Cleansing might look like a juice fast or staying off social media after a certain hour before bedtime. It’s not just physical — there are many ways to cleanse.

How to Practice It:

  • Aim to have at least one bowel movement every day.
  • Designate periodic alcohol-free days. This will be different for everyone depending on how often you’re willing to release the habit. The key isn’t to feel deprived or angry about giving it up. The goal is to release attachments. If you’re a more frequent drinker, maybe start out with two to three times a week to allow your body to detox. Then, as you progress, you can up it to five times a week, giving yourself the weekend should you still wish to imbibe.

7. Energizing

Energizing habits feed your mind and spirit. It might be journaling, meditation, prayer, or reading empowering books.

Many of my clients are low in this area of BALANCE when we start working together. I think this is because our daily lives don’t typically support or encourage taking time to refuel. We take on more projects, more hours, and we don’t take vacations. We think we can multitask, be and do more, without taking the time to actually expand our capacity to take on more. Energizing habits help us expand this capacity.

How to Practice It:

  • Affirm yourself in the mirror once a day. If you can’t think of any affirmations, look them up and save ones that resonate with you. Set reminders on your phone or put notes on the bathroom mirror or wall. A couple of examples:
  • I am full of energy and ready to experience joy today.
  • I create abundance each day.
  • I love and accept myself as I am.
  • Take an afternoon nap at least a couple of times a week.

To track your progress, I also recommend using an app, such as the Balance Chart within the YourDay Balance Game App, to help you successfully form these healthy habits.

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Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE web class with nutrition expert Kelly LeVeque.

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