Success Tip: Stack Your Day

Here’s an idea I’ve landed on after much trial and error over the last five and a half years of trying to create a  consistent, workable healthy lifestyle in the midst of life’s mayhem:

Stack your day.

Stack your day. Make the foundation of your day the most important things - like getting your workout in. (Image courtesy of Phiseksit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Stack your day. Make the foundation of your day the most important things – like getting your workout in. (Image courtesy of Phiseksit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Put the most important things in front, and do them early in the day. Just get them done. Identify which of your daily activities gives you the greatest chance of staying healthy throughout your day – and make them the first thing you do.

Here’s an example. I’ve learned, after much experimentation, that “I’m tired this morning; I’ll do my workout later today” is a recipe for disaster. I’m not going to be less tired in the afternoon after hours of work stress than I am first thing in the morning. It is not going to happen.

But if I work out first thing in the morning, I am much more likely to feel good throughout the day, eat well, rest when I need to, take a walk in the afternoon, and just generally exhibit the behaviors you might associate with an actual healthy person.

Another case in point: Meal planning.

Filling the house with healthy food isn't difficult. It just takes a little bit of planning. (Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
Filling the house with healthy food isn’t difficult. It just takes a little bit of planning. (Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

If I say to myself, “oh, I don’t have time to get to the grocery store this week so I’ll just make do with what’s in the house,” I’m much more likely to graze, be distracted by questions about where our next meal is coming from, and make bad nutrition choices. The best practice for me when it comes to meal planning is to choose one or two awesome recipes I can make in bulk in a slow cooker (may I suggest an amazing split pea soup for starters?) on Sunday. That way, there’s always a quick, heatable meal ready in the fridge that week.

If I stack my day, things just go better. If I nail the first half of my day with a workout and a solid meal plan, the second half of the day becomes a no-brainer.

My priorities these days when I wake up go something like this: Make coffee. Hug my husband. Write the blog. Plan my healthy meals for the day and visualize eating really healthfully, even if my schedule goes haywire. Work out. (My workout schedule is usually planned a few days in advance, especially when I’m getting ready for a race.) Then, sit down in the office and get to the writing work of the day. Walk when necessary. Stand up five minutes every hour. You get the idea.

Stack your day, and it’s much more likely to be a healthy one.

Yesterday’s every48 workout: RUN – a hill workout! First one I’ve done in a very long time (I pulled my Achilles on a hill workout a couple of years ago so hills have given me the nervy-nerves since then). One mile running to the hill. 8 fast-ish repetitions up the hill (about 1/4 mile) and jogging back down. One mile cooldown. Boston is, yikes, 12 days away. Onward!

 

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