Episode 37 | (00:00):
Hey there, friend. Are you looking to create some new midlife habits? Well, today I'm going to give you a very simple and uncomplicated way to limit your frustration as you're doing this so you can start enjoying your success in just a short period of time. You ready to find out? You ready? I know. I think you're gonna like it. It'll be great. All right, let's dive in!
Hey there, Easy Ager, before we get started, I wanted to remind you, if you are not already an Easy Aging® Insider, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right after this episode, all right?
Okay. So today we're going to be talking about putting some midlife habits around lifestyle changes. When I talk about lifestyle changes, I'm basically talking about the things you're going to be doing for the rest of your life.
Things like taking care of your health and eating right and exercising regularly, or getting involved in platonic and romantic relationships, or making a commitment to your own personal growth or spiritual growth, these types of things.
It's important to set midlife goals. Of course, we all know this. We need to make these goals realistic and achievable, but it is just as important to establish habits that are going to support these goals long-term.
For example, getting out of debt. Oh my goodness. It is so great to get out of debt. You know, you write that final payment for your mortgage or for the credit card, right? It just feels so good, and it's a fantastic celebration. Like "Woo-hoo, no more debt!"
But if you do not have effective money management habits in place, you are probably gonna go back into debt in the future. You're going to fall back into your regular patterns, your regular habits. We all do it, right? Unless we intentionally put some midlife habits in place to keep us in maintenance mode to where we're not going back into debt again.
Same thing with losing weight. At some point in our lives, we have probably all lost the weight really quickly, right? It felt like it came off in the blink of an eye. But if you don't establish habits to support the weight loss, you're going to be floundering. The weight will come back.
And in my case — and I don't know about you — but for me I got a few little bonus pounds. Yeah. A few little extra pounds came back whenever it was all coming back on my body. So habits play a really important role in any goal that we're setting.
Now, this may sound overwhelming if you're sitting there thinking, "Oh my gosh, I have to go after a goal AND I have to create new habits to support the goal? Oh my gosh, I can't do it!"
Oh no, no, no, no. Remember we're all about fun-sized actions here. We're all about simple, easy midlife hacks that are gonna make things work for you. So with that in mind, here's what you're going to do. When you are establishing a new midlife habit, you are only going to focus on one habit for 90 days.
90 days is a fantastic amount of time because it takes an average of 66 days to create a new habit. Remember, that's just an average. It's not 21 days like you may have heard in the past. It is 66 days on average. That means for some people it's going to be fewer than 66 days. For others, it's going to be more than 66 days.
And I think it just kind of depends on what exactly you're doing. I know that I have done this in the past and sometimes, I get in the groove within 30 days, maybe 45 days. I'm like, "Oh yeah, I got this. We're good. Yeah, let's do this."
Sometimes it takes me a full 90 days, and even then I may need a little extra time and I'm okay with that too. Because I want this habit to stick. I want it to be a part of my life, a part of my life where I'm not really thinking about it. That's why it's called a habit, right?
I don't want this habit to just disappear because oh, I got busy or I forgot or I got distracted with something else. No, I want it to just be part of my daily life. Let me give you an example.
We are now at the beginning of June when this is being recorded, and I just finished a challenge throughout the month of May where I was increasing the amount of protein I'm eating and incorporating strength training twice a week.
For you guys who have listened for any length of time, you probably know by now that I am a Pilates devotee. I mean, I love me some Pilates but I said, "You know what? This is part of the program. And I'm going to give this strength training thing a shot." Because it's been many years since I've done this.
The reason I wanted to do this challenge was because I knew that as we age, once we hit midlife, it just gets harder and harder to create and maintain muscle. That's why it is so incredibly important that we are eating more protein than ever as we get older. Because without the protein, our muscles are just going to start disappearing into thin air...as some of mine have done lately.
I also wanna give you a quick backstory of where I was coming from, as a reference point. I was a vegetarian for over 25 years. Yes, for over quarter of a century, I did not eat red meat, pork or poultry. I started eating meat last year because I was having some physical issues, and it made me realize I needed something more in my diet.
You know, I was just paying attention to my body and I really felt like something was just missing. So I said, okay, I'm gonna add some meat and see how I feel. The reality is, I say I started eating meat, but it wasn't a whole lot. I mean, if you look at a standard, not even a large chicken breast, you look at a regular chicken breast, I would eat maybe half of it.
And I was just so proud of myself. I was like, "Look at me, I'm eating meat." And I was just patting myself on the back thinking I was doing really, really well. But the reality is, I wasn't. I was using meat more as a garnish than as an entree or a main part of the meal.
So last year was a huge learning curve for me. I had to learn how to shop for meat and cook it and all these other things. And I knew going into this midlife challenge that I hadn't been eating a ton of meat.
So this challenge was gonna be more intense for me than it was for people who were very used to eating a lot of meat, right? But that's why I did it. I wanted to challenge myself. I wanted to start improving my health in a new and different way. And I wanted to start getting some of my muscles back, no harm in that.
The great thing was I had a fantastic nutritionist giving me direction every step of the way. And y'all, she was so good. I am going to have her on the show so she can give you the scoop on the importance of protein and how to incorporate it into your midlife diet.
And she does a beautiful job of explaining all of this very simply and easily. So yeah, hopefully this fall, I will have her on the show. So I knew this was going to be a little difficult, you know?
And then as we're going along through the month, people are saying things like, "Oh, I'm losing weight" and "I'm building muscle and I'm getting lean muscle mass" this entire time. And I'm still trying to eat just enough protein at breakfast. You know, like the first meal of the day, I'm just trying to get in enough protein. So I was struggling.
Even though I went into it knowing this would be one of my longer efforts, that I was not going to be hitting the nice, little 66-day mark, I said, "I'm going to need some supplements. I'm just gonna buy enough to last me for 90 days. I will commit to doing this for 90 days. I will focus on eating more protein for 90 days."
Now, notice what I just said. I said, "I will focus on eating more protein for 90 days." I did not say, "Oh, I'm gonna focus on eating more protein. Oh, and I'm gonna drink, I'm gonna drink more water. Yeah. I really need to be more hydrated. And I'm gonna stop eating sugar and I'm gonna start counting carbs. And I'm gonna do stuff with macros, etc."
No. I'm not doing all of that. My focus was and is one thing and that is: eat more protein. So I'm going into month two of this, and I will say, it's going pretty well. I will also say it's going slowly, you know, way too slow for me.
But honestly, when you've treated your body one way for over a quarter of a century, I mean, let's be realistic. It is not going to bounce back overnight. I didn't get to this place of vegetarianism overnight. And I'm certainly not going to become a committed and enthusiastic carnivore overnight, right?
So while I'm doing this 90 days, I am extending grace to myself. I'm being patient with myself, even though I do get a little frustrated sometimes, but that's okay.
Y'all every time I say, "And that's okay," I remind myself of that character on Saturday Night Live, Stuart Smalley. I think that was his name. He'd be looking in the mirror and he'd be saying, "Things didn't go quite like we wanted today, but that's okay. Because I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like me." ;)
The point of me telling you about this midlife challenge is to just to let you know where I am right now and how I'm handling this particular lifestyle change. I'm doing it this way because I got so tired of trying to do everything at one time and then failing and beating myself up because I wasn't perfect.
And then, because I wasn't perfect and things weren't going my way, I would just quit. And I would disappoint myself yet again, another time that Michelle didn't follow through on things. This was my pattern for so many years.
Habits are not about perfection. I mean, personally, I view success, successful habits as getting them right 80 to 85% of the time. You know why? Because life happens. This is real life, kids. None of us is perfect.
So if you fall down one day, just dust yourself off and get back up. Don't quit, just get back at it and get it done. By giving yourself these 90 days to create a new habit, it's really quite a reasonable goal. And at the end of 12 months, think about it. You are going to have four new habits.
Focusing on one new habit for 90 days is gonna help you not go into overwhelm. You know, that feeling when you've got so many changes going on in your life, you just can't handle it, right? You know, it's gonna help you not feel defeated. It's going to help you not quit. And that is the most important thing of all of this, not quitting.
When you have 90 days to create the habit, you'll just naturally extend some grace to yourself if it's not perfect. And at the end of the 90 days, you are going to be more solid in your habit than you would actually believe. You're not going to let go of this habit easily. And it's more than likely going to be a regular part of your life at that point.
So if you haven't had much luck in the past with midlife habit creation, just give this a try. I mean, what have you got to lose, right? And who knows? You could pick up a really great new habit for your life.
That's pretty much it for today. I do hope this helped you in some way, and that you're gonna give it a shot next time you're trying to create a new habit. And if you wanna sign up for the Easy Aging® Insiders list, go to TheEasyAgingShow.com and sign up right now. Until next time, peace, love, and blessings to you and yours. Take care. Bye-bye!