When you wake up

This is the time of year when decisions for healthy behavior is at extremes.

At one end, I could be intentional about my health choices and reap the benefits. At the other end, I could ignore all sign pointing to healthy behavior and repeatedly hit snooze because it is cold and no one will notice.

As the seasons change, we are forced to change.

In the summer, there are longer days, better weather, and more choices. It is more difficult to eat healthy this time of year because there is less produce in season. The days are shorter which makes early morning workouts a drag because the sun never comes up. After work is just as difficult. It is a challenge to exercise outside because it is colder and darker. In Iowa, we are experiencing days of cold and rain followed by days of cold and rain. It feels like a formula for seasonal affective disorder.

Small habit goals can make a huge impact

The options we had in the summer are not available now. It is time for . . . . change. Behavior changes can be small steps and have a big impact. I like one-step habits. For example, read 20 minutes before bed. I either do it or I don’t. When I do it enough days in a row, I don’t have to think about it. I sleep better when I read before bed. It is also a much better alternative than reading the internet or scanning social media.

You already have good habits.

If you start working on a new habit, it feels like a lot of work and energy. But you already have good habits that you do automatically because you have done them for a long time. You lock your car when you leave it in a parking lot. You brush your teeth everyday. You open the door for the person behind you. At one point in your lifetime, you had to put effort into remembering to perform these habits.

Wake up to coffee

There are habits you can start and habits you can end. I knew a habit I needed to end was looking at Facebook when I woke up in the morning. It did not provide any benefit to my day. It didn’t start my day off on the right foot. It took time away from more enjoyable things I could do in the morning. For the past two weeks, when I wake up I tell myself “wake up to coffee”. I don’t lye in bed worrying about the day or grab my phone to zone out of the responsibilities I have that day. I wake up and go get my coffee.

What do you love to do?

What do you love to do that takes a few minutes? Can you wake up and do that behavior first? I love coffee so my mantra is “wake up to coffee” because I enjoy it and it takes a few minutes. Can you make a small habit change for when you wake up in the morning? Fill in the blank. Wake up to ______________.