Apr. 29. 2020
Healthy Practices
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of NS and Creator of The Method

Whether you’ve been trying to eat in a new way or practice a new lifestyle habit, how often have you stopped to really check-in on how that thing has been working in your life? 

It’s so common to just hop on a new trend or pick a practice to make a new habit because you think you should or everyone else is doing it…but if you don’t take the time to see how it’s working for you over time, you could either give up on something that really works for you just because it gets a little tricky to maintain or you could be or you could be hanging onto something too tightly that’s not really working for you. 

In this video, I’m going to walk you through 5 questions to ask yourself so you can better see how something is or isn’t working for you and how you can adjust. 

How Can You Tell Healthy Habit is Working for You or if You Need to Adjust? 

Pause and reflect. 

This is a type of mindfulness practice. 

Mindfulness is a way that we connect with our body, mind, feelings, and connection to others. Mindfulness is about nonjudgmental acceptance and awareness of one’s self and moment to moment experiences. This helps give you a clear snapshot, at any moment of where you “are,” and knowing this can give you clear insight and a game plan for taking action or the next step. 

In addition to giving you insight and helping you develop a mind-body connection, the practice of mindfulness itself has been shown to support both mental and physical health including reducing symptoms of IBS, pain, psoriasis, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.  

So let’s put this to the test!

In this mindfulness practice, there are five questions you should walk yourself through to see how this is feeling for you. And if you know me, you know I recommend you write down these thoughts to really get them out of your head and to process them. 

1. What’s working for me at this moment with my current habit? 

This question gives you the space to find what you’re actually enjoying about a practice or a habit. Maybe you feel more energized or maybe it’s been a really easy win for you to add into your day. 

Be as specific as you can here. Not only will this help you learn more about the types of things that work for you and why, but it will also help you maintain this overtime by focusing on all of the positives. 

2. How do I continue to integrate this into my life in a deeper and/or more meaningful way? 

If things are going well with this habit, then you might want to see if you could deepen it or expand upon it. 

For example, one of the students of my program, The Method Membership, has been really focused on moving her body each day in a way that felt good to her instead of hitting the HIIT classes every day. She started by trying taking her dog on a longer walk (increasing it just by 10 minutes) to get her started in exploring other exercises.

After a few weeks, she had found that she enjoyed the extra walk around the neighborhood with her pup and in addition she signed up for a yoga class once on the weekend, yet she felt she was ready to do a little more. 

So she then decided she would also do yoga at home one night during the week and stretch while making her morning coffee. 

She went from hardly moving her body outside of her normal daily dog walks, to not only having two yoga dates a week, but also being so much more mindful of her physical body and more mindful in her day to day life.

So if you’re working on a habit and it’s working for you and you feel like you’ve done a good job of integrating it into your life so far, ask yourself, how can you deepen or expand upon it.

That brings me to the next question to look at.

3. What’s not working at this moment with this habit?

More often than not, you’re either going to run into some obstacles when you’re trying to create a habit or you’re going to realize something really isn’t for you. 

Explore what you’re facing and why you’re experiencing it. 

For example, maybe you haven’t made it easy for yourself to maintain — maybe you took on too much or you haven’t set it up to be convenient or enjoyable for yourself.

If you’ve been having a little trouble maintaining it, the ask yourself this next question.

4. Do I have the resources, tools, and support I need?

If not, then ask yourself where you can find those resources, tools, and support that you may need. 

This could look like investing in an exercise class that you’ll really enjoy, rather than trying to workout on your own at home, or it might look like asking your partner to support you in a specific way. 

More often than not, what I’ve found with clients is that they’re lacking the resources, tools, and support to actually make a healthy practice stick to integrate fully into their life to create a long-term habit. 

Look for the things that will make it easier for you to follow through on the habit you’re trying to create. 

5. If something isn’t working, what other adjustments can you make?

Lastly, ask yourself what other adjustments you can make if something isn’t working. 

There are dozens of reasons why something might not work for you — from your body’s unique needs and how it’s reacting to this habit to your schedule. 

It’s possible that your body and mind telling you that this isn’t for you. 

There’s a fine line to walk between optimizing your habit to make it work for you versus letting something go because it doesn’t serve you. If you’re not sure why something isn’t working well, revisit why you started this habit in the first place.

What were you hoping to feel or achieve by adding this to your day? Or did you just follow a trend because it sounded like a good idea?

This is where you need to dive in deep with yourself to explore how you might need to adjust based on what you’re experiencing. 

This process is going to help you go much deeper with your habits, helping you navigate any challenges you face, while also helping you get much clearer on what a healthy lifestyle looks like for you based on your unique needs and wants.