Sunday, March 2, 2008

Creating the SWEET Life Habit

Appraising Your Success
The end of the week is a good time to review the past week of your SWEET Life and count up your accomplishments. Your goal is 5-6 times per week for each aspect of the SWEET Life: Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise, and Tranquility. If you didn’t achieve some of your goals for the week, then next week, focus on those areas more and think about how to fulfill them more consistently.
How do you feel at the end of this week? Are you better rested? Do you feel relaxed? Are you more energetic? Do you feel generally healthier? Continue with the SWEET Life and you’ll experience all of these feelings!

Topic of the week – Creating the SWEET Life Habit

If I had to say one word about living the SWEET Life (instead of 5 words), it would have to be “consistency.“ Follow through is the key to success. To know what the SWEET Life stands for (i.e., Sleep, Water, Eating, Exercise & Tranquility) is the first step. To adapt the SWEET Life to your own lifestyle is the second step. To create the habit of living the SWEET Life is the third step. This is where consistency starts to play a role because creating a habit is, necessarily, following through regularly.

How do you create the habit of living the SWEET Life? How do you get consistency? Start by making “good constraints,” which are good, little rules to live by. These little rules should have a time associated with them to work most successfully. Here are some SWEET Life examples of “good constraints:”

Sleep: I go to bed as soon as I got home from work (9:15 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., depending on the day). I constrained myself to the fact that as soon as I leave my house for work in the evening, my day at home is done; there’s no evening time at home after work, only bedtime. The good part is that I slept better.

Water: I fill a pitcher in the morning with 2 quarts of water with the “constraint” of finishing it by the end of the day. The “good” part is that I have a limited amount of water sitting there looking at me all day, beckoning me to drink it.

Eating: Simple observations tell me that (1) people eat too much, and (2) what they eat isn’t nutritious. At the same time, people feel a diet is extremely constraining, which is why they don’t last long. I view it in the opposite way. I don’t call it “diet” I call it “eating,” the point being to EAT, rather than restrict your eating. That said, my “good constraint” is to eat mostly nutritious foods. The “good” is that there is a huge variety of nutritious foods. The “constraint” is that they have to be nutritious.

Exercise: My “good constraint” is that I plan to exercise first thing in the morning Monday through Friday, and I go to the gym with a friend a few times a week. The constraint is that I have to be home before my husband goes to work. The “good” thing is that by the time I eat breakfast, I’ve already exercised and don’t have to think about it the rest of the day. However, if I don’t workout every weekday, I can still workout on the weekends.

Tranquility: My “good constraint” was that my girls took naps every afternoon. That was “good” in that it gave me time to relax and do my own thing, but I was “constrained” by the time they woke up. My problem now is that I need a new “good constraint” because my older daughter is out-growing her nap.

Another benefit of the “good constraints” is that they are, by nature, limited. For example, I feel free not to exercise both weekend days because I’ve already exercised 5 days a week. I feel free to eat a piece of chocolate every day because I know that almost everything else I eat is nutritious. I feel free to wake up extra early to get stuff done because I already got a full night’s sleep.

Think about what “good constraints” will work for your personality and lifestyle. Then, you can create the habit of living the SWEET Life. It takes time to create a new habit, and some parts of living the SWEET Life will be easier than others. Persevere and be consistent, and you will be living the SWEET Life!


Maymin, Senia. (March 1, 2007, 11:59 pm) Create New Habits: The GOOD Constraints. Positive Psychology News Daily, NY.

Pollan, Michael. (January 28, 2007). Unhappy Meals. The New York Times Magazine.

Have a SWEET week!


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