“Fall” Into Better Habits

Autumn is here, and it’s a great time to “fall” into good habits. (Like what I did there?) Now that the kids are back in school, vacations are through, and the weather is cooling off, it’s a fabulous time to get into a new (healthier) routine.

Don’t get me wrong: Fall often means a busier schedule with more activities and less time for yourself, but the change in seasons really can be a great time to make a change in habits. Here are my top six tips for making this autumn the most colorful (you know, with lettuce and tomatoes and stuff) ever:

  1. Packing lunch for your kid right after dinner? Pack it for you, too. If you’re already rummaging around the fridge to put together a brown bag for your little one, just double up and pack one for yourself, too. It will get you in the habit of getting your meals for work the next day all squared away, so when the morning rush comes you won’t forget or decide that today will just have to be another day of hitting the drive through when you have a spare minute.
  2. Use the cooler temps as motivation to get outside and enjoy the view. This summer was hot no matter where you live, which probably made you want to lie under an air conditioning vent all day. Hopefully things are cooling off in your neck of the woods, which means it’s the perfect time to start getting outside and getting active. An early morning or after-dinner walk are fabulous ways to take advantage of the chill in the air, as are bike rides and foliage hikes.
  3. Train for a 5k. Speaking of cooler temps, in many areas it’s race season. No, no, you don’t have to be a runner for this one; consider teaming up with a friend to power walk a 5k. If you’re more ambitious and have the ok from your physician, try a novice running program and jog some of it. If you’re an old pro, maybe this year you’ll up your distance.
  4. Take a personal day when you’ll have the house to yourself and reset (clean, organize, etc.) If you have children, they probably spent much of their summer destroying your home and creating mountains of dirty laundry. Now that they’re clearing out each morning, think about taking a day to yourself and catching up with everything that’s driving you crazy and keeping you from moving toward your health goals. (In other words, if the crazy disorganized family room is tying up your energy and preventing you from having the oomph to make dinner, clean it up when there are no kids under foot.)
  5. While the kids do homework, make your meal plan and grocery list. While they’re practicing their long division, spend a few minutes every day prepping food or working on a meal plan and/or grocery list for the following day. Don’t get overwhelmed—just do a little at a time.
  6. Set some pre-holiday goals. Black and orange décor is already on the shelves (eye roll). That means Halloween is on its way, and following close behind will be Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. You know what that means: Candy, pie, deep-fried turkey, and cookies as far as the eye can see. Get ahead of that tsunami of treats by setting some goals for the season, whether it’s to add an extra exercise session to your weekly routine, eat more fruits and veggies, or stretch at least once a week.

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