The Good and the Bad of Habits

The Good and the Bad of Habits

Habits are a tricky thing. If you follow me on Instagram you know one of my intentions for the month of May was to shed old patterns and expand my horizons. Part of that is breaking myself out of habits that have turned into ruts. A habit can start as a commitment to ourselves to set a positive pattern in our life, but over time, when the habit becomes routine, it can also stunt our ability to grow and learn.

For example, imagine you never go to the gym so you decide that four mornings out of the week you will get up an hour earlier to make it to the gym to work out. Great! You’re getting exercise, you feel great, and you’re getting stronger. This is a great habit to set! But what if six months later you’re still doing the same routine at the gym each day? Are you still challenging yourself in the same way that you were when you first went to the gym? Of course not.

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my top habit: getting in some kind of MOVEMENT each day

Habits can be a wonderful tool to help us set positive, new patterns in our lives. They can also be a great way to automate things that we should be doing daily but don’t necessarily need to dedicate new thought to (brushing our teeth, taking vitamins, etc.). So before I tell you why you should break your habits, let me tell you why you should form habits to begin with:

  1. Set yourself up for success: Good habits can help you build the life that you want and move towards your long-term goals. Habits build the foundation towards realizing a larger goal. Each bigger goal (running a half marathon) can be accomplished through setting habits to achieve smaller goals along the way (start jogging 3x a week).
  2. Healthy habits, healthy life: Getting in more movement or eating healthier isn’t always easy. Habits such as meal prepping, walking on work breaks, or getting to a yoga class each week help to create a healthier life.
  3. Streamline your life and your mind: Habits for every day activities helps eliminate excess time. If you have the same morning routine for skincare and don’t need to decide what to do each morning, you remove the decision time and free it up for fresh thought. In this way, habits can also lower stress levels because the routine reduces what you need to actively think about and act on.
  4. Get stuff done: Creating habits and routines makes it easier to check things off our to do list. A more scheduled day means less time for procrastination; each task has a specific time when it is completed each week (i.e. Saturdays are for cleaning and Sunday mornings are for grocery shopping). Blocking out time for tasks ensures they get done and is one less thing to worry about.

Habits are a tool for creating order in a busy life and an amazing way to help establish a healthy lifestyle. However, their strengths are also their weaknesses. By creating routine and removing the active thought around the action, habits can quickly stunt our growth as individuals. Automating action so we don’t have to think about it is great for efficiency, but horrible for being in the present moment. To be present is to be fully aware of each action, thought, and breath. In habits, we are able to move through action without thinking.

Habits establish routine, which can set us up in positive patterns, but once the routine is mastered, can stunt our ability to continue to challenge ourselves. By breaking out of the habit (always jogging for 30 min at the gym) and creating new patterns (trying yoga, spin, and boxing classes throughout the week), we not only challenge ourselves in new ways physically and mentally, but are forced to be more present because there isn’t a set pattern for our brain and our body to follow.

I think habits are best used as a way to start a new, positive design in our lives. But they need to be re-evaluated regularly to make sure that the habit is still serving us. When the habit starts to feel too comfortable or too easy, it is time to shake things up a bit – to either adjust the habit to create more of a challenge, or set a new habit to build upon the established one. For example, if your positive pattern is getting to a yoga class each week, once that becomes an established habit, switch it UP. Try getting to two or three classes. Try different styles of yoga. Try going with a friend. Try yoga outside. You get the idea 😉

Here are two ways I am breaking habits:

  1. One of my positive patterns is the commitment to my yoga practice, getting to yoga classes or spending time on my mat each week. But I began to realize that my body was getting comfortable in this and that I wasn’t challenging myself in the same way anymore. This month I am working in more cardio, circuits, and trying new yoga classes.
  2. I eat a plant based diet and love to meal prep to help prepare me for the week. I have a pretty good line up of all my favorite, easy recipes that help me to eat well throughout the week. While meal prepping in one habit I want to keep, I am building on this habit by also choosing one new recipe a week to try, normally on Sunday nights when I have the most time. This both helps to keep the foods I’m eating more interesting but also expands my cooking skills and my arsenal of recipes

What are some habits you have that are positive patterns in your life? What are some ways you could expand upon these habits to keep challenging yourself?

xo

Jules

Happy Belly, Healthy Gut: Why Probiotics?

Happy Belly, Healthy Gut: Why Probiotics?

let’s talk about gut health 🧐

I have a notoriously sensitive digestive system, reactive to certain foods and even more sensitive in times of stress. over the past year I have learned a lot about what foods do and don’t (dairy, gluten, heavily processed foods) work well for my system.

I’ve also learned to supplement my diet to keep my gut healthy and happy. here are a few of my go tos:

1. kimchi: a fermented cabbage, kimchi is a Korean dish made from lacto-fermentation. Kimchi is packed with enzymes, B vitamins, vitamin C, and contains probiotics. I typically eat it right of of the jar but it’s also great in a buddha bowl 🤤

2. kombucha: a fermented tea, made from a “scoby” or the mother bacteria and yeast, kombucha has active bacteria, or probiotics that absorb nutrients and support your immune system. healthade is my go to kombucha and their lemon ginger is my ride or die ☠️💛 they are brewed in super small 2.5 gal batches, only in glass jars 🌍, and are FULL of probiotics and healthy acids!

3. lemon ginger tea: I find this super soothing when my stomach is upset or to help with digestion. Lemon ginger tea is full of antioxidants, has immune boosting effects, and can even boost your metabolism! I like mine w a little raw honey 🍋 🍯

4. yoga and/or meditation: while not a food, yoga and meditation help to keep my stress levels low(er) which is key to keeping my stomach happy. even just 5-10 of meditation or breath work makes a huge difference 🧘🏼‍♀️

have you struggled with digestion? what tips and tricks have worked for you to get a happy belly?

xo

Jules

March Intentions

March Intentions
new moon, new month, new beginnings,
i didn’t set any intentions for February and I honestly felt the difference. Setting intention makes me feel more focused, more aware of what I want to bring into my life, what I want to make time for, what I want to work on personally, etc.
so with that, here are my March intentions:
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1. let go: releasing control over what I cannot control is hard, even harder is to fuller release it from my mind, to stop letting it go round and round in my head. I am working on letting be what will be.
2. be present: this seems to be a reoccurring intention for me and one that I need to remind myself to make a priority. Whenever I put everything else aside to be truly in the moment, it is so rewarding. This month I want to make time to meditate + carve out phone free time.
3. dream big: …and then dream bigger. I find myself getting way tied up in the logistics of making something happen instead of putting that aside for the time being to simply imagine what COULD be possible.
4. channel you energy: there are only so many hours in a day and so much energy to give, my intention here is to be intentional about where I am investing my energy.
5. keep my orchid a l i v e. This beauty you see behind my notebook is my third. If you’ve seen How to Lose a Guy in 10 days, orchids are akin to the love fern for Alex + I. So far I’ve managed to kill two of ours. Fingers crossed this third one is a fighter because my green thumb is seriously lacking.
lmk,
do you set intentions?
if so, what are some of yours for March?
xo

Matcha Craze

If you’re not overly familiar with it already, matcha is the new thing. The green drink is sweeping the social media sphere. My first experience with matcha wasn’t the most pleasing. I had what technically was an iced matcha latte but really was green powder blended with water. I have really come around to matcha since then, thanks to much better blending, higher quality matcha and some delicious recipes.

Matcha
Matcha latte & avo toast at Holy Matcha in San Diego, CA.

Before getting into the ways to bring matcha into your life, here are 5 reasons why you should hop on the green drink bandwagon:

  • Antioxidants, specifically catechin, EGCg. Antioxidants are crucial if you want to protect against UV radiation and keep your skin looking young, youthful and not a day over 18 (yes please). EGCg, a specific kind of catechin found in matcha is the king of this and most recognized for its cancer fighting abilities. SOLD.
  • Find some zen. For basically forever, matcha has been used by Japanese Buddhist monks as a method of relaxation. Matcha contains an amino acids called L-Theanine, that helps the brain to relax, without causing drowsiness.
  • Energy for days. Nope, this isn’t counter-intuitive to the previous point, matcha is just that magical, transforming you to a calm, energetic being. Matcha’s combo of nutrients provides a natural energy boost.
  • The tea leaves of the matcha plant are high in chlorophyll (hence the green color). Chlorophyll helps to remove toxins, including heavy metals, from the body.
  • The least scientific, most objective, and very important final fact – it tastes good. If you purchase good quality matcha, use a good technique or recipe to prepare (see below), your body can reap all the benefits of 1-4 while you sip on some sweet deliciousness.

Ways to enjoy matcha – tea, latte, smoothie, baked goods….drumroll….even as a delicious donut. Here are some of my favorite matcha recipes:

For the classic latte Love and Lemons is one of my favs.

For the most beautiful bright green smoothie bowl ever, Minimalist Baker has you covered.

For an easy breakfast to go, Rachel Mansfield’s matcha overnight oats.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, A Beautiful Mess’s matcha tea donuts.