The Friend magazine recently shared the true story of a girl who didn’t like her freckles. When she looked in the mirror, that’s all she seemed to see. Her mom encouraged her to pick up a pebble and hold it close to her eye.
“What do you see?” she asked. The daughter responded that all she could see was the rock. The mom told her to put the pebble down and take another look. Now what did she see?
“Lots of things,” the daughter said, pointing out the ground, flowers, and grass. The mom then taught the daughter that she is much more than just her freckles—she’s smart and patient and a daughter of God.
“Think of yourself as a whole garden, not just one pebble. Then you’ll be able to see yourself the way the Savior sees you.”
-“Helping Children Appreciate Their Bodies”, June 2015 Ensign, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
So last Sunday, I decided to fast from all social media (besides this) for a while. I realized that social media is my distraction from creating my own self and understanding who I am. I look at the people and lives on Pinterest and Tumblr and compare their best to my worst. I often feel ugly and pathetic from that comparison and try to fill the voids in my life by shopping and spending hours on my self image. I made the mistake of letting the amount of trendy clothes or length of my hair or lack of acne determine my worth. I thought that social media helped lift me up and inspire me, but instead, I think it’s (more often than not) fueling my insecurities.
This picture is captioned, “I can’t paint”. When I first saw this picture and read that caption, I cried. I am always looking outwards instead of inwards. How often do we feel that our lives are inadequate and worthless when we ourselves as individual human beings are a masterpiece? No longer should we match our self worth to our self esteem. As my counselor said, “We should esteem ourselves to our worth”.
It’s time to think about some things… Let’s ask ourselves some questions. Do I love my life? Out of 1-10, how productive am I in a day? Do I often make excuses for things I know I should be doing? And now the most important one: Do I love myself?
If you feel some kind of guilt after reading that (I do), read these 8 life-changing, simple habits to create a life that you can fall in love with (and a better body!):
1. Make fruits and vegetables HALF of every meal & snack.
Not just a quarter of your meal, or a few grapes a day… half of every meal and snack should be straight up raw or steamed produce! Guys, this is one of the most beneficial lifestyle changes you will ever make. It will keep you fuller longer, reduce your cravings, and supply your body with the vitamins it needs to make your hair grow longer and to make your skin glow (along with a million other benefits). But trust me, with this habit alone, I noticed a difference in my body immediately.
2. 2 L of water a day.
If you’re anything like me, this is a tough one to accomplish! I used to carry around plastic disposable water bottles and would forget about them, but I invested in a Camelbak Eddy last year, and I TESTIFY that it’s magically easier to drink more water a day. Maybe it’s because the straw is wide or something, but you get more water per sip and it makes it easier to meet that 2 L goal. If you have the same water bottle as me, that’s about 2.5-3 full bottles a day.
3. EXERCISE… No ifs, ands, or buts!
A common excuse I hear is, “I am a student/active worker and I have to walk a lot to class, so that’s enough for me;” but trust me, it’s not if you are trying to lose weight or build up strength. To become better at anything, you have to do more than what you are currently doing. Your heart rate does not meet the requirements it needs to grow stronger and burn fat by such a low intensity that walking 20 min bouts provides. This doesn’t mean you have to take up sprinting or MMA, but do at least a half hour a day of something that does get your heart pumping. I like Blogilates online workouts because she works you to death in around 10-20 minutes with simple moves you can do in a small space. I do 100 jumping jacks every morning before I shower and every night before I brush my teeth/wash my face. It gets me sweating and it’s just a few minutes a day.
Ha I bet you didn’t expect this one. I almost didn’t write this because homework is my least favorite thing right now, but let’s be real–when you have your grades up, you feel so much better about yourself. Other parts of your life come together and it relieves stress and helps the future you. If you’re not a student, keep learning! Read articles that interest you! Watch tutorials and vlogs on YouTube, or ask a friend to teach you a skill such as knitting, weightlifting, or calligraphy. It’s a beautiful thing to gain and retain knowledge. You will never regret learning new skills. They always come in handy.
5. Clean out your life.
Dedicate some time and a corner of your room this week to go through your belongings and donate or throw away what you don’t need. Do this to your old documents, your pantry and medicine cabinet, clothes, etc. Be realistic. Letting go of “things” lifts off a weight I can’t put into words, but it’s a beautiful way to simplify your mind and it gives you some me-time to reflect on the past and dream about the future. Repeat this when you crave that feeling again, because it’s addicting to minimalize and organize your own life.
6. Make lists for everything.
Ok, this may not be for everyone. But this works for me and many of my friends. I have a master agenda (a Lilly Pulitzer large agenda) and write down everything you could possibly think of. School and work and extracurricular activities go in the actual agenda pages, and then I have lists on index cards or post-its on those pages that include groceries, songs I want to hear, books I want to read, people I want to reach out to, acts of kindness that I think of, etc. Making lists makes remembering tasks easier for the future you. I wouldn’t remember anything about my life without my lists haha.
Oh, this is important: Think about the future you on December 31 of this year. Think about what goals you want to have accomplished by that date. And write them all down in a big list. Mine is super long. It includes goals for internships, jobs, certifications, exercise, relationships, money and more. I can share this with y’all later if you want to share with me your goals in the comments!
7. Give thanks everyday.
Make this the first thing you do when you wake and the first thing you do when you lay down for the night. Think about all of the awesome things in your life. Your family, your journey, even your burdens. Give thanks for it all. It makes life beautiful. And accepting things the way they are now and moving on is the key to happiness.
8. STOP GIVING UP.
I always go on healthy binges and then turn to my lazy habits again. Let’s stop this wretched cycle! Write down your reasons why you
want need to be a better you and then read it when you feel that weird lazy way. Get up. Get dressed. Keep moving. Eat that apple.
Love y’all and hope that these 8 healthy habits make a way into your life. They’ve helped me, and I want to support everyone on their journeys to their best selves.