The Case for Bite-Sized Healthy Habits

If you’ve ever filled out a ‘Wheel of Life’ tool (also known as the Life Balance Wheel), you know that it can be a simple and powerful way to visualise the degree of fulfilment you have in the important areas of your life.  

The sections resemble the spokes of a wheel and represent aspects such as family and home life, health and wellbeing, and career and finances. The idea is to see which areas of your life are flourishing and which ones need some work. 

While this can be a helpful way to assess how we’re feeling about various aspects of our lives, we also need to be careful that we don’t compartmentalise these areas, believing they’re separate from each other. In reality, our lives are more than the sum of our parts. How you are doing financially can impact your mental health or home life. Your health can impact your career and so on.  

We can unknowingly create a limited checklist for our health and wellbeing, focusing on one aspect of our health while ignoring the others. For example, we might tick off our scheduled exercise time but forget about the importance of sleep, nutrition or managing our stress on our health. 

We can fall into the trap of believing that our weekly exercise sessions tick the health box and if we just do that one big thing then we will be healthy. We don’t realise the impact that small, bite-sized habits can have on our health and wellbeing.  

Think of it this way – it’s like scheduling a weekly ‘deep clean’ session with our dentist while failing to brush or floss our teeth throughout the week. I know, nobody wants to see the dentist weekly but hear me out. Forgoing the small little habits we can do within a few minutes in the hopes that one longer session will take care of our dental hygiene is analogous to scheduling a couple workouts per week but eating crap, ruminating on unhelpful thoughts and sleeping poorly throughout the week.  

Don’t get me wrong - planning out and spending time exercising is certainly a win and if you’re doing that keep going. The invitation here is to build some micro-habits alongside the planned big-ticket events.  

This also helps offset the ‘all or nothing’ perfectionist mindset many of us can fall into, which often sounds like: “Oh well, I slept in and don’t have a full hour to go to the gym, so I can’t work out today.” 

Or when you’re trying to cut down on sugar, “Well I’ve already had one bite of cake, I might as well eat the whole thing.” 

Look for micro-moments to invest in your health and don’t underestimate the power of tiny habits and choices throughout your day.  

  • Create opportunities to stand up for just 2-3 minutes or move around several times throughout your day to offset the detrimental effects of prolonged sitting.  
  • Try winding down and heading to bed 20-30 minutes earlier throughout the week instead of hoping to play catch-up with a sleep-in on the weekend.  
  • Go for a 10 minute for a walk in the sunshine for a more energising break than a ‘pick me up’ coffee and social media scroll. 

Get creative and think of some bite-sized habits that you can weave into your day. It’s like doing the daily maintenance of brushing and flossing regularly rather than relying on a weekly/monthly/yearly ‘deep clean’ approach.  

It’s easier to remember to floss when you’re already in the habit of brushing your teeth.  

Likewise, it’s easier to stack some bite-sized habits on top of something else you’re already doing. Have a regular team WIP meeting? Make it a standing one. Already make a morning cup of tea or coffee? Slow down and give yourself space to notice your thoughts, be present and really enjoy it.  

When we diversify our health strategies, the impact of slipping up in one area has less of an impact because we have steady stream of other habits in place. The other benefit is that once we’re in a groove of implementing one bite-sized habit, it’s easier to stack another on top of it, creating a kind of snowball effect as one rolls into another, picking up speed and making a bigger impact.  

This is why we focus on our 10 Healthy Habits. You don’t need a massive lifestyle overhaul; you just need to add in some bite-sized strategies that add up to make a big difference in the long run.

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