Make sure you are ready and fired up. Set your goals and know your “why”. This helps you to commit and get through the speedbumps and setbacks. Would you like to sleep better? Feel more connected to family? Walk every day? And WHY? Perhaps you have a family history of ailments that you’d like to avoid, or you want to reconnect to your former athletic self. This WHY will drive your HOW to adopt new habits.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Commit and Plan
Once you commit, plan to succeed. You can start tomorrow if you wish, or take a few days to plan and prepare.
Trying to change your behavior without changing your environment will lead to failure. Now is the time to set up your home and your kitchen for success.
Prepare Your Home and Office
You will have a much easier time following Four Always, Four to Avoid if you don’t have candy on your counter and a pantry filled with chips and soda.
Prepare to make this easy by printing out and pasting the visual guide and de-cluttering your pantry, kitchen, and refrigerator: physically remove foods that would be off-limits or too tempting such as candies or junk/processed items, and clean your countertops of any kinds of snack foods (that open bag of chips, the box of crackers). Out of sight and out of house!
- Remove the Avoid Foods from your house: throw out the soda, candy, chips, cookies, bacon, sausages. (You might have to hide these or put them on a top shelf if your family members protest.)
- For the Avoid Foods, sugar-sweetened beverages includes those fancy coffee drinks that Americans love so much.
- Stock up on the Always Foods like beans (canned are fine), nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables.
- For the Always Foods: Although the less processed whole grains are better, 100 whole grain products in bread or pasta form are okay too.
- Put a bowl of fresh fruit on your counter.
- Make a list of the Blue Zones recipes you like.
- Do some meal planning for the week so that grocery shopping is easy. You can also go full throttle and subscribe to the Blue Zones Meal Planner (get $20 off a yearly subscription with the code LONGEVITY20).
Prepare Your Apps and Trackers
Get ready to increase your step count to 10,000 steps per day by downloading the Apple Health app on your iPhone or Google Health app on your Android device. You can also buy an inexpensive pedometer at your local drugstore or online.
Download and print the Blue Zones weekly tracking sheets and materials. Even if you are going to keep track of your activities on your digital calendar or on a digital spreadsheet, hang up the printables where you can see them every day.
Starting a new behavior seems like the hardest part of the process of change, but it’s actually maintaining behaviors that are the hardest part of behavior change. That’s why your Blue Zones tasks and activities over the next month will help you create an environment and social circle that are mutually supporting—so that these healthy behaviors aren’t work, but become the default option.
“Create a lifestyle and environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice.”Dan Buettner
Three Tips for Success
- Don’t quit. People can and do put themselves through cabbage diets, soup diets, cleansing diets, and smoothie diets. This is not a deprivation diet. We don’t expect perfection, but we know that you’ll be pleased with your progress if you stick it out—you can do this!
- Make every day count. Unlike other programs, Blue Zones Life is a LIFESTYLE change. Many things affect our health and longevity, and they are often mutually supporting. (So if you don’t get a good night’s rest, it’s hard to exercise or eat healthy the next day. Even if you slip up, try to do as many of the BZ prompts as you can.) If you are feeling sick and can’t do 10k steps, make sure to eat your Blue Zones meals and to combine as many of the other Blue Zones Power 9 and activities as you can.
- Talk about this. Get support. Get help. People in blue zones lived in communities and enjoyed village life. If they didn’t show up to church or the temple or to the village festival, people came knocking on their door.