Friday, 16 March 2018

How to detox your lifestyle

To quote Mean Girls, "When you get bit by a snakeyou have to suck out all the poison, that's what I had to do, suck all the poison out of my life”. Okay, so maybe that is a little over-dramatic, but it is not uncommon to find that most models of change begin with removing the ‘poison’. Diets often begin with detoxes, financial plans start by eliminating your bad debt, and lifestyle changes start with your environment. It makes sense, not only are there loads of benefits of having a ‘clean start’ (but I’ll go into that later) but what we don’t realise is that in making change it is not all about making positive steps forward, it is also about eliminating our bad habits, and sometimes that is much harder.
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The first thing I would recommend everyone doing is having a really good spring clean. Yes, that may seem dull, and you are going to be even less enthusiastic when I tell you that I mean cleaning everything. Focus on your living environment as if the queen is paying you a visit. Take a day or two to blast loud music while you clean, and again ensure that you organise everything, go through every drawer, file every receipt. At the same time, if you are a bit of a hoarder like I am then try to clear out some things that you no longer use or need, such as clothes that you no longer wear.

Trust me, I’m not just trying to bore you all with this. There is some logic as to why cleaning your environment will help you in achieving your goals. Sounds daft, but whilst scrubbing away the dirt in the house, it is symbolic of also scrubbing away the negative parts of your life that you wish to change, seeing the clean home after your hard work makes the changes feel achievable. You also see the areas that you are hiding away when you are forced to clean everything. There are guaranteed to be jobs that you have been putting off for so long that you have forgotten that they even need doing, and as you do these jobs and methodically work through what you need to get done you will begin to feel more in control of your life. Finally, the most obvious benefit of this is your ability to function in a clean environment will be much greater than in clutter. It is easier to maintain, you have more space to think, and you’re spending way less time digging for your keys in the morning.

Most people follow the same, or similar routines every single day of their lives. We shop in the same stores, take the same routes to and from work, talk to the same people, watch the same TV shows – and then wonder why things in our lives aren’t changing when we want them to. Now, I am not going to say you need to be up at 4am and heading to the gym because this post is all about cleaning up bad habits, not creating new ones (yet).

Take a moment to have a look at your routine on an average week – write it down or plan out a schedule in an app or a diary if it helps, I use this weekly planner to help me. This will show you the amount of time that you are spending on activities that are not going to be helpful for achieving your goals, but also shows you an indication of how much free time you have. It may be that you have very little spare time each week that you are going to be able to utilise when you do add in your new behaviours, which will mean that you need to be very strict and organised to get things done. It may even highlight that you are spending time on activities that are not going to benefit your goals which you could better use. For example, if you spend an hour per day cooking you may be able to save time by bulk-cooking on your day off. If you spend two evenings per week in the pub you may be able to spend some of that time doing a sport together or spend some of the time working towards one of your goals.

Everybody will have heard the expression “Healthy body, healthy mind”. Whilst you are cleaning up your environment it is also important to look at your own personal health. It may be that you feel you live a pretty sedentary lifestyle or that your diet is not particularly great, and if this is the case it is likely to be having more of an impact on your life and wellbeing than you realise. Food and nutrition can massively influence your physical and mental health, but again, we aren’t talking making massive changes here.

You’ll want to monitor everything that you currently do. Keeping a log of what you are eating and exercise either in a book or on an app will show you what you are taking in on a regular week. I used a fitbook to show my exercise and eating habits, and it helped to show me the small changes I could make. By doing this while you are on the go means you won’t miss any sneaky snacks through the day. You may notice that you are not drinking enough water, or that you are eating too much convenience food and you can use this to identify where you want to improve, and then make small steps to changing your diet by removing the negatives. Think ‘clean’ when you are making your changes, and try to swap out any unhealthy foods in your diet for a healthier option that is as similar as possible  - In my first week of “eating healthy” I removed all fast-food, sweets, and convenience meals from what I was eating, and tried to make home-cooked versions on my own, and tried to make sure that I wasn’t skipping meals anymore. it doesn't have to be difficult either, I used the Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredient Meal book to help give me some quick and easy ideas. Within 3 days I was feeling healthier and more energetic!

What a lot of people don’t realise is that trying to remove negative habits takes as much motivation and energy as it does to start new and healthy activities in our lives, and that our usual strategy of trying to do everything at one time can be overwhelming for us, which is why we often fail in our goals. By taking the time to “spring clean” our lives before trying to make any big changes it means there is space in our lives for these new activities, we have less conflicting behaviours that may lead to failure, and we can see positive changes in our lives already making us more motivated to take on the world.



  1. Some very good points made here, I need to work on my bad habits and look at ways that I can improve my overall life by being more strict with myself. I definitely need a proper clean of my living space, and to look at my diet!

    Lauren :) x

    1. Thanks Lauren =) I've always been into the idea that a clear-out is the best place to start making any changes... Plus it stops you having anything to distract you when you come to doing things, the amount of times I've put off doing important things to do a load of laundry that's suddenly life or death is unreal!

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