How to create a sustainable wellness routine...

Written by: Keshni Gami


Healf Journal

Starting your wellness journey doesn’t have to be difficult- in fact, it should actually make your life easier. If we approach the idea of health & wellness as if it’s Everest, it will never stick. Who wants to climb Everest every single day? If your habits are consistent, your outcomes will be too. And the easiest way to repeat your routines is to actually find joy in them. Keshni Gami, founder of A Better Pill shares how to level up your wellness game for results that actually stick, and achieve an overall more enjoyable life.

Perfectionism is the enemy

Imagine if someone who was allergic to dogs was striving to be a dog groomer. That’s ludicrous. So why do we strive for perfection when it’s equally as unattainable. “Nothing is impossible” is a nice little motivational saying, but can often be unrealistic. When you’re starting a new hobby, goal or journey it’s vital to understand that done > perfect

As humans, we like when the things that we intend to happen, to go to plan. We enjoy routine and structure- it’s human nature. However, when we trying to control things in a bid for perfection can quickly eradicate happiness. Control is a physical & mental impossibility for the majority of things in life. Life is designed to be uncontrollable and often makes things more exciting. Attempting to control everything simply equates to a subsequent failure for our expectations to be met. This can be brought back to Mo Gawdat’s Happiness equation:

Happiness ≥ Perception of event - Expectation

Thus, aiming for perfection and control means your expectations will always be out of reach, and happiness is lessened or even in some cases, impossible.

How to plan effectively

For any goal to be reached, a plan is necessary. But it’s so easy for us to get this step of preparation wrong, which makes the journey much harder than it needs to be before it’s the journey has even started. It’s a hard balance - planning in too much detail can enhance guilt when there are bumps in the road, and planning too loosely can mean it’s hard to maintain. 

A tip to optimise your planning for any goal you have is to plan in pencil. This acts as a psychological cue, as its erasability allows for flexibility. 

If the road to your goals is not enjoyable, it’s likely that you’ll never reach them. Life is meant to be lived, so avoid focusing on your outcome being ideal when the process is 99% of the journey. Don’t be unrealistic with what you expect from yourself- and remember, you wouldn’t let your phone battery get low and expect it to work optimally, so don’t let your energy get low.

You are more than 24 hours.

A bad moment often makes us think it was a bad day, which could even cause us to believe that it was a bad week. Humans have a cognitive bias known as the ‘Negativity Bias’, which means that no matter how optimistic you believe yourself to be, we’re all pessimists deep down.  If you’re received 5 compliments in a day and 1 insult, humans naturally pay more attention to the insult. To remain focused and proactive, it’s important to make a conscious effort to recognise when this cognitive bias kicks in, and replace it with rational and positive thoughts. 

Some find it useful to keep a list of things which make them happy or what they are grateful for on their phone. Then the next time a negative thought comes into their mind, they try their best to think of as many things which are positive in exchange. Chances are, you’ll forget all about the negative thought. This practice takes time to get used to. It will be tough to stop, recognise, accept and reframe your negative thoughts at the start, however the more you do it the easier it will get.

Food for thought, literally...

What we put into our bodies is vital to our productivity. Everyone is different- some like to train fasted and some need food before. Whilst others require small snacks when they’re working and others prefer nothing. As with most things, it’s a balancing act. Lack of carbohydrates, for example, can hinder our ability to concentrate but the conflicting thought on the other hand, shows that having too much can also reduce productivity by spiking our blood sugar and causing a crash of energy later on in the day. Foods that are high in carbs increase serotonin and tryptophan, i.e the hormones involved in lethargy. This doesn’t mean carbs are bad, they are actually our body’s main source of energy (as well as being delicious!) However if you’re wondering why your work flow is worse in the afternoon than in the morning, consider the impact of your sandwich and crisps at lunch.

Don’t overthink it - but having the fundamental knowledge of how food affects our productivity is useful to help us optimise our routines. For example, many people use intermittent fasting as a tool for productivity with others jumping on the bandwagon with weight loss claims.

Whilst fasting does reduce the window in which you eat in the day and often causing you to eat less, for fat loss, Intermittent Fasting is probably not the best method. If you’re in a calorie deficit and delaying your eating window, you could put your body in a state of stress, leaving us clinging on to ‘excess weight’ as the body sees us as being in ‘survival mode’. Similarly, waiting until later in the day to start eating can see your performance and energy negatively impacted.

However, when wanting to focus on productivity it can also have its benefits. Fasting in the morning when your focus is needed means that the hormones which induce tiredness aren’t released until after you eat, and your focus is easier to maintain. Similarly, we may also find ourselves ‘ignited’ by stress hormones which in some cases can be helpful for productivity - but should be avoided regularly and long term.

From an evolutionary perspective, this makes logical sense - when we used to hunt for our food, we’d have to be alert and focused when we were hungry. After we’d eaten, our goal would be fulfilled and serotonin would be released to prepare us for relaxation.

The bottom line

Starting and maintaining a wellness journey requires work and commitment, just like anything else in life. But, implementing these tips slowly and steadily can make it easier to get a head start that is manageable. Enjoy the process to enjoy your life - view the outcome of achieving your goal as a bonus. Actually enjoying the process is the only way that you can be consistent, and the only way you can succeed is through consistency. Allow flexibility for life to catch you off guard and prioritise your day so you don’t end up wasting your energy on the things which don’t deserve it.