Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Habit-A-Week Challenge Begins (Again!)

Last week I promised I'd bring back the Habit-A-Week Challenge, which I started in 2008 as a way to help people get motivated and have a concrete, *exact* thing they could do to start improving their health (click the link to read the original post about this challenge). The concept is a simple one: make small changes, slowly, so they become part of your LIFE, not just some crash diet. So often, we decide to lose weight and try to change so many things at once that it is overwhelming and hard to keep up with. After a week or so it gets exhausting and we give up. This challenge is so easy that you might say, "oh that cannot POSSIBLY help me, that simple little thing." But, in fact, if you make ONE simple change each week for the 16 weeks of the challenge, then at the end of 16 weeks you have 16 new healthy habits that are ingrained into your life. So much easier to do one each week than try to do it all at once. The time is going to pass anyway, why not try it?

The thing I like best about the challenge (because I do it with you) is that no matter what level you are on, you can participate. Each habit can be implemented on *so many * levels. I'll give examples in each challenge. So whether you're a beginner or a fitness/health expert, you can take the healthy habit each week and improve your life.

Every Tuesday I will post a link to a prior Habit-A-Week post for you to read. But I'll also add more information to it, so that if you did the challenge last year you can use this (as I will) as a refresher course to strengthen all the healthy habits. And I might throw in a couple of new Habits, too!

So, here's Week 1's Habit: Fix your water intake. Please click here, read the information, and then come back to finish reading this post.


Okay, so that's the challenge for THIS WEEK. You don't have to do anything else if you don't want to. If you are eating junk and laying on the couch all day and just trying to find a way to grab on and fix your life, do this one thing. Just this one habit. Make this week a success for that ONE step, and then next week you can add another step. Okay?

If you're already doing well with this habit, find a way to improve it. Some ideas:
If you drink tap water, consider getting a pitcher filter to get the chlorine and other contaminants out of it.
If you drink plastic bottled water, buy yourself a nice PVC free reusable water bottle and start using that instead. Saves money and the environment.
Or pick one of the Advanced Habits in the linked post.

What I am doing already:
Right now it is an ingrained habit to get up in the morning and drink 16oz of water right away. I have 16 oz of water/green tea with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I also drink a cup of water with every snack, anytime I feel hungry, and when I feel like eating off plan. I use a PUR water pitcher to filter my tap water. Other beverages: skim milk, unsweetened iced tea, NO soda except a very rare Enviga green tea soda (5 calories).

What I am going to do to challenge myself this week:
I am going to work on getting 2 cups of green tea per day into my body. I always get one cup, but two would be much better. I am also going to start using unsweetened almond milk in place of the skim milk in things like cereal. I like Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla... it has only 40 calories per cup compared to 80-90 calories per cup of skim cow's milk.

Please leave a comment telling me what YOU are going to do this week to improve your intake of water or other fluids. I'd love to hear more ideas! Let's get hydrated!


Enz said...

Water is my challenge right now, so this is perfect timing. I work in a construction trailer and lots of water = lots of pee breaks = going outside in the cold multiple times a day!!!

So..I'm going to keep drinking my water and look at the trips to the washroom trailer as extra exercise!

Thanks for this. I'm going to link back to this post from my blog too.

Jen said...

I am so doing this!! I am pregnant ith #3, so my losing weight is on hold, but I need to do better with my water!

spunkysuzi said...

I am definitely joining in on these challenges!!

Water it is :)

Laura I. (G.G.) said...

I like the idea of drinking a glass first thing in the morning--will try that.

KatDoesDiets said...

Great idea. Very all inclusive and encouraging to everyone. And, something I am horrible at, lol. Thanks for the reminder.

Jen said...

I love this topic! I do need to make some big changes this year, but the first step is always the hardest. Thanks for kicking me toward the door!

Lea said...

I drink tons of water during the day IF I make an effort to start with it first thing. So, I'm going to try your suggestion of drinking a 16 oz glass first thing in the morning. I'm also going to go shopping for a filter pitcher.

I love the healthy-habit-a-week challenge! Yay!

Losing 100 said...

Count me in! I'm good to go for the next 16 weeks!

Mzchef said...

This is just great! I was doing ok, but my eating got out of control during the holidays. THis will get me back on track. Thanks! I think what will help me the most is having a morning drink of water. Normally, I just drink a cup of coffee, but having water will remind me to eat breakfast and take a multivitamin.

kelly said...

I've been reading your blog for quite sometime and have commented a few times. This is a FANTASTIC challenge. Small yet effective steps. Thank you, thank you, thank you for putting the effort into this. Count me in!

Vickie said...

in the winter I drink part of my daily water HOT with a lot of fresh lemon squeezed in -

tea (even herbal) tends to bother my bladder.

So the hot water thing with LOTS of fresh lemon is perfect for me.

I love when you run these hints - because every single one of us - no matter where we are in our process can benefit from the recommitment/refocus.

Seren_Sighs said...

If I work out an hour a day I need 95 ounces. Who knew?

I guess I'll try to drink more. I feel like I already drink a pretty decent amount but with the cooler/dryer air I probably need more to hydrate my skin.

I also hope to drink at least one cup of green or white tea a day, preferably two.

I'm glad you brought this back! It'll be great for all of us.

Karyn said...

I'm glad you have brought back this challenge, Lyn....it will be the perfect way to start the new year.

Water is one of my 2 biggest problems (the other being exercise). I once had a system for getting all my water in, but it has been a huge challenge to try get the habit back in place.

I will take your challenge to change this ONE thing this week!

James Kid said...

I am going to drink one glass of water right when I wake up.
I love your blog. You are so insightful and the information that you provide is great.
Thank you and keep on trucking!

Tiff said...

I'm going to bring 2 24 ounce water bottles to work everyday to save money from using my plastic water bottles and get the water I need everyday. In fact- I won't let myself go home from work until I have finished both bottles!

Natasha Vaughn, Designer said...

This is definitely a habit I need in my life. I'm joining you in this Lyn. Thanks for the motivation.

Ruby N. Esque said...

You mean, you get right up and drink 16oz of water even if you are NOT hungover????
Just kidding.

Evidently water is a good place to start this year.

I'm joining you on this one. Have the bottle, just need to use it more. The water bottle that is.

Good luck -- Ruby

Julie Lost and Found said...

I have been doing well now for 8 weeks or so with water intake..I take in at least 128 oz a day. However, I'm unhappy in that I really would like to use a Brita filter or something similar. Also, I really would like to get in more green tea in the morning. I need to take the time to fix myself one or two cups of green tea daily.

rachel said...

I really need to drink more water. My problem is that I drive a schoolbus for a living and that means 3 hours, twice a day, with no hope for a bathroom break. I was wondering if you had any advice... thanks for the motivation! Since your fast food post (yuck!) I have been thinking about why I treat myself so badly by eating all of that crap. As of Jan 1st, I have prepared EVERY MEAL I HAVE EATEN!!! The crunch in the taco meat visualization is what I think of every time I am tempted. *GAG* :)

Lyn said...


You're doing great :)

As for the bus schedule, I guess my advice would be to take a water bottle and start drinking about 45 minutes before you'll be seeing a bathroom! And then stop sometime before you have to drive again. Try to fit the water in either extra early or after work I guess... maybe you can drink a full 16oz of water on a weekend and then time how long it takes before you have to pee. That might help you schedule it in.

Good luck :)

Sarabei said...

I am a big water drinker - it boils down to me being cheap and tap water is cheaper than bottled water and pops or juices. ha When I first started though, the thing that helped me make sure I was getting my water was to have one cup, my cup, that no one else touched. Since it was just water, I don't wash it every time I use it, and as soon as it's empty, I fill it up and start again. Now it's just habit to always have my cup o water wherever I go. :) And yes, there are lots of pee breaks!

bigloserblogger said...

Your blog is a great inspiration! I love to read it. I am starting a new one and would love feedback if you have time to check it out:


screwdestiny said...

I like the Habit-A-Week Challenge. :)

I'm already pretty good at getting my recommended water in each day. And I only drink skim milk. People say it tastes like watery milk, but I don't see much difference. But I could drink tea. I guess. It tastes like grass (lol), but I guess I can try.

Anonymous said...

nothing. i already drink tap water. good luck with your goal

Ms. PJ Geek said...

I'm joining the challenge. I drink a lot of water , but the hydration calculator indicates I'm needing to actually drink 113 oz. Ohhhh..I'm going to check out the almond breeze milk too.
Started today .
Here's something I do also that is a good addition/substitute for morning coffee.
Lemon juice and I also wash the lemon off and put a slice in the water with a little cinnamon and sweet n low. I call it lemon cin water, but It is very comforting to a sore throat and is supposed to have hot lemon water is supposed to be good for bowels/bladder.

Steve said...

Oh, oh! Another Challenge...WOOHOO!!! I'm in.

I think my water intake is pretty good...when I'm at work only. We have a filtered water dispenser and I have a 32oz cup that I fill and refill several times a day.

It's when I go home that it gets bad. This is when I usually only up drinking soda, and if I do drink water its tap water. I've been meaning to get a filtered water pitcher, but for right now I'll settle on drinking at least 32oz at home daily (on the days that I work). If I'm off work I'll shoot for 64oz.


Crabby McSlacker said...

These are great ideas for getting more water!

I finally got in the habit of drinking a bunch in the morning when I first got up. Otherwise, I'd realize towards the end of the day I was low, and try to make it up in the evening. Of course then I'd be getting up all night to pee!

Your plan is much better.

MsMagnetism said...

Hi Lyn. I have been having such a hard time lately getting on track and staying on track. I start out the day okay and always fall apart by the afternoon. I think this is just what I need to get myself back in the right direction. Something small that I can focus on, even if my eating isn't the best I will get my water in.

I started the morning off with a 16oz glass of water, followed by a healthy breakfast & a cup of decaf black tea. I then had another 16oz glass of water and a healthy snack. So far, so good. I think starting the day off with the cup of water helped..Thanks for doing this challenge again.

Larkspur said...

Ooh, I want to do this one. And I want to do water. I think my plan will be to fill a glass of icewater and keep it by me at intervals throughout the day-- something I am not doing now.

Amy said...

I drink a lot of water but I'm going to start drinking a big glass as soon as I wake up. Since I exercise immediately upon waking my muscles will work better.

Hope @ Hope's Journey said...

I really like what you're doing with the habit-a-week challenge. I think the most difficult part of making a lifestyle change is knowing where to start, and this gives new readers a great starting point. I know that when I first started out, I literally had NO idea about how to start. Of course, I knew I had to cut back on my portions, but I literally knew nothing else.

Great post, and again, great idea!

Anonymous said...

I recently read that the most likely time to have a heart attack is first thing in the morning, because you body is dehydrated and your blood is thick and sticky. So, I'm going to start there, 8 oz of water first thing in the morning. I'll branch out from there after I get that under control. Thanks for the inspiration.


Jennifer said...

I personally can't drink large amounts of plain water without nausea, but I do 64oz of Crystal Light (well, the generic version, anyway) every day. I'll work on adding to that though, since I know more hydration is always a good thing.

Moongirl said...

Thank you for this. I am willing to drink more water! And I am totally getting one of those pitchers.

PatriciaW said...

I had exactly this thought this morning. It worked for me last year. I lost 23 lbs and kept off 18.

Beginning again. The easiest one for me to start with is drinking water. Time to fill the cup!

Tina said...

I'm always working on a water challenge and the thing that helps me the most is being reminded! I have my sister IM me or set a timer or something. Just reading your post I chugged 8oz. Thanks for bringing back the challenge. I loved it last year! :)

God's girl =) said...

what an AWESOME idea! Habit-A-Week Challenge is ON! lol. Really tho, I'm liking this. I'm totally with you about making lots of changes all at one time is too exhausting. Water is the best but also what a challenge! lol. =)

Thanks for the idea!

Anonymous said...



I so desperatley want to lose this weight before I turn 30 in november and I am bound and determined to do so!

love ya Lyn!

Boo Bear's Place said...

I followed your challenge somewhat when you done it last year. I really need to get a grip on life right now and what better way to start with doing this challenge.

I'm going through a separation from my husband who was my world until he cheated on me. It hurts but its not only me he's hurting but our 3 year old daughter too. I need to start getting in touch with my own life and finding out who I really am. I want to feel better about myself and how can I love anyone if I don't even love myself right now?

jenn said...

I found this challenge a bit late this week, but that's okay. I already started drinking water this week. I'll be following along with the rest of your challenges. Very cool idea.

Cynthia said...

I am joining in late, but better late than never, right?

I definitely need a lot of water to stay hydrated and feeling good, and I've let my drinking slip. So I've got my 16 oz. cup and am ready to drink up, especially that first glass in the morning. I'm also trying to prepare and drink a pot of green tea daily... sometimes going for a second steeping. My pot makes 36 ounces worth, so that's a help.

Thanks for this!

single lutheran said...

I just did the hydration calculator, and I should be drinking more around 98 ounces, which is just over 12 glasses a day. That's good to know. Thanks for sharing that link in your original post.