Habits and routines

New Year Starts Now: Game-changer habits

Claire offers some game-changing habits that offer quick wins and instant gratification.

Woman smiles at the camera holding a water bottle.

Show Notes
Program note: Hey, glad you’re enjoying the podcast! In this episode, you might hear Claire talking about Nutritional Freedom and Foundations. Since we launched the podcast in 2020, we've undergone a makeover to improve the membership experience. For more, listen to our "And we're back! All the updates!" episode.

Claire Siegel: You're listening to the Flourish podcast. I'm your host, Claire Siegel, founder of Flourish. We're on a mission to help women get healthy for good. Join me each week for a new episode that'll help you sustain healthy habits and nourish your body so you can Flourish in life.

When it comes to nutrition, does it feel like you know what to do, you're just not doing it? Or maybe you find yourself stuck in this annoying all or nothing cycle. If it sounds like I'm reading your diary, well, that was my diary for a while too. And it's also the story of the thousands of women I've personally coached.

That's why I created Flourish, the nutrition and body image support app made for women. If you recognize that diets don't work, but "just not dieting" isn't helping you feel your best either, download Flourish today. Your first live session with one of our credentialed nutrition and psychology experts is totally free, no credit card required.

From there, you'll continue your journey with personalized accountability and support so that once you graduate from Flourish, you'll never need another nutrition program again. So head to the show notes and download Flourish for iOS or Android today.

Coming soon!

We are in the process of adding transcripts to our entire back catalogue. New episode transcripts are typically available within 24 hours of the episode release.

Hello and welcome back to the Flourish podcast. It is Saturday, January 21st when I'm recording this podcast. And I shared that for a couple of reasons. The first reason is to prompt a question or perhaps some reflection space for you. Um, just kind of a check-in. How, how have things been going for you?

We're three weeks into the new year, how have the goals intention, habits, all the things that perhaps you kind of set out in early 2023 to, to, to work on, to improve on, to install, how have things been going? I have definitely heard from a lot of people that it's been a crazy start to the year. I know.

I've definitely felt that. So I'm curious how things have been going and if the answer is not well, then we'll move on to um, my second reason for mentioning the date of this recording, which is again, Saturday, January 21st, um, which means that this podcast episode is late. It's at least a day or two late, and you know that's okay, because one of my intentions for this year is to invest more time, energy, intention into this podcast.

And I know that will happen, and I'm giving myself a lot of grace there. I am giving myself permission to do it imperfectly. I am reminding myself that done is better than perfect, and that an episode going out a day late is better than an episode not going out at all. It's better than, saying, "Screw it, I'm not gonna do the podcast anymore."

And so I offer that to you, um, as an option, as a way of thinking that's available to you. As you think about where you are in this year in light of, again, the goals, the intentions, the habits that you're working on in 2023. If you started off strong in week one and that hasn't continued in the, you know, ensuing weeks that's okay.

I encourage you to maybe get curious about why that happened, to offer yourself kindness and understanding in response to those reasons. And if it feels right, to get back to it. Right. Especially if, if again, the habits, goals, and tensions that you set are ones that are still important to you, that still align with your values, that still represent, you know, what you desire for yourself, both currently and in the future.

It's, it's what I'm doing, not only with the podcast, but with other goals as well. Right? Other goals that I have been imperfectly tracking towards and I sometimes have to remind myself of that, you know, of all these things. Like I said, done is better than perfect. That the goal is not, the goal of goals is not to be perfect.

It's just to be better, to, um, show up better, to treat myself better, to feel better, to, like I said, live more in alignment with my values and, and with more in alignment with what I want for my current and future self. So anyway, I, I share that because I think it's, Easy to fall into the trap that everyone else is doing better than you.

Everyone else is doing it perfectly, and you're not doing it at all. And the truth is, that's, I think, not the case for, for most of us, and you get to decide how you wanna move forward. Like I said, if you've quote unquote, fallen off the wagon, well, what do you wanna do about that? If, if that is a state that aligns, if that's a state that you wanna continue in or continue with?

That's totally fine. That's available to you. And just because it happened, the "falling off the wagon," I mean, and I'm doing air quotes here cuz I just don't love that way of  thinking and talking to ourselves. But just because it happened doesn't mean that it has to continue to happen. And, and like I said, I'm, I'm coaching myself here just as much as I'm, I'm coaching you.

So anyway, um, welcome back. I'm happy to be here. , even if it's a little bit late. And thank you for being, uh, flexible with me on, on that front. Maybe you didn't even notice. So, um, a couple weeks ago on the pod, I shared with you kind of the first 30 days of what a Flourish journey looks like. And, you know, you probably have gotten the gist that a lot of what we do in Flourish with our, with our members is some, some deep work, um, around nutrition, body image, healthy eating, behavior change. Because most of the women that enter Flourish know what to do or, or at least have some sense of what to do. And maybe there's like some, um, you know, clarifying we need to do. That's, that's definitely part of it. Like education and guidance is definitely part of it, but a lot of it is,  around like, okay, so you do know what to do, or now you know what to do.

What are the barriers to actually doing it? That involves, like I said, deeper work, um, thought work around your mindset, your limiting beliefs. Um, psychological flexibility are basically like having space between you and your thoughts and feelings, not believing every thought that your brain thinks up. Um, doing a lot of work around emotional processing.

Again, all of these things in service of ultimately sustained behavior change and value aligned living, and that process does take time  and a lot of the, the benefits accumulate over that time towards a greater sense of kind of like long term gratification and that's awesome. I think in our most like intentional and conscious state, when we're thinking the most clearly, we recognize that, like that's what we want, and then our lizard brain kicks in and it's like, okay, but I want it, like right now. I wanna change right now. I wanna do an overhaul of my life right now.

Okay? And there's nothing wrong with that. I think, um, acknowledging it is really powerful kind of labeling it is really powerful. And installing habits that give you some of that, you know, juicy, instant gratification, can be really good too. It's really important too, right? It's like I'm always thinking for our members, like, okay, what are we tracking towards long term? And also what is like the low hanging fruit? What are the the behaviors or thought patterns that we can focus on right now for like that instant gratification?

So today I wanna get really practical and share game-changing  habits that offer quick wins or like near instant gratification. I feel like these are habits that make you feel good or better right away. They're habits that can set you up for a good day. Um, and the sort of like disclaimer here is doing a game changer habit doesn't always feel good, but the positive outcome is received like near instantly.

Okay, so these are, some of these are habits that I do. Um, that have become, like I said, my game-changing habits and things that I really am, am I try to be intentional about. Does that mean I do them perfectly? No, no, no, no, no. But it also means that when I don't do them, it doesn't mean I've fallen off the wagon. It just means I didn't do it. And I just return to these game-changing habits.  When, when it makes sense, when it's available to me. And I never make myself feel bad about not doing them because what is the freaking point? What is the point? Shame is not an effective behavior change tool, okay?

Um, I also crowdsourced some game changing habits from our amazing team of coaches here at Flourish. Again, these are habits that our coaches engage in imperfectly because we're extremely human here at Flourish. And then some of these are also habits that their members engage in, um, that are game-changers.

Okay, so as we are going through this list, or as I'm going through this list, I invite you to kind of consider each one to think about. Could this fit into your life? Could this improve your life? Um, are there like one, two, maybe three that you could install in your life, again, probably imperfectly to get some of that amazing game-changingness?

And, and something else to observe and witness with curiosity and compassion for yourself is like, is your first inclination to say, Yes, I wanna do them and I wanna do them all and I wanna do them right now. And if I don't do them 100%, I might as well not do them at all?" That's something interesting and we'll talk about that, um, towards the end of the episode. Um, I'm gonna talk about some, like, mindsets to just keep in mind and to be aware of.

Okay, so let's, let's start. Again, these are kind of in no particular order. Um, I'm gonna talk about what the habit is and, and some of the, those instant wins or quick wins, instant gratification benefits that you may receive as a result of engaging with this habit, okay?

Game-changing habits

#1: Sleep enough and get high quality sleep

Habit number one is sleeping enough, also getting high quality sleep. And we could do a whole episode on, um, great sleep hygiene practices or, you know, basically habits to engage in to ensure that you're getting enough sleep and getting high quality sleep.

But oh my gosh, I know for myself sleep is like my, it is, it is really a non-negotiable, um, in so many ways. Again, does it always happen all the time? No. There are factors that interfere with my sleep, but I will put many, many things behind my intention of getting enough sleep. Okay. So if you're someone who struggles with low energy, if you're someone who struggles with cravings,  like uncontrollable cravings, it may be worth looking at your quality and quantity of sleep.

We know that actually just one night of insufficient sleep increases your hunger levels, increases your cravings for carbohydrate, and that's not something that's wrong with your body. It is an incredibly smart mechanism because when your body senses that you are low energy as a result of of not enough sleep, well, you wanna know how else you get energy? Calories.

And you wanna know the best kind of quick source of, of energy? Carbohydrates. So it makes total sense, right? It's actually, um, again, really, um, survival promoting in the, the most like core sense of the word, but it, it may not be working for you in kind of like our modern world where survival is not like, so at risk, so number one, at least for me, is sleeping enough.

#2: Eat food and drink water before having caffeine

Okay. Um, game changing habit number two, having some food and water before caffeine. Okay, that's a big one. Okay, again, related to to energy. Um, chances are you may reach for caffeine in response to low energy. And that's, you know, fine. I am, I'm certainly a caffeine girly, y'all know I love coffee. We have a very tenuous relationship, but I do love it. It doesn't always like me. Um, and so I have to do, I do have to just swap out for matcha at times.

Um, but having caffeine on an empty stomach, one, it can just be kind of challenging on your digestive system. It also can spike your cortisol. And so getting some food, getting some water in there can, can help kind of like mitigate some of those, um, ex experiences.

And again, food and water are sources of energy that your body needs, right? Um, and so you may actually need less caffeine than you realize when you offer your body more kind of sustainable sources of fuel in the form of enough sleep,  enough food, and enough water.

#3: Eat protein at breakfast

Game-changing habit number three, eat protein at breakfast.

Just try it. Just try it. If you aren't getting a good, solid, sufficient source of protein at breakfast, try it. I, I see this in, um, a lot of our, our members coming into Flourish is that they're undereating or eating like, kind of, um, not well-balanced meals, especially early on in the day. And the consequence of that is often chaotic eating patterns, whether it's grazing on snacks throughout the day, or feeling very hungry to the point where you are, you know, overeating, eating past your body's needs, things like that.

And oftentimes the, the grazing or snacking or overeating is labeled as the problem, but it's really just a symptom of the problem and including a solid source of protein  at breakfast and, and again, eating a balanced breakfast, eating enough breakfast, um, can be a game-changer. Now, if you feel like, if, you know, not everyone is a breakfast eater, and that's okay.

Um, if you're someone who isn't hungry for breakfast, doesn't eat breakfast, um, and like, really, oh my God, we can get into like what even is breakfast. It's like a social construct. I'm just talking about your first meal of the day. Um, you are breaking the fast. Anyway. If you're someone who, who isn't hungry in the morning and you're not maybe experiencing some of those side effects, um, or those like consequences, then maybe this, this game changing habit isn't for you. But especially if you are experiencing those consequences, something to think about.

Related to that, I have heard from so many women this fear of snacks. Um, and I do think that there's a difference between a snack and snacking. Okay. Like having a snack. To me that's like having a mini meal that is there to address a lower level of hunger experienced in between larger meals as a, um, again, a response to hunger that also mitigates or prevents extreme feelings of hunger that result in overeating. And that is a really great practice.

Snacking, I think for many of us, what we interpret is like grazing on unsatisfying or non-nourishing foods. So those are two different things, and having a midday snack is a great thing to do. Meeting your hunger needs is a great thing to do, and for many people, if you're having lunch at noon and dinner at seven, It is really normal to feel hungry at like three to four and meeting your body's signals, meeting your your body's, um, calls for food in the form of hunger with a midday snack can be a game-changing habit again, especially if you find that without a midday snack, you perhaps get home from work or you wrap up your day and your ravenous. You know, scavenging the pantry before dinner. You are, um, again, feeling kind of chaotic around food, things like that.

#4: Consider movement, not just exercise

Game changing habit, I don't know what, what number we're on.  That was a bad idea. I have this list written down and there's not numbers here, and I'm not gonna pause to add numbers. So let's just keep going. The next one is considering movement and not just exercise. Okay. I did not want this to be true, but I have to tell you that the walking pad, the, like under the desk treadmill, It was the best purchase I made all last year.

I really, it, it's, listen, listen, it does in some ways break my heart to think that I need to be a little hamster at my desk walking and working, because otherwise, like I won't move throughout the day and like, you know, why is that and what is that rooted in? And da, da, da, da. But, the fact of the matter is the way my life is set up right now, if I am not walking and working, then I'm sitting and working and I don't feel good, then. I actually feel lower energy.

Um, oh my God, my hips hurt, my like butt hurts. , like my, like my muscles, my hips get really. Um, and, and I'm not, and I'm not moving. And I, I know that that has, again, those like game changing instant benefits and it's movement is just good for your long term health and wellbeing and longevity. So I think a lot about movement, not just exercise.

Exercise is great, right? Um, movement is also great. And for me at least, getting a walking pad under my, under my desk has been a game-changer. So if you're on the fence, that's my take on it. I, I resisted it for a very long time. I thought, no way, it's overrated. It's over-hyped. I'm never gonna use it. Let let the desire pass and the desire did not pass.

And I use it all the time. I use it most days of the week. I just absolutely love it. And in fact, if it wasn't loud, I'd be doing it right now I take internal calls. Like with my team from my walking pad, I don't do external calls typically with it, and I certainly don't do client calls when I'm walking on it.

Just, I don't know. You, you know. You know what I'm getting at. Okay, let's keep going, Claire.

#5: Journal daily

Daily journaling. Oh my goodness. Is this a game changing habit? And it does feel like one of those things that I don't always wanna do. And then after I do it, I am always glad I did. There is just something to be said, forgetting your swirling thoughts and feelings out of your head and on to paper.

Okay, so this could take the form of, maybe it's something simple. Cause I know journaling can feel really intimidating If you wanna do just like some simple gratitude journaling. That's awesome. I have been really enjoying just like stream of consciousness journaling. Look up a practice called Morning Pages.

It's basically where you just sit down and write what is happening in your head in real time. Um, you don't need to always have kind of an agenda for, for journaling. It can just be, again, a space where you empty your brain. And I actually, I do like journaling in the morning, but I oftentimes find that I feel like I need it more at the end of the day.

So I've been really enjoying actually like bringing my journal with me into bed and,  kind of as I'm winding down for the day, I'll sit, I'll, you know, be in bed with my journal, doing some stream of consciousness writing, and then I'll read and go to bed. And that's been like a really, really nice, um, kind of evening pre-sleep routine for me.

And again, you'll just be amazed at how cathartic it is. It is a really, really great way of kind of like processing your thoughts and feelings, um, because unprocessed thoughts and feelings can cause quite a bit of turmoil. It's also the benefit of getting coached, by the way. Um, it's kind of like, I don't know, it's like journaling on supercharge mode.

Okay. So now I'm, now we're starting to get into some of the, um, game changing habits suggested by our coaching team. Um, one that came up across a few of our coaches was this idea that I'm calling "minimum viable tidying." So like, just like a bare minimum like morsel of cleaning to help you feel a little bit more calm put together.

Um, so a couple things that got mentioned were like having a shut down routine in the kitchen. You know, wiping down your counters, making sure dishes are put away, um, making the bed as kind of a minimum viable tidying. Um, something that I sometimes do is like, I'll set a timer or put on a podcast and just say like, okay, just get as much done in this window of time as you can and, and feel good about that.

#6. Reflect your day with a Rose, Bud, and Thorn

Okay. Um, oh, I loved this one from, from Kristen, one of our awesome coaches. She says that she shares a rose, bud, and thorn of the day with her partner. So the rose, you know, your rose of the day is like something, your favorite thing that happened today? Uh, a highlight, um, of the day. Thorn would be obviously kind of like the low point of your day or maybe a challenge that you faced, and then a bud is something that you're looking forward to.

So Kristen mentioned that she does those as kind of like a wrap up for the day with her partner, and I just thought that was like such an awesome idea and I, that may be a game-changing habit that John and I add to our routine cuz it feels like a good, a good, a good reflection.

#7: Create coziness

Another theme that came up across our coaches was this idea of like, what I'm calling "creating coziness.'

So taking the time to, I don't know, light a candle or put on a diffuser or use a weighted blanket or heating pad. Um, to, again, this is kind of just related to your environment and how your environment can really, um, be a game changer, I think in either direct.

#8: Do one thing at a time, being present in the moment

Okay. And this last one is one that I will admit I am really working on.

It is not a habit that I have installed yet, um, but it is a work in progress and I know something that I greatly benefit from. But again, it's kind of like that, that medicine that's like a little bit tough going down, but then you feel better right away. Um, it's one I've been working on with my coach. And that is the idea of just doing one thing at a time and being incredibly present in the thing that you're doing.

Um, I find that from like morning till night. , I'm, you know, listening to a podcast and making my coffee. I'm have music on in the background and I'm reading and listen, there's something to be said for temptation bundling, and we do talk about that. But I find when I kind of look at my day, look at my life, I'm like, wow, I'm always kind of doing two things at once and, and honestly just like processing a lot of information throughout the day.

And I really believe that it makes me feel depleted at the end of the day and just not as kind of like tapped in and present to my life. So I'm working really hard on doing one thing at a time. Monotasking, when I'm at work. Even my coach said something the other day about how she doesn't, when she takes her dog on, on a walk, she like doesn't listen to music.

She doesn't listen to, to a podcast, which like, if you know me, you know that. I can't even imagine that. But she said something and it's really stuck with me, so I'll share it with you. She said, "It's my dog's favorite part of the day. Shouldn't I just be there with my dog? Like, isn't it, what a, what a gift to just be present and like share in that moment basically with my dog."

And I just looked at Murphy and I was like, wow, I, I'm not present with you, my daughter, my fur baby . So, um, that really stuck with me and I'll say I've been going on very, very present walks with Murphy this week and it is, It is really sweet and lovely and I do actually feel better and recharged after the walk rather than feeling like all I've done is kind of like push more information into my brain.

Okay. Those are some game changing habits. Think about, again, are the, are any of these game changing habits that you're already engaged in? Are there some that stick out to you as like, wow, if I, if I could install that, it would be a game changer that like really set me up for success for the rest of the day and kind of have this like positive domino effect.

Um, are you like, . Okay. I wanna do all of them. Okay. Okay. Maybe, maybe we, we look at that, maybe we examine that. Maybe we consider the, you know, sustainability of that we consider if that's a reasonable thing for you or not. Um, because the goal of these habits is that you actually install them and get to experience the benefits, um, which will mean that it needs to be realistic, it needs to be sustainable.

And oftentimes doing them all, all at once. It just won't be, you know, and that's, that's tough. I, you know, I struggle with that as well cause I wanna do all the things all the time, obviously.

Game-changing mindsets

#1: Eliminate "All or Nothing Thinking"

All right. Now, real quick, let's talk about a couple of mindsets to bear in mind as you're exploring installing your own game changing habits.

I have two I wanna just highlight for you. They're really common and you may notice them coming into play and being able to actually like label them and decide what to do about them is that's its own game changing habit. Okay, so number one habit to be aware of. We talk about it all the time, but that is "all or nothing thinking."

So you may be thinking, again, if "I can't do all of these, I may as well do none of them." Or, "If I can't do this one perfectly every single day, I might as well not do it at all." That is all or nothing thinking it is, um, a, a big barrier to sustained behavior change. So just again, be aware of it as it comes, as it comes up and decide what you wanna do with it.

Again, do you wanna keep kind of like falling into that pattern or do you want to find that space in between all or nothing? If you're listening to this podcast, you probably do.

#2: Do not discount the power of small changes

Okay. Um, the second mindset to be aware of. And it's, and it's really related, but, um, that is the, the mindset of discounting the power of small changes.

Um, this is one that I work through with our members really, really often. And it's also part of why I framed this podcast in this way, because I believe that, you know, all these, these habits that we're talking about, they are game-changing habits, in the way that they give you some instant gratification.

They feel good right away. And the, the, the real power comes into kind of like how you will feel, the changes you'll experience as you do them repeatedly over time. And if you can focus on how good it feels to do them in the moment, then that can be one way that you combat that, often kind of automatic, um, response, which is to discount the power of small changes.

"Oh, this isn't enough."

"Oh, this won't make a difference."

And that can very quickly kind of devolve into all or nothing thinking. Um, so again, just, just a couple of like mindsets or even like thinking traps to be aware of as you are considering which of these game changing habits to install on your own.

All right. Thank you for being here. Thank you for allowing me to show up imperfectly. Um, even if it's a day, a day late. Um, we're, we're all here for Done is better than perfect," "Something is better than nothing." I'm bringing that energy proudly into 2023. I hope you are as well, and I will see you next week.

Bye y'all.

Claire Siegel:

Thank you so much for joining me for today's episode of the Flourish podcast. If you enjoyed it, please take a second to leave us a five-star review or better yet, share it with a friend. And if you're ready to start your own journey to get healthy for good with accountability from expert coaches and the support of an incredible community, head to the show notes to get started on your Flourish journey.

I'll see you in the next episode.

Headshot of Claire Siegel
Claire Siegel
Co-founder, CEO
Claire Siegel is the founder and CEO of Flourish. Claire has made it her life’s mission to help women create a sustainable approach to their physical and mental well-being.

Heal your relationship with food and your body.

Explore our free membership to know if Flourish is right for you.

No credit card required

One-on-one non-diet nutrition and body image coaching via video, voice, or chat.


Weight-inclusive approach to your physical and mental health.


Get started for free. No strings attached.