I was thinking about how brides prepare for their wedding day - fitness campaigns, diets, wedding DIY ...
And I thought about how all these things often prove to be a bit temporary - activities that you drop after the wedding itself.
However, while you are preparing for your wedding it's a good time to get into some good habits that you can keep long after the big day. So here's a list of 10 things you could start doing and continue after you are married that will have long-reaching good effects on life. Good habits shouldn't just be for your wedding day - they're for life!
- Drinking water. We all know that we're supposed to drink 8 glasses or so of water every day. But that's a hard habit to keep up. The best way to keep a habit is to start small and have small goals, rather than ones which are unsustainable. So why not start by drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning when you get up? That will help to get you rehydrated for the day ahead and drinking a single glass of water is much more attainable than trying for a goal of eight. If you add more than one glass of water it's a bonus. But start with one first thing and see how you get on.
- Stretching. If you're on a fitness campaign or trying to improve your general fitness you'll know that stretching is a good thing. But instead of doing it just before and after you exercise, set a goal of stretching first thing every morning for 10 minutes after you've had a shower, so your muscles are warm. Work out which stretches you should be doing and then if you don't do any other exercise that particular day, you'll know at least you've done your stretches.
- Sort out your finances. You know that setting a wedding budget is important before you embark on wedding planning. But actually this is a good time to get your finances in order for the future as well. Sit down with access to all your bank statements, work out which bills you have coming in on a regular basis and what your direct debits and standing orders are. Decide how much you need to allocate to each area of your life - rent, mortgage, council tax, gym membership, food, car, entertainment, clothing etc and see what you're spending already. You may discover some forgotten standing orders and direct debits that you don't need to be paying any more for services that you don't really use. You'll find some great tools for budget planning here.
- Your teeth. You may be investing in tooth whitening or braces before your wedding day to ensure that you have a fabulous smile in the photographs. But decide now that looking after your teeth is going to be a lifelong habit. So get in the habit of flossing every morning and evening after you've brushed, make appointments to see your dentist every six months for a check-up and clean.
- Walking. Recent research shows that walking every day has fantastic longterm effects on your overall health. So rather than embark on a short-lived fitness campaign that you're not going to be able to keep up, resolve to walk for at least 20 minutes every day (which adds up to over two hours a week). Maybe you could walk some of the distance to work (pack those trainers so you're comfortable). Maybe you could take a 20 minute walk in your lunch hour. It's also a great activity for weekends with your other half and will give you the chance to talk to one another.
- If you are on a fitness campaign, think about how you can continue it. Maybe you've started running as part of your regime. In which case, after the wedding why not join a running club so that you've motivated by others and can take part in 5ks, 10Ks, or even a marathon. It would be a pity to let your wedding fitness go to waste afterwards.
- Healthy eating. You may have decided to go on a diet before your wedding. Rather than go back to your old habits, think about how you can use your newfound healthy habits in meals in the future. Maybe do a meatfree Monday? Take salads to work instead of sandwiches. Save drinking alcohol or eating chocolate for weekends?
- Posture. I've written a few blogs on posture and how important it is for brides to have good posture as they walk down the aisle. But good deportment - the way you stand, walk and sit - isn't just for the wedding day, it's for life. Stand up straight and you'll look better, feel more confident and will have more presence. Slouching in your chair is never a good look. So be aware after the wedding of how you are sitting, walking and standing and keep it up!
- Manicures. You'll want your hands to look good on your big day so all those photographs of you holding hands, showing off your wedding ring and flowers, show you at your best. So if you've taken to wearing washing up gloves, slapping on the handcream and having regular manicures then keep up these good habits. Have some washing up gloves by the sink along with a tube of handcream. Make sure you always have handcream in your car, in your handbag and in your desk drawer. Use it every time you wash your hands. As for manicures, you can attend to your cuticles and nails at home (a good thing to do when you're watching TV) and treat yourself to a manicure whenever you can. If you can afford it, go to a nail bar or beauty salon regularly for a professional tidy-up.
- Your relationship with your fiancé. Getting married is exciting and an adventure and a new start for you both. But that adventure continues long after your wedding day so make sure you always try and get time together - away from friends, family commitments and work. Schedule data nights. Find stuff you both like doing together - whether it's cooking, running, gardening, visiting art galleries, going skiing or whatever interests you share. Your finances will probably alter and you may have new commitments - like a new family together - but always try to bear in mind why you got together. Keep talking to one another and working on your relationship.
Remember it takes about three weeks for something to become a habit so don't expect instant results. Decide on what good habits you want to keep up and keep at them until they become second nature.
Have you any more tips to add? If so, please add a comment below.