You Can’t Hack Health: Why Good Habits are Key to Focus, Performance, and Confidence

Ah, the eternal struggle: wanting to be healthy, energised and confident, but not quite knowing how to get there. We’ve all been there, and let me tell you, it’s not as simple as just hitting the gym or guzzling down caffeine. Sorry to break it to you, but you can’t out-exercise a poor diet, you won’t gain energy on crappy sleep, you’ll struggle to feel productive with ineffective breathing and you’ll find it impossible to focus throughout the day, surviving on too much caffeine and not enough water.

As your friendly neighbourhood healthy habit coach, I want to first talk about something that I’m sure many of you already know: you no amount of physical activity can sustainably offset poor food choices. Trust me, I’ve tried. I once convinced myself that I could eat an entire pizza and then just work it off at the gym the next day. Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. As much as I love pizza, it’s just not sustainable to think that you can eat whatever you want and then burn it all off with a sweat session. Look, I’m not saying you can’t indulge in a slice of pizza or a sweet treat every now and then. I mean, life is short and sometimes you just need a little pick-me-up. But if you’re relying on junk food to fuel your body, you’re destined to have a bad time.

The truth is, a healthy diet is key to feeling energised and focused throughout the day. So put down the junk food and pick up some leafy greens, lean protein, and low-carb sides. Your body (and taste buds) will thank you.

Speaking of energy, let’s talk about shitty sleep. We’ve all had those nights where we toss and turn, or fall asleep but wake up feeling like we never slept at all. It’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a Super Soaker. You might be able to get a few flames under control, but the fire will keep raging until you bring in the big guns. Those nights where you wake up feeling like you got hit by a truck? Yeah, those are the worst. And then you try to power through the day with caffeine and sugar, only to crash and burn later on. It’s like trying to run a marathon after a night of heavy drinking – not gonna happen. It’s a vicious cycle and you feel groggy, unfocused, and just plain irritable.

Here’s the thing: you can’t gain energy on crappy sleep. No matter how many energy drinks you chug or how much sugar you consume, if you’re not getting quality sleep, you’re not at the top of your game. So put down the Red Bull and pick up a good book (just not too close to bedtime). Make sure your sleeping environment is comfortable, cool, and dark, and aim for 7-8 hours of shut-eye a night. Your body (and mood) will thank you.

Next up, breathing. Yes, breathing. It’s something we do all the time, but we often don’t think about how we’re doing it. If your posture sucks, you’re definitely not breathing effectively, so you’re not getting enough oxygen to your brain and muscles, which can lead to fatigue and brain fog. It’s like trying to swim across a lake with a rock tied to your ankle. You might make it to the other side, but you’ll be exhausted by the time you get there. It may seem like a no-brainer, but so many of us don’t breathe properly. We’re taking shallow breaths as if we’re scared of oxygen or something. We may hold our breath when we’re stressed, and we don’t even realise we’re doing it.

Newsflash: breathing is kind of important. Like, we need it to live and stuff. So if you’re not breathing properly, you’re not gonna feel like a million bucks. Ineffective breathing can leave you feeling tired, anxious, and unfocused. On the other hand, deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help you feel more relaxed, focused, and energised. Take some time each day to focus on your breathing, in and out through your nose (not your mouth) and notice your breathe in your belly. You’ll be amazed at how much more recharged you feel.

So take a few deep breaths right now. Inhale through your nose, filling your belly with air, and exhale slowly our your nose, releasing any tension. Feels good, right? Keep doing that throughout the day, especially when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

Last but not least, let’s talk about everyone’s favourite pick-me-up: coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a good brew as much as the next person, but too much coffee can actually have the opposite effect of what you’re hoping for. If you’re relying on caffeine to keep you alive throughout the day, you might want to rethink your strategy. Chances are you’re also not getting enough water, which can lead to dehydration and fatigue. Drinking too much coffee can actually lead to jitters, anxiety, and a crash later on. And if you’re not drinking enough water, you’re not helping the situation. It’s like trying to run a marathon in thongs, or worse, Crocs. Sure, you might make it to the finish line, but you’ll be hobbling and cursing the whole way there. Or, imagine trying to jumpstart a car with a AA battery – it might work for a little bit, but eventually, you’re definitely gonna run out of juice.

Dehydration can leave you feeling tired and unfocused, so make sure you’re sipping on water throughout the day. And if you need a caffeine boost, try switching to green tea or matcha, which have less caffeine but still provide a little kick.

So, what’s the solution to all of these problems? It’s simple, really. Good healthy habits. Eat a balanced diet, get enough quality sleep, focus on your breathing, move enough and drink plenty of water. It’s okay to not be perfect with every single habit all the time. It’s just about being aware of every single thing we do in a day and making informed decisions about our actions. It’s not a quick fix or a magic pill, but it’s the only way to truly achieve focus, performance, and confidence.

In conclusion, you can’t hack health. There’s no shortcut or secret trick that will make up for bad habits. You have to put in the work and make daily habits that promote a healthy lifestyle. So, let’s make a commitment to good daily habits and watch our focus, performance.

Remember, good daily habits are like the fuel that keeps your engine running smoothly. You wouldn’t put cheap diesel in a Ferrari, would you? No, you’d treat that baby right. So treat your body right, and it’ll treat you right back.

Loz Antonenko is a Healthy Habit Coach, consultant and author in Ipswich, Qld. She’s been featured on West Bremer Radio, Ipswich Local and more! If you’re curious about skyrocketing your happiness, health and vitality for unstoppable focus, confidence and focus, sign up for her free Discovery Call.