Healthy Habits Challenge—With Revolution U’s Melissa Novack

Matt and Melissa Novack

Things have been getting kind of squishy around here, and I’m not just talking about my waistline. With no set work schedule, no big deadlines and no office or events to go to, we don’t have much structure in our days to keep us accountable. To stay on course, Laura and I have to rely on our own mojo and good habits, and they could use a boost. So we’re kicking off 2021 with a challenge that requires us to devote just a few minutes a day to developing healthier routines. Thankfully, we’ve got Melissa Novack, founder of Revolution U, to help us out.

Melissa has decades of experience helping people get healthier in body, mind and spirit. She’s a practicing psychotherapist, yoga teacher and co-founder of True Mind + Body, a wellness center on Chicago’s North Shore. Her husband Matt is also a fitness instructor. During the pandemic, the couple started teaching classes over Zoom and created a library of workout videos for their clients. This shift to virtual training and coaching inspired the couple to create a comprehensive online/in-person wellness community that’s based on the principles in Melissa’s new book, Revolution U—Change your habits, change your life: a step-by-step program & daily planner for intentional, feel-great living, $29.

The book doesn’t provide a specific diet or work out. “It’s really about discovering yourself,” says Melissa. “You start with who you are as a human being, then decide how you want to feel. The revolution is that you don’t have to stay the same. You can make a plan and decisions ahead of time about who you are.” Matt adds “the book is a workbook with questions that invite you to go deep into your own mind.”

One tool Melissa embraces is “habit stacking”—bundling a number of healthy habits together to make them easier to remember and include in your day. The process seems pretty straightforward, so Laura and I are starting there. After talking with the Novacks, it was apparent that I would benefit most from a better evening routine while Laura was looking to fill her mornings with more purpose. Melissa helped design a plan for our specific times of day.

For me, that means shutting off all screens at 8:30pm, brewing a cup of tea, doing a short beauty routine, writing in my journal and then reading a book until lights out. Nothing fancy, but it’s a prescription that prevents the snacking, doom-scrolling, wine drinking, Netflix binging and other naughty things I can turn to when I’m running low on energy or stay up too late.

Laura already has a good bedtime routine, but her mornings feel a little unanchored. She’s stacking new habits around brushing her teeth in the morning. As soon as she’s done brushing, she’ll find a cozy place to write in the Revolution U planner, following the prompts about how she wants to feel that day and what she’s grateful for. Then she’ll meditate for a few minutes on her intention for the day.

The refreshing thing about our Healthy Habits prescriptions is that these small tasks are really quite pleasurable, which is Melissa’s goal. “I want people at the end of the day to feel like a success,” she says.

Can just a few minutes of small positive changes make a meaningful difference in our lives? We, your faithful Style Challengers, are about to find out. We’ll report back after a week of our new mornings/evening habits. Be well!

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