Do you want to eat healthier? Are you trying to get in better shape? Would you like to sleep better?
If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you are, like most people, on a continual quest for improvements in your health to reduce your risk of disease, slow the aging process and feel better. Changes to nutrition, activity, stress, sleep and other health behaviors are keys to preventing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer. But big changes are often difficult maintain. Setting health-related goals and then breaking them down into smaller, realistic steps has proven to be an effective approach for creating healthy habits and achieving long-term changes in behavior.
Below you’ll find a number of small steps that you can do each day to help you live more healthfully. Go through the list and decide which ones fit your goals. Pick one or two steps to accomplish in the first week. The next week, repeat those same steps and add one or two more. And so on until you’ve added all the ones you initially chose to tackle. The key is to repeat the behavior every day once you start it. Before you know it, you will have some new habits firmly in place.
1. Drink a glass of water upon waking. This will wake you up and jumpstart your metabolism.
2. Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast for some added fiber and antioxidants.
3. Include greens such as baby spinach, romaine lettuce or kale at both lunch and dinner.
4. Fill half of your plate with colorful vegetables at lunch and dinner.
5. Snack on protein (yogurt, string cheese, hummus, nuts, hard-boiled egg) AND a fruit or vegetable. The combination of the protein with the high-fiber produce will leave you feeling fuller for longer.
6. Make a shopping list before going to the market and only purchase what’s on the list.
7. Eat something before going to the market to prevent impulse purchases.
8. Read the Nutrition Facts panel and ingredient list on food packages. If you can’t pronounce an ingredient, you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
10. Include protein (aim for 20 grams) such as eggs, turkey or chicken sausage, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese at breakfast.
11. Bring snacks with you to work or school so you are prepared when you get hungry.
1. Stretch your body as soon as you get out of bed.
2. Walk your dog.
3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
4. Park your car in the section of the parking lot that is farthest away from your destination.
5. Every hour, get up and walk around for 5 minutes (at the end of an 8-hour workday, you’ll have walked for 40 minutes).
6. Do calf raises when standing in line.
7. Do chair squats twice a day.
8. Use half of your lunch break to take a walk.
9. Organize walking meetings.
10. Meet a friend for a walk or bike ride instead of coffee.
1. Wash your hands.
2. Go to sleep and wake up at the same times every day.
3. Sit up straight to improve blood flow and energy to all parts of your body.
4. Meditate for one minute, twice a day.
5. Practice deep breathing. Inhale for a count of five, hold it for a count of five, and exhale for a count of five. Repeat two more times.
6. Unplug from all of your electronic devices at least one hour before going to bed.
7. Inhale pure lavender essential oil for relaxation.
8. Laugh out loud—watch a funny clip or talk to someone who will make you laugh.
9. Do something you love—draw, sing, listen to music, read—at least once a day for a few minutes.
10. Help someone out—hold the door open for others, say “Bless you” when someone sneezes, and say “thank you” to anyone who does something nice for you.