In fitness and in life, I encourage people to take baby steps. I have learned that making small changes at a time can really lead to a more significant impact. Trying to do everything 100% all at once can create an overwhelming effect that can backfire. By giving yourself time to adjust to change, you’ll have a better chance of success in making positive changes in your life.
Below are five healthy habits that you can incorporate slowly into your daily life. Again, start small and increase when you are comfortable. Rome was not built in a day, and your body won’t be either.
Hydrating the body is a necessity of life. Without water, we cannot function. The ultimate daily goal here is 1/2 your body weight in ounces. For example, a 150 lb person should try to drink roughly 75 ounces of water a day. If this sounds overwhelming because you aren’t drinking nearly that amount, aim for 1/2 of the total and increase it every few days until it becomes part of your daily routine. Are you dehydrated? That can drain your energy and make you foggy-brained throughout the day. Keeping yourself hydrated is one of the key steps to better health and better living.
If you’re like me, Monday mornings start the week with a bang that often does not let up until Friday afternoon. Having food prepared for meals on the go or prepped for easy-to-assemble dinners will make your life easier and remove a source of stress from your daily routine. Plus, you can prepare meals that are much healthier than last-minute take-out meals or the unhealthy choices you can pick up on the way home out of convenience.
Some ideas may include hard-boiled eggs, cut-up veggies, and washed and stored fruit, including cut-up pineapple and melons. A tasty snack to have on hand consists of a variety of berries and bananas. I also love to grill a bunch of chicken breasts, make a big batch of black bean quinoa salad, and cut up sweet potatoes for easy-to-bake fries. Keep your fridge stocked with Greek yogurt, frozen fruit, and coconut water for quick smoothies in the morning or an afternoon pick-me-up.
Did you know it takes more energy to think and act negatively than it does to send positive thoughts into the world? We sometimes may act positively and do nice things for people, but internally, the way we talk to ourselves is often negative and self-sabotaging. I challenge you to stop every once in a while and think about what your internal thoughts are really projecting. See if there is any way you can turn that thought into a more positive expression or way of thinking. You might just surprise yourself.
Also, question if you are being judgemental, not only of people, but of places, things, situations, ways others do things, and even how those around you dress or talk. If you can’t think of a positive thing about someone, stop thinking about them. Move on. The longer the negativity resides in your head, the longer it is stealing time away from you to live a healthy and happy life.
People often think that if they can’t get to the gym, their workout is blown for the day. The truth is that activity can come in many shapes and sizes. Walking from meeting to meeting, gardening, grocery shopping, walking the dog, taking the stairs… you get the picture. If you are moving, that is an activity. Set a goal, though: I would love to see you get 30 minutes a day at the very least. And yes, if you can raise your heart rate a couple of times a week and for longer, bonus!
I’m not sure who coined the phrase social media, but in my opinion, it seems to be anything but. Sure we communicate via text, posts, tweets, and email, but nothing beats the experience of human interaction. Funny enough, a video that went around social media titled “Look Up” is an excellent example of how our lack of face-to-face communication is creating a void and detachment both internally and externally and that we are on the verge of incredible isolation. If you find you would rather hang out at home on Facebook and Twitter than interact face to face, it might be time to cut back on the screen time. You owe it to your health and happiness.
These five healthy habits are just the start of what you can accomplish if you start to live a healthier, more active life. It’s really not that hard: move more, eat healthily, remove stressors, drink water. These are the no-brainers in our lives. And while starting a new routine or making daily changes can be hard at first, you’ll acclimate in no time and be happy you did.
My favorite saying is ‘Do something today your future self with thank you for.’ I look back on the healthy habits past me started, and I’m so thankful that lady took the plunge, made an effort, and made the sacrifice all for my benefit. Be the hero that future you deserves.
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