Start your new year with simple shifts that produce big results
Good health is something we’re all after, but in truth, the finish line looks different for everyone. Someone who already eats well may supercharge their health by cutting down on sugars and sweets even further. Or someone who currently eats the standard American diet may feel lighter and healthier after adding more greens and a short daily workout.
Health and wellness are more of a journey than a destination, and you don’t need to make drastic changes to make a difference.
Here are 7 simple changes you can make to incorporate more health and wellness into your life today:
1. Commit to change
Before you change a single thing, you must change your attitude. Think about the reasons why you’re planning to make this change and why they’re important to you. Maybe it’s about your own health, or perhaps it’s about being around to spend more time with your loved ones. There are no bad reasons to get healthy, so feel free to be honest. Even if you just want to look better on the beach, that’s a good reason. The reasons will help motivate you to get you through the rough times. Get your head straight now to keep yourself committed to living a healthier lifestyle.
2. Get better sleep
Sleep is such an important part of the health equation. If you want to be healthy, you must get quality sleep. There’s no way around this one. Start by giving yourself more time to sleep. Set your bedtime for 8+ hours before you have to wake up in the morning. The goal is to get 8 hours of sleep every night, but you may need more or less. If you find you’re waking up before the alarm clock in the morning, you can shift your bedtime by about 15 minutes to allow less time for sleep. Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep, and it’s up to you to figure out your magic number. Experiment with different sleep times to figure out how much sleep your body really needs.
3. Eat more greens
Your diet might not need a major or complicated overhaul in order for you to become healthier. Start by adding more green vegetables to your diet. If you aren’t currently getting any greens, start adding a serving to one meal and work your way up to two or three daily. If you hate the thought of eating broccoli or kale, remember that you can always get your greens in smoothie form. You won’t taste them as much when they’re mixed with sweet fruits like banana and apple. Green vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, so it’s a great way to get your daily vitamins and minerals.
4. Exercise daily
Exercise is important for the mind and body. It can reduce stress levels, enhance your cardiovascular health,and help tone your body. But when you’re not exercising regularly, starting a new workout can seem impossible. Fortunately, you don’t have to start a single thing that feels overwhelming; all you have to do is take it one day at a time. If you’re starting from a very sedentary place, start simply: Go for a 30-minute walk. Make it a brisk one, if you can. It’s all about getting yourself moving. If you’re already exercising occasionally, make a commitment to exercise daily. Thirty minutes is all you need to make a significant impact.
5. Cook more at home
When you cook and eat meals at home, you’re likely to eat smaller portions of healthier food. Home cooks are less likely to put excessive salt, sugar, and fat into their food. In contrast, at restaurants they do this because these things help improve the food’s taste. Buy fresh ingredients and try to cook dinner at home every night. If you need more of a social element, invite friends over for dinner parties.
6. Cut back on alcohol
If you’ve become accustomed to having a glass or two of wine every night, you may want to cut back. Alcohol can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s rest; it can also lead to addiction. If it’s difficult to cut back, you may have developed a drinking problem. You can help treat yourself by attending group meetings or even considering medically assisted treatments, but if you still can’t stop drinking, you’ll need professional help.
7. Plan a simple reward
The idea of getting healthier is somewhat of a reward on its own, but sometimes you’ll need to set goals and plan a simple reward for when you reach them. It could be a small shopping spree, a favorite dessert, or a weekend trip. Choose something special that you can look forward to.
With every new year comes new resolutions, but let’s make this year different. Let’s avoid making those sweeping statements and start making small changes to get us closer to our goals.
Here’s to a healthier YOU this year!
You may also enjoy reading 5 Ways to Achieve the 8 Dimensions of Wellness, by Tom Buckland