Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
In our last post, we talked about bad habits and ways to break them for the New Year. But let’s take the next step and replace those bad habits with some good ones. You may be thinking, “Easier said than done,” but we’re here to help you baby-step your way into healthier choices. We understand the drastic, dramatic and life-altering approach to change can be unsustainable once we get past January. So if you’re game, let’s get started on some simple suggestions to make a change for the better.
Go on a Walk Twice per Day
Ahh, you thought we were going to tell you to get 10,000 steps in or bust out a 15-minute workout, huh? Nope. Let’s just start with a doable commitment to exercise that will get your heart going and your muscles moving. Whether you’re working 9 to 5 or on a schedule of your own, you can probably fit in a walk before and after your workday. Consider this your “fitness foothold” in which you can start at a lower effort level (two 10-minute walks) and grow to achieve greater feats (one-hour runs to bookend your day).
Bump up Your Green Game
With benefits like better brain health and lower blood pressure, why not eat more greens? You can work them into your day during whatever meal you see fit and they really do leave you feeling refreshed and better about dietary decisions. Gut health, reduced inflammation and even a longer lifespan have been linked back to these vivacious vegetables. Take it from us — going green has never felt so good.
Meditate Even Just for a Minute
You’ve heard it a million times: “Try meditation — it has so many benefits!” Well, we’re telling you that there may be something to the hype. Studies have shown that meditation may have some seriously impressive and direct effects on health, including increasing your immune function. To keep with our theme of starting off small, why not try meditating for just a minute in the morning? Maybe you’ll like it enough to gradually grow it to 15 minutes, 30 minutes and then an hour each day!
Expand Your (Real-Life) Social Network
We’re all familiar with the FOMO (fear of missing out) that online social networks can bring. If we’re not a part of that special moment our friend shared, we can feel less than. But instead of focusing on what we’re not doing, let’s focus on the efforts we put forth to have more fun. This year, make a conscious effort to invest in real relationships that pay off in lasting memories. That could mean making more of an effort with current friends or meeting new friends through newfound interests, community events or even out on a walk.
Smile More, Even If You’re Not Feeling It
Smiling is like the age-old question, “Which came first: the chicken or the egg?” Let us explain. When we feel happy and relaxed, our natural inclination is often to smile. But the simple act of smiling itself releases endorphins into our brain that make us happier and less stressed out. Aside from the personal benefits of grinnin’, smiles are sort of infectious when we flash them to strangers on the street. Long story short: when it comes to smiling — fake it ’til you make it.
Declutter Your Space Little by Little
Whether it’s a messy garage or an unorganized home, clutter can create unnecessary stress and distraction. If you’re having trouble getting motivated, just imagine your space as a sleek and streamlined chamber of productivity. Take it one 15-minute chunk at a time, and soon you’ll have more space to live and think. And who knows — maybe you’ll use your extra space for getting in those home workouts you’ve always wanted to do.
Reward Yourself Without Sweet Treats
Instead of indulging in your favorite candy bar or dessert when you feel you’ve earned it, replace that reward with something else. Don’t stop rewarding yourself entirely. Watch an episode of your favorite TV show, call up a friend to chat, dance wildly to a guilty pleasure song or enlist your partner’s hands for a relaxing massage. Even try treating yourself on an international level with these wellness practices from around the world.
When it comes to forming good habits, there’s basically no limit to improving your routine bit by bit. This is by no means an extensive list of healthy habits, and your goals will be totally different than the resolutions your friends and family make for themselves.
We want to hear from you — are you going to tackle one or more of these habits this year? Do you have your own in mind? Let us know!