“Being healthy” can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if you feel like you’ve fallen off the proverbial boat. But it doesn’t have to be hard to live healthier. Many people mistakenly think of being healthy as quitting all unhealthy things cold turkey—and unfortunately, that’s a really good way to fail completely. Being healthy is, and has to be, a journey. We have to travel from point A to point B, with a few wrong turns in between.
If you’re looking to get healthy—or just healthier—in the coming year, try this instead: take it one step at a time. Below are a few simple tips to a healthier life. Try implementing just one of these habits (and sticking to it), and you’ll already be living healthier! As you feel comfortable, challenge yourself to change more habits over time.
- Swap your multiple cups of coffee throughout the day for some tea. If you are used to drinking those milk and sugar-filled lattes each day, try to cut down on the habit. Swap out a couple of those coffees for tea instead. For an extra challenge, cut out some or all of the sweetener as well.
- Keep a water bottle near you each day and fill it up constantly. Add lemon, cucumber or mint if you need extra flavor. Your ideal amount of water depends largely on body weight—the recommended amount per day is half to one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So, a 150lb person should try to drink between 75 and 150 ounces of water per day.
- Park your car at the back of the parking lot when you go out for a shopping trip or to get groceries. Did you know that you should try to take 10,000 steps every single day? If you work a desk job and don’t go for regular walks or runs, chances are that you fall very short of this.
- Get a jump rope and jump for two minutes a day. It’s a great form of cardio and will get your heart rate up quickly.
- Do not purchase or drink soda. It is not good for you–not even diet. If quitting cold turkey sounds too daunting, try cutting the amount of soda you drink down first, rather than all at once. Unsweetened flavored carbonated water like Talking Rain or San Pellegrino are also a much healthier alternative if you just want something fizzy to drink.
- Aim to eat at least one fresh piece fruit or vegetable per day and build it more when you can. Canned doesn’t count.
- Love to drink? Try to cut it down to 3 nights or fewer per week. Even if you just like having a beer with dinner, the calories can add up quickly.
- Make a goal for yourself and work to accomplish it in baby steps. Whatever the goal is, just do it little by little.
- Keep fruit in the house in case a sugar craving hits, so you don’t end up reaching for the candy and snacks. In fact, don’t keep processed sugar in your house at all. Sweets are addictive, and the more you have, the more you’ll crave.
- Before you go grocery shopping, make a list and stick to it. Don’t let yourself be distracted, and stick to the outside aisles where it’s all produce, meat and dairy. Be sure and do your shopping after you’ve had a nice, filling meal so you’ll be less tempted by unhealthy items.
- Don’t forget that your brain needs to relax, too. Stick your phone in another room and turn off the computer. Let yourself just breathe. Read a book. Take a bath. Snuggle with the dog or cat. In short: unplug.
- Let yourself have in things in moderation. Eat the pizza, just not everyday. The biggest reason why people fail extreme diets is in the name itself—they are too Don’t beat yourself up over eating a cookie; just don’t eat all of the cookies.
- Try to do 100 sit-ups throughout the day. They don’t have to be all at the same time, but if you do this every day, it will help build your core muscles and keep you active (if only just a little bit) even on those days when you don’t get all your steps in.