When starting a healthy lifestyle, we often feel like we need to make groundbreaking, dramatic changes to get the quick results we’re looking for. Sometimes we do this in extremes, like going from laying on the couch for 10-hours per day, to running 10-miles per day. While big changes like this may give you results for a while, they’re probably not going to be sustainable in the long run.
If you’re thinking about moving toward a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to think in terms of small changes. Incorporating little things into your daily routine is what will ultimately give you the best, long-lasting results.
Here are a few things to start doing now to create healthy habits for yourself in the future.
Drink more water.
It seems obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of people who likely aren’t drinking the amount of water their bodies need every day.
A simple fix for this is simply carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go. This will make it much easier to remember, because it will always be available to you. A good rule of thumb is to try to drink half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. (i.e., If you weigh 150 lbs., shoot for drinking 75 oz. of water a day.)
Sometimes people just don’t like drinking water. If this is you, try infusing it with some fruit, like sliced lemons or strawberries, to motivate yourself to keep drinking. You can also sneak it into your diet by incorporating more water-rich food. Take a look at this list for some examples of foods that are both tasty and hydrating.
Do activities you enjoy.
Moving your body doesn’t have to mean doing strenuous activities you don’t look forward to. In fact, the best way to motivate yourself is to do things you enjoy like hiking, walking, or dancing. By incorporating activities that you love, you’ll find it easier to do them without feeling like you’re forcing yourself.
Gradual progression is a sustainable way to keep yourself on track toward your goals. For example, if you’re aiming to be able to run a mile without stopping, start out by running for 1-minute and walking for 2-minutes. Gradually increase your run time and decrease your walk time until you’ve hit your goal (and then after that, set another goal of course). Looking for a program to walk you through this process? Try Couch to 5k for a comprehensive 9-week program to get you running in no time.
Find an accountability buddy.
One of the easiest ways to stay on track with a healthy lifestyle is to find someone else to motivate you. This person could be a friend, a co-worker, or even your spouse. Just make sure that it’s someone who is as committed to helping you reach your goals as they are to their own.
Check in with each other daily or weekly to make sure you’re getting your fruits and vegetables in or set a time to meet up for a workout class. Rather than mentoring you through the process, the point of an accountability buddy is that they’re on the same journey as you, dealing with the same struggles.
Get enough sleep.
Who doesn’t love sleeping?
Not only does sleep help recharge your body and mind, but it’s also loaded with other health benefits. It can aide in brain function, lower blood pressure, increase weight loss, and more.
If you have trouble falling asleep early, look at your daily routine. Try limiting your caffeine intake in the afternoon or reducing the number of naps you take during the day. Also, be sure to limit your screen time at night to 2-hours before bed and wear blue-
When it comes to your best, healthiest life, it truly is the small changes that will add up to big results. You’re more likely to stick to changes if you implement them into your routine slowly, rather than all at once. Be sure to give yourself time and grace to adapt.
For more healthy lifestyle tips, read our blog post on “Simple Tips to Take a Holistic Approach to Working Out.”