It’s a new year, and many of us are in the midst of planning or beginning our New Year’s resolutions. Everyone has their own individual thoughts when it comes to resolutions. Sometimes resolutions focus on personal growth, financial security, or learning a new skill. Other times, New Year’s resolutions focus on fitness and health. So often, they are abandoned after a month or two. This year, instead of focusing on “losing weight” or “exercising more,” we encourage you to instead focus on building a healthier lifestyle. Creating a healthier lifestyle can begin with a dramatic change, like a sudden shift in activity, or it can be done gradually. There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle. On a personal level, you will need to choose for yourself a plan that you will be most likely to adhere to. We’ve compiled a list of eleven simple habits that can be incorporated into your daily life to start you on the path toward a healthier lifestyle.
1 – Eat the Rainbow
No, we’re not talking about Skittles, but rather foods that are colorful and vibrant in nature. These foods are often the ones that provide a wide range of health-boosting nutrients. A simple habit of adding colorful fruits and vegetables to your meals will have you fueling your body with the nutrients it needs.
2 – Watch Your Portions
We all love a plate full of delicious looking food, but often times, that scrumptious looking plate is much more than we should be eating for a single meal. We get that weighing and measuring out food can be a pain, so to help yourself keep portions in check, try these tips:
- Use salad plates instead of dinner plates
- Fill half the plate with veggies and then add the rest of your meal
- Split entrees when eating out
3 – Eat Mindfully
This can be a tough one, but mastering it will greatly help you in your journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Pay close attention to hunger cues to recognize if your desire to eat is actual hunger, or if it is simply boredom, cravings, or even thirst.
4 – Create Activity
There are countless reasons for adding more activity to your everyday life. Those choosing a healthier lifestyle consciously incorporate more activity into their day. This could be as simple as choosing to walk on your lunch break or standing up at your desk every hour. Every additional movement that you introduce to your day will benefit your health. As your habits develop, you can add additional physical activity to your day, or you can expand on the length of the activities you’ve already added.
5 – Give Yourself a Bedtime
Having a set bedtime isn’t just for little ones. Getting adequate sleep is imperative to achieving a healthier lifestyle. Proper rest helps keep the mind sharp and keep appetite under control. Make it a habit to be in bed at a consistent time to facilitate regular sleeping patterns.
6 – Quench Your Thirst with Water
Begin a habit of starting your day with a glass of water and try to include more water throughout the day as well. As you become more accustomed to the idea of drinking water regularly, begin cutting back on any sugary beverages you might have in your diet. Replace soda, juices, and energy drinks with water. Most people don’t realize when they are dehydrated, and believe it or not, three-quarters of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
7 – Save Eating Out for Special Occasions
Dining out is convenient and tasty, but it’s not always the healthiest option. It’s common to overeat when eating out, and you aren’t always aware of how much grease the food is prepared with, or how much salt or butter is used in preparation. By cooking at home, you’ll be able to control what you eat and what goes into your food, keep a closer eye on portions, and most likely save some money to boot.
8 – Plan, Plan, Plan
Starting a habit of dining in will significantly help your journey to a healthier lifestyle. However, the easiest way to disrupt a habit of dining in is to leave yourself unprepared. If you don’t have what you need on hand, you will likely choose the convenience of the nearest diner. Start a habit of making a weekly meal plan and hitting the grocery store to stock up on healthy fare regularly. This will help you resist the temptation of fast food restaurants and pastries in the break room.
9 – Track What You Eat
Calorie counting can be kind of a drag, we get that. But it really is the only way to actually identify hidden calories or mindless eating behaviors. We recommend you create a regular food journaling habit, but even if you only do it for a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to identify hidden intake. You can either carry a small notebook with you for journaling or log everything in an app on your smartphone.
10 – Find Time for You
Start a habit of finding time every day to do something you love. Whether it be a hobby, extra playtime with a pet, chatting with a dear friend…whatever it is that makes you happy and relaxes you, make the time for it. We understand how busy life gets juggling work, family, and fitness. But making a regular routine that includes you-time that brings you bliss is important in adopting a healthier lifestyle.
11 – Practice Gratitude
Our last, but certainly not least, healthy lifestyle habit is practicing gratitude. It may sound a tad cheesy, but being thankful for the little things that are going well in your life is a powerful technique to feel happier. When you train your mind to focus on the positives, it will help with overall improved health.