Healthy Lifestyle Changes That Are Simple To Stick To
It’s that time of year again where everyone is making hundreds of promises to themselves that they’ll do better this year, but deep down knowing that by January 15th it’ll all be out of the window. It’s so difficult to make lots of changes at once and stick to them. The best method is a slow and steady implementation. For example, choosing to cut out soda from January 1st, and once that feels straightforward and easy, adding in more and more lifestyle changes to ultimately reach an end goal.
If you think you will have more success with the “slow and steady wins the race” tactic, here are lots of little changes you can make in your life, over the course of months or years, which will ultimately result in a huge improvement in health, happiness, and productivity.
Learn about your stress
It’s too easy to brush anything anxiety-inducing under the carpet and hope it goes away, but the impact on your body stays on. In order to develop a better attitude towards your own mental health, it’s important that you work out what stresses you out, and how to deal with it head on. When we are stressed we don’t sleep as well, we eat poorly, we tend to drink more, and the stress hormone even encourages us to store more fat. It’s very difficult to make lifestyle changes that will stick successfully when you’re experiencing stress, so spend some time trying to understand triggers, and discovering means by which you can cope (without eating all the junk food).
Plan your meals
Planning meals is a great habit to get into, and one which can be enormous amounts of fun if you’re a fan of cooking. It will even save you money by reducing waste if you plan ahead a week. Planning meals ahead of time helps to encourage healthy meal choices, as you’re more likely to stick to a plan even when you’re feeling tired, hungry, and a bit lazy. Which means fewer unhealthy take-out meals, more delicious home-cooked meals, tasty packed lunches for work, and a bit more money in the bank.
Make a workout plan
Just like with meal planning, planning your weekly workout is a great way to push yourself into exercising, even when you’re just not feeling it. This way you can allow chunks of time for certain activities, while also taking into account socializing, working, and other hobbies. You could even get a personal trainer to help you to construct it so that you’re exercising most efficiently. Try to include cardio such as rowing machines, spinning bikes, or swimming, some resistance or weight training so that you can tone your muscles, and maybe a team activity that you find fun to act as your reward.
Make time to socialize
Hectic lives are not exactly conducive to being sociable, so many of us accidentally put our friends on the back burner. But seeing our friends is actually good for our mental health, and something many of us probably takes for granted. So next time you’re too tired, or you think you’re too busy to see friends, remember that we need contact with other people.
Cut out soda
Full of sugar and additives, soda is one of the most unhealthy things we can put in our bodies. It might seem like an insignificant change to substitute soda for water or fruit tea, but it could cut hundreds of calories from your daily diet.
Make a pact with yourself that when your alarm rings in the morning, you’ll get straight out of bed. Enforce a morning routine including a glass of water and a shower to wake you up, and make good use of the 30 minutes you used to spend snoozing. Think of all that extra time for showering, eating, exercising, or getting into work early.
Commit to breakfast
Skipping breakfast might seem like an easy way to skip calories, but it could be slowing you down and even encouraging your body to put on weight. Our bodies need food when we wake up in order to kick start the day, start metabolizing food, and burning energy effectively. Skipping breakfast puts pressure on your heart, and will also effect concentration levels. Go for something healthy like a veggie scramble, mushrooms on toast, or egg white muffins to give your day a boost. And consider taking your morning coffee black – without all the extra calories and additives, your body will really thank you.
Employ a buddy system
Chances are, you’ve got a friend who is wanting to implement changes in their lifestyle at the same time as you want to change yours. You’re far more likely to stick on the straight and narrow when you’ve got a friend along for the ride too. You can encourage each other, push each other forwards, and pick each other up when you fall off the bandwagon. You’re also guaranteed someone to workout with, and it’s sociable too – bonus!
Track your progress
Keep a log of how you’re getting on. Make notes of milestones, such as last soda, last cigarette, first pull up, first nine minute mile, and celebrate successes. Making changes in your life isn’t easy, so it’s important that you acknowledge when you’re doing well, and congratulate yourself accordingly. Set targets for yourself, and promise yourself prizes when you achieve them. It’s always worth going for the carrot approach, rather than the stick.
Don’t give up
You’ll have days that you slip up – call it a “cheat day”, pretend you meant to do it and move on. There’s no point beating yourself up when you get it a bit wrong, just chalk it up as a learning experience and keep on aiming for your goals. Giving up will only put you back to square one, which seems like a waste of time when you’ve come so far.
Just remember, go slowly – there’s no point biting off more than you can chew and making it difficult for yourself. Positive lifestyle changes are all about making sure you’re comfortable and happy with the previous change before taking on more.