Inside Scoop: These six small lifestyle changes are totally realistic and easy to apply to your everyday life.
This post was submitted by Trevor McDonald, freelance content writer and a recovering addict & alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years.
When we think about making a change in our lives, our minds often jump to significant changes. Maybe it’s starting a new career, finding the love of your life, or getting in shape. While these lofty goals do have their health benefits, starting small may be more of a practical next step for most people.
There are plenty of small things you can incorporate into your daily life to enjoy serious health benefits. Read on for six small lifestyle changes you can start doing today (hint: you don’t need to be a chef, fitness trainer, or yogi to enjoy these simple choices!).
6 SMALL LIFESTYLE CHANGES TO INCORPORATE TODAY
1. START THE DAY OFF RIGHT
For most people, the mornings are rushed, last-minute attempts to get ready for the day. We have to rush to the office, wrangle the kids into the car for school, or hurry through our morning routine to get to work on time. But instead of hitting that snooze button, take time to craft your morning for success. Taking extra time in the morning to set up your goals has many health benefits, including less stress, a healthier sleep schedule, more focus during the day, and many others.
To claim this time for yourself, first, train your body to wake up at the same time every day (yes, even on weekends!). Our internal clocks work best when we’re consistent, so waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day will help keep you focused, productive, and healthier.
Healthy people find time in their mornings to set themselves up for success during the day. Wake up a few minutes earlier to:
- Set three goals for the day (see below for how to establish productive goals)
- Practice 10 minutes a day of yoga, light exercise or breathwork
- Eat a healthy, protein-rich breakfast
- Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea and read the newspaper
By taking a few more minutes in the morning, you’ll be more productive and focused throughout the day and enjoy many of the health benefits that come with this small change.
2. FIND SIMPLE WAYS TO BE ACTIVE
We all know that exercise has many health benefits, including better blood circulation, a faster metabolism, and a healthy heart, and getting into the groove with your fitness doesn’t have to require significant changes.
It’s easy to find small ways to be more active. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the office or store and walk a bit, take 10 minutes every other hour to walk around your office building, or take the dog out on longer walks than usual. You could even suggest having walking meetings at work instead of sitting in the same, dull conference rooms. While each of these changes may seem small, they will add up to a big difference! You’ll notice the steps adding up on your fitness tracker.
3. PREPARE LUNCHES AHEAD OF TIME
One of the easiest ways to improve your health is to plan your meals out ahead of time. Meal prepping is every fitness guru’s best-kept secret. Whether your office caters pizza and you didn’t bring a lunch, so you join in, or you’re too busy running around all day to plan something healthy, so you stop and grab fast food, last-minute decisions can set your health goals off track.
This small lifestyle change of packing your lunch has serious health benefits because you will eat healthier and enjoy the benefits of home cooked food.
Not a chef? Don’t worry! Just prepare a protein, a carb, and a veggie to create a balanced meal or throw together a salad with some of these key ingredients.
If you’re looking for simple meals to incorporate into your lifestyle, then make sure to download your 5 Ingredient Cookbook below that contains delicious and healthy recipes made with 5 ingredients or less.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
We all know the benefits that come with physical exercise, but did you know that many health benefits also stem from taking care of your mental health? We put our brains through so much during the day that it’s no wonder we’re exhausted by the time we get home!
Take some time to meditate, do brain puzzles, do a simple breathing activity, or relax and clear your mind. Apps like Headspace, Calm, and MINDBODY make it easy to remember to meditate or do a mindful movement, and fun apps like Peak help you “level up your brain.”
5. SET SMART GOALS
Setting goals will help you take control of your life and reap countless health, professional, and personal benefits. That is, as long as your intentions are smart! SMART goals are:
- Specific – You have a tangible goal in mind
- Measurable – You know how to measure your progress toward your goal
- Actionable – You know what the next step will be
- Relevant – Your goal makes sense to your lifestyle
- Timely – You have a timeframe in mind to reach your goal
Setting SMART goals is a small change you can make with serious health benefits.
6. BE MINDFUL OF YOUR OVERALL DIET
Just like packing your lunch and snacks will help you look and feel better, being mindful of what you’re packing will help, too. Protein-rich, plant-based meals will help you feel full longer and provide you with the nutrients you need.
Snacks like carrots and hummus, apples and peanut butter, nuts, and dried fruit will kick your chip craving in the bud and help you focus on your goals. And don’t forget about dessert! Did you know that sugar can be just as addictive as drugs. Instead of turning to a sugary treat like cake or donuts, try a natural sugar pick, like fruit, instead. Decreasing your sugar intake will help reduce bloat, give you more energy, and progress you toward your fitness goals that much faster.
When people think of making lifestyle changes to benefit their health, their mind often jumps to significant claims like going to the gym every day, doing a 180 at work, and other significant changes. While some of these can be beneficial, starting small can also have a considerable impact. Incorporating these six small lifestyle changes will have serious health benefits and change your habits for good!
Don’t forget to download your easy and absolutely delicious 5 Ingredient Cookbook below.
Trevor is a freelance content writer and a recovering addict & alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable. Find him on LinkedIn here.