Most people begin to think about living a healthier lifestyle sometime between the end of December and the first part of January. By the middle of March, they have lost much of their resolve and are looking for renewed inspiration.
One way to find this new health motivation is to think about why you want to improve your health. When you have a clear understanding of why you want something, it is far easier to make progress towards achieving it. For example, if you want to improve your health because you think it will make you happier, that is not a solid enough motivation to keep you on track. What about it would make you happier? If it is having the ability to explore the world without the worry of health concerns then that tells you what you really want to do is travel. Planning a vacation and working towards being in better shape to enjoy the adventure is far more motivating than an abstract desire to be happy. Then, instead of attempting to make a series of large changes all at once, consider taking small steps towards your overall goal.
Consider making one or two small dietary changes instead of deciding to eat all meat, no meat, raw food, no sugar, gluten-free, or some other fad diet to lose weight and theoretically become healthier. The sudden change to a diet you don’t enjoy and won’t stick to will often feel overwhelming and can quickly lead to burnout. A more plausible alternative would be to identify one or two areas you could easily change and start there.
Snacks are a great place to start simply because giving yourself permission to snack takes away the feeling of deprivation many people associate with other diets. Don’t unilaterally decree snacking to be off limits. Instead, replace the snacks you typically eat with something slightly healthier. For example if you love to snack on chips at night while you watch television, switch to popcorn. If you enjoy a bowl of ice-cream or soft cookies, consider oatmeal cups in one of your favorite flavors. Once these little changes feel like the new normal, it’s time to find other habits you can upgrade until eating healthier is your natural default state rather than a forced burden.
Have you ever noticed that when people decide to improve their health it often means adding new things to their daily schedule? More cooking requires additional time spent shopping, preparing, and cooking food. A new exercise regimen may mean waking up earlier or staying up later to make the time to fit in the new routine. In many cases people will sacrifice their sleep time to accomplish these new goals when sleep is actually what they should be focusing on to improve their health in all other areas.
Getting enough sleep has numerous health benefits. It can drastically improve physical health, mental health, safety, and quality of life. During sleep is when your brain and body perform the restoration processes that make it possible to function at an optimal level when awake.
There are several small changes that can improve the quantity and quality of sleep experienced each night. Creating a consistent bed time isn’t just helpful for children. A routine that prioritizes sleep is the most effective way to ensure one is getting adequate amounts of sleep each night. Part of preparing for sleep can be to cut electronic use an hour before bed or having a warm bath or shower before getting into bed. Environmental changes can include lowering the thermostat to 67 degrees, installing blackout curtains to eliminate ambient light, and utilizing a noise machine to limit the effect of outside sounds during one’s sleep time.
Move Your Body
Increased physical activity is often necessary to improve one’s physical well-being. However, this doesn’t always mean adding a strenuous form of exercise and the benefits go far beyond weight loss. If joining a gym, signing up for dance classes, or working out along with a daily video is not appealing, don’t start there. Find a small way to increase the amount of time in which you are actively making an effort to move your body more. This could be using a step counter to ensure you take 100 more steps each day until you reach the recommended 10,000 steps per day. It could also mean spending time in the garden each day cultivating a beautiful outdoor space. Anything that increases the amount of time you are moving will eventually lead to more movement and improved health.
Every great journey begins with a single step. Find a way to take that first step each day and you will be on your journey.