The decision to improve our lives seems to put us squarely in front of a mountain of intimidating behavior modifications. The good news is that you don’t have to overhaul your life overnight to experience results. In fact, too much sudden, unsustainable change can leave you feeling overwhelmed and worse than when you started. Here are five quick and easy tips that you can incorporate with a minimal investment of time, effort, and money. These offer simple ways to start making your life better now.
1. Mindset Motivation
A healthy lifestyle begins in the mind. By cultivating self-love as opposed to self-loathing, you will see better results! Focus on what you want rather than on what you don’t want. Tackle your lifestyle changes with an inspiring image of your goals in mind. Start journaling and write out a detailed list or narrative of what your perfect life is like. Create a dream board with magazine clippings and photos on a giant poster board to keep your hopes and dreams front and center.
Meditation can help you improve your visualization skills while booting health and happiness. Start with just one minute a day, prioritizing consistency over a duration. Meditation can help you manage stress and curb emotional eating. Looking to shed some pounds? Medical literature suggests mindful eating. Start simply by sitting at a table free from distractions. Chew at least 25 times between bites. Take a bite with your eyes closed to focus on what is in your mouth.
2. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant, which renders happiness and health unlikely. Alcohol also hinders weight control. A gram of alcohol has nearly twice the calories of a gram of carbohydrate or protein. Unlike carbs or protein, alcohol offers no satiety. Alcohol overindulgence can be a double whammy because it triggers poor food choices. It also dehydrates you.
If you typically meet your friends at the bar, consider changing up your routine and getting together at a smoothie joint instead. Offer a non-alcoholic punch at your next party. If abstaining entirely is too complicated, at least cut back on your consumption and switch to water after a drink or two to help you rehydrate.
3. Stay Hydrated
Even minor dehydration can lead to sluggishness, headaches, and other uncomfortable symptoms. Dehydration can also be mistaken for hunger. We tend to wake up dehydrated. This is why starting your day with a glass of lukewarm water is essential. Hold off on coffee and other caffeinated beverages until you have replenished your fluids.
You don’t need to chug a gallon of water to maintain a healthy level of hydration. Simply keep a water bottle handy and continue to sip between meals. Traditional medicine indicates that drinking sparingly during meals is healthy as well, since this aids digestion.
4. Don’t Think About “Working Out,” Just Get Moving!
Exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Choose activities that are simple, fun, and that you are likely to stick with. Have a daily dance party with your kids or your girlfriends. Go for a brisk walk. Do squats while you brush your teeth. Park farther away. Take the stairs instead of waiting for that slow elevator. Even if your current diet stays the same, burning an additional 250 calories daily will result in weight loss of about two pounds a month.
Experiment with different types of exercise until you find one that doesn’t feel like a chore. Hiking in the woods may offer such inspiring vistas that you don’t mind working up a sweat. Hitting the gym can become a much-anticipated social activity when you sign up for a fun class with your friends. When you find ways to enjoy your workout, it ceases to be work at all.
5. Subtraction by Addition
Instead of lamenting the elimination of goodies from your life, focus on adding quality, nutrient-dense foods. Keep life interesting by incorporating healthy entrees, sides, and snacks you haven’t tried before. Add leafy greens, anti-oxidant fruits, lean protein, seeds, and nuts to your daily intake. If you would rather stick to a plan, you may wish to explore specific diet plans that work for your personal goals.
Parents know that telling a child what they can do is more effective than telling them what not to do. If you’re telling yourself to avoid sweets, your brain keeps hearing the word “sweets” and starts craving more. If you focus on eating more veggie-packed dishes, you’ll keep your attention to what you can have rather than what you can’t. Take a trip to a health food store or your local farmer’s market and bask in the abundance of what’s available to you, reveling in the rich smells, textures, and colors of a plate that spans the rainbow without using any food coloring to do so.
Small changes applied consistently will get that ball of momentum rolling. Cultivating a better life begins with the simple act of planting seeds. Keep watering those seeds with smart habits and good intentions, and you can watch your life bloom and grow into the kind of successful, inspiring venture that you’ve always dreamed of. Try these strategies to get started now.