Ever heard the saying, “low expectations, high satisfaction?” It might be a good one to keep in mind when it comes to those grand lifestyle changes we resolve to make at the start of every new year. Wellness goals are important when it comes to improvements in your health. But remember that big changes don’t happen overnight.
Breaking your wellness goals down into smaller, more realistic steps has proven to be most effective in achieving long-term changes in behavior and creating healthy habits that will last a lifetime.
Wellness Goals: Nutrition, Fitness, Health
Read below for ideas on small steps that can have a big, positive impact on your overall health. Decide which steps are right for you and pick one or two to accomplish each week.
Continue this slow build until you’ve incorporated all the steps necessary to tackle your wellness goals. The secret is to repeat the behavior every day once you start it so that it becomes a habit that is firmly set in place.
- Start your day with a glass of water to jumpstart your metabolism, and try to drink eight 8oz. glasses of water throughout your day.
- Make it a priority to add healthy foods to your diet as opposed to taking unhealthy foods away.
- Eat a piece of fruit with breakfast to add fiber and antioxidants.
- Include greens (spinach, romaine lettuce, kale) at lunch and dinner
- Replace pasta with veggies.
- Fill half your plate with veggies for two meals a day.
- Choose a protein AND a fruit or vegetable for each snack to keep you feeling full for longer.
- Don’t skip meals or snacks. Ignoring hunger cues can lead to overeating, so pack a lunch, and healthy snacks, to take to work to keep in control of what you’re eating.
- Stick to your shopping list every time you go to the market and eat before going to avoid impulse purchases. Read the Nutrition Facts and Ingredient List on all food packages. This will open your eyes to what you’re putting in your body. Consider using, “if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” as a rule of thumb.
- Keep a food journal or an app to track your food intake.
- Stretch as soon as you get out of bed to maintain range of motion in the joints.
- Choose to be active during your work day.
- Take the stairs.
- Park as far away from your destination as possible in parking lots.
- Walk on your lunch break.
- Walk for five minutes at the end of every hour and you will have walked for 40 minutes by the end of an eight hour day.
- Incorporate weight lifting two days a week.
- Enjoy your workout. If you hate running, don’t use running as your form of exercise. Find something that you take pleasure in doing so that it doesn’t become punishment. Invest in quality workout apparel that makes you feel comfortable and ready to move.
- Workout with others. Finding like-minded people not only keeps you accountable but helps motivate you.
- Try meeting a friend for a walk or bike ride as opposed to coffee.
- Organize a neighborhood walking party in the mornings or evenings a couple nights a week. Even 10-15 minutes around the block is better than nothing.
- Join a local gym or attend regular fitness classes.
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday to help regulate your sleep schedule.
- Do some digital detoxing to relieve stress and anxiety.
- A digital fast: Giving up all digital devices for a set period of time (a day, a week, or even just an hour every night before bed).
- Recurrent digital self-denial: Pick a day of the week to be device-free. It can be helpful to let family and friends know that every Sunday, for example, your devices will be off.
- Social media limitations: Set a daily time restriction or even completely eliminate your social media use for a specific period of time.
- Focused detox: If there is an app, game, site, or digital tool that consumes too much of your time, set some restrictions on that specific problem area.
- Put an emphasis on good posture. Just sitting up straight can improve blood flow and increase energy to all parts of your body.
- Spend some time everyday doing something you love.
- Read, draw, sing, listen to music, dance, meditate, laugh.
- Do some “ditching and switching”: Start with one room at a time and take a close look at the chemicals in your home. Brightly colored dish soap, fragrant filled cleaning liquids, even personal care items and cosmetics, they all contain toxic chemicals that can leak into your living space. Look into natural alternatives for a safer way to clean your home.