Time, money, motivation, family.
The excuses and barriers to living a healthy lifestyle are endless. It is true that planning and preparing meals every night can be exhausting; starting a new exercise program can be intimidating; and it may be difficult to imagine how you could squeeze in another hour of sleep. But that does not mean you should not try. It may be overwhelming to start making changes, but once you start, there will be no stopping you. Your health is the most valuable thing you will ever have.
It is actually easier than you think to improve your health. The trick is to take it one small change at a time. When you succeed at a goal, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and pride. That feeling is what leads you to making more positive steps. Little by little, your healthy habits turn into a new healthy lifestyle.
Read the examples below. Pick one to start today and make it stick! Once your new healthy habit is part of your daily or weekly routine, pick another, then another. Continue to build until you no longer recognize yourself. Soon, your family and friends will be asking you for healthy advice.
- Sign up for a local fitness event. Every single person who has ever walked or run a 5k was a beginner at one time. Signing up for a fitness event is a great way to surround yourself with like-minded people and get you motivated to move. And, crossing the finish line will give you a great sense of accomplishment.
- Add a glass of water to your day. Most of us know drinking water is good for us; we just don’t drink enough. Set a small goal to wake up every morning and drink an 8 ounce glass of water. Starting your day with a healthy habit will set you up for a successful day.
- Move more. I’m not talking about structured exercise; I’m talking about getting up and living your life. Stop giving yourself a reason to lay around and watch TV; do something. Clean the floor, iron, wash dishes, or take a family stroll. Increasing your “leisure-time physical activity” can make a huge difference in how you feel and heighten your energy level. Plus, if you do some of your cleaning during the week, you’ll free up your weekends for fun.
- Clean up your Environment. Thinking you can beat the urge to bust open the gallon of ice cream is foolish. Get it out of the house. Fill your cabinets with healthy foods and snacks so that when hunger strikes you are ready. If you crave ice cream, drive to the store and buy a small cone. Feed the craving without feeling defeated.
- Add two more servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Even if you feel like you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, build on it. If you currently eat none, you will soon be eating 2 servings. If you currently eat 4 servings a day, you will soon eat 6. Fruits and vegetables are filled with vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber- all of which we need more of.
- Limit sugar sweetened beverages. Notice I did not say eliminate. That’s because building a healthy lifestyle is not about extreme behavior. It’s about small changes. If you currently drink 3 cups of juice every day, cut back to 4 ounces a day. If soda is your weakness, allow yourself 12 ounces 2x/week. But, if drinking