This Is How You Can Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle Today!
No matter what your current health status is, you can begin to live a healthier lifestyle right this moment.
Here’s how to get started.
Essential Lifestyle Habits
An abundance of research has shown that there are basic tenets of healthy living that determine wellness and longevity.
Among the most significant are:
- regular exercise
- a diet rich in whole foods, fruits, and vegetables – and low in added sugar, unhealthy fats, and processed foods
- maintaining a healthy weight
- new learning for brain health
- spiritual or stress-relief practices
- social connections
- healthy sleep
- quitting addictive substances like tobacco and limiting alcohol
Working on any of these areas is a great place to begin.
In fact, nutrition experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that embracing just four of these lifestyle habits – a healthy diet, not smoking, moderate exercise, and maintaining a healthy weight – could prevent roughly 70%-80% of serious heart health issues and a whopping 90% of health issues related to blood sugar.
The problem is that only 4% of study participants followed all four lifestyle habits!
Here are some key tips for a healthier lifestyle to help you successfully make the positive changes you desire.
5 of the Best Ways to Start Living a Healthier Lifestyle Today
Make a Pros/Cons List
There’s a gap between wanting or thinking about making healthy lifestyle changes and actually making them. An article from National Institutes of Health (NIH) titled “Changing Habits for Better Health,” suggests taking pen to paper and listing the pros and cons of a new, healthy behavior as a way of bridging the gap.
For example, if you want to add regular exercise into your routine, some of the pros might be that it will boost your mood, cognition, and metabolism – as well as give you social time when you work out with friends. Some cons might be that you have to wake up earlier, show up when you don’t feel like it, or feel the discomfort of exerting yourself.
Writing this list may help reveal some of your practical obstacles or mental roadblocks, and afford you the opportunity to work through them.
Of course, getting clear about what a healthier lifestyle might be for you is also key. There may be a particular area you want to work on. You may already know what that is.
Start Small and Simple
In creating a healthier lifestyle, it’s critical to meet yourself where you are and choose small actions that are achievable. Think about laying a foundation brick by brick and playing the long game to get you to your goal. If you demand too much too soon, you may abandon your efforts altogether.
BJ Fogg, founder of the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, advocates tiny behavior changes that you can do consistently with his Tiny Habits method – and celebrating these new behaviors when you do them.
A small healthy lifestyle change to start with might look like any of the following:
- Taking a 10-minute walk each day
- Practicing diaphragmatic breathing for 5 minutes once a day
- Adding vegetables to either lunch or dinner
If you don’t exercise at all, a short walk each day is a great “onboarding” lifestyle change to build on. Once it becomes a habit, you may find yourself wanting to walk for longer or take a hike – or try another activity.
Also, don’t underestimate the impact of small actions. Even 10 minutes of light to moderate activity may increase your lifespan, research has found.
It’s all about starting small and staying consistent. Each time you do something that adds to your healthy lifestyle, take a moment to appreciate your effort and celebrate it. This will help keep your spirits and momentum up.
Build Into Your Routine
Whatever healthy change you decide to start with, behavior experts have found that if you stack it onto your current routine, it’s more likely to become a habit.
Morning routines are very strong. This is a great time to add in that 10-minute walk, maybe first thing when you wake up. Or at your bedtime routine, perhaps it’s a good time to do the deep breathing exercise. While you’re watching a TV show, you can do some yoga poses to unwind from the day.
If you practice the new healthy behavior every day, it will become a habit sooner. Experts have found it takes roughly 60 days to establish a new habit. Be patient.
Simple and Easy
Make your healthy lifestyle choices simple and easy, and you’ll be more likely to practice them.
For example, if you want to get out first thing in the morning to exercise, have your workout clothes ready and right by your bed.
To improve your diet, keep fruits and veggies available and on hand – maybe even the more expensive precut kind to ensure you’ll eat them. If you want to reduce your added sugar intake in beverages, have sparkling waters, stevia sweetened beverages, or green tea chilled in your refrigerator so you have healthy options.
Another simple way to facilitate healthy living is to schedule fun, healthy behaviors into your week with other people, which will help you to actually follow through. Or sign up for a class that requires you to attend regularly.
Prioritize Your Mental Health
Your healthier lifestyle will no doubt boost your emotional well-being, but you also need to care for your mental health in order to stay positive and motivated. If you’re feeling overly stressed, angry, or sad, you must also have a healthy way of dealing with these emotions. Unattended, they can trigger overeating or an unhealthy behavior.
Begin crafting a healthier lifestyle right now by thinking about the most important changes you need to make. Remember that every action you take to boost your health matters, no matter how small!
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