Health is a universal desire. We all want to be healthier. But it can be difficult to make some of the sacrifices towards a healthier life, and sometimes achieving our overall goals seems like a long shot.
Fortunately, as with all things in life, having better health is simply a matter of better habits. It just takes time, discipline, and practice. With a few minor adjustments to your game plan, you too can be on the road to much better health before you know it. And contrary to health feeling like an insurmountable and broad goal, there are a number of minor changes you can make today that will aid your journey by leaps and bounds.
Know that implementing changes won’t always be easy. There may be an initial struggle and resistance, and once initial excitement wears off, you may feel challenged to continue with your changes.
Stick with the path and trust that overtime these new routines will become muscle memory. You’ll do them out of habit and won’t even think of them as changes anymore. Now that you’re equipped with that reminder, let’s take a look at the five minor changes that will drastically improve your health.
1. It All Begins With Exercise
You’ve probably heard the popular saying, “losing weight is subtracting calories in by calories out,” plenty of times, at nauseum. This simple phrase holds a good amount of truth, however. Losing weight—and maintaining a healthy diet in general—begins by burning more calories than you are bringing in. What’s the quickest way to do this? Exercise. Movement. Getting the body accustomed to burning calories and building upon that.
Since we decided to discuss simple changes for better health, this post isn’t meant to dissect how often you should exercise and what sort of regimens you should implement, rather, the goal is to simply start moving.
Set a small goal. Something like moving for five minutes a day, that way you get an easy win. Once you realize the win of five minutes was easy, you can double the goal to ten minutes. Implementation of this strategy can be as simple as walking for ten minutes every day on your lunch break at work. A visual reminder like the completing the rings on the Apple Watch can help make sure you are meeting your goals everyday
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Adding movement to life doesn’t have to be something that takes you far out of your way. Do you take a lot of business calls? Start taking the calls while walking. Simple as that. There’s always an easy solution to adding minutes of exercise to your life.
2. Start Your Mornings With Water
Many of us grab for coffee first thing in the morning. And while suggesting to omit caffeine from a diet completely is unrealistic—and probably not necessary since coffee is healthy in moderation—starting the day with water is a simple and easy change to implement.
Drinking water first thing in the morning will kick start your metabolism and even help to wake you up. You’ll get your body well hydrated and prepared for the dehydrating caffeine that you’ll give your body later in the day. Better yet, add another layer to this change by waiting until your afternoon slump until you have coffee. Fill up a water bottle and bring it with you to work. Challenge yourself to drink the whole bottle over the course of the day.
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Hold off on the coffee until you feel that your body needs a pick me up. Once you realize that you can go longer stretches than you thought you could without caffeine, you’ll realize that caffeine is much simpler to cut out of your diet than you thought.
3. Get Quality Sleep and Be Consistent
Don’t worry, while diet is one of the most important factors for a healthy life, it is not the only facet that we will cover in this post. Another highly important component to feeling healthy is getting sufficient sleep and getting it frequently.
Sporadic sleep or lack of sleep can leave one feeling lethargic throughout the day, like one doesn’t have any energy, and it can make tasks rather difficult to complete. If you’re lacking in sleep, it’s likely that you’ll turn to coffee, which will dehydrate the body and cause caffeine crashes later in the day. This may force you into drinking more and more coffee and repeating a vicious cycle. To combat this, get good sleep!
Establish a pattern and follow common sleep-related rules, like not indulging in screens at least an hour before bed, playing soft music or taking a relaxing bath or shower before bed time, reading, drinking soothing chamomile tea, or partaking in other routines and rituals that will set your mind ready for sleep.
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Once you begin to get enough sleep, you will experience far fewer mood swings throughout the day and you will feel more charged and ready to go.
4. Be In Tune With Your Mental Health
Mental health has been one of the most talked about aspects of modern life in recent years. It’s hard to go a day without hearing or reading a reference about mental health issues or how to improve upon mental health. So it would be an injustice not to mention mental health in a post about overall well-being. Fortunately, everything is intertwined.
The body is holistic device, and what affects one part of the body will affect the rest. Getting more exercise? Sleeping better? Improved diet? All of these changes will improve upon your mental health. When the body feels stronger and healthier, the mind feels better. Having a cleaner diet might mean that you are limiting alcohol, which acts as a depressant, and caffeine, which acts as a stimulant and causes anxiety. Once these are limited, you’ll be feeling much healthier upstairs—in your brain.
Other simple solutions include deep breathing, stretching, meditation, talking to friends or family, or even consulting with a therapist.
Reminder: These are surface level solutions that do improve mental health, but if your issues persist even after major lifestyle changes or you are struggling beyond the scope of what diet, exercise and better sleep can fix, reach out to a mental health professional. Don’t hesitate to do so.
5. Read More Books
This may seem like a strange suggestion to add to a health list, but reading packs a number of benefits for the mind and overall health. Reading is a stress relief, provides comfort, and helps build a larger attention span, creating more focus for both work and life.
Through reading you can explore a topic and learn about an area of life that you are struggling with, you can be entertained with a thrilling story, or you can simply use the activity to wind down and shut off all of the distractions in the world. Reading will strengthen the brain, and add knowledge and insight that can be used to gain a better job or improve on your current work, which are all things that will holistically affect your life.
As we mentioned previously when we talked about mental health, improving one area of your life will improve all of them. Health is a holistic approach, rather than a combination of silos, though targeting unique areas in the beginning is the best way to go.
Make Small Changes, and Add to Them
Improving one’s health often means changing a number of habits. This is a work in progress. Don’t get frustrated by initial hiccups, and realize that improvement will take time.
Begin by succeeding with small changes, and once those changes are made successful, move forward with additional and larger changes. Before you know it, you’ll be implementing health and lifestyle routines that you once imagined you weren’t capable of, and you mean even be coaching friends and family during the process.