There is always so much talk about wellness, about getting healthier, stronger, and more energetic. People are obsessed with getting on a new workout programme, a new diet, a new system. And sure, many programs are effective, many crash diets will get you the results you want. But, will they stick?
How many people do you know that have lost a ton of weight, or got into great shape, and then just went back to what they were like before their diet or programme?
Maybe you yourself had this happen to you. Well, the main culprit is that intense programmes and diets are simply not sustainable.
Starving yourself for 4 months, while difficult, is rather feasible. The same goes for hitting the gym 4 times per week, and doing 2 hours of cardio on the days you don’t lift weights. The guaranteed way to have these changes stick, to actually have wellness become part of your life, is through habits.
In order to change your life in basically any way, not just in regard to health, you need to change your habits, the way you spend your day. The things we do every single day after a while become part of us, they become part of our personality. And most important of all, they add up.
Sure, the results are slower, but they will never stop coming. Furthermore, when something becomes a habit, it’s not only easy to stick to, you actually won’t even need to think about it, you’re just gonna do it. So, with all that out of the way, below you can find small, easy-to-implement habits that will make a substantial difference in the long run.
Better food choices
Before you decide to overhaul your diet completely, living of steamed vegetables and chicken, we suggest you take it slow. Try to substitute bad foods for good ones, slowly ease into a cleaner diet.
For example, if you simply don’t have the time to cook, or if you’re not home but are starving, choosing healthy options. Instead of a double bacon wrapped cheeseburger, get grilled chicken breast and a salad. Buy baby carrots to munch on instead of a bag of potato chips. Substitute soft drinks with lemonade, get ketchup instead of mayo…
Don’t drive, walk
Another simple lifestyle change you can implement is walking instead of driving. Now, of course, we don’t expect you to walk 10 miles to the grocery store while it’s raining outside. But, if anything is 10 minutes of walking distance, you should probably go and check it out on foot.
Furthermore, do you really have to take a car to work? Sure, it may take you 45 minutes to reach your office on foot, but on the other hand, how much time do you spend in traffic? An hour of walking beats an hour of being stuck in traffic any day.
While we’re on the subject of walking, do avoid taking the elevator. Instead, try to take the stairs as often as you can, and maybe even substitute your car completely with a bicycle.
Create a morning routine…
An interesting and useful habit you should implement is getting a good morning routine started. Namely, the way you start your day will define the rest of it. Instead of rushing to get dressed, eating the first thing you take out of the fridge, basically bolting outside the door, try getting an extra hour, and get ready in a calmer manner.
Have a nice breakfast, read the paper, and go to work in control. The key to this is having a regular sleep schedule, and waking up every day at the same time.
…and an evening routine as well
The same goes for your evening routine. Namely, take an hour to distress, to meditate on the day that went by. Furthermore, we suggest you schedule out the following day. No need to get too detailed about it, though.
A simple outline of your day, with a list of things you need to do, works just fine. Keeping a journal could be useful as well, as is listening to some music, or reading.
Get some fiber and vitamins
A thing as simple as getting as many vitamins, minerals, and fiber will do wonders for your health. And the best part is, you don’t really have to buy the most exotic fruit, or to prepare your vegetables in a very specific way. It’s enough to have a couple of different pieces of fruit every day, and some veggies for lunch.
Try to get some fiber-rich foods in your diet every day, like bran, or carrots, and maybe even investing in some fibre supplements.
Vitamins and minerals will do wonders for your immune system and general well-being, while fiber will help you with any bowel issues that might occur.
A nap will do you good
Taking a nap from time to time can help boost your energy levels, keeping your refreshed and healthy. A simple 20-minute power nap every day after lunch can recharge you, improving your productivity, and just placing you in a better mood as well.
Furthermore, there is a nice trick we want to share with you. Namely, if you have a cup of coffee right before you begin your short twenty-minute nap, you will wake up twice as recharge. Namely, it takes around 20 minutes for the caffeine to kick in.
Workouts you enjoy
Working out and getting regular exercise is a vital part of staying healthy. However, if you want to make the most of it, we advise you actually do something you enjoy. Sure, regularly running and cycling will probably burn off fat much sooner than dancing or yoga, but if you don’t enjoy it, you probably won’t stick to it.
Furthermore, don’t torture yourself with 2-hour workouts every day (unless you want to do them). Rather, start small, workout every day, or every other day, for ten minutes. If you feel like doing more, then do more. Just remember to stick to it, and build upon your routine as time goes on. You want to reach a point where you simply feel odd, even slightly guilty, that you didn’t work out.
Another thing you can try is to learn a breathing technique that helps with anxiety. Whenever you feel anxious or overwhelmed, you can use this method to calm down. Namely, when you’re feeling anxious, your body is in fight or flight mode.
If you want to break away from this, if you want to move away from this kind of feeling, we suggest you start by breathing in, deeply. Breathe in for four seconds, hold for 2 seconds, and then breathe out for four seconds. Do this continually until you start feeling better.
Stretch every day
Stretching is a very simple form of exercise that you can do for 10 minutes every day. So, right after you wake up, warm up a bit. Do some jumping jacks, pushups, sit ups, just do it for five minutes to get your blood going.
Then, start stretching your body, your legs, glutes, hamstrings, back, arms, chest, neck… Basically, stretch out your entire body. You will notice that after a month of doing this, your posture will have substantially improved, your gait will seem more natural, and you will experience less stiffness and pain throughout the day.
We all work too much, and we all sleep too little. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep every night (8 is optimal), and try to go to bed, and to wake-up at the same time every day. Furthermore, practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep in a room completely devoid of light, slightly cool, and don’t stare at any screens (phone, computer, tablet, TV) at least 30 minutes before you go to bed.
Healthy snacks through the day
Instead of having one huge meal at lunch, we suggest you munch on healthy snacks throughout the day. This will keep your energy levels in line, and will improve your mood and figure. Namely, snacking throughout the day helps you avoid binging on larger meals. Just remember to stick to nuts, fruit, trail mix, things of that nature, and avoid bagels and candy.
Fresh air and sunlight
Try to get as much fresh air and sunlight in your day as possible. So, take frequent walks when the sun is out, open up your windows, and create a draft. Move around your town on a bicycle, instead of taking public transportation or your car. Go to the beach as often as you can, or know that a nice hike will do you good.
And there you have it folks, the best habits you can implement in your life right this second. Remember, life is a marathon, not a sprint, and you should act accordingly. Instead of burning yourself out making serious, hard-core changes only to fall off the wagon, we suggest you try something different. Continual daily changes, over a long period of time, pay off substantially. Just be patient, stay humble, and you will definitely see results.