Home Health and Fitness Building Healthy Habits: 7 Small Changes for a Healthier You

Building Healthy Habits: 7 Small Changes for a Healthier You

by Bella Lu
0 comment 22 minutes read
woman running up the stairs

Have you ever found yourself wanting to improve your health and well-being but feeling overwhelmed by the thought of making big, drastic changes? The truth is, building a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing endeavor. In fact, it’s often the small, consistent changes that make the biggest impact over time. By focusing on incorporating simple habits into your daily routine, you can gradually transform your lifestyle and become a healthier version of yourself. In this article, we will explore eight small changes that you can start implementing today for a healthier you. Are you ready to embark on this journey of personal transformation? 

1. Start Your Day with Hydration

We’ve all heard that drinking water is important for our health, but how often do we prioritize it? By making a conscious effort to start your day with a glass of water, you not only hydrate your body but also kick-start your metabolism and promote overall well-being. The amount of water you need may vary based on factors like your body size and activity level. As a general guideline, aim for about 30-35 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 55 kilograms, you would aim for approximately 1.65-1.93 liters (or 7-8 cups) of water per day.

Adding a slice of lemon or infusing your water with refreshing fruits can enhance the flavor and provide additional benefits. Stay refreshed and invigorated by sipping on water infused with cucumber, strawberries, or mint leaves. Remember, each sip is an act of self-care, replenishing and rejuvenating your body.

Here’s a simple and refreshing recipe to try: Cucumber Mint Infused Water.

Ingredients:
Fresh mint leaves
Cucumber

Gather a few slices of cucumber and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Place them in a pitcher or large jar filled with water and let it infuse for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. Sip on this refreshing water throughout the day to stay hydrated and enjoy a subtle hint of minty coolness. 

2. Prioritize Quality Sleep 

Sleep is often underestimated when it comes to our health, but it plays a crucial role in our physical and mental well-being. To reap the benefits of restful sleep, it’s important to establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing bedtime routine. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night, as this is the recommended range for adults to promote optimal health. To set a consistent sleep schedule, try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and promotes better sleep quality. Determine your ideal bedtime by counting back from your desired wake-up time, allowing for the recommended hours of sleep. 

To prepare for a restful night’s sleep, create a relaxing bedtime routine. Dim the lights in your bedroom to signal to your body that it’s time to wind down. Limit screen time, as the blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your sleep hormones. Instead, engage in calming activities such as reading a book, practicing mindfulness or meditation, or taking a warm bath. These activities help signal to your body that it’s time to relax and prepare for sleep. 

Creating a peaceful sleep environment is also essential. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet to promote optimal sleep conditions. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows that provide adequate support for your body. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine if external noise is a concern. By prioritizing quality sleep and giving your body the rest it needs, you’ll contribute to your overall health and vitality. 

Woman doing yoga asana upward facing dog

3. Move Your Body Regularly 

Physical activity is not only essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle but also for boosting your mood and overall well-being. Finding ways to incorporate movement into your daily routine can make it enjoyable and sustainable. Whether you prefer high-intensity workouts or more gentle activities, the key is to engage in regular exercise that works for you.

Start by identifying activities that you genuinely enjoy. It could be as simple as taking a brisk walk during your lunch break, going for a bike ride in the evening, or joining a dance class. The key is to find something that gets you moving and brings you joy. By choosing activities that you look forward to, you’ll be more motivated to stay active. Strive for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. This can include activities that elevate your heart rate and make you break a sweat, such as jogging, swimming, or cycling. If you prefer a more low-impact approach, consider practicing yoga, Pilates, or tai chi to improve flexibility, strength, and balance.

Remember to listen to your body and find a balance between active days and rest days. Push yourself to challenge your limits, but also give yourself permission to rest and recover. This will help prevent burnout and reduce the risk of injury. If you’re new to exercise, start gradually and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts over time. Incorporating movement into your daily routine doesn’t have to be complicated. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther away to get in some extra steps, or do household chores while listening to music to make it more enjoyable. The key is to make physical activity a non-negotiable part of your day. By moving your body regularly, you’ll experience the benefits of increased energy, improved mood, enhanced physical fitness, and better overall health. Embrace the joy of movement and find activities that make you feel alive and vibrant. Your body and mind will thank you for it. 

woman mindful eating

4. Practice Mindful Eating 

In our fast-paced world, it’s easy to find ourselves rushing through meals or mindlessly snacking on the go. However, by incorporating the practice of mindful eating into our lives, we can transform our relationship with food and cultivate a greater sense of appreciation and satisfaction. 

Mindful eating begins with creating a calm and intentional eating environment. Set aside distractions such as phones, laptops, or the TV, and find a quiet space where you can fully focus on your meal. Take a moment to express gratitude for the nourishment in front of you, recognizing the effort and care that went into its preparation. 

Start by tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Are you truly hungry, or are you eating out of boredom or habit? Before diving into your meal, take a few deep breaths and check in with yourself. This awareness will help you make conscious choices about the amount of food you consume and prevent overeating. As you eat, slow down and savor each bite. Take the time to chew your food thoroughly, allowing your taste buds to fully experience the flavors and textures. Notice the colors, smells, and tastes of the food, appreciating the nourishment it provides for your body. By eating mindfully, you’ll find yourself feeling more satisfied and content with smaller portions. 

One helpful technique to practice mindful eating is the “S.T.O.P.” method:
S: Stop for a moment and pause before you start eating.
T: Take a few deep breaths to center yourself and bring awareness to the present moment.
O: Observe your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. Notice any cravings, distractions, or judgments that arise.
P: Proceed with eating, focusing on each bite and savoring the experience.

To further explore the practice of mindful eating, you can watch this informative video from YouTube titled “The Power of Mindful Eating: How Paying Attention to Your Food Can Improve Your Health and Wellbeing” by Healthy Living Tips. 

In this video, you’ll learn practical tips and techniques to cultivate mindfulness during meals and develop a healthier relationship with food.  By incorporating mindful eating into your daily routine, you can bring more awareness, pleasure, and satisfaction to your meals. It allows you to nourish your body not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. So, the next time you sit down for a meal, remember to slow down, savor each bite, and embrace the transformative power of mindful eating. 

fruit and vegetables

5. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables 

When it comes to nourishing our bodies, few things are as vital as incorporating a wide array of fruits and vegetables into our daily diet. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants, these colorful powerhouses provide numerous health benefits and contribute to our overall well-being. 

One effective way to ensure you’re getting an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables is by aiming for the “5-a-day” guideline. This means consuming at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Not only does this help meet your nutritional needs, but it also adds variety and flavor to your meals. 

To get started, consider the following tips for incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet:

 Embrace a Rainbow of Colors: Opt for a diverse range of fruits and vegetables to obtain a broad spectrum of nutrients. Include vibrant choices like leafy greens, berries, citrus fruits, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Each color represents different health benefits, so aim for a colorful plate to ensure you’re getting a mix of vitamins and antioxidants. 

 Explore Seasonal and Local Options: Seasonal fruits and vegetables are not only fresher but also often more affordable. Visit local farmers’ markets or join a community-supported agriculture program to discover the freshest produce in your area. Experiment with seasonal recipes that highlight the flavors of the fruits and vegetables available during different times of the year. 

 Try New Recipes and Cooking Methods: Expand your culinary horizons by trying new recipes that incorporate fruits and vegetables. Explore different cuisines and cooking methods to discover exciting flavors and textures. Whether you’re roasting vegetables, adding fruits to salads, blending them into smoothies, or creating delicious stir-fries, there are endless possibilities to make fruits and vegetables a delicious part of your meals. 

 Snack on Fruits and Vegetables: Incorporate fruits and vegetables into your snacks for a healthy and satisfying pick-me-up. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your kitchen counter, carry portable options like apple slices or baby carrots with you, or enjoy a homemade vegetable dip with celery sticks or cucumber slices. Snacking on fruits and vegetables not only provides a nutritious boost but also helps curb unhealthy cravings. 

• Get Creative with Meal Preparation: Transform ordinary dishes into vibrant and nutrient-packed meals by adding fruits and vegetables. Blend leafy greens into smoothies, top your breakfast cereal with fresh berries, add sliced avocado to sandwiches or wraps, include roasted vegetables in your pasta or grain bowls, and experiment with vegetable-based sauces or dressings to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of your dishes. 

Remember, the key is to make fruits and vegetables a central part of your meals and snacks, ensuring that they occupy at least half of your plate. By doing so, you’ll provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to thrive and maintain optimal health. 

two women training together supporting each other

6. Cultivate a Supportive Environment 

Surround yourself with like-minded individuals who support your health goals. Share your aspirations with friends, family, or join a community of individuals on a similar journey. Having a support system provides accountability, motivation, and a sense of belonging as you work towards a healthier lifestyle. Seek out those who understand and encourage your aspirations to create a positive and uplifting environment. 

Consider partnering up with someone who has similar health goals. An accountability partner can keep you motivated, provide encouragement during challenging times, and celebrate your successes. Together, you can hold each other accountable and provide support when needed.

woman writing in her journal outside in the park

7. Practice Gratitude and Self-Care 

Cultivating a positive mindset and taking care of your emotional well-being are essential for a healthy and fulfilling life. One powerful way to do this is by practicing gratitude. Each day, take a moment to reflect on the things you’re grateful for, whether it’s the support of loved ones, a beautiful sunset, or a delicious meal. By focusing on the positive aspects of your life, you’ll foster a sense of contentment and appreciation. 

Another effective self-care practice is journaling. Grab a notebook and pen, and allow yourself some dedicated time to write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You can use it as a space to express your emotions, reflect on your goals, or simply document your day. Journaling can be a therapeutic outlet that helps you gain clarity, process emotions, and track your personal growth over time. In addition to gratitude and journaling, make self-care a priority by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. This could include practicing meditation or mindfulness, going for a nature walk, enjoying a warm bath with essential oils, or indulging in a hobby or creative outlet. Taking time for yourself replenishes your energy, reduces stress, and promotes overall well-being. 

If you’re unsure where to start, there are many resources available to guide you in your gratitude practice and journaling journey. Books like “The Gratitude Diaries” by Janice Kaplan or “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron can provide inspiration and techniques to incorporate into your daily life. Remember, self-care is not selfish-it’s a necessary act of self-nurturing that allows you to show up as your best self for others and fully enjoy the journey of life. Building healthy habits is a journey, and it’s important to be patient and kind to yourself along the way. Celebrate each small step you take and stay committed to your long-term vision of a healthier you. So, are you ready to embrace these seven small changes and embark on a transformative journey to a healthier, happier life? Leave a comment below.

References: 

Peirce, N. (2019). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. Random House. 

Clear, J. (2018). Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Avery. 

Sincero, J. (2013). You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. Running Press. 

National Sleep Foundation. (n.d.). How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? 

American Heart Association. (n.d.). Physical Activity and Exercise Recommendations

Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. (n.d.). Vegetables and Fruits. 

National Health Service (NHS). (n.d.). Why 5 A Day? 

Mayo Clinic. (2021). Friendships: Enrich Your Life and Improve Your Health. 

Kaplan, J. (2016). The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life. Penguin Books. 

Cameron, J. (2002). The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity. TarcherPerigee.

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