Healthy habits can be very hard to establish. We have big aspirations, but more often than not, we quit and go back to our old ways.
I tend to focus on creating big, epic goals. Much of the personal development literature out there pushes big thinking.
However, I have found that it’s better to create a series of small goals that lead to big changes.
It’s all about taking baby steps!
To accomplish any goal – big or small, you need to create healthy habits that you perform daily.
The easiest habits to stick to are the ones that take just a couple of minutes each day, so we have no excuse not to do them no matter how busy we are.
You don’t have to change a hundred things all at once, either. Pick one or two to start with. Add one or two new habits every couple of weeks.
One thing that works is to piggy back new habits onto established habits. Think of the established habit, like brushing your teeth, or whatever it may be, as a “trigger” that reminds you to perform the new habit.
That way, you are less likely to forget about the new habit because it is attached to your daily routine.
The key is to start slow and start NOW. Here are some healthy changes you can do right now:
#1: Drink Your Veggies
My number one health tip will always be to drink a green smoothie every day. I start every morning with a green smoothie.
It can be difficult for some people to consume 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day (ME!). But green smoothies make it super easy.
You can find some delicious green smoothie recipes here.
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#2: Get Plenty of Water
Most people reach for a cup of coffee as soon as they wake up. I often hear people say that they can’t function until they have their first cup.
Instead of relying on caffeine for energy, drink a glass of water as soon as you wake up and see how you feel.
Your production of the energy-regulating hormone, cortisol, is at its peak first thing in the morning. You might be surprised at how you feel.
Also, try to make sure that you are getting at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of water each day.
While there isn’t anything wrong with enjoying coffee in the morning, a lot of people use it to cover up symptoms of poor sleeping habits, improper nutrition, and lack of physical exercise. It’s better in the long run to address the root cause than it is to cover them up with a stimulant beverage.
#3: Eat healthy Fats
We know that there are good fats and bad fats. Your body needs good fats like avocado, chia seeds, coconut oil, and nuts.
Essential vitamins such as A, D, E and K are not water soluble and require fat to be absorbed by the body. These vitamins are crucial for brain health and many of our vital organs. Try adding some healthy fats to all of your meals.
Caution: Don’t go overboard with fat. You don’t need that much. A handful of almonds as a snack, or 2 tablespoons of chia seeds in your green smoothie is fine. One avocado has about 322 calories, so a little bit goes a long way.
#4: Cook with Herbs
I love cooking with herbs. They add so much flavor to a dish, but they have almost no calories.
If you are using fresh herbs, they are a great source of antioxidants. You can replace salt and some of the high-fat, high-calorie sauces and additives in your cooking with flavorful herbs.
Spice up your favorite foods! Add fresh mint to your water or green smoothies. Cook with garlic, basil, oregano, and ginger. I love making collard hummus wraps with fresh dill!
#5: Pack Healthy Snacks
This is essential for good health. Some days, you might not need a snack, but other days you might feel hungry all day. If you don’t pack your own snacks, you are going to be at the mercy of your cravings (and vending machines). They are usually filled with over-priced, unhealthy foods.
Instead, pack snacks that will hold up if you don’t need them. Trail mix, or a fruit and nut bar are my favorite on-the-go snack items. Just make sure you check the ingredients.
Avoid snacks with added sugars and preservatives. Look for snacks with some healthy fats and a good source of protein.
If you are sure you are going to want a snack, you can bring fresh fruit or a hard-boiled egg if you have a cool place to keep them.
#6: Strength Training
This is something that took me a long time to get into. I didn’t want big muscles so I would put off strength training and only focus on cardio.
Finally, after eating healthy, working out everyday, and still being frustrated with my weight plateau, I decided to do 20 minutes of strength training. I was amazed at the results!
Strength training is important because it gives you lean muscles that help you burn more calories. The more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
Some women are concerned that strength training will make them look too muscular, or that their weight loss with be frustrated by gaining muscle weight.
However, this concern is unfounded because in order to get a bodybuilder’s body, you have to go to great lengths. It’s much healthier in the long run to put on a little muscle weight in order to blast through body fat.
Swimming is a GREAT workout, but more importantly, it’s fun and low impact. The resistance you get from swimming also helps to builds muscle.
You could easily spend an hour or more in the water and not even realize how much you are working out.
If you’re new to running, ease into it. We all like to think that we can run at a fast and steady pace right off the bat.
If you’re new to running, you might feel good for a few minutes, but you will regret it the next day and most likely will give up and not want to continue.
If you are not a runner at all, start walking. Then start running for just a few minutes and walk for a few minutes. If you want something more structured, you can find a Couch to 5k program online.
I started with a program similar to a Couch to 5k. Then I found a running group that was ultimately training for a marathon. Even though I had no intention to run a marathon, I joined the group!
They group was so inspirational that I tackled the longer runs with them (after running for a few months). I eventually signed up for the Chicago marathon. I ran my first marathon on October 12, 2012!
#9: Power Walk
Don’t underestimate the power of walking.
Going for a 20-minute power-walk every day, especially in nature, has such an amazing impact on your health – both physical and mental.
Don’t forget to turn off your electronics and simply enjoy the moment.
: Mental Health
#10: Practice Affirmations
This is SO important! Positive affirmations are specific statements that help you to overcome self-sabotaging, negative thoughts.
You might feel silly reciting affirmations at first – especially if you say them out loud (which is recommended). But reciting positive affirmations over and over again helps create a positive shift in your mindset. It sets the foundation for how you handle what you have to do each day.
Affirmations are unique to each person, depending on what you are looking to change. If you need to, write out these affirmations and hang them where you will see them every day (ie: bathroom mirror, refrigerator door, at your desk).
#11: Declutter Your Work Space
Decluttering is so important. Think of it as a visual representation of your mind. When you sit down to work, if your space is filled with clutter, you will automatically feel overwhelmed.
And there’s the constant distraction of looking at items that don’t belong in your work space, which only leaves you feeling scatterbrained and unfocused.
Take a few minutes to clean up your work space every day so that you can start fresh and without distractions. You might also find that your feeling of overwhelm falls away.
#12: Develop Meaningful Connections
The late Mother Teresa once said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
Take the time to make connections with the people around you. Put down your phone and look people in the eye when they are talking. Listen to what they are saying and don’t just listen for your turn to talk.
Make time to call family and friends to see them in person. Just be present around those you love.
Even those of us who have lost a loved one sometimes need to be reminded to never, ever take the people in your life for granted.
Bonus: Create A Vision Board
Yes, this one is a bonus! This is something both Davy and I have done in the past. It was instrumental when we spent 6 months wintering in Mexico. It’s very simple to implement.
Simply use a board or a space on your wall where you hang photos and/or words of things that you want to manifest in your life. The daily visual reminder helps to you see your goals every day so that you don’t lose sight of them.
You can start small. Start with three things that you want to achieve in the next 6 months. Now go online or look in magazines for photos that represent what you want. You can fill the board as you wish. But make sure you fill it.
Which (one) simple habit will you start building today to kick start your healthier lifestyle?
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About Davy & Tracy
We created Incredible Smoothies to help you cultivate health and happiness in your own life. We love to share our favorite green smoothies while also writing about happiness, entrepreneurship, and personal development topics. Read more...