The New Year provides vast opportunities for growth and renewal in our lives. But so often we bite off more than we can chew with resolutions centered around a healthy lifestyle, and that can set us up for disappointment.
Making a drastic resolution can leave you feeling like a failure if it’s unmanageable in the framework of your everyday life.
So how can we be sure our resolution is sustainable long term? How can we set ourselves up for success with healthy lifestyle changes that pack a punch while seamlessly fitting into our daily routines?
Below we will explore how to kickstart a healthy lifestyle in four easy steps.
1. Healthy Eating
This can feel like an impossible task. Busy schedules and high food costs make convenience food our go-to more often than we probably like to admit. But how can we make better food choices when our schedules won’t become less busy?
a. Try meal planning based on your evening activity schedule. For a particularly busy night, try a meal that is kid-friendly and super easy to throw together like spaghetti or soup and salad.
b. Cut just one drive-thru meal from your weekly or monthly menu. Everyone’s situation is different so there’s no one-size-fits-all approach here. If you normally hit a drive thru twice a week, try to cut that down to one. If you only hit a drive-thru once a month, cut it out entirely.
c. Reserve one afternoon a week for food-prepping. Proper meal planning and prepping is your strongest line of defense against convenience and fast-food meals. Try to set some time aside to plan out your week, run to the grocery store, and prep what you can. It will pay off big throughout the week.
When we’re already running on fumes from our jam-packed schedules, adding an exercise routine can feel impossible. During these busy phases of life, it’s helpful to shift the way you view what exercise should look like.
Maybe you can’t spend an hour in the gym every day. Instead, turn on some music and dance in the kitchen. Take advantage of breaks in your workday and get outside for a walk. Take your kids to the park and participate in their playground shenanigans.
The point is not to establish some grand exercise routine – the point is to get moving even just a few minutes a day. Learning how to kickstart a healthy lifestyle is easier when it’s fun. Make exercise fun and you’ve already won half the battle.
3. Mind your Mental Health
Mental health is an important cog in the healthy lifestyle machine, yet it is so easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Signs of mental distress can creep up on us out of nowhere and take us completely by surprise. This is why it’s especially important to be proactive when it comes to our mental health.
Below are some suggestions to keep you feeling your best:
- Try journaling at the end of each day. Getting heavy things onto paper and off your mind is a great stress reducer.
- When you’re overwhelmed by a task, step away for a few minutes. Go outside and get some air. Take a few deep breaths. Grab a glass of water. Anything to pull you out of the troublesome task and give you a quick mental break.
- Turn off the tv and step away from the social media. So much of what we consume each day is negative. Take a break from social media every so often and get out to engage with people in real life.
- Practice gratitude. Taking just a few minutes each day to notice the good in life will do wonders for your mental health.
Just like healthy eating, exercise, and mental health, sleep seems like one area in life we can cut corners to complete our never-ending to-do lists.
The CDC recommends adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night for optimum health benefits. However, there is no one size fits all approach, and no two people are the same. Maybe you feel best on six hours of sleep; maybe eight. Whatever your magic number is, aim to reach it each night and reap the health benefits.
Now that you know how to kickstart a healthy lifestyle, empower yourself with action. A healthier, happier you is just a few simple steps away. You are worth it.