If you’re trying to improve your daily lifestyle health, taking small steps is key. When we make the decision to stop eating a certain way all at once (that we have likely been eating for a long time), say we’ll start going to the gym five times a week, and begin meditating and doing hot yoga, it probably isn’t going to last. Habits that are cemented in our daily life are difficult to break. But with small, incremental changes, you can start to see clear progress as you work toward your health goals. Here are some easy-to-apply steps that’ll put you on the right path:
- Invest in a good water bottle.
Purchasing a well-made water bottle that keeps your water cold throughout the day can make it easier to reach your daily water intake. If you find that the taste is still too boring for you, feel free to throw in a couple of slices of lime or lemon (which you can also freeze beforehand to keep your drink chilled).
2. Wear your sunscreen everyday.
Applying sunscreen daily seems small, but it’s a habit that truly adds up. It’s also the number one way to prevent your skin from aging, so definitely make it a habit in your morning skin routine!
3. Cut down on portion sizes.
You can start reducing your portion size in many small ways. In fact, it can be as simple as splitting a dish with a friend, or ordering off the kids menu (yes, this is perfectly acceptable!).
4. Drink your coffee black.
This may be quite difficult at first for those of us who are used to an abundance of cream and sugar (or those who say “I like a little coffee with my cream”), but you can try slowly transitioning by cutting back the amounts of sugar/cream bit by bit each day. This makes the change much more tolerable, and reinforces the change in habit.
5. Switch out your soda.
Seltzer water is a great option for those who find they miss the “fizziness” of sodas. Due to their recent gain in popularity, they now come in an even wider array of flavors. Again, slowly transitioning is completely fine, and will typically improve the success of sticking to the change.
6. Breathe deep.
Sometimes, when our days are unbearably busy, it may take just too long to pull out a meditation app and go through a full cycle. On days such as these, I recommend taking the time to simply breathe—four seconds in, hold for four seconds, then four seconds out. This is called “square breathing” and has been shown to help with tension and anxiety.
7. Work on sleep hygiene.
While almost everyone knows they should probably be getting more rest, here are some immediate steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Center your bedroom only around sleep. For example, avoid using your laptop in bed.
- No phone or screen time before bed! It can negatively impact your sleep.
- Have a nightly ritual before bed to unwind! Whatever relaxes you.
- Try to keep a consistent sleep schedule. Yes, even on weekends!
8. Pay attention to posture.
Another one that is seemingly small, but has a huge impact. The more you pay attention to how hunched over you are at your desk or on the couch, the more you’ll realize how often you should correct your posture. Try to frequently adjust your posture and make a habit out of straightening it out. Your back, neck, and shoulders will thank you!