Small Choices for Big Changes
Two Changes a Day for a Healthier Life
Halfway through the year, resolutions made in January have mostly faded away. There are as many excuses to avoid living healthy as there are people on the planet.
For some, the idea of doing all the things required to get in shape is too exhausting to think about. Many believe they will always have another day to tackle the problem. While others have started and quit so often, they're afraid anything they do is doomed to failure.
The fact is, you can make enormous progress with small daily changes. The problem I've found is that many people have no idea what steps they need to take. They ask, “Where should I start? How long will I have to keep at it? And most importantly, what should I change?”
My answers are; First, you should start by tweaking the small things you already do. Making big commitments when you start can be overwhelming to consider, challenging to sustain and easy to give up on. Baby steps are the best.
Second, you're going to have to pursue healthy living for the rest of your life. But don't think about what you'll be doing five years from now. Stop worrying about five months or even five weeks from today. Just decide what you're going to be doing tomorrow.
Third, I'm going to give you more than three dozen small things you can consider changing or doing. Following are a list of actions broken down into different categories. There's Food, Exercise, Planning & Motivation, and Rest & Relaxation.
Every day for the next month, choose two or three actions to perform a day. Make sure they're from different categories. I suggest you choose from the exercise category at least three days a week and the food category on opposite days of the week. Mix the other things in.
Do NOT try and plan the entire month out in advance. Just pick what you're going to do tomorrow.
You need to be reminded of your choices, so document them. Write them down on a card or sticky note and put them somewhere you'll see. You can also consider entering it into your calendar or attaching your choices to an alarm. Go old school; write your choices on a calendar and check them off once they're completed.
Remember to keep a record of what you've achieved. Save those cards, note pads or calendar pages. Just two things a day may not seem like much. But in one year, you'll have taken more than 700 steps to living a healthier life.
Over time, some of those steps will start to become habits. The more you do them, the more you'll want to keep getting positive feedback from doing them. As you incorporate them into your life, you'll be able to add new choices and keep improving.
It's important you don't approach this as something with a destination. Nobody is ever going to achieve perfection. The best we can do is make the journey worthwhile. The more you take care of your health, the easier and more enjoyable the journey will be.
You can download a blank calendar in JPG or PDF format below.
Drink 8 ounces of water before every meal.
Carry a water bottle with you all day and keep refilling it.
Avoid regular soda or sugar-filled drinks for a day.
Make a protein shake to drink after you exercise.
Cook a new healthy breakfast recipe.
Pack a healthy lunch and take it with you to work.
Cook and freeze some healthy meals for later.
Prep in advance all your healthy meals for a day.
List of all the snacks you can eat for the day.
Replace a take-out order with a homemade meal.
Cut one sweet thing out of your diet today.
Eat a vegetable at every meal.
Eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables in a day.
Make a healthy salad recipe for dinner.
Write down everything you eat and drink for a day.
Explore WeCookFit.com and pick out 3 healthy recipes.
Take a 10-minute walk.
Jump rope for 1 minute.
Do 1 minute of jumping jacks.
Jog in place for 2 minutes.
Do as many push-ups as you can, up to 60 seconds worth when you first get up.
Take a bike ride.
Do 15 minutes of physical chores. Move quickly.
Go to www.quickfitfive.com and do one of the Daily Fitness Challenges.
Take 5 minutes and stretch.
Stand for at least 1 minute every hour.
Stand and walk in place whenever a commercial comes on the TV.
Walk around every time you talk on the phone.
Put 3 workouts in your schedule next week.
Planning & Motivation
Write down a goal you can achieve in 7 days.
Write down a new goal you've never attempted before.
Write down why you want to achieve a goal you have written down.
Write a to-do list at night of what you want to accomplish tomorrow.
Plan a reward for yourself if you accomplish one of your goals.
Write down 3 things you're grateful for.
Write down 1 or 2 things you can do to bring more balance to your life.
Listen to an upbeat song when you get up in the morning.
Clean out a closet, drawer or cabinet you've been avoiding.
Rest & Relaxation
Turn off all electronics for an hour.
Take a 24-hour break from social media.
Put your phone away 30 minutes before you go to bed.
Go to bed on time.
Arrange your schedule, so you get at least 8 hours of sleep.
Get up early to complete something on your to-do list.
Practice 15 minutes of progressive muscle relaxation.
Set an alarm and take 5 deep breaths every hour during the day.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.