Easy action items to get started right away!
With the start of the New Year, it’s typically a time to reassess ourselves and our habits. Do you have a healthy habit you’d like to adopt? Most of us do. The tough part is getting started. That’s why I’ve pulled together these simple action items to help you jump start your way to a healthier you–eating breakfast, drinking more water, moving, connecting, and getting a better night’s sleep.
Remember knowledge is NOT power…execution IS. Choose one to get started. And when you’re ready, put them all together to give your everyday health an amazing boost.
Say Yes to Breakfast
The payoff: Eating breakfast fuels your body and brain for a truly good morning. It also helps jump-start your metabolism, which may be one reason that breakfast eaters tend to weigh less than those who skip it. Your best start: Choose foods you’ll look forward to–there are many more choices beyond plain-old cereal. Try plain or vanilla yoghurt with fresh berries. I start my mornings with fruit and veggie smoothies-my Vitamix is my workhorse for providing a healthy start for the whole family.
Just Add Water
The payoff: Every cell in your body contains water. Staying well hydrated can prevent headaches, moodiness, loss of focus, and muscle fatigue. Your best start: Carry a refillable bottle of water with you at all times–in your bag, in your car, on the job, and at the gym. If it’s handy, you’ll sip it. (I must admit I’m terrible in this area but will try to do better this year) Also, eat more fruits and vegetables, which contain lots of water. (Did you know that 91 percent of the weight of broccoli comes from water?) Remember that other water-based beverages count too.
The payoff: The more you move, the more calories you burn. An active lifestyle can also improve your mood, appearance, and overall health. Your best start: Wear a fitbit or other such wearable device and make it a game to track your activity level number of steps you take each day, quality of sleep… It can be your friendly reminder to keep moving. Some easy boosts:
- At work: Keep a small water glass that you have to refill often, instead of a large water bottle, on your desk. Use the stairs, not the elevator. Pace while on the phone.
- At home: Put things away in multiple small trips rather than one big haul. Use your foam roller or resistance band as you watch TV.
Watch 6 roller exercises to start your year right
View this resistance band hip and leg series for strength and flexibility
- Out and about: Walk that grocery cart back to it’s station rather than tucking it over a curb. Park in a remote corner of parking lots when running errands. Take the stairs when you can. On planes choose the aisle seat to more easily get up often preventing stiffness and DVT’s.
- Do what you love: What ever your passion is, gardening, hiking, Pilates, dance, yoga. Mix it up so your body will benefit from the variety.
The payoff: Regular and meaningful connection with friends, family, volunteering all improve your levels of stress, and release feel good hormones.
Your best start: Write a letter, make a phone call. Enjoy a walk in the park or a hike in the woods with a buddy. Volunteering and focusing on helping others helps you as well.
Sleep Better Tonight
The payoff: Getting a good night’s rest boosts energy and improves immunity. It’s also been associated with heart health and a longer life span.
Your best start: Create a calming routine. At the end of the workday, write in a journal or create a to-do list for tomorrow, so you won’t worry you’ll forget something. Reading a few pages in a book or playing Words with Friends usually knocks me out pretty quickly. As you prepare for bed, dim the lights and quiet any loud noises. Following the same pre-bedtime routine each night can help you drift off more easily.