A few months ago, I attended my high school reunion. It was great to catch up with many of my former classmates, but one thing I was struck by was how unhealthy so many people appeared to be. I know life has a way of getting in the way of us taking better care of ourselves, but in the long-term, the ramifications of us not kicking unhealthy habits can have devastating consequences.
While I could come up with a handy list of things you “should” be doing right off the bat, I think one of the most important things we can do regularly—especially at the beginning of 2018—is to take an introspective look at the things we do each day. The choices that we make each day all add up to profoundly impact our health.
That’s why I think it’s so important that when we think about improving how we feel each day, we can start to prune some of the things we are doing that could be preventing good health. There are a few things that probably come to mind when I said that, but maybe not. We don’t always want to admit the things we are doing that may be causing us to feel less than our best.
Sometimes we reach for things that help us temporarily feel better but that contribute to us feeling worse in the long run. Now before you get worried that I’m suggesting you cut out your morning cup of Joe—which I’m not—what I want to make clear is that simply by identifying things that aren’t healthy for us, we can make more room for healthier habits.
Simple things like remembering to drink enough water or replacing unhealthy snacks with healthier ones, done each day, can help us feel better, give us more energy, and even help us lose weight.
I recommend making a list of three things you know you can improve and make a plan over the next month to start. One example might be to improve your overall cardiovascular health by doing a physical activity like walking for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week. Resolutions can be tricky though. Are you the type of person that goes “whole hog” only to be burned out in two weeks? Try making small adjustments that get you increasingly more toward your goal. For example, if you want to cut soda—great! You’re not alone. 12% fewer adults and nearly 20% fewer kids are drinking sugary beverage compared to 2003.
To keep with our soda example, a person trying to cut soda could limit to one or two glasses a day and replace the rest with water or tea. After a month of the change, whether it’s soda or something else, see how you feel.
Remember it’s not always about eating junk food either, sometimes it’s making the choice to go to sleep earlier (this is what I am focusing on), or choosing to take a walk instead of watching that reality TV show that just raises your blood pressure anyway.
If you’ll notice, I suggested that you replace each of these “bad habits” with something healthy because I feel that is the key to kicking any bad habit for good. We want to prune the branches that may not be fruitful but we also want to promote growth and better health by doing something better.
What do you think? What habits have you been successful at replacing? Share in the comments how you did it.
Your Virtual Life Mentor,