A recent survey found that almost all American adults (93%) set health and wellness goals for themselves. Out of the people surveyed, 84% are actively working toward achieving their health and wellness goals, and 76% of people say that wanting to feel better “both physically and mentally” is their main source of motivation.
The survey also revealed that 87% of people want to fuel their body with a “more healthy, balanced diet,” 86% “say focusing on mindfulness and their mental health is an important goal for them,” and 85% want to exercise regularly.
Since the new year is the perfect time to rediscover your best self, here are some easy ways to develop healthier habits.
What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?
Here at Purely Inspired, we know that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to health and wellness. Each person has their own unique body, background, and lifestyle, which is exactly why we want you to “Do What Makes You Feel Good” – not what makes someone else feel good, or what society tells you should feel good.
We understand that a “healthy lifestyle” will mean different things to different people. For instance, busy moms (or busy dog moms), might be doing regular exercise in order to keep up with their kids (or their favorite pets), while student athletes are probably exercising on a regular basis in order to enhance their athletic performance.
So, what does an ideal healthy lifestyle look like to you? Does it revolve around making more healthy and delicious home-cooked meals for you and your family each week (or your teammates), instead of relying on fast food and takeout? Or does it mean incorporating a mindfulness practice into your everyday life? Whatever a healthy lifestyle means to you, that’s the life that we want you to live.
5 Easy Ways To Develop Healthier Habits
1. Know Your “Why”
If you’ve ever tried to create a new healthy habit, but had trouble following through, it’s important to reflect on why you weren’t able to achieve your goal. One possible explanation is that you just didn’t have a good enough source of motivation to inspire you to achieve your goal. That’s why knowing your “why” is so crucial when it comes to creating and sticking with new healthy habits.
For instance, if getting healthy for yourself isn’t enough to motivate you, then shift your focus away from the consequences for yourself and toward the consequences for others, especially the people you love most.
A “What Makes Life Meaningful?” survey revealed that “family is the top source of meaning in life” around the world. So, if you’re not willing to get healthy for yourself, then get healthy for your loved ones.
Why is this an effective strategy? Psychological science shows that “people are reluctant to recognize personal risks and are overconfident about their own invulnerability to health problems,” according to a research article.
Research also shows that “thinking about other people can motivate action.” One study even found that altering the message, “Hand hygiene prevents you from catching diseases” to “Hand hygiene prevents patients from catching diseases” increased rates of hand washing by 10% and soap use by 45%.
So, if you’re having a hard time sticking to a healthy lifestyle for yourself, then use your partner, children, parents, friends, pets, and/or co-workers as your motivation to create healthier habits instead.
2. Keep It Simple When It Comes To Eating (And Drinking) Healthier
One study revealed that 52% of Americans who were polled believed that “doing their taxes was easier than figuring out how to eat healthy.”
Sure, there are a lot of different types of diets and healthy eating tips and tricks out there, but eating healthy should not be more complex than doing your taxes! To help you keep it simple when it comes to eating and drinking healthier, here are five healthy eating basics:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet. This means eating lots of fruits and vegetables (try to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal), choosing whole grain foods, eating protein foods, making water your go-to beverage, and limiting ultra-processed foods, which are foods that are changed from their original food source, such as hot dogs, frozen pizzas, chips, and cookies.
- Make most of your meals at home. A study found that people who frequently cook meals at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories than those who cook less. “When people cook most of their meals at home, they consume fewer carbohydrates, less sugar, and less fat than those who cook less or not at all – even if they are not trying to lose weight,” according to the lead author of the study.
- Avoid (or limit) sugary drinks. Limiting (or avoiding) sugary drinks, such as soda, fruit drinks, and sports drinks, can help you maintain a healthy weight and have a healthy diet. People who often drink sugary drinks are also more likely to face health problems, such as weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
- Make a grocery list before you go shopping. If you’ve ever gone into a grocery store without a plan, especially when you’re hungry, you know how tempting it can be to purchase foods and drinks that you know aren’t necessarily the healthiest options. That’s why writing out a grocery list and taking it to the store with you can help you make healthier decisions when shopping, and prevent you from purchasing that bag of chips or box of cookies that looks so good in the store. In fact, studies have shown that, “A shopping list may serve as a useful, easy to implement, and practically no-cost tool to support food purchasing consistent with healthier eating and healthier weight.”
3. Make It A Point To Move Your Body Every Day
The health benefits of physical activity include weight management (either to maintain your weight or to lose weight – and keep it off), strengthening your bones and muscles, and reducing your health risk in regard to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and some cancers.
Doing physical activity on a regular basis can also increase your chances of living longer. That’s right, research has shown that people who are physically active for about 150 minutes each week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive.
To increase your physical activity levels, all you need to do is be mindful of moving your body more. For some inspiration, here are three effective strategies that you can use to be more physically active throughout the day.
- Schedule thirty minutes for walking, three times each week during the day. If you work a full-time or part-time job, you can schedule a call during this time and walk as you talk. Or, if you’re picking up your kids at school, ditch your car and walk (or ride your bike) there instead.
- If you live in an apartment building or work in an office, take the stairs instead of using the elevator. Research has shown that people who climb at least eight flights of stairs every day have a 33% lower risk of death than people who spend most of their time sitting.
- Instead of letting your dog run around in your backyard, take your dog (and yourself) for a walk.
4. Take Care Of Your Mental Health
Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. It affects how you think, feel, and act, and also helps determine how you handle stress, relate to other people, and make choices each and every day.
Positive mental health will allow you to realize your full potential, cope with daily stressors, and be productive at work. Some ways to maintain positive mental health, or to look after your mental health, include:
- Talking about your feelings.
- Being physically active.
- Eating well.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Practicing mindfulness.
- Surrounding yourself with good people.
- Shifting your mindset to positive thinking.
- Setting realistic goals.
- Getting help if you need it.
5. Focus On Becoming An Inspiration To Your Loved Ones
Want your children or loved ones to develop healthier habits? Then become a positive role model for them. By simply creating new healthy habits for yourself and living your best life, your kids and loved ones will see firsthand how your new healthy habits have impacted your life for the better.
After all, we know that actions speak louder than words. So, show your children and loved ones (who are constantly watching you – whether you realize it or not) how your new healthy habits are allowing you to become the best version of yourself.
By setting good boundaries (with yourself and others) and committing to your own personal growth and development, it will inspire the people you care most about to become the best versions of themselves, as well. And it definitely beats nagging your partner or kids to do things (for both them and you) any day of the week!
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