Life gets busy, hectic, and overwhelming sometimes, and the healthy lifestyle habits you work so hard to maintain often get lost in the hustle and bustle. Unfortunately, those high-stress periods of life are when your body needs TLC the most.
If it’s time for you to push the reset button, this one is for you. Dive into 5 tips to kickstart a healthy lifestyle and get you back on track.
1. Set realistic goals.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” It’s true with goals, too.
Goals are personal. They’re unique to your circumstances, stage of life, and aspirations, so don’t compare your goals to those of your friends, family, or significant other.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t shoot for the stars, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t have huge, monumental, lofty goals in life. But it does mean that you need to meet yourself where you are right now and gradually climb toward the success you envision for yourself.
Picture this: you set a goal to run a marathon without running a day in your life. If you go outside on day one and try to run 26.2 miles, you’ll probably be out of breath pretty quickly. You need a training plan – you start with just one mile and slowly build towards your goal until you cross the finish line.
It’s easy to give up when your goal seems far away. But with small, realistic goals, it’s easier to stay motivated and empowered along the way. No goal is too small, and as you build upon each incremental achievement, you’ll find yourself looking back at how far you’ve come.
Take some time to explore areas in your life that you’d like to work on, and use SMART goal criteria to help you create realistic goals.
- Specific. Be specific when creating your goal – the more you can narrow down your goal, the easier it will be to figure out the steps you need to get there.
- Measurable. Determine how you will measure progress and success towards your goal.
- Attainable. Your goal should be something that you can reasonably accomplish.
- Relevant. Your goal should be important to you and align with your values.
- Time-bound. Give yourself a realistic timeframe of when you think you’ll be able to accomplish your goal.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of habits.
Humans are creatures of habit – good or bad. In fact, about 40% of your daily activities are habitual.
Some habits may help you reach your goals, like starting your day with a short workout and a balanced breakfast. But some habits may hinder your goals, like hours and hours of daily screen time or staying up too late.
You may have heard that it takes only 21 days to create a new habit. However, research suggests that it may take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to establish a habit – to make it an automatic behavior. So don’t give up – forming new habits takes time, and it’s different for everyone. So take it one day at a time, go easy on yourself when you fall short, and do your best to get back on track.
3. Put off procrastination.
Maybe you have a big project with a looming deadline, an email you’ve been putting off, or even a trip to the DMV to renew your license. The longer you put it off, the more daunting your task feels. That one task sets up camp in the back of your mind, slowly claiming more space until it’s all you think about, making it nearly impossible to focus on your other responsibilities.
So, start each morning like this:
- Ask yourself this cimportant question: What task do you really need to accomplish?
- Get it done. Make that task the very first thing you do.
Your productivity will shoot through the roof and your day can only get better from there – you’ve already completed your most dreaded task.
4. Fuel up.
You’re crushing goals and establishing healthy habits each day on the way to becoming your best self.
That takes a lot of energy, so make sure you fuel yourself well. Focus your diet around:
- Fruits. Rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other plant nutrients, fruit is a healthy carbohydrate source to give your body energy.
- Vegetables. Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables at each meal. Packed with fiber, vegetables help you stay fuller for longer and provide a ton of nutrients to keep your body functioning efficiently.
- Whole grains. Whole grains include brown rice, whole wheat bread, couscous, quinoa, whole wheat pasta. Up your fiber intake with a few simple swaps: white rice for brown, white bread for wheat, or flour tortillas for whole wheat tortillas.
- Lean protein. Protein helps repair and maintain tissue, supports a healthy immune system, and helps you feel fuller for longer. Opt for lean cuts of meat, reduced-fat dairy products, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds.
- Healthy fats. Fats help you feel satisfied at a meal. Choose heart-healthy options like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
A balanced diet helps give your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. But remember, all foods can have a place on your plate – there are no exclusively good or bad foods. Listen to your body and give extra attention to the foods that make you feel your best.
5. Get moving.
As you take steps towards a healthy lifestyle, it’s all about putting one foot in front of the other. Quite literally.
Physical activity is another piece of the wellness puzzle, and its benefits extend far beyond the number on the scale. Regular exercise helps support your immune system, heart health, bone health, and more.
But remember, exercise shouldn’t be something that you dread – finding an activity that you enjoy can transform physical activity into something you look forward to in your daily routine. Walking, cycling, dancing, hiking, swimming, skiing, group fitness classes, weightlifting – it all counts.
So, explore the options available in your area and get moving.
Everyone needs a reset every now and then. Even the sun goes down each night, returning each morning to bring warmth and light to the day. If your light has been a little dim lately, it might be time for you to hit reset. Use these tips to kickstart a healthy lifestyle and get back to feeling your best.