Summer will be here before you know it; are you still stuck on trying to get your New Year’s resolutions to work? It’s never too late to make small lifestyle changes that can vastly improve your life, health, and happiness levels.
It all starts with baby steps and diversification. For example “getting healthier” is somewhat subjective, and if you go to extremes and put harsh demands on yourself, you’re getting ready to fail. Instead, focus on small steps such as understanding the importance of how many meals to eat per day and adding more veggies to your diet.
Summer is the season of changes, vacations, and trying new things. However, it can be tough to make the most of this time of year if you feel stuck in a rut. Looking and feeling your best are important, and the spring is the perfect time to set the pace for the rest of the warm weather months.
Here are a few major lifestyle changes that you can start with surprisingly small efforts.
1. Ditch the excess sugar
There’s a huge difference between “not taking sugar” and not taking excess, unnecessary sugar. If you have a sweet tooth, start experimenting with different foods that have natural sugars in them, such as fruits and berries you’re not familiar with, or in new combinations with NSA coconut milk.
Very dark chocolates have a host of positive health benefits, and you can train your palate to enjoy them as much as those milk chocolate candy bars (although it may take time). The good news is that it usually doesn’t take long for your taste buds to adapt to a new level of sweetness.
2. Move every day
“Working out” doesn’t have to mean taking the advanced spin class six days a week. However, following the recommended medical advice to exercise 150 minutes per week, or a minimum of 30 minutes a day for five days per week, is a good idea.
If you hate the gym, don’t go. Take a walk around the neighborhood instead. Head to your local Latin club for free salsa lessons. Try new ways of moving, shake things up every day, and learn to appreciate everything your body can do.
3. Unplug 30 minutes each day
Depending on your life, relationship demands, and career, you might find yourself in front of some kind of screen 99 percent of the day. If you are, stop and unplug for at least 30 minutes.
You can lie down with your eyes closed, go for a walk and take in the neighborhood sans headphones, or try writing with pen and paper. Your body and mind are aching for some no-screen time; they need it to refresh.
4. Spend quality time with loved ones
The key word here is “quality.” This means actually sitting down with the people you care about and having a good old-fashioned conversation. Any drinks or food should be secondary to conversation and touching base.
You might not think you need to give special attention to friends and family, but those relationships can often use some TLC.
5. Choose one vice to recognize
Whether it’s smoking, taking on too much, or indulging in gossip, you can probably name a couple of your own vices off the top of your head. You don’t need to quit cold turkey; maybe you can’t.
Instead, just recognize them and focus daily on taking note of whenever you indulge. Weaning yourself from such behaviors may take time, but you can start by paying attention to their presence in your life on a daily basis.