Spring is the perfect time to make some healthy changes and do some “spring cleaning” on your unhealthy habits.
“Health” is a really big and broad topic, and deciding to “get healthy” can be super overwhelming when you don’t know where to start. One of the reasons why New Year’s Resolutions fizzle out for most of us pretty quickly is that we try to make too many changes at once. We try to execute a complete lifestyle change overnight, which is actually pretty unsustainable.
Changing your whole lifestyle all at once – and expecting to keep it that way – is almost an unreasonable thing to ask of yourself. That’s why I recommend following a system called “One Simple Change.”
Ooh, what’s this system?? I set that up to be all mysterious and intriguing, but really it’s exactly what it sounds like. You start your health journey by making one simple change. Make a commitment to yourself to change one thing, like maybe getting more exercise, and stick with it. Practice this change over and over until it becomes a habit… and that’s when you add one more simple change.
By following this system, I don’t get overwhelmed when I think about getting healthier. I just commit to making one simple change at a time, which is a much more sustainable practice than a complete 180-degree lifestyle change overnight.
Ready to give it a try? Here are a few ideas for your first simple change:
Drink More Water
A lot of us are chronically dehydrated, and we don’t even know it. Practice this simple change by carrying a water bottle around with you, so that every time you see it, you remember to take a drink.
How much water do you need to drink? A good rule of thumb is to start with your weight in pounds, and divide by two. That’s how many ounces of water you should be drinking each day (For example, if I weight 120 pounds, I should be drinking at least 60 ounces of water each day). However, you’ll need to drink more water if you are exercising and sweating to replenish what your body is losing. I know you’ve heard it before, but if your pee is yellow, that’s a good sign that you need to be drinking more water.
Get More Exercise
This is a simple change that you can start small on. Rather than committing to exercising and immediately setting out to become a marathon runner or a body builder, just focus on slowly adding more exercise to your daily routine.
If you normally circle the parking lot to find the closest spot, try parking a little bit farther away and walking. Go for a light jog once or twice a week. Even walking to the end of the block and back counts as exercise!
The important thing to remember is that even though exercise is great for you, if you jump in too fast, you can injure yourself. Start small and work up slowly. Set a goal, such as getting thirty minutes of exercise a few times a week, and work up to it by adding a few minutes on to your workout each day.
Eat More Whole Foods
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of nutrition. Nutrition is really the foundation of good health, and what we eat has a much greater impact on our bodies and our health than most of us know.
This is another healthy change that can be overwhelming unless you start small. You don’t have to immediately go vegan and start whipping up plant-based dishes for every meal, but you might find a good cookbook with some healthy recipes and commit to making one each week. Maybe your simple change is that you’ll make a home-cooked meal instead of going out to eat as often. Maybe you’ll change the way you snack, and buy some fruit instead of a bag of chips.
I’m going to emphasize again the importance of starting small. The idea of “eating healthy” by itself is a pretty broad concept, and can definitely be overwhelming. Don’t feel like you have to change your whole diet overnight, but do make a point of being mindful of what you eat, and try to make small changes by slowly adding more whole foods.
Get More Sleep
Sleep is so important for our health. It gives our brains time to recharge and process things, and gives our bodies some time to focus on repairing or healing from the inside.
It’s recommended that we get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, but that number differs from person to person. Try to make sure that you are getting enough sleep for you, and maybe make a simple change by going to bed half an hour earlier than normal. Screens can interfere with our sleep, so try to put down all your devices an hour before bed (I know, it’s not easy. I have a lot of trouble with this!).
I wrote a blog post a little while ago about giving up caffeine. I actually found that when I kicked my caffeine addiction, I was sleeping much better, and feeling more awake throughout the day. Even if you don’t give up caffeine completely, I definitely suggest setting limits for yourself. Limit the number of caffeinated drinks that you have, and don’t drink any caffeine too late in the day so you don’t interfere with your sleep schedule.
Are you ready to start your journey to better health by making one simple change?
I hope this post gave you some good ideas and inspired you to make a simple change in your life!
Be happy. Be healthy.