We’re officially a month into the new year, and I’m sure thousands of people who made New Year’s resolutions to get healthier have probably abandoned their goal already. If you’ve slacked off, here’s your chance to get back on track. Maybe you’ve realized your goals were too ambitious. Maybe you burned out early because you went so hard in the beginning. It’s been proven that slower, more gradual changes will increase your chances of being successful in the long run. So what kind of changes can you make in your routine to improve your health?
- Drink more water: I never understood people’s disdain for water, simply because it doesn’t taste like anything! Actually, water is one of the more refreshing beverages, especially when you’re parched and it’s ice cold. I watched my water intake increase when I bought a filter, to ensure I didn’t taste any metals or impurities from the tap. Another way to increase your water intake is to buy a nice reusable BPA free bottle. They have them in many different sizes. I have 3: two of them are 24 oz and one is 32 oz. It feels like such an accomplishment to knock those bottles out, and it makes me feel even better that there are no calories, no carbs, no sugar and no sodium. You can’t go wrong with water, and your body needs it.
- Turn in early: How many hours of sleep did you get last night? Was it sound sleep? Do you get at least 7 hours? While many brag that sleep is the cousin of death and that time spent sleeping can be time spent being productive, sleep is a productive thing to do. Your body cannot run endlessly without some quality shut eye. You deserve a break, and you need REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. If you’re an insomniac like me, you can try natural remedies such as valerian root and melatonin supplements. Melatonin is something your body already creates, and valerian root is much better to take than Lunesta. Not big on pills? I bought a nice pillow spray from Bath & Body Works that was lavender scented. Aromatherapy relaxes you and makes it easier to let go and drift off to dream land.
- Eat more colors: I’m certainly not advocating that you should eat crayons or markers, but rather add some color to your plate in the form of fruits and vegetables. I’m a meat and potato type of girl, so I definitely understand that there are some more delicious options, but vegetables and fruits can be delicious too! Try adding a side salad to your meal that includes not only the leafy greens, but also some cucumbers, tomatos and carrots. Don’t forget to be light with the dressing. If you have a sweet tooth, try apples, frozen grapes, or watermelon (another way to increase your water intake).
- Consume less red meat: I know it may sound like a cardinal sin, but there is more to life than burgers, steak, and ground beef. Change your menu a couple times a week to chicken, fish, or even no meat at all! Instead of ground beef tacos, choose a portebello mushroom burger (a popular choice for vegetarians). Make your salad really festive by adding chicken or salmon. You may find that you don’t even miss red meat!
- Rise and shine: You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Starting off your day with a good breakfast will also set the tone for how you eat later in the day. You don’t have to make the usual bacon and eggs every morning, but even a bowl of oatmeal or cereal will get your brain functioning much better than if you went out into the world on an empty stomach.
What small changes are you willing to make to improve your health?