We all know we should do something for our health and fitness. But most of the time, when we think about making changes to our lifestyle, we feel like we must completely reinvent ourselves to do so. Because after all, if we do not do everything perfectly all at once, it will not work, right?
Well, as it turns out, making small changes over time works much better. Through incremental changes, we have a much bigger chance to form some lasting, positive self-care habits. This is because there is a much smaller threshold to overcome compared to making big changes. Read on for five small health changes that may have a big impact on your life.
If you want to exercise more, plan for it
Trying to force yourself to do a 3-hour gym marathon will be an uphill battle from start to finish, especially with a busy daily life. Instead, try to schedule up to 30 minutes to go for a walk with a friend. Instead of sitting down for that coffee, you might find yourself walking and talking for an hour.
Or, if you prefer to work out alone at home, you might just do some high knees or squats every time you are waiting for your coffee machine to finish. You could also do a lunge and reach every morning after waking up and walking your first steps of the day. No matter your schedule, exercise will happen if you plan for it.
If you want to eat healthier, add just one fruit or vegetable per day
Maybe you are someone who dreads the idea of eating a big bowl of vegetables instead of your usual favorite food. Instead, start by adding just one fruit or a small blot of vegetables to your meals. You might even find your new favorite healthy food this way! Also, you might spontaneously eat more as time passes. At the very least, you will add some healthy micronutrients to your diet every day.
If you want to be inspired and motivated, expose yourself to positive influences
Surely there have been times where you were not that motivated and just thought to yourself “what the hell” and gave up. This is an actual phenomenon studied by research! What can we do against this? Every time you feel a loss of motivation, help yourself over the edge by watching some inspirational content. For example, you will find a lot of free recipes and exercises at the Freeletics Instagram. By having some motivating content to click on, you have the possibility to help yourself during those moments where you just think “what the hell”.
If you need help pushing through a tough workout, become your own coach
Sometimes we might find ourselves in the middle of a tough workout just wanting to quit. This is a natural part of challenging yourself but can prove difficult to overcome! However, you can help yourself by giving yourself a little pep talk. This “positive self-talk” as research calls it, will help you push through adversity and make those transformational changes happen over time. Saying “you got this” or “just five more reps” to yourself can go a long way.
If you want to de-stress: breathe or meditate
Find yourself in a constant state of stress, not having the mental space to do something for yourself? Schedule just 5-10 minutes of mindfulness into your day! There is plenty of evidence that by practicing some form of mindfulness, meditation or even just conscious breathing will help you reduce your stress levels. Give it a try and you might just get that extra headspace to make some other planned changes to your life.
There are plenty of ways to start with small changes, no matter your health goal. They will help you to avoid burning yourself out trying to change your whole life from one day to another.
Just use one or two new health hacks during your day-to-day life. It might help you get into a stage of change without making the process a daunting challenge to overcome.