Changing your lifestyle is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it is possible. Here are five tips to make your healthy goals part of your routine this year:
1. Start with baby steps
Let’s say you want to start running. You wouldn’t make the Boston Marathon your first target race, right? Of course, not! If you're going to make your healthy lifestyle choices stick, you’ve got to make them accessible. In plain language: set yourself up for success by starting small.
Shoot to run a mile a week for a few weeks and put a charity 5k on the calendar in a few months. Alternately, start with drinking more water and walking for 30-45 minutes a day, or spending 20 minutes a day on the elliptical at the gym. Bite-sized goals allow us to develop a pattern of success and boost our motivation in the process.
2. Focus on one behavior at a time
If you have many lifestyle changes you want to make, it can get overwhelming to focus on them all at once. You don’t want to try to stop smoking, lose 30 pounds, AND learn to cook - all in the same few months.
Instead, identify your highest-priority behaviors, and focus on those first. For example, if you want to lose weight but you’ve never exercised, start by improving the way you eat first. A healthy food delivery service like ModifyHealth, which offers Low-FODMAP Certified™ or Mediterranean diet meals and free nationwide shipping, will make eating clean easy, so you can start seeing results right away.
Once that change feels integrated, you can start focusing on other goals, like getting to the gym twice a week.
If you’re a smartphone user, consider downloading accountability apps like MyFitnessPal, which allow you to track your workouts, keep an eye on your progress, and stay motivated to hit your goals.
3. Get creative about how you incorporate new behaviors
Again - most positive lifestyle choices don’t stick because they’re inconvenient or difficult to implement. With that in mind, get creative and find convenient ways to incorporate new behaviors.
If your goal is to move more, start biking (rather than driving) to work. If your goal is to cut caffeine, go for decaf instead. When you want to drink less alcohol, find some delicious mocktails (or a mocktail subscription service) you love.
If your goal is to cut sugar out of your diet, find sugar-free substitutes you love for your coffee and hot drinks. Here at 5 Sparrows, we create sugar-free drink mixes that are perfect for enjoying a little pick-me-up without sabotaging your health goals. Check out our fan-favorite, sugar-free salted caramel, white chocolate, dark chocolate, and spiced chai mixes to get started.
Making positive changes doesn’t have to mean adopting an entirely new behavior. In some cases, it’s as easy as adjusting the way you’re already doing things.
4. Focus on your mental health, as well
You can’t stick with positive physical changes unless you’re taking care of your mental health, too. Incorporate practices like mindfulness, good sleep hygiene, and plenty of downtime to allow yourself to relax, reset, and recharge.
Here are a few additional examples you can incorporate into your routine:
- Practice daily affirmations. The way you think about and talk to yourself can have a powerful impact on how you feel. Because of this, daily affirmations can make a big difference in your mood. Find an affirmation that resonates with you and make a habit of repeating it in the morning, or whenever you’re feeling anxious, doubtful, or down.
- Practice gratitude. People who practice gratitude are happier and healthier than those who don’t. In fact, journaling for even five minutes a day about what we’re grateful for can enhance long-term happiness by more than 10%. With this in mind, pick up a gratitude journal and make writing in it a nightly habit.
- Move through stress. If you find yourself experiencing stress or anxiety, try to move your body. A quick walk around the block, a jog with a friend, or a favorite exercise class helps combat stress and releases endorphins to help you feel calm, collected, and at peace.
- Take a break. During moments of overwhelm, don’t be afraid to take a break. We get so focused on productivity and efficiency that it can be tough to give ourselves rest when we need it. Sometimes, however, slowing down is the best way to maintain our produvitivty and mental health in the long run. Even five minutes of sitting outside in the sun, or sipping a soothing cup of tea can have a major impact on our stress levels and mood.
These small additions to your daily schedule may seem inconsequential, but they’ll go a long way toward helping you feel more balanced, more centered, and more capable of creating positive change.
Above all else, be kind to yourself as you strive for change. Remember that incorporating healthygoals is a process, and it’s normal if you backslide a little on the way. When you fall into old habits, don’t get discouraged. Tomorrow is a new day, and you can always start again. With time, your healthy habits will become natural.
5. Ask for support
Making positive lifestyle choices permanent is easier when you do it with support. Involve a friend, coworker, or family member in your goals.
This keeps both of you accountable and provides some important social support, which is important when it comes to combating the stress associated with change, and keeping yourself accountable. In fact, there’s a growing body of research that proves that sharing your goals with someone else makes you more likely to meet them.
If you’re looking for sources of social support, you can consider joining a support group, a Facebook or MeetUp group, or any other community that provides you with support and accountability on your journey.
Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen alone. Having some trusted friends or allies on your side during the process makes success MUCH more attainable.
Also, having access to a trusted source of information about nutrition, health conditions and fitness is super important and why we recommend Health.com. You’ll find a myriad of articles, recipes, and self-help tools to help you along the way.
5 Sparrows is Here to Help You Meet Your Goals
Small, consistent positive lifestyle choices can help us avoid disease, maintain a healthy weight, and live a happier, more fulfilled life. Here at 5 Sparrows, we believe in your potential to be the hero of your own story. We’re just here to be your hype girl along the way.
Whether you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier, feel happier, or sleep better, our sugar-free coffee creamers can be one piece of the puzzle. Enjoy a delicious moment that’s actually good for you with our lineup of frappe/smoothie mixes and hot drinks. Shop now to find your perfect fit!