Not every change you make to live a healthier lifestyle has to be drastic. Many people go balls to the wall and cut out all their carbs or go from never running to training for a marathon.
The problem? Most realize how difficult such a drastic change can be and bail on their goal.
It’s better to take baby steps on your quest to build a healthier, stronger version of yourself. Pick one or two of the changes below and focus on those. Once you’re comfortable with the changes you made, pick up a few more.
1. Cut out soda.
2. Cut out juices.
3. Drink more water (8 8-oz cups per day).
4. Walk to work if distance permits.
5. Get a gym membership.
6. Come up with a workout plan that involves hitting the gym at least 3x a week.
7. Buy fruit instead of cookies and donuts.
8. Eat more vegetables. The fiber and nutrients will keep you full and prevent overeating.
9. Consume 25g fiber per day if you are female, 38g for males.
10. Drink less coffee so that you do not rely on caffeine.
11. Get 8-10 hours of sleep.
12. Go on a run at least once a week.
13. Read a blog on bettering your health and/or fitness at least once a week.
14. Plan your meals ahead of time so that you don’t give in to cravings when come meal time.
15. Purge your pantry of all junk (and no, not by eating it).
16. Try cooking healthy recipe instead of eating out.
17. Talk to someone new at the gym every week. Making friends will make you enjoy your time there and want to return.
18. Buy egg whites instead of only whole eggs.
19. Try turkey bacon instead of pork bacon (I eat both depending on the occasion).
20. Keep an exercise log so you can see that you are making progress.
21. Invest in healthier snack foods such as nuts, fruit, snap peas, baby carrots, etc.
22. Set a goal and don’t stop until it’s achieved.
23. Set baby goals with corresponding rewards to encourage you along the way.
24. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether that be talking to a fit friend or hiring a fitness professional.
25. Understand your body. Figure out the number of calories you can consume daily to maintain, gain, or lose weight.
26. Avoid drinking to get drunk except on special occasions (it really shouldn’t be an end-of-the-week habit).
27. That said, restrict yourself to 1-2 alcoholic beverages when you do drink casually.
28. Increase your protein intake. It will keep you full and promote recovery from exercise.
29. Take a multivitamin. Most of us do not get the essential micronutrients we need day to day.
30. Take a fish oil supplement. Omega-3’s are essential for a strong heart.
31. Go on walks after eating large meals.
32. Wake up an hour earlier (given you slept enough hours) and get moving. You’ll be more productive if you start the day off with a little exercise.
33. Avoid movie theatre popcorn if you can. That stuff is dangerous. A large bucket can contain over 1000 calories easily.
34. Find and start a fitness program.
35. If you smoke, stop.
36. Pick up a sport you want to try.
37. Re-pick up a sport you stopped participating in.
38. Join health initiatives and challenges at the workplace.
39. If you’ve been sitting for over an hour, get up and walk around — like right now if it applies.
40. Take your dog on a walk! If you have one of course. The exercise isn’t just for your pup.
41. Vacuum the house. It’ll get you moving and can burn up to 300 calories per hour!
42. Avoid artificial sweeteners. If you need one, try Stevia.
43. Drink skim milk instead of whole milk.
44. Incorporate a resistance training routine instead of only performing cardio. It promotes strong bones and faster metabolism.
45. Drain the bacon grease before frying your eggs!
46. If you are eat a salad, avoid dousing it in dressing. A single serving of ranch dressing can be up to 150 calories.
47. Trouble sleeping through the night? Decrease caffeine intake. Especially within 5 hours of bedtime.
48. Read a book. Stimulating your mind promotes physical health more than you know.
49. Choose baked chips or veggie chips instead of regular ones.
50. Avoid deep fried foods. Baked or grilled versions are better choices.
51. Buy fresh veggies over canned or frozen ones if possible.
52. Do not drink Fireball. Stuff has antifreeze in it.
53. When eating out, pick a healthier option. It’ll taste better than you expect.
54. Write your thoughts out every once in awhile. Keep a diary. Write an article. It helps relieve stress.
55. Talking to people also relieves stress. Get out there and be social. Don’t hold things in.
56. Choose leaner meats for your sandwiches and meals.
57. Don’t skip meals too often. Your body needs food for energy.
58. Start a running or workout group amongst your friends and/or colleagues.
59. Listen to music you enjoy. It soothes.
60. Buy whole grain breads and pastas over instead of white.
61. Order brown rice instead of white rice at Chinese restaurants.
62. When your family or workplace orders donuts and you can’t resist, only take one.
63. Use low or non-fat versions of sauces. Those tiny little packets of Chick-Fil-A Sauce have 140 calories!
64. Rely less on Ibuprofen for hangovers and more on water and hydration.
65. Find a workout buddy! The extra accountability will keep you, well, accountable.
66. Take naps when exhausted instead of chugging more caffeine. Listening to your body goes a long way.
67. Substitute unsweetened apple sauce for butter when baking.
68. Sweeten with Stevia instead of sugar when baking. A 1:1 ratio works well.
69. Take a green drink supplement if you don’t get a wide range of vegetables and fruits daily.
70. Meditate. Occasionally taking a moment of silence to be inside your own mind and simply think can promote mental health and relaxation.
71. Eat until satisfied, not full.
72. Prep meals over the weekend so that you have healthy and readily available options throughout the week.
73. Snack less and eat more filling meals.
74. Do mini workouts during commercial breaks. Push ups, sit ups, crunches, planks, and squats are all prime candidates.
75. If pressed for time in the gym, perform compound movements that hit large numbers of muscles such as squats and pullups.
76. Wait 10 minutes after eating meals to make sure you’re actually still hungry before going for a post-meal snack. It takes time for your brain to catch up to your belly sometimes.
77. Read food labels. Knowing how much protein, fat, and carbs you’re consuming is key to understanding your nutrition.
78. If the nutrition label indicates any trans-fats, do not eat that food. Trans-fats clog your arteries.
79. Learn to refuse unhealthy foods when they are offered to you. Learning to say no is a good lesson to learn for every aspect of life. You can’t make everyone happy.
80. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
81. Get off the internet sometimes and go outside. We spend too much time on Facebook and Twitter and not enough moving around.
82. Add lemon to your water. It aids digestion by clearing the digestive tract.
83. Stretch tight or sore muscles. Many of us have become immobile with age and lack of exercise. Stretching can get you moving and functioning properly again.
84. Use non-stick spray instead of butter and oil when pan-frying foods.
85. Drink your coffee black. Sugar and creamer add unnecessary calories and really add up over time if you’re a coffee drinker.
86. Consume 1 tbsp of Apple Cider Vinegar daily to prevent heartburn and acid reflux.
87. Get up to get the remote instead of asking for it to be passed to your lazy bum.
88. Incorporate a day to go hiking on your vacations. Hiking can burn anywhere from 300 to 600 calories per hour.
89. Sign up for a 5k or 10k. You’re more likely to do something if you pay for it. This also provides a sense of urgency because you can’t push back the date.
90. Stop waiting and take out the garbage before it overflows. Just another way to get moving. You’ll also get that bonus sense of accomplishment that comes with having a nice, clean, empty trash can (or is that just me?).
91. Request no butter and no oil at restaurants. Excess fats really pack on the calories.
92. Pass on the fries. They are high carb and high fat, which means extra high calorie. Save them for cheat meals.
93. Get some sun. Vitamin D deficiency is more common now than ever. Excess sun can be detrimental to your skin health, but most people don’t get enough.
94. Perform both high intensity and low-intensity exercises — anything from walking to burpees. This ensures that your body becomes efficient using both aerobic and anaerobic energy systems.
95. Hit the pool! Swimming for fitness burns more calories than running. Don’t believe me? Google Michael Phelps’ 12,000 calorie diet.
96. Pace during long phone calls. It may sound silly, but the extra steps really add up. I’ve paced over 1500 steps back and forth while talking on the phone. That’s almost an entire mile!
97. Load up a quarter to half of your dinner plate with veggies. Portion control helps prevent overeating.
98. Stop thinking and start doing. If you’re “thinking about” getting in shape or starting a program, JUST DO IT.
99. Use cheat meals instead of cheat days. A full day of cheating can throw off your progress pretty badly if you can eat a large enough amount of food. It’s difficult to do this with a single cheat meal though.
100. At Chipotle, get a bowl instead of the burrito.