When it comes to forming healthy habits, it can be tempting to move too fast. If you’ve ever gone on a restrictive diet, jumped into an intense workout routine, or sworn off caffeine for life, you’re probably familiar with that eager drive to change overnight. You also likely remember how tough it is to stay motivated. If you’ve tried and failed to ditch bad habits in the past (who hasn’t?), there’s a good chance you were just doing too much at once.
Next time, try to break that big goal down into small, achievable steps. Research shows that going slow is the best way to create long-lasting habits. Below, check out 4 tips for using small changes to create big results.
Walk a little – whenever you can
Adding some steps to your day is one of the easiest ways to improve your fitness – no treadmill required. Start with a quick ten-minute walk around your neighborhood, then add more distance as that becomes second nature. You can also look for ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine, like taking a walk during your lunch break.
Try food switches you’ll barely notice
Look for ways to switch out calorie-laden foods for lighter versions. Even just choosing light dairy instead of whole – or flavored seltzer instead of soda – could save you hundreds of calories per day. This website has awesome tips for replacing heavy foods with healthier ones. Take a look at your current eating habits, and see where you can make some substitutions.
Tweak your sleep schedule
Sleep has a massive impact on your overall health. Experts recommend 7 to 9 hours for adults, but don’t feel overwhelmed if you’re not currently hitting that number. Instead, aim to slowly move closer to that goal. Start small by going to bed 15 minutes earlier each night. Then work your way up to an earlier bedtime as that becomes routine.
Squeeze in some quiet time each day
Give yourself an opportunity to slow down and unwind at the end of the day. While it might seem challenging to disconnect, taking a little time to recharge – without interruptions from your phone, family, or work – can calm your nerves and ease your mind. Even just a few minutes of meditation has been shown to have major health benefits.
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