We're all guilty of putting things off, especially when we know these things will be challenging. Perhaps living a healthier lifestyle falls into this category for you? There's no denying that making positive, healthy changes to your day-to-day routine will take commitment and hard work, but daunting as it may be you'll be so glad you did. Here are 6 steps to leading a healthier lifestyle that you can implement straight away.
To make meaningful change, you need to make an honest assessment of where you're currently at. Take time to analyze your diet, exercise routine, moods, social life, and bad habits (smoking, drinking, etc.). Once you have clarity on the areas you need to work on, you can begin to take action. This self-appraisal stage is crucial - think of it as a blueprint to your healthier future.
Destructive relationships? Muscle issues you keep ignoring? This is the time to finally acknowledge and deal with these pain points. Book that physio session and reach out to that friend, because you shouldn't begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle until any physical or emotional issues have been ironed out. You'll feel so much better for finally addressing these issues.
Getting fit will form a key part of your healthy lifestyle journey. Yes, you'll look and feel better physically, but a consistent exercise program will also have a hugely positive impact on your mental wellbeing. Don't be unrealistic either. Set achievable goals, such as a gradual weekly increase in the number of kilometers you run, or the number of push-ups to aim for. Remember, always keep it fun!
Arguably as important - or even more important - than your exercise routine, adjusting your diet to improve your all-round health is a crucial next step. Make a diet plan that's strict enough for you to achieve your goals, but also appealing enough that you'll actually abide by it. Be mindful of the food choices you're making every day and don't slip back into bad habits - even though weekends can be tempting.
There are a multitude of issues that increased levels of cortisol (caused by stress) can cause. Insomnia, irritableness, muscle tightness, a weakened immune system, and even a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. To put it bluntly, stress can be a silent killer. Your new exercise routine will help keep your cortisol levels in check, but you can also add stress-busting activities like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing to the mix to keep your healthy lifestyle goals on track.
Another crucial cog in the healthy lifestyle playbook, make sure you're getting enough sleep. Aim for around 7-9 hours per night. If this sounds unrealistic based on your work commitments then consider going to bed slightly earlier - your body will thank you. Sleep deprivation can lead to a weakened immune system, mood swings, lower levels of concentration and might even cause you to gain weight. If falling asleep is currently a struggle for you, try turning off screens at least 2 hours before you go to bed. This will help your brain wind down and prepare your body for sleep.