Oftentimes the most difficult part of making a lifestyle change is finding the resolve to follow through in those crucial first weeks. It is often quoted that just three weeks of determination will allow your mind to go on autopilot and form the habit you desire—but the reality is a little less convenient.
Forming a new habit is a difficult journey—but a necessary task to develop and change our lifestyle for the better. Remember that it’s the little concessions that have the biggest impact on our lives—and it’s in these small lifestyle changes that you’ll see the biggest results.
Consider these five habits to implement into your routine to stay active, lose weight, and make you a healthier person.
- Track your intake
Admission is often stated to be the first step in change, and in order to develop healthier lifestyle habits, we need to see what’s going wrong.
Take a week and mark down your intake of food. You don’t even need to change your diet—simply jot down every cup of coffee or takeout session, and look to the list when the week is over.
Facing the raw numbers of your habits will often reveal places to improve, such as an overindulgent caffeine habit or a tendency to go out for lunch. Being able to see the foods that you should (or should not) be eating over the week could cause you to start changing your diet before the first week is even over.
That’s the observer effect at work.
Tracking your intake allows you to become more aware of the choices you’re making on a daily basis—good or bad.
- Exercise—even at home
There’s a reason that the busy crowds of a gym in January has become a bit of a meme online.
Going to the gym takes a considerable investment of time and resources that can be the first to drop when balancing a family or individual budget. No matter how often we’re told and know that working out and physical activity are good for us, we struggle to maintain a consistent regiment.
If you’re financially unable to purchase a gym membership, or simply dislike the idea of public exercise, consider finding ways to train your body without ever leaving your home. Some of the best rowing machines for home exercise can offer you a healthy mixture of stretching and exercise to keep your body and mind happy and healthy.
Bodyweight fitness exercises are often focused on the overall strength and agility of your body, can be researched online, and come at no cost to you. There are a host of free applications for mobile devices that will also allow you to perform these exercises and track your performance.
Working out and exercising is more than a healthy habit—for millions of cubicle-bound Americans, it’s the only way to maintain and train your body.
- Eat fewer ingredients, more often
Skipping meals in order to lose weight is more than shortsighted—it can also be dangerous.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have proven in clinical studies that the key to losing weight isn’t necessarily eating less often. In fact, having two snacks a day is part of most dietary plans that can help you lose weight and keep your body energized with natural ingredients.
A simple way to track diet and health habits would be to count the raw total of ingredients in the foods you’re eating. Alter your intake to include more foods from the fields and less from a lab.
After making the transition, you may find that you can eat more often than you used to—while still losing weight and staying healthy.
- Cook more often
Diet is an incredibly important factor in staying healthy. So don’t give the keys to your well-being to the local fast food joint.
Start shifting as many meals as possible away from restaurants and back towards home. Being able to see what you’re eating allows you to make small concessions—like replacing milk with skim, or cutting down on butter.
Cooking at home is often far cheaper than takeout, and can be an enjoyable hobby in and of itself.
- Talk to your pharmacist
Talking to your doctor can be an intimidating and even expensive experience, and finding the time out of your schedule to book an appointment isn’t always easy. Luckily, your local pharmacist is professionally licensed, certified to hand over your medications—and hopefully won’t charge if you ask them a few questions.
If you’ve implemented one or more of the above suggestions and still aren’t seeing results, ask your pharmacist what they do to keep healthy, or would recommend improving your well-being.
Don’t have a local pharmacist? A quick Internet search of my local suburbia found a pharmacy near me—alongside 14 other options within a 30-minute drive. I’m sure—wherever you are—there’s a local pharmacist ready and willing to help you. All you have to do is ask.
While awareness is often the first stated step of success, acceptance is the second.
We hope that these five habits have given you a few ideas for how to best improve your health, and accept that forming new and healthy habits today will make you a healthier and happier person tomorrow.