There’s no time like the present to start making healthy and positive changes to your daily life.
Not only will these small changes help to boost your overall fitness and energy levels, they will increase your good mood and set the tone for a healthier year to come.
Here are 5 easy ways to make healthy changes this year.
1. Don’t deprive yourself
When it comes to food, abstinence never really works for many people. Don’t vow to cut out certain foods or sugary snacks. This sets us up for failure pretty easily (especially considering the addictive nature of sugar). We all have our guilty pleasures and they’re often hard to give up! But instead of reaching for the chocolate bar - try substituting it with a homemade raw treat, such as this Raw Cacao Peanut Butter Slice.
It is important to cut out the nasty stuff - steer away from processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
2. Exercise for fun
You probably won’t go for a run if you hate running. So don’t even think about planning a run. Try going to a yoga class or playing tennis with a friend if that’s more your style.
To increase motivation, workout with a friend. This will make you accountable, and will increase your enjoyment! If you're surrounded by people with active lifestyles and healthy habits, there is a high chance you will pick up these positive behaviours.
3. Calm your stress levels / practice mindfulness
It’s important to look after your mental health just as much as it is to look after your body. Setting aside time to breathe and/or meditate will allow you to feel rested and relaxed, and this is when our nervous system sends signals to the body which allow it to balance our hormones, and soothe our muscles and digestive system, which allows them to heal and reduces our risk of disease.
Mental distractions can make it very difficult to maintain perspective and concentrate on our goals. If we're distracted or stressed, we have trouble making good decisions and solving problems.
Mindfulness meditation training is about staying in the present moment, and it helps us to stay focused, calm our stress levels, and perform at our best. It's very easy to do, and won't take much time out of your day. We suggest trying an app like Headspace, Smiling Mind, or Calm to help you start.
4. Think happy thoughts
Studies have shown that when you’re in a bad mood, you’re more inclined to eat unhealthy foods. But there is a way to eat healthier that has everything to do with your mood.
According to Brian Wansink Ph.D., director of Cornell’s Food and Brand Lab, during a study, ‘Right before they served themselves a meal, we asked people to think of one positive thing that had happened that day that they were grateful for. Those who did ate 9 percent fewer calories at that meal and chose a healthier mix of foods that included more vegetables and fewer processed carbs.’
5. Go to sleep!
Getting a good night sleep is essential and very underrated when it comes to your health. Eight hours of sleep per night will allow your body to recover, heal, and regenerate new cells.