Did you know that it’s been proven that making smaller changes in your life, one at a time, can be far more effective on your health than making multiple huge, dramatic changes at once?
Why is that?
Well because we are creatures of habit. Whether it be good habits or bad, we humans, are designed to do things in routine and repeatedly. We can easily miss the fact that some of these habits are actually very unhealthy. For example, when you feel stressed or sad, going to grab a tub of ice cream. Or when work is overwhelming, binge-watching Netflix. Or when you feel stressed and uncomfortable, going to grab a cigarette. There are so many things that some of us do that are completely habitual and harmful to our physical and mental health, yet we don’t even realize it.
Since you so easily adapt to habits, what if you could start replacing some of these unhealthy habits with new ones. So when you’re stressed, rather than getting triggered to smoke a cigarette, you get triggered to go for a walk? Something that is actually benefiting you. What if you understood that you have the power to completely reprogram your mind and reset your life?
By making very small adjustments one at a time, down the line, you will have made many adjustments, and ultimately look and feel 1000x healthier.
I highly recommend starting with just one tiny change in your life, because you will hardly notice it. You won’t get overwhelmed. You are far more likely to stick with it. As the adjustment starts to feel more natural (probably in a few weeks) then you could add a new adjustment. In a few months, you will have made so many healthy adjustments from what started with just one tiny step.
Here are some things I have done, do, or learned about that I truly feel are hardly noticeable changes in your daily routine, that could actually have an insane amount of impact on your physical and mental health.
1. Read 5-10 pages a day
The average book is about 200 pages or so. If you read 10 pages per weekday (which would literally only take probably 10 minutes), you could finish a book 2 months from now.
If you read 10 pages a day (only about 20 minutes) you can finish a book a month. Whether these are books on personal growth, personal finance, success, health, nutrition, or even fiction, reading is so calming, and really good for the mind. You can learn invaluable things and read stories from different perspectives, all while strengthening your mind, intellect, and vocabulary.
Reading has truly changed my life. It’s changed my way of thinking, taught me about changes I could make to lead a healthier life, and more. It’s been a transformational key to who I am today.
2. Reduce sugar intake (processed + added sugar)
I use to think that unhealthy, greasy foods, and fatty foods were my worst enemy. While those aren’t good, I recently learned about sugar’s horrifying effects on our bodies, and its disease causing properties.
I personally struggle with hormonal imbalances, and I learned that sugar has a HUGE effect on this, due to the levels of insulin in the blood changing in response to sugar intake.
I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but lately, we’ve been eating so healthy, I didn’t think I was intaking THAT much sugar. I would drink tea 2x a day, with about a tablespoon of honey each time. That was about 35g of sugar alone. I would also drink coffee creamer with sugar, about 5g, so now we’re at 40g. I’d eat a fig bar midday, which had about 25g of sugar. That means I was already at 65g of sugar in a day and this wasn’t even that many sweets!!!
Then, I read that to stabilize hormones, I should aim for 0g of sugar, or AT LEAST under 25g per day. I am trying to do this, and any sugar I do intake, I’m trying to keep as natural as possible like from fruits.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been trying to do this for about 3 days only, so far, and while I feel a little more tired than usual and sometimes a tiny bit nauseous, I already feel WAY less bloated, and my skin is slowly starting to clear up.
I’m really eager to see what I look and feel like in a month!
3. Drink more tea
Teas are made of herbs and herbs are literally nature’s medicine. They are plants, grown from our beautiful earth that do things like help your body eliminate unnatural toxins, restore levels in your blood, fight inflammation, and much more.
Different teas do different things, but they are truly so delicious and very healthy. Also, it’s kind of like drinking flavored water so it’s another way to increase your hydration without drinking flavored water.
Once of my favorite ways to drink tea is with two tea bags, a half a lemon juice, and 1 tbsp of honey.
4. Reduce your caffeine intake
While caffeine, and by caffeine I mean coffee, is AMAZING, I’ve recently learned about the effects of TOO much caffeine in your blood on cortisol (your stress hormone). By keeping you alert and a tad jittery, your body senses are heightened and can cause elevated stress hormones in your blood. After doing research, I personally will aim for under 200 mg of caffeine per day.
1 8 oz cup of coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine.
1 shot of espresso has about 64 mg of caffeine.
This isn’t something that should be eliminated completely, in my opinion, because coffee is natural (well, black coffee is lol) and it does have other health benefits. However, I think too much of it could be harmful, so reducing your intake could aid with reducing anxiety, stress, and even belly fat (since cortisol increases stubborn belly fat aka “the pooch.”)
5. Meditate for 5-10 minutes a day
Meditation is the practice of sitting with your thoughts, and allowing them to come and go without any judgement, while trying to remain open and free while focusing on your breath.
It’s a lot harder than it sounds, but can work wonders in helping you increase your focus, which will in turn increase your productivity throughout the day. It will also help you feel a sense of calm, inner peace, and relaxation, while helping you feel more balanced, centered and grounded.
Meditation has worked wonders for me internally and truly helps to realign the soul. My favorite app is the Calm app, or sometimes I even look up meditations on youtube. It’s like a muscle, the more you train your mind to meditate, the easier it will get overtime, and you’ll start to notice the effects in your day to day life.
6. Go for a 20-30 minute walk each day
I recently learned that a 20-30 minute low-intensity walk is acutally proven to be more effective in burning fat! This is because if you go on a 10 minute medium-paced run, you’re almost rushing your body into “burning” mode, and instead it targets your available carbs and energy.
When you got for a long walk, you give your body more time to naturally do its thing and enter the stored energy source, which is fat.
Hey, I’m all for this! I’m not super into running, but I use to try to do it because I thought it would get me fit, quicker. While I think running has other benefits like strength, endurance, heart and lung health, I don’t know that running every single day is the BEST way to burn fat. And for me, it was WAY harder to commit to.
30 minute walk each day? Throw on a podcast or audio book, and bring my pup? EASY PEASY.
7. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks while you drive
There was a point in time where I found that I was driving around a lot. I honestly got sick of listening to music and the same songs, and just got tired of having to try to find new ones. Don’t get me wrong, I love jammin out and listening to music, but one day I just craved something new and different.
I listened to You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero on Audiobook and I was hooked. Slowly, I started listening to more books and podcasts while I drove places. I sometimes even listen to them when I go for walks.
You can learn so much in just a 20-30 minute session, and it feels like a very easy way to strengthen your mind and improve your mental health.
8. Write down what you’re grateful for each day
There have been tons of studies on the positive effects of practicing gratitude daily on mental health, overall happiness, and productivity. There’s something about writing down what you’re grateful for that helps you be present and embrace what currently IS. It also helps you open your mind and eyes to notice moree beauty (so you don’t write the same thing every single day).
I highly recommend incorporating this 2-minute exercise into your morning routine each day. Grab a journal, and write down 1, 3, 5 however many things you want. I like to do this in the morning with my coffee. I also have been using the free app “Morning!” to do this, which I’ve been loving!
9. Drink half your body weight in oz of water
A majority of our bodies are made up of just water, which is actually insane to think about. Drinking more water has a million positive health benefits including:
- weight loss
- clearer, smoother skin
- stronger muscles
- better digestion
- strong immune system
- healthier hair and nails
- clearer focus and ability to think
- and so much more
Simply put, you should drink atleast half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz of water per day. That’s about 4-5 normal 16 oz water bottles per day.
And yes, you will have to go to the bathroom ALOT. But hey, if that’s what it takes to be healthier and take better care of yourself then freakin so be it!
10. Eat more whole foods
I definitely recommend trying to cook with and eat more whole foods. What does this mean exactly? It sounds complicated but it’s EXTREMELY simple. Whole foods basically mean foods with one ingredient or in their natural form. This means, eggs, fruits, nuts, vegetables, meat. Nothing processed like the Trader Joes frozen dinners. Even though these packaged meals claim to be “healthy” they’re still processed and contain preservatives that are just flat out not good for you.
You should be able to eat pretty much anything you want and maintain a very healthy weight if you just stick to whole foods. You’d be surprised how many delicious meals you can cook if you just look up recipes and commit to only using whole foods. For some awesome recipes, check out the recipe category on this blog!
I challenge you to start small and try to adopt just one tiny change in your life to improve your health. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to implement, and even more satisfied with how you feel in just a few weeks! Remember, small changes over time lead to really impactful results!
Let me know in the comments below if you’ve tried any of these and how they’ve worked for you!