The path to self-improvement is covered in baby steps.
How many times have you thought of a big, lofty health goal you’d like to achieve but never figured out the small steps you needed to take to help you get there? Join the club — that’s often what holds the majority of us back from establishing new healthy habits and seeing the kind of progress that motivates us to keep going. But since September is National Self-Improvement Month, we thought we’d share a list of super simple tweaks you can make in a single day that can get you that much closer to living that healthy, balanced life you want. Regardless of whether you’re trying to lose weight, hydrate more or stress less, these eight small tips can help you out in some pretty big ways.
1. Cut the amount of sugar you typically put in your morning coffee by half.
That’s right — we’re not saying you should go cold turkey on the sugar and, therefore, hate the way your cup of joe tastes. Just start lessening the sugar load a little bit so your body can begin to adjust. From there, you can keep reducing it by half until you end up with a coffee habit that not only tastes good to you, but also treats your body well.
2. Add five minutes to your usual workout routine.
Regardless of when you work out in the day, you can afford to dedicate just five more minutes to your sweat session. Tack on a little distance to that walk, add a few more reps to your strength training routine or get started with exercise in general by keeping your initial goal truly attainable.
3. Take five deep breaths at the end of your commute before walking into your office.
It doesn’t matter if you commute by foot, train or car — dealing with crowds of people on your way to work makes you stressed before you even step foot inside the building. So before you blow into your office, stop, pause and breathe deeply so you can start your day with a sense of calm instead. It’ll make your coworkers feel that much better, too.
4. Drink one more 8-ounce glass of water with your lunch.
If hydration is your biggest health struggle, grab that water bottle and pair it with your lunch hour. Make it a goal to drink the equivalent of one standard glass of water while you enjoy your midday meal. It’s much easier to do it when you’re already focused on fueling your body, and it’ll aid your digestion (and afternoon brain fog) in the process.
5. Take 15 minutes after work to unwind sans technology.
Instead of rushing in the door after work and immediately cramming to cook dinner or jump to the next thing on your to-do list, change into comfortable clothes and just sit on your couch for 15 minutes. Take some more deep breaths, reflect on your day so far and simply be with yourself. We guarantee that you’ll feel that much more at peace moving into the rest of your evening afterward.
6. Add one more veggie to your dinner plate.
If green isn’t quite the name of your game when it comes to meal prepping, just try adding one more simple vegetable to the dinner menu. Roasting veggies is surprisingly easy, and there’s nothing wrong with the steamer bags of fresh-frozen vegetables in the grocery store if you feel seriously strapped for time (or energy).
7. Turn off the television 30 minutes earlier than usual and grab a book instead.
We love binge-watching comforting television shows as much as the next person, but when you turn off the tube even just one episode sooner than usual and unwind without that blue light glaring at your eyes, your body can prep for bedtime that much more efficiently, meaning you’ll sleep that much better, too.
8. Dab some aromatherapy oils on a tissue and stick it inside of your pillowcase before you head to bed.
End your day on a spa-like note by trying out some soothing essential oils as you lie down. Lavender and ylang-ylang are some of the best natural therapies for not only reducing stress, but also helping your mind relax as you drift off into dreamland. A few drops on a tissue is all you need to transform your bedroom into a sleep haven.