It’s a New Year, so we’re all on the “I’m gonna be better” tip. I used to think resolutions were for chumps, but now I’m kind of into focusing on stopping my bad habits and working on starting good ones. That said, I’m not great at making giant changes right away and sticking to them. I prefer to make adjustments little by little. So if you’re trying to make a change in your life and you want to do it turtle-style, I’m here for you. I’ll be contributing a little series of ways to be healthier/happier/”greener” and so forth in under five minutes, so these changes won’t consume your entire life.
Everyone’s got health and fitness on their mind on January 2nd, so here are a few ways to get healthier, faster.
1. Work from home? Take a break every hour to do two minutes of a single exercise, like a one-minute plank and a minute of tricep dips at your chair. It’ll stop you from feeling sluggish and give you a boost. Or do one of Cassey from Blogilates’ POP challenges, which is a repetitive exercise set to a pop song. They’re super fun; doing butt exercises is way better set to One Direction.
2. Swap your multiple cups of coffee for tea. I gave up coffee for a month in May and it was torture, but I realized I did NOT need my morning iced coffee followed by another in the afternoon. I have a cup of coffee in the morning and drink hibiscus red tea the rest of the day.
3. Keep a large Mason jar near you and fill it up constantly with water all day. If you don’t love the “boring” taste of water, add lemon or cucumber or mint. Aim to drink three a day.
4. Park your car further from the door when you’re shopping and walk a little extra.
5. Take the stairs. (I will give you a pass if you’re going up more than five floors. Uff da.)
6. Get a jump rope and jump for two minutes a day. It’s fun and practically free, and it’s a great cardio option if you hate running like I do.
7. If you tend to snack on chips or candy at night, paint your nails as the urge hits. You can’t eat chips out of the bag with wet nails.
8. Pack snacks when you’re going to be out of the house for a few hours. Then when you’re suddenly starving, you won’t get a candy bar or Cheetos. I am notorious for this.
9. Don’t purchase soda. Just don’t do it. Diet soda isn’t good for you either!
10. On a normal day, write down everything you eat. Then look for patterns so you can see what’s good and what needs a little tweaking.
11. Aim to eat at least one fruit and veggie a day for starters. I like the analogy of “eating the rainbow” every day, but that is something to work toward.
12. Swap your red meat out for fish.
13. Try not to drink three or four nights a week. I’m starting this now – no drinking on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. That means not even a simple glass of wine … because c’mon, who can drink just one glass?
14. Make a goal and work to accomplish it in baby steps. My current goal is to be able to do a plank for four or five minutes at a time, which is insane. So I’m doing it little by little – “planking” for a minute a few times a day.
15. Keep fruit in the house for when the sugar craving hits. Blueberries are my choice.
16. Let yourself have what you want in moderation. As Kanye says, you’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes. Eat the pizza, dammit.
17. Get outside every day, even if it’s just a quick walk around the block. Fresh air and sunlight is good for you.
18. Before you go grocery shopping, take five minutes and make a list. Stick to it. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed, and try to stick to the outside of the aisles. Produce, meat and dairy are better for you than starchy, sweet snacks.
19. Pack your lunch for work the night before. Seriously, this takes five minutes. Why don’t we do this?
20. Put your phone away for five minutes. Stick it in another room. Turn the computer off and just breathe and be present in the moment. Don’t forget that your brain needs to relax too.