Most New Year’s Resolutions are big, life-changing goals, but unfortunately, most people fail to get the results they are hoping for. While there is some evidence that making radical changes to your lifestyle can work, there is also evidence that making small changes can be beneficial, too. And small changes are less intimidating and give you quick successes to build motivation, but are still impactful on your health over the long term. Here are some ideas you can add to your daily routine or use as inspiration to find healthy habits that fit your lifestyle.
Drink more water
- Carry a reusable bottle with you and refill every two hours or whenever it’s empty.
- Drink a glass of water before each meal.
Eat more fruits and veggies
- Include a vegetable with every meal when meal planning and cooking.
- Snack on fruit or veggies. Prep them ahead to make them easy to grab and eat.
- Choose fruit for dessert instead of sugary treats.
Go lean with protein
- Plan a meatless meal each week for more plant-based protein (and to save some money).
- Plan a seafood meal once a week for healthy essential fats. Work toward having seafood twice a week for the biggest benefit.
Eat breakfast every day
- Start each day with a healthy meal. Check out our breakfast ideas tailored to the common reasons for not eating breakfast.
Make half your grains whole
Choose one of your family’s usual grain foods (bread, rice, pasta, tortillas, etc.) to switch to a whole grain variety. Eat popcorn (air-popped or low-fat) for a crunchy, whole grain snack instead of chips.
Take quick activity breaks
- Do a quick mini-workouts when you have a spare minute or two. Try doing wall sits while microwaving your lunch, busting through a few desk push-ups when you need a short mental break at work, or walking the long way to the restrooms. At home, you can do calf raises while brushing your teeth or doing your favorite bodyweight exercises during commercial breaks when watching TV.
Find ways to get extra steps
- Take the stairs for destinations less than 3 floors up and always on the way down.
- Park further away or get off the bus a stop early.
- Do your in-office communication in person instead of by phone or email.
Avoid the couch at home
- Do a short stretching routine when you wake up or before bed.
- Schedule an active family outing each week, like bowling, a trip to the park, skating, or hitting your local greenway or hiking trail.
- Take a short walk around the neighborhood after lunch or dinner.
Pick one (or more) small change(s) to help you eat smarter and move more. Keep working on it until it becomes a habit meaning you do it without much effort, reminders, or stress. Then you can add in another small change or two until those become habits. Over time, all these small changes add up to a big impact and help you better meet the Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. What little health habits have you started doing to eat smart or move more?