Do you struggle with leading a healthier lifestyle? It can be difficult to make healthier choices for ourselves when we live in such a busy world.
My overall health became a struggle when I became a mother. I began filling my days with taking care of everyone else and let my own self-care fall off the radar.
Here I am, almost a decade later, and I’ve realized how important it is to embrace taking care of oneself.
Still, I don’t get on board with crash diets and over-the-top healthy lifestyles. Instead, I’ve come up with a plan to add or take away one item from my life each week to develop healthier habits and in turn, a happier and healthier me.
Here’s my “Healthier Happier You” plan for creating a healthier lifestyle this year:
Note: I’m not a medical professional. This is simply a few goals I’m following myself to become a healthier person. Please speak with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
1. Food Shouldn’t Be Fast
I live on a farm and spend much of my days taking care of the land, animals, and building projects. The rest of my time is spent caring for a household, my family, and running my children wherever they must be.
Some nights, it’s easier to run through a drive-thru. I go through different spurts, but this year, it’s my goal to ditch fast food for good. We are what we eat, and it’s important to fuel our bodies properly.
2. More Water, Please
We all know our bodies require water to function at its best. This is why we should focus on adding more water to our diet.
Even if you try to add an additional glass of water a day, it’s something. Water keeps our organs functioning and also aids in digestion.
3. Forbidden Fruit
Do you struggle with tummy issues? It could be something as simple as your diet is lacking fiber. This year, focus on adding more fruit to your diet.
I try to add a piece of fruit to my breakfast and lunch. Apples are an inexpensive choice which can be prepared many different ways. Plus, they help your digestive system too.
Alternatively, get into the habit of making water kefir which is also well known to assist with tummy issues.
4. More Veggies
We all know vegetables are good for us. They’re a low-calorie way to get the nutrients our bodies desire and need.
However, most of us don’t eat enough vegetables. Adding a few more servings in our day is a great way to create a healthier lifestyle.
Have a browse around for recipes of specific vegetables you might like, such as this staggering selection of 125 Zucchini recipes.
5. Bust a Move
I’ll be the first to admit, unless I’m working around the farm, I don’t exercise enough. It seems I have enough of an excuse to keep from being more active.
Well, this year, my goal is to find an activity I enjoy enough to incorporate it into my life a couple of times a week for approximately 20 minutes.
6. Bust Another Move
After I find one activity (I’m contemplating yoga) I enjoy, I’d like to find a second activity I’d like to incorporate into my life a few days a week.
The idea is if I have multiple activities to add some extra movement into my life, I shouldn’t get bored. Plus, I’ll want to move around more.
7. Relax More
One of my biggest struggles is I’m terrible at relaxing. I love to go, go, go. The problem is when I stay on the move constantly, it doesn’t give my body much time to chill out.
However, this year, I’m making it a goal to find a few moments every day to relax and breathe deeply. This is more important than we realize to our overall health.
8. Snack with Health in Mind
Snacking can be one of the biggest downfalls when you’re trying to lead a healthier lifestyle. This year, snack thoughtfully.
9. Remove Foods Which Hurt
Do you ever eat foods you know are going to make you feel bad after you’ve indulged? Take some time to realize which foods are hurting you.
If you find a food which makes you feel bad, begin cutting it from your diet. In my case, I love pasta, but it doesn’t make me feel good when I eat too much of it. Therefore, I’m going to work on eating less of it this year.
10. Rise and Shine
When I wake up around 4 a.m. I feel great. I give myself an hour to catch up on the news and drink my coffee before I head to work.
Yet, I’m not great about getting up at the same time each day. But when we do get ourselves on a certain morning routine, our bodies seem to function and feel better.
As important as it can be to wake up at the same time each day, it can be equally as important to have a set bedtime.
Bedtimes aren’t only for children. When your body can get into a certain rhythm and get an adequate amount of sleep, you feel better.
12. Ditch Processed
This day in age it’s difficult to not have some processed foods included in your diet. It’s a fact of life, unfortunately.
However, consider making an honest effort to cut out as many processed foods from your diet as you possibly can.
13. Check Labels
Health isn’t only about diet and exercise. It can also incorporate our personal care products. Many of us aren’t even aware of what we’re using to wash our bodies or hair.
Begin to check labels and do research about what is inside the products you’re using on a daily basis. Once you’re aware, make honest choices about which products could be harming your health.
14. DIY Soap
It’s scary when you read the news to hear of the different trusted beauty lines we’ve all used for years. Now, it seems a few of them have been sneaking ingredients into their products which they knew would hurt us.
If you’re concerned about the soap you use on a daily basis, try to make your own. This will help you to take charge of your health because you’ll know exactly what’s in it.
15. DIY Shampoo
Shampoo works the same way as soap. We purchase products, and we don’t know what’s in them or how they could harm us.
Instead, consider making your own shampoo. This will help you take control of what you’re applying to your body.
These natural shampoos are a good alternative if you do not want to make your own.
16. DIY Toothpaste
Some people are fine with using store-bought toothpaste with fluoride. However, some people are not.
17. A Natural Moisturizer
Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It protects us from outside elements and should be well taken care of.
Instead of purchasing store-bought moisturizers, consider using more natural products. This will allow your skin to be soft without putting unknown ingredients on it.
18. Go Natural with Laundry
I have mixed emotions about making your own laundry soap. Some say it works great. While others say, the dirt doesn’t actually get removed from your clothes.
Using more natural DIY laundry soaps is a personal choice, but whatever you decide to go with, make sure you know the ingredients which are in them. This can help you to take more control of your health as well.
19. Visit Your Local Shops
It may sound crazy, but did you know shopping local can be better for your health? Who knew where you shopped could make an impact?
Yet, it does. When you shop locally, you know who you’re buying from, where the product came from and can have a better idea of what you’re consuming.
20. Make a Plan
Whether you live in an apartment in the city, or you live on a 10-acre plot of land, there are ways to grow some of your own food.
Develop a plan to grow as much of your own food as you can. This will help you to eat more organic foods regardless of your budget.
21. Cut Back on the Caffeine
I love my coffee which is why it pains me to say this. Coffee has wonderful benefits if consumed in moderation.
However, if you’re someone who drinks caffeine all day every day, you’re dehydrating your body and elevating your heart rate. Try to tone it back to only one to two cups a day.
22. Add Green Tea
Green tea is a beverage which has many wonderful benefits for your health. It’s also great at curbing your appetite, in my experience.
Therefore, when you’re ready to reach for your fourth cup of coffee, choose the beverage with less caffeine… green tea.
23. Say Bye-Bye to Sugar
In the past, I’ve tried the keto-diet. The idea is to cut carbs and sugars. Though I found the diet effective, it didn’t seem realistic for the long-haul. At least it wasn’t in my case.
However, I was surprised at how horrid I felt when I added sugar back to my diet. Which is why it’s important to find ways to limit the amount of sugar we take in on a daily basis.
24. Search for Natural Sweeteners
Most people panic when they hear you say, “Give up sugar.” We live in a society which loves their sugars.
25. Grind Away
I like to bake my own bread and other daily staples. Even with baking my own goods, it bothers me how many added ingredients can be found in my flour I purchase from the store.
This is why, one of my healthy goals for the year is to purchase wheat from my local flour mill and grind it myself. I can shop local, know how the wheat was grown, and know every step of the process from the time of purchase until use.
26. Bake Your Own Bread
To go along with grinding your own wheat, to know more about what you’re consuming, try baking your own bread.
It’s an easy process and this is one more way you’ll have a better idea of what you’re putting into your body for nourishment.
27. Replace Cheap Oils
If you’re like me, you grocery shop on a tight budget. The cheapest oil at the supermarket is usually vegetable oil.
Unfortunately, vegetable oil is low in the fats we need and high in the fats we don’t need. Therefore, make it a simple goal to use a healthier oil such as olive oil.
28. Make Your Own Butter
Again, when I have to shop from the grocery store, I prefer the bargain aisle. Unfortunately, this is where butter is expensive, and margarine is the cheap stuff.
However, consider making your own butter this year. It may cost a little more, but it should be cheaper than purchasing it, and you’ll be aware of what’s in it.
29. Introduce Healthy Fats
Our bodies need healthy fats. We can’t function without them because they help our cells grow and also keep our organs functioning properly.
This year, make it a goal to introduce more healthy fats into your diet. It can be as simple as cooking with a different oil or eating nuts as a snack.
30. Add ACV to Your Day
I like to take one to two tablespoons a day. It helps keep my blood sugar in check, keeps me feeling full longer, and makes my skin appear healthier too.
31. 15 Minute Rests
This past summer, my husband began a new job. I had to carry more weight around our farm which wore me out.
However, I realized, if I would take a 15-minute power nap I’d feel a ton better. This year, make it a goal to take small power naps when needed.
32. Do It for You
As I mentioned earlier, we don’t take enough time for ourselves. We run as hard and as fast as we can with little rest.
Take a mental rest by finding one thing you enjoy doing and do it. Try to make it a weekly thing to where you can mentally relax.
33. Take Care of Those Hands
You don’t have to go out and get a manicure every week unless you want to. We can’t forget about our hands though when considering our health.
By taking care of our fingernails and cuticles, our hands will not only look better, but feel better as well.
34. Pamper Your Feet
My feet are a big priority for me. It’s important to take care of them because they are how we get around, after all.
Take the time this year to spend time soaking your feet, keeping your toenails clipped properly, and making sure you moisturize your feet too.
35. Give Your Heart a Break
I love this specific option when it comes to a healthier lifestyle and self-care. Lay on the floor and put your feet up the wall to where your body is in an L shape.
Stay in this position for approximately five minutes. You can leave your hands by your side or over your head. This allows your breathing to slow and gives your heart a break.
36. Time to Read
Whatever you enjoy reading about, take some time this year to relax and read a good book. It doesn’t have to cost money. Check out your local library.
37. Try Something New
Giving ourselves permission to try something new is a great way to gain wisdom and put some pep back in our step.
If there’s something you’ve wanted to do, why not take a week out of the year to go for it?
38. Travel to a Place of Enjoyment
We all have a happy place. If you don’t, take time this year to figure out where your happy place could be.
If you already have a happy place, travel to it this year. For me, I love to spend a few days at the beach. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting on the beach and watching the waves roll in.
39. Have a Seat
Because we have a great deal of technology, as a society, we rarely spend time outdoors doing nothing.
Take time this year to simply sit outside. Take in the views, eat your lunch outdoors, and unplug the cell phone for a few minutes.
40. Eat More Meat
Until I tried the keto diet, I didn’t realize how little protein I was taking in when compared to the carbs I ate.
This year make it a priority to eat more protein. It helps to keep you full longer which should have a positive impact on your weight.
41. Meal Plan
Planning your meals is an important step to eating healthier and spending less money. Begin learning how to plan out your meals.
I prefer to shop inside my home first and create as many meals as I can from what I already have. From there, I’ll buy more food as needed.
42. Meal Prep
I’m not great at prepping meals ahead of time. It’s my goal to get better because if you don’t have food ready to grab, fast food becomes an option again.
Therefore, develop a routine towards prepping meals one day a week. This will give you ample amount of food choices when life doesn’t go as planned.
43. Lay Down Your Vices
We all have vices we tend to lean on when life gets hard. It could be smoking, drinking, or if you’re like me, it’s chocolate.
Whatever your vice is, lay it down this year. Develop healthier coping mechanisms to help you deal with stress.
44. Take a Walk
Unless you live near a city, you probably don’t walk as much as you need to. Walking is good for us, though.
Try to incorporate more walks into your days this year. It can be a choice to walk somewhere instead of drive. Or you could choose a walking path and enjoy the fresh air.
45. Git Rid of Soda
We have many options when it comes to beverages. The problem is, most are filled with additives and caffeine.
Unless you choose the diet version, most sodas have sugar as well. This year, ditch the sodas. Instead, drink more water or choose fermented sodas.
46. A Salad A Day
As I mentioned above, very few of us eat enough vegetables to support the needs of our body. This year let’s change it.
Try adding a salad a day to your diet. It can be a side salad or a full-blown entrée salad. Whatever it is, make sure you choose different colors of lettuce and toppings for added vitamins and nutrients.
47. Conquer a Craving
We all have cravings from time to time. It seems when you’re trying to eat healthier your body pitches a fit over certain foods.
Don’t try to conquer every craving you have but take them on one at a time. Whatever your craving is start searching for a healthier option to satisfy it.
48. Get a Check-Up
Part of leading a healthier lifestyle is to know what’s going on with your body. There are many things we can check-up at home.
But we can’t keep an eye on everything. Go see your doctor. Have an exam and ask for blood work to get a full picture of your health.
49. Check on Your Teeth
Your mouth is a vital part of your health. If you don’t take care of your teeth, they won’t stick around.
Therefore, take the time this year to visit a dentist. Have your teeth cleaned and your gums checked.
50. Get a Trim
Our hair is another part of our health we sometimes forget about. Yet, our hair gives us a good inclination on our overall health.
If you have shiny hair which grows well, it can be a sign you’re taking in enough of certain vitamins. Keep your hair healthy and trimmed for better overall health.
There was a time in my life I took dance lessons. I was pretty good too. My legs were muscular, and I was quite limber.
But over the years, I quit dancing and stretching. My muscles have become tighter, and I realize how important stretching is for our health. Take care of your muscles and stretch daily.
52. Small Changes to Your Environment
Small changes in your environment can put some extra pep in your step and encourage you to keep plugging away at a healthier lifestyle.
You now have 52 ways to lead a healthier lifestyle this year. This is my ‘Healthier Happier You' plan for the year. I don’t plan on trying to take these all on at once.
Instead, I have one goal a week. It’s my hope in time I’ll develop healthier habits and lead a better quality of life.
Pick and choose which of these tips you feel confident will help you live your best life (and after speaking with your doctor) go for it. Make the changes you deem necessary to have a better quality of life!