Every new year, millions of people resolve to live healthier. You may have found yourself bookmarking workout tutorials, signing up for a gym membership, and swearing off all your favorite snacks for more fruits and veggies. Somehow, though, people find themselves in the same cycle every year, usually no closer to their goal than the last. What happened?
It’s likely that their healthy lifestyle changes were too drastic, or they didn’t personalize their habits to fit their personalities. A truly healthy lifestyle is one that’s personalized for your preferences. There are many ways to work out, for example, that don’t include running or hitting the gym after work. Eating well also doesn’t have to be bland, boring, or repetitive. If you’re ready to make a change that sticks, this guide is for you. Read on to discover seven tips for a healthy lifestyle that actually works.
1. Stop Drinking
Social drinking is okay in moderation, but frequent alcohol consumption has negative effects on both your physical and mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define excessive drinking as four or more drinks on one occasion for a woman and five or more on one occasion for a man. Both quantity and frequency matter here, and you should think about the reasons behind your desire to consume alcohol as well.
Do you only indulge with friends or on special occasions? Do you always go overboard, even if you limit yourself to drinking with friends or special occasions? Are you able to consume wine or alcohol without getting drunk? Millions of people don’t even realize that they have a mild alcohol use disorder until they really evaluate their habits. If this is you, don’t let shame or embarrassment stop you from getting help. Talking to your doctor and a therapist can help you curb your drinking.
2. Cut Back on Caffeine
If you can’t get out of bed without the promise of coffee, it may be time to think about how much you really rely on caffeine. While there’s nothing wrong with a caffeinated pick-me-up, too much caffeine can lead to irritability, anxiety, restlessness, dehydration, and more. Limit yourself to one or two cups a day, and drink at least one cup of water between caffeinated teas or coffee.
Do you also find yourself living for energy drinks? You may want to rethink your choice. Energy drinks are loaded with added sugars on top of high quantities of caffeine. Drinking them regularly may increase your risk of heart attack and diabetes.
3. Find Purpose for Your Workouts
One of the reasons people can’t motivate themselves to work out is that their exercise lacks purpose. Begrudgingly hauling yourself to the gym or doing a routine because you have to is bound to get boring. Think about what type of exercise really works for you, and opt for routines that make you feel good. It’s okay to prefer light, low-impact workouts over heavy-hitting cardio or kickboxing. There’s no wrong way to stay in shape.
You may also find it helpful to remind yourself that by exercising regularly, you’re protecting your health so you can live longer to be with your family and loved ones. If your goal is to lose weight, ask yourself what weight loss means to you. Make it more intrinsic rather than external. For example, looking good is one reason you may want to slim down, but feel more confident could make you even more inspired.
4. Stop Compromising Your Sleep
Late-night screen time may make it harder to fall asleep, but it can also lower your overall sleep quality. If you stay up late after work, you’re depriving your body of the hours it needs to replenish and restore itself. Sleep is self-care, and if you struggle to catch enough Zs, get to the bottom of your insomnia. Avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol and instead talk to your doctor. There are also holistic strategies that can make sleeping better, including setting the right temperature, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation.
5. Protect Your Finances and Family
Financial wellness directly influences your physical and emotional well-being. Without enough money saved or adequate insurance coverage, one emergency can put your entire life at stake. Millions live paycheck to paycheck, and insufficient coverage can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical debt. Part of protecting yourself and your family is buying coverage when you don’t need it right away.
In addition to decent health insurance, you should also look into life insurance. A major benefit of life insurance is that whole and guaranteed universal policies can be sold for a cash value later. You can also borrow against your cash value if you’re ever in need of financial assistance. For someone who intends to use life insurance for retirement or to pay off debt, you can read a guide from Mason Finance that breaks down everything you need to know about selling your policy through a life settlement.
6. Start Saving for a Reason
Set savings goals that are meaningful to you. This makes it easier to stop impulsively buying things that only dwindle your bank account. Savings goals should be SMART, which means they’re specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based. You may decide to automate your savings through the bank so funds are taken out automatically on a specified date. This will help you reassess your budget and know how much money you really have to spend after putting away your contributions.
7. Exercise When It Works for You
Not everyone thrives waking up at 5 AM and going for a jog, and that’s okay. Enjoy your cozy mornings in, and work out when it feels good. Some people are most motivated in the AM, but others feel better when they get some exercise during the evening. Does working out tend to make you feel more energized or ready for bed? Think about that, and the effect of the regime you’re following, as you plan out your schedule. The most important thing here is consistency. The more you incorporate exercise into your routine, the more habitual it becomes. Soon, you’ll instinctively be ready to work out at a certain time of day and actually look forward to your sessions.