Part of my work is to team up with my company’s wellness team and support them in their communication needs for wellness initiatives. What does this mean? It means I put together pretty fliers, posters, programs, infographics, articles, and other things to help them distribute wellness messages, promote programs, and so forth.
Lately, one of the things that I’ve been doing for them – though mostly on my own out of my own interest – is trying to establish a long list of little, tiny things people can do to make improvements to their health and lifestyle. The thinking here is that big changes are overwhelming, scary, and tough to stick with sometimes, but when you make a series of tiny changes, those changes add up to a big health benefit.
For example, it’s easier to say, “I will eat one fewer piece of candy or chocolate each day,” as opposed to, “I’m cutting sugar out of my diet.”
It’s kind of like keeping a spending journal and keeping track of all of the little things you spend your money on. When you add up how much the coffees, fast-food lunches, vending machine snacks, and other little things cost, and then realize that you’re spending more than $100 a month on frivolous things, it really gets you thinking. But if you say, “I’ll bring my own lunch two days a week and gradually work up to every day each week,” you’ll save yourself a lot of money in the long run. It’s the same with healthy habits.
Here are some little things you can do to develop healthier habits:
- Drink a glass of water about 20 minutes before your biggest meal of the day. Work up to drinking a glass of water before each meal.
- At each meal, leave one to two bites of food on your plate.
- Do 3-5 push-ups before your shower. Adjust depending on your skill level.
- Set a reminder on your phone or computer to get up and walk at least once a day – aim for at least 10 minutes if you can. If not, try setting two reminders for 5-minute walks.
- Park at the back of the parking lot at least once a day, whether it’s for work or running errands.
- Do a brainteaser exercise twice a week.
- If your job requires you to sit all day, stand up and stretch at least once an hour (or every couple hours, depending on what your job allows you to do).
- Do calf-raises while you wait for your food to heat up in the microwave.
- If you set little goals and normally reward yourself with food, reward yourself with something else, such as new music, going to a movie, a day trip to your favorite place – something inexpensive that you don’t normally buy or do for yourself.
These are just a few ideas, and you might have others depending on your health and wellness goals. Now, though there is a ton of research out there about this sort of thing, my tips are not scientific. These are just little ways to encourage healthier habits for eating, exercise, and whatnot. You probably won’t lose two dress sizes in a week or anything like that, but over time, the little stuff adds up, and it’s a great way to ease into tackling bigger lifestyle changes.