Many of us want to exercise more and eat better. But that doesn’t mean we need to take lofty leaps forward. Instead, beginning with little things we can change may help rewire our brains for success — and be more fun too.
Start with these small-scale strategies today! With each mini victory you celebrate, you may find yourself on the way to even bigger wins for better health.
1. Squeeze in micro workouts.
A walk around the block or 10 jumping jacks may not seem like a lot. But mini bursts of activity can help you start a fitness routine — or sustain one on busy days.
Rewire your brain: Think of yourself as an active person — or superhero even — as you move through your days.
2. Add fruit to your day.
These delicious gems are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting potential. How about orange slices with breakfast, a small apple at lunch or mango slices for dessert?
Rewire your brain: Use your senses to truly appreciate the colorful sight, sweet scent and luscious taste of fresh fruit.
3. Downsize a dab when dining out.
Order a lunch-size entrée for fewer calories. The kids' menu may even be an option for smaller portions. Or ask for a to-go box — and enjoy part of your meal as tomorrow’s lunch. Staying for dessert? Share it with a friend.
Rewire your brain: Remind yourself that you’ll likely feel better after your meal if you avoid overeating.
4. Set out workout clothes the night before.
To conquer hectic mornings, have your outfit at the ready. That’s one less reason to miss your workout.
Rewire your brain: Make it your mindset to make the most of your mornings. Envision yourself feeling fired up about fitness, on time and ready to seize the sunrise.
5. Ease into wholesome whole grains.
Not sure about whole-grain pasta? Try mixing it 50-50 with regular noodles until you adjust to the taste. You may even find you prefer it. Try different whole-grain products — breads, tortillas, cereals, etc. — to find ones you like.
Rewire your brain: When checking labels, remember the number three. If a food has at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, it’s a good source of fiber.
6. Move your feet — lose your seat!
Chairs don’t come with warning labels — but too much sitting may be harmful to health. Try to get up at least every hour, if possible. Look for tasks and activities you can do standing vs. sitting, from watching funny videos to folding laundry.
Rewire your brain: Savor the stretch. Simply being aware of how good it feels to rise and move may inspire you to sit less.
7. Feeling famished? Go a little nuts.
For a satisfying snack, enjoy some unsalted seeds and nuts. In a nutshell, they pack lasting energy along with heart-healthy fats. And just a handful a day keeps their high calorie-count in check.
Rewire your brain: When hunger hits, tell yourself that nutritious snacks can be easy choices to make. Keep healthy options handy to help prove yourself right.
8. Lighten up your latte.
Choose fat-free dairy — and skip the whipped cream too. This little switch saves you calories — and helps you ditch unhealthy saturated fat.
Rewire your brain: Give yourself positive reinforcement. Each time you do a healthy act, give yourself a mental high-five, an actual fist bump or a pat on the heart.
9. Walk the rest of the way.
Park your car — or get off the bus or train — a few blocks away from your destination. Every step counts!
Rewire your brain: Try to look at your outings as more than everyday journeys. Think of them as fun opportunities to explore and experience more.
10. Leave it to spinach.
Add fresh spinach leaves — to sandwiches, pasta dishes, omelets or even smoothies. It’s a great and easy way to get more healthy greens year-round.
Rewire your brain: Share your favorite health hacks with others. You’ll gain confidence in your ability to take charge of your habits.