If you want to make big changes in your life, make small goals. That might seem counterintuitive, but the fact is, large-scale changes can be intimidating and difficult to accomplish. Small, SMART goals, on the other hand, are much easier to tackle. So, let’s start by breaking things down into bite-size pieces.
Below, you’ll find 19 small changes you can make throughout 2019. String them together into consistent habits, and by year end, you’ll have made some serious strides toward a healthier you.
By perfecting one recipe each month, in a year, you’ll have 12 new recipes in your arsenal. This keeps your meals interesting and gives you some new skills in the kitchen.
At roughly 9 calories per flight, it doesn’t sound like much. But over the course of a year, those calories and that extra movement really adds up. Just two flights per day, up and down, equals 13,140 calories over 365 days — or about 3.75 pounds.
Black coffee (or tea) gets the job done and removes about 70 calories of cream and sugar per cup.
It’s too easy to scroll through your Instagram feed and play games when you should be getting your 7–8 hours of shuteye.
Stretching — even before you step out of bed — feels good, loosens up those overnight kinks and prepares you to take on the day.
Sitting for extended periods has been shown to increase your risk of serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes. So, try to stand up and move around for at least 5 minutes each hour.
Resistance workouts have been shown to build muscle, strengthen bones and promote longevity. This year, supplement that cardio with at least two strength-training sessions each week.
It’s difficult to eyeball portions, and left to our own devices, most people simply fill up their plate. Instead, try measuring your portions to ensure you’re not overeating at each meal.
Having a balanced breakfast (or first meal) can energize your mornings and keep you from making unhealthy, hunger-induced decisions at lunch.
One 150-calorie soda per day equals more than 15 pounds worth of empty calories over the course of a year. Try sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea instead.
Try going to bed at the same time each night to get your body on a solid sleep schedule. And, remember #4: No screens before bed.
Aim for 10,000 steps each day to start and see what your general average is. Even if you don’t get there, it’s a good reminder to get up and walk.
Before you reach for coffee, down a glass of water to rehydrate your body and jumpstart your brain.
Fruit is sweet, delicious and a lot better for you than most sugar-laden desserts. Plus, you’ll get the added benefits of fiber. So if you need a sweet meal ender, reach for a piece of fruit.
Whether it’s a 5K, a marathon or a charity bike ride, signing up for a race gives you a tangible reason to exercise and something to work toward.
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to ease anxiety and stress.
At least sometimes. Doing so can save a couple hundred calories and about 10 grams of fat, while adding some healthy greens (i.e., fiber) to your plate.
Carrot sticks and almonds aren’t quite as exciting as those vending machine chips, but these snacks keep you alert and stave off hunger between meals.
Seriously, get one. If it’s been more than a year, it’s time to make an appointment. A yearly physical is the best way to check in with your health.