February 4, 2023

Taking baby steps toward a healthy lifestyle

It’s easy to allow healthy habits to fall by the wayside. The good news is, there are small steps that can be taken to help introduce healthy habits into your lifestyle. 

Small steps will build on each other over time. And if you stick with just one habit over a two-week period, you will be well on your way to creating healthy habits that persist.

Here is a tried-and-true list of six healthy habits you can incorporate today that won’t feel like drastic, unmanageable changes.

  1. Write down your goals. When you do that, they become more than just a thought. They become actionable. Create small wins you can achieve. Once you complete a goal, make sure to celebrate.
  2. Choose one goal to focus on at a time. Let’s face it, most of us lead busy lives. Just the thought of adding one more to-do to our plates feels stressful. When you focus on too many changes at one time, you can quickly become overwhelmed and give up.
  3. Keep a food journal. This will help if you’re trying to eliminate unhealthy foods and want to replace them with nutritious ones. Try it for a week, and truly look at everything you’ve eaten. Then, choose one food or drink to eliminate. This is a great way to start moving toward a healthy and balanced diet.
  4. Move your body. But you don’t have to exercise for an hour a day when you start. Instead, commit to moving your body for at least five minutes a day, three days a week. You’ll be surprised at how opting for the stairs instead of the elevator can help you take steps toward wellness. Once you have achieved this goal, add small intervals of additional movement. Cardiovascular exercise is very important to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  5. Drink water in the morning. Drinking eight ounces of water as soon as you wake up and along with every meal is a good start. And it will eliminate the chance of forgetting to drink water throughout the day when you become busy. Better yet, hydration will do wonders for your energy and skin.
  6. Cut out one cigarette per day if you smoke. Try cutting out one more cigarette for each two-week period until you can quit completely. Taking this slowly can be the difference between fully kicking the habit and giving up. 

It’s good to remember that any goal can be broken down into smaller, more attainable goals. This helps makes things easier to manage and implement. The aim is to make you successful, so you feel empowered to take more steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

To be connected with a primary care doctor who can work with you to achieve your health goals, go to Bayhealth.org/Find-A-Doc or call 1-866-Bay-Docs.

Paul Pulchny, DO, is a Bayhealth primary care physician.