Beginning a new year with a new health plan is the ambition of many. We set up a whole new workout regiment follow the newest and greatest diet plan and quit all our old, bad habits just to find ourselves in a similar situation we were in prior to this great new plan. Why is it we do these things? What can we do to stop?
We can start small and use the snowball effect, building one good habit off of another and before you know it, you’ve established a whole new set of healthy living habits.
There is also a problem with this method. Doing one simple thing is easy. It’s easy to go for a walk. It’s easy to drink a glass of water. It’s easy to eat raw carrots. The great paradox is that because it’s easy, we don’t put much effort into it. We don’t subscribe to the benefits of these small changes. So we blow them off.
Walking Five Minutes
Let’s take a quick, but deeper look into this. We’ll start with walking. If you are not taking any time to walk at all each day (outside of what you need to so you can get from point A to point B), a five minute walk is a great place to start. Why five minutes? It’s easy and doesn’t take much time. But five minutes six days a week equals 30 minutes and 30 minutes of walking is more than you did last week. Multiply that by just 50 weeks and you’ve walked 1500 minutes - that’s five minutes six days a week for 50 weeks (or 25 hours). The average 150 lb. person will burn 250 calories in each of those hours. So, by just walking five minutes six days a week for 50 weeks you could burn 6250 calories. That’s nearly two pounds.
So, what’s the big deal?? That’s down two pounds instead of up in weight. That’s with one very small change. The thing is, one small change added to other small changes over time adds up. And certainly, a small change like adding five minutes of walking to your day doesn’t seem like much, but it’s an effective way to start that snowball of healthy changes.
Drinking Eight Ounces of Water
So where else could you make a small change that will be effective over time? How about water consumption? Are you getting enough water? Water makes you feel fuller, hydrates you, helps your body get rid of waste, lubricates your joints and has a multitude of other benefits. The recommended amount of water intake varies from person to person and depends on who’s giving the advice. The Mayo Clinic (a reputable source) recommends drinking eight glasses of eight ounces a day. WHAT?? I’ll be peeing all day long! Well, maybe, but you’ll add walking to the bathroom several times a day to your regiment (big grin).
Seriously though, if that sounds like too much water, start small. Start with one glass of water first thing in the morning, just eight ounces. I now drink three to four eight ounce glasses first thing and am able to get the rest in early in the day so I’m not up all night.
Getting Five More Minutes of Sleep
I’m going to touch on just one more behavior that will make a big difference in your life. Rest. Are you getting enough? The HelpGuide recommends adults get 7-9 hours of rest each night, with 6-11 being possibly appropriate. Where are you in that spectrum? If you feel sleepy throughout your day, chances are you are not getting enough sleep at night. How do you make that change? Five minutes at a time. Start going to bed five minutes earlier every night. It doesn’t seem like much but you can build on that once you’ve got the five minutes down.
Take the easy way out.
For more tips on making lasting lifestyle changes you can download our ebook for free: A Health and Fitness Guide for the Super Busy. Make today count by taking the easy way out. Little changes over time, consistently add up to great health benefits overall.