There's a claim floating around the internet that any given person makes, on average, a whopping 35,000 decisions per day. Obviously, that may be exaggerated—but hey, even if you drop one of those zeros, that's still a pretty enormous number of choices.
Of course, not all of those selections will be earth-shattering. But on any given day, there are many decisions (more than you might think) that have the power to improve or impede your health. Granted, one decision in and of itself won't have a noticeable effect—but added up over time, all of those incremental choices will eventually manifest themselves in your wellness…and, yes, even your weight.
Every morning when you wake up, your decision meter resets, and you get a brand-new opportunity to make the right ones. From choosing what to eat, how to exercise and other health and wellness options that come your way, making the correct decision can set you up for a lifetime of healthy living.
- Switch out your morning coffee for lemon water.
- Step up your soup game. It's a meal that's easy to prepare, a great way to sneak in extra veggies and you can make large batches to have on hand for busy weeks.
- Add a veggie to every single meal. (It's easier than you might think.)
- Eat fruit instead of drinking it. An orange will fill you up a lot more than a glass of orange juice, so the calories will be constructive ones.
- At mealtimes, close your laptop or turn off the TV.
- Instead of eating directly out of the bag (or box or carton), dole out a reasonable portion, put the rest away and eat only what's in your dish.
- Choose whole grain over white bread products, including rice, tortillas and pasta.
- Before accepting an invitation to eat at a restaurant, check the menu online to make sure there are selections that support your goals.
- When you're invited to a dinner party or barbeque, offer to bring a dish. That way, you'll have some control over the spread and you'll know there will be at least one healthy thing to eat.
- When cooking at home, look for opportunities to also prep for future meals or snacks. For instance, when making a stir-fry, set aside some veggies for mid-afternoon office snacking. When preparing soup, double the recipe and freeze the rest.
- Choose foods that are low in added sugar, sodium and saturated fats.
- Track your next meal. And the next…and the next… .
- We've said it many times, but it bears repeating: Swear off the elevators and escalators and make staircases your friend.
- Gather up whatever you need for your next workout well in advance. Just the sight of your gear ready to go could help to silence any excuses that might roll around when it comes time to suit up.
- Ask a friend to exercise with you. Not only will it prevent you from bailing or slacking off, it will also provide the mental benefits of social interaction.
- Instead of hiring a service to take care of household chores—raking leaves, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn—tackle them yourself. You'll net some extra burned calories, it will give your muscles some beneficial movement and you will enjoy the sense of accomplishment your hard work brings.
- If you plan to exercise after work, head to the gym or to your walking route straight from the office. When you stop at home, it's easy to get derailed by distractions.
- Fuel up on a small snack to give you an energy boost before your workout.
- Follow the one-mile rule: If you're going somewhere that's less than a mile away and the weather permits, ditch the car and walk or bike to your destination.
- If you have a desk job, switch out your office chair for a stability ball for part of the day to sneak in some extra core work. (Better yet, use a standing desk.)
- Keep some light weights, a resistance band or kettlebell near the TV, so you can sneak in some strength exercises during your favorite shows.
- Take a 30-minute walk instead of checking social media or surfing the web.
- Stand up at least once an hour and move. If you can't walk, at least stretch out, do some arm circles,march in place or try these simple exercises.
- When choosing your exercise routines, shoot for a mix of strength training, endurance and cardio, and flexibility and balance.
- When you have time, always park as far away from the entrance as possible.
- When talking on the phone, walk around the block or just pace around the house or yard to burn calories as you chat.
Health & Wellness Decisions
- Call a trusted friend or family member to catch up, commiserate and unload any burdens you've been carrying. It's free therapy and a surefire stress-buster.
- Repeat after me: Find a mantra that motivates, inspires or calms you. Words have power; use them to your advantage.
- Start planning your next vacation. Even if it's months (or years) away, looking ahead to the future and having something exciting on the horizon will help to boost your mood and reduce stress.
- The next time you're asked to try something new, and your instinct is to say "no," say "yes" instead.
- When you're asked to do something you already know you don't enjoy or that doesn't benefit you, politely decline.
- If someone makes a rude or insulting comment—knowingly or unknowingly—about your weight, don’t engage. Quickly change the subject to a more positive note to convey that it's not up for discussion.
- If you smoke, stop. If you're struggling to stop, get help to kick the habit once and for all.
- Call your doctor today to make an appointment if you've had pain or a concerning symptom for a prolonged period of time.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Not only does excess indulgence add to your calorie count, it can also make it more difficult to stick to your exercise schedule and get the most out of your sessions.
- Try to schedule an outing with a friend or loved one at least once a week. Social connections have been shown to improve mood and reduce stress.
- Tired of being tired? Start going to bed 30 to 60 minutes earlier every night. If whatever you would have done instead is important enough, you'll fit it in the next day. If not, it was dispensable anyway.
- Read a self-improvement book geared toward what you're trying to accomplish. At a minimum, it will stimulate your brain and encourage creative thought.
- Just say "no" to caffeine at least four to six hours before bedtime. You'll fall asleep easier and sleep more.
- Do something to celebrate your last success, however big or small it might have been.