While the beginning of every new year has most people thinking about resolutions, this isn’t the only time to consider positive lifestyle changes. You also don’t have to take on something huge. Instead, consider several small daily habits you can implement over time.
Incorporating little changes into your day-to-day often feels more doable and sustainable. Practice these daily habits long enough, and you’ll experience different outcomes before you know it. Instead of feeling like a chore, they will become second nature in your routine. Begin by examining your current average day and deciding where you can add or change morning, afternoon, or evening habits.
Small daily habits feel more doable and are often more sustainable than making one significant lifestyle change.
Daily habits can be broken up to fit into your existing morning, afternoon, and evening routines.
Good daily habits include nutrition, exercise, organization, and mindfulness practices.
How you wake up in the morning sets the stage for the rest of your day. That’s why it’s vital to create morning habits that serve your body and mind well.
Make Your Bed
Making your bed takes under two minutes. There’s something more welcoming and comforting about a bed that’s been put back together versus one that’s still disheveled from the night before. Completing tasks like this one can provide satisfaction and encouragement to your brain right off the bat.
Meditation enhances your presence and connection to self. It helps calm your body, clear your mind, reduce worry, and increase mindfulness. Research has found emotional and mental benefits from meditating for under 15 minutes daily. Talk to your mental health professional if you need more ideas specifically for your mind.
Carve out space for intentional exercise if you have time in the morning. Moving your body is a fantastic way to wake yourself up and get those endorphins flowing. Maybe this means taking the dog for a jog, doing a group fitness class, or riding your stationary bike and lifting some dumbbells.
Drink Green Tea Instead of Coffee
Coffee has become the poster child for waking up in the morning, but green tea offers many benefits. Both contain antioxidants, but green tea also has L-theanine, which helps put your mind at ease. It may also be a better choice for people seeking an energizing drink with less caffeine.
Enjoy a Healthy Breakfast
The word “breakfast” literally describes the act of breaking the 10-12 hour fast that occurs overnight. Your first meal of the day should satisfy your stomach, energize your mind, and fuel your body. A balance of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats is ideal.
Take Your Vitamins & Supplements
Many people like taking their supplements first thing in the morning so they don’t forget later. For example, you could take your daily multivitamin after eating breakfast, so it becomes a regular step of your morning routine.
As your day rolls on, there are still plenty of opportunities to incorporate new habits into your routine. Consider the types of habits you can fit into your schedule.
Run Errands by Bike
This one is easier in the warmer months, but that’s not to say you can’t run active errands most of the year. If you have a bike, attach a basket to it that can hold bags, and you’re all set for errands close by your home or workplace. Plus, it’s an extra opportunity to move your body.
Drink More Water
The body is mainly made up of water, which must be replenished regularly. We naturally lose water due to sweating, urination, and other bodily processes. Get into a habit of carrying a water bottle with you at all times and keeping it filled for quick hydration. If you get tired of plain water, you can add fresh herbs, berries, cucumber slices, or lemon wedges for a unique natural flavor. Seltzer water and tea also work, but choosing unsweetened options is best.
Reduce Caffeine Consumption
Caffeinated beverages can actually dehydrate you and make it harder to fall asleep when consumed later in the day. The main offenders are coffee, certain teas, and energy drinks. If you’re super sensitive to caffeine, you may also want to avoid chocolate in the afternoon. Instead, choose plain or seltzer water or decaf tea.
As the day winds down, your actions should reflect that. Include some good daily habits that help you prepare for rest.
Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol has a sedating effect, which some people enjoy before bed. However, it also dehydrates and promotes urination, which can keep you up at night and even lead to a headache in the morning. Instead, try hot tea or warm milk a couple of hours before bed.
Write in a Journal
The evening is a perfect time to reflect on the day and prepare for tomorrow. Journaling for five minutes can help clear your mind and reduce worry about things overnight as your brain processes. Prompted journals,( journal ideas or writing prompts) can help if you’re not sure what to write.
Read a Book
Instead of scrolling through social media - which can actually make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep - opt for a physical book. Reading can naturally help your brain wind down and prepare for sleep.
Set Yourself Up for Sleep Success
A better daily routine also requires a good night’s sleep. Set yourself up for restful sleep by getting into a regular sleep-wake cycle, making your bedroom a welcoming sleep environment, and avoiding using blue light-emitting screens close to bedtime. This is also an optimal time to occasionally take any calming or sleep-promoting supplements, like ones that contain L-theanine or melatonin.†
Lauren specializes in plant-based living and vegan and vegetarian diets for all ages. She also enjoys writing about parenting and a wide variety of health, environmental, and nutrition topics. Find her at www.laurenpanoff.com.
Senior Manager, Medical and Scientific Communications
Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and provides leadership to Pharmavite’s Medical and Scientific Education team. She has over 20 years of experience educating consumers, healthcare professionals, retailers and employees about nutrition, dietary supplements, and overall wellness. Prior to joining the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Melissa launched and managed Pharmavite’s Consumer Affairs department and worked as a clinical dietitian throughout Southern California. Melissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, and completed her dietetic internship at Veteran’s Hospital in East Orange New Jersey.