So you’ve begun the new year bursting with good intentions to eat healthier, move more and meditate daily. In your enthusiasm, however, it’s tempting to go overboard, trying to go from midnight-snacking coach potato to a gym-loving, juice fasting fit girl/guy in a few weeks time.
Unfortunately, drastic lifestyle changes usually don’t lead to lasting results. It’s much easier and more realistic to take small, doable steps towards your goals. So have a look at these 101 simple things you can do today to boost your health and happiness!
- 01: Finish your morning shower with one minute of cold water for a short hydrotherapy session.
- 02: Swap one cup of coffee a day for a green tea or matcha latte. You still get a subtle energy boost, but with the added health benefits of green tea leaves.
- 03: Awaken your sleepy body and mind with an energizing flow of sun salutations.
- 04: Add more dark leafy greens to your daily diet. They’re rich in chlorophyll, a health-boosting pigment that helps plants to absorb energy from sunlight.
- 05: Did you know that the scent of citrus can boost your energy and alertness? So grab an orange or a lemon-scented shower gel and sniff away!
- 06: Set a reminder on your phone to get up from your chair every hour to stretch your legs and get your blood flowing.
- 07: Get some fresh air. Head outside, open your windows every day and keep air purifying plants in your home.
- 08: Listen to upbeat music.
- 09: Boost the circulation of oxygen-rich, nutrient-packed blood throughout your body by practicing dry body brushing.
- 10: Let the sunshine in. Light tells your internal clock it’s time to wake up, so expose yourself to natural sunlight in the morning by opening the curtains, taking a short walk outside or swapping your alarm clock for a Wake-Up Light.
- 11: Have veggies with most meals, from a green smoothie or a spinach omelet for breakfast to a (side) salad for lunch.
- 12: Beat mindless eating. Eat at the dinner table, never straight from a package or use smaller plates, bowls and serving spoons to effortlessly decrease your food intake.
- 13: Grow fresh herbs in your garden, window box or on your balcony.
- 14: Gradually replace the white carbs in your cupboard – white pasta, rice, cereals – for wholegrain versions.
- 15: Avoid hitting the vending machine when the afternoon slump rolls around by bringing healthy snacks to work.
- 16: Follow the Plate Rule: fill half of your plate with (non-starchy) vegetables, one quarter with (wholegrain) carbohydrates and one quarter of your plate with lean proteins.
- 17: Cut down on sugary drinks. Try (flavoured) water, veggie juice or coconut water instead.
- 18: Add fermented foods like live-cultured yoghurt, sauerkraut, pickles and kombucha to your diet. These probiotic-rich foods support a healthy gut flora.
- 19: Turn your spice cabinet into a ‘medicine cabinet’ by stocking it with disease-fighting foods like turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and chili pepper.
- 20: Eat seasonally. Nourish your body with the best, nutrient-rich produce nature has to offer this time of year.
- 21: Eating a handful of nuts is linked to living a longer, healthier life. So swap the crackers and potato chips for some unsalted almonds, walnuts or pecans.
- 22: Adopt Meatless Monday. Going vegetarian once a week may help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and obesity.
- 23: Once a week, try a new-to-you healthy ingredient or an exotic cuisine to broaden your culinary repertoire.
- 24: Take your warming drinks to the next level by adding ingredients that offer a serious health boost, like immune-enhancing spices, fruit and ‘superfoods’.
- 25: Read labels of food items you buy regularly. Or better yet, buy unprocessed whole foods whenever you can.
- 26: Put fatty fish on the menu. Salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines are a valuable source of healthy fats like omega 3’s.
- 27: Eat the rainbow. The colour of your food tells you a lot about its nutritional value. You can effortlessly eat a more varied and balanced diet by filling your shopping cart and plate with red, orange, yellow, green and blue/violet produce.
- 28: Learn to make a healthier version of your favourite comfort food.
- 29: Stay hydrated by carrying a BPA-free water bottle with you.
- 30: Make a list of 7 healthy, tasty and quick recipes you can turn to when you’re wondering (again) what’s for dinner tonight.
- 31: Keep a gratitude journal. Each night, write down 3 things that went well that day.
- 32: Develop meaningful connections. Make time each week to deepen your relationships with your family or hang out with your friends. Be kind to everyone you meet: looking people in the eye, smiling and a genuinely friendly attitude can make all the difference in their day – and yours.
- 33: Feel the sun on your bare skin for healthy levels of mood-boosting vitamin D.
- 34: Sing! Belting out in the shower or humming to music during your commute has a surprisingly positive impact on your health and happiness.
- 35: Practice the art of savouring. Notice and appreciate the positive things around you: slow down, smell the roses (literally) and get in touch with your senses and physical experiences.
- 36: Cuddle, kiss, touch. Even in the digital age, we all crave physical contact. Research shows that a simple hug can boost your immunity and overall wellbeing.
- 37: Volunteer. Helping others doesn’t just make them feel better, but also helps you counteract the effects of stress, anxiety and depression, stay physically healthy and provide a sense of purpose.
- 38: Mind your mental diet. If the news cycles or your Facebook feed are making you feel unhappy, re-examine your mental diet and choose more uplifting books, empowering quotes or inspiring podcasts instead.
- 39: Laughing really is the best medicine. So bring back the humour in your life by watching a comedy and spending time with your funniest friends.
- 40: Do more things you enjoy or make the things you do more enjoyable, by purposely sprinkling simple pleasures throughout your day.
Move Your Body
- 41: Gently stretch your limbs when you get out of bed in the morning.
- 42: Do you have a hard time getting your 10,000 daily steps in? Have a look at these 7 powerful ways to make walking more exciting.
- 43: Alternate fast-paced, intense workouts with slow exercising. Mindful, deliberate movement such as yoga and tai chi has surprising benefits for your health.
- 44: Do activities you enjoy. Moving your body shouldn’t be a gruelling endeavour, but more a natural state of being and transporting yourself. So do what you love, whether that’s a leisurely hike through nature, becoming a bad ass ninja in karate class or dancing the night away with your friends.
- 45: Use your own bodyweight: do squats, lunges, push-ups and jumping jacks to start building muscle strength. No fancy equipment needed.
- 46: Join the Morning Mile Challenge for an invigorating start of the day!
- 47: Low-impact workouts such as walking, cycling and swimming put little strain on your joints and reduce your risk of sports-related injuries, but still improve your aerobic fitness level.
- 48: Chronically ill and housebound? Keep your blood flowing by ‘exercising’ from bed.
- 49: Soothe your aching muscles from hunching over your keyboard with some simple stretches at your desk.
- 50: Turn bingeing your favourite TV series into the ultimate workout game.
Relax to the Max
- 51: Take a deep breath whenever you feel tense, anxious or down. Breathing into your belly balances your nervous system and reverses the stress response of your body almost immediately.
- 52: Master the art of power napping. Taking a 20-minute siesta after lunch can boost your productivity and alertness.
- 53: On stressful days, recharge yourself within minutes with mindful microbreaks.
- 54: Give yourself a bed time. It helps your body to get a better sleep-wake rhythm, especially if you have trouble sleeping.
- 55: Find better ways to recharge than mindlessly flicking channels or browsing online. Cozy up on the couch with a good book and cup of tea, go for a leisurely walk or have a warm bath.
- 56: Let go of people, obligations and beliefs that weigh you down.
- 57: Unplug for an evening, day or weekend. Program your phone to go on airplane mode starting 1 hour before bedtime until 1 hour after you wake up, put your tablet in a drawer or consider taking a social media sabbatical.
- 58: Perform a mindful body scan to release tension from your body and calm your racing mind.
- 59: Customize your next bath experience by adding herbs, oils or accessories to sleep better, relieve stress or soothe sore muscles.
- 60: Create a relaxing bedtime ritual – a cup of camomile tea, a warm bath – to signal to your brain it’s time to go to sleep.
Boost Your Brain Power
- 61: Improve the blood circulation to your brain with gentle stretches, contrast showers and self-massage tools.
- 62: Train your mental muscles by challenging yourself every day: learn a new word (in a foreign language), do crossword puzzles, watch TED-talks or thought-provoking documentaries, read a chapter in a book instead of scanning lines online or come up with 10 interesting ideas to exercise your creative muscles.
- 63: Green surroundings are known to ease mental fatigue. So adorn your desk with plants, choose a natural scene as your screen saver and head into nature for leisurely walks and bike rides.
- 64: Single-task. Constantly switching your attention comes at a price. For the next hour, do only one thing at a time and stay focused on the task at hand.
- 65: Make time for daydreaming, reflection and stillness. Your mind needs a break from constantly processing information to wander freely and make creative connections between. That’s why you get your best ideas in the shower or during a leisurely walk.
- 66: Mind your posture. Research shows that how you carry yourself also impacts your energy levels, mood and ability to focus.
- 67: Turn off email and social media notifications when doing work that requires your full focus.
- 68: Meditation is weightlifting for the mind. The habit of quieting the constant chatter in your mind strengthens your ability to concentrate.
- 69: Offload things to remember to ‘external harddrives’, such as your calendar, to-do lists and reminders, to make mental room for more challenging cognitive tasks.
- 70: Play! It’s the most natural way to learn new skills, build better connections and shape your brain throughout your lifetime.
- 71: Grow fresh herbs in your garden, windows box or on your balcony.
- 72: Learn from the longest-living people on the planet and invest in a healthy, supportive social network.
- 73: Design your environment for success. Put a fruit bowl on the counter, hide the remote control and place your running shoes by the front door to make it easier to execute your good habits.
- 74: Floss daily. Practicing good oral hygiene doesn’t just protect you from tooth decay and gum disease, but it also helps clear away harmful bacteria linked to heart disease.
- 75: Embrace the Okinawa habit of “hara hachi bu” – eating until you’re 80% full.
- 76: For a healthier workplace, choose a desk near a window (if possible), adorn your cubicle with a plant and/or keep a water pitcher on your desk to stay hydrated.
- 77: A little preparation goes a long way. Try meal planning and prepping to stick to your healthy resolutions on busy days.
- 78: Washing your hands properly saves more lives worldwide than any other medical intervention. Reduce your risk of getting sick by scrubbing your hands vigorously with soap and water for 20 seconds whenever you sneeze, blow your nose, visit the bathroom and handle food.
- 79: Spend time in nature. The healing combination of fresh air, vitamin D and being in natural surroundings boosts your overall wellbeing.
- 80: Learn to tune into your body; it allows you to pick up signals of stress, pain and exertion before these symptoms become (too) serious.
Build Your Resilience
- 81: Find healthy, constructive ways to deal with stress and negative emotions. Don’t drown your sorrows with wine or ice-cream, but relax your body and quiet your racing mind with exercising, a warm bath or meditation exercises.
- 82: When something bad happens, ask yourself “How can I …?” instead of “Why is this happening?” to move from a problem-focused mindset to solutions. Try to take decisive action whenever you can instead of getting caught up in rumination.
- 83: Learn to recognize common thinking errors. It’s the first step to changing harmful thinking patterns and replacing negative statements with more helpful ones.
- 84: Build a coping kit for tough times – (a list of) objects and activities that comfort you and lift your spirit.
- 85: Get familiar with simple relaxation techniques like deep belly breathing or a guided meditation.
- 86: Foster your relationships and don’t be afraid to accept practical help and emotional support from the people around you.
- 87: Cultivate an optimistic outlook on life. Trying to see to good in every day doesn’t detract from your right to struggle with sadness, anger and despair – but it does make your heartache more bearable. Often it’s the little positive things in life that help you get through the big bad ones.
- 88: It’s impossible to avoid every stressful situation in life, but you can change how you think about and react to stress.
- 89: Stop believing the myth that vulnerability is weakness.
- 90: Although it won’t feel like that during your darkest moments, many people who faced illness, loss and hardship say they’ve found a new sense of meaning, a deepened spirituality, stronger connections or a heightened appreciation for life. Perceiving heartache and adversity as an inevitable part of life that also offers opportunity for self-discovery, purpose and growth strengthens your ability to bounce back from tough times.
Up Your Self-Care Routines
- 91: Drink a glass of warm lemon water in the morning to kickstart your digestion and boost your immunity.
- 92: Create a happy play list to set the tone for the day.
- 93: Do some gentle yoga exercises to relax and recharge.
- 94: Have a healthy baking session and treat yourself to some banana bread pancakes, decadent beet & chocolate cake or thumbprint cookies.
- 95: Get your daily dose of motivation by creating a vision board, hanging a positive affirmation on your mirror or keeping a Future Listography Journal to make lists of all the exciting things you hope to do once day.
- 96: Indulge yourself with a massage or a relaxing spa day at home.
- 97: Call your best friend to laugh, connect and catch up.
- 98: Start your day with a Power Hour – 60 minutes dedicated to nourishing your body, mind and soul.
- 99: Learn to say no to extra obligations and uncomfortable requests so you can make space for all the things that truly matter to you.
- 100: Channel your inner artist and experiment with ways to express yourself creatively: dancing, making music, writing, coloring or wood work.
- 101: Identify your Minimum Necessary Self-Nurture Practices and make them a priority in your daily schedule.
Which small thing will you do today to boost your health and happiness?
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