Let's face it: sweeping lifestyle changes aren't sustainable. Between friends, work, and family, life quickly gets in the way, and your intentions can fall to the wayside. But you don't need to overhaul your daily routine to live a healthy life — starting small can be just as impactful.
OPTAVIA is an innovative health and wellness program that draws from this mindset. The program encourages people to create healthy habits by making slight adjustments to their daily behaviors instead of one grand commitment (e.g., committing to going to the gym every day of the week). "What small change is so easy to make that you can stick with it each day, making failure almost impossible?" OPTAVIA co-founder and independent OPTAVIA Coach Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen (Dr. A) asks. "When you change your actions in small baby steps rather than all at once, eventually, you'll create a habit. This means you no longer have to rely on motivation — which is hard to maintain consistently — so it's easier to make the kind of lasting change that you desire." To embark on a healthy-living journey with this fresh perspective, keep reading to learn what changes — or microhabits — you can incorporate into your everyday routine.
Plan Out Your Meals
Take this scenario: it's 11 a.m., your stomach is growling, but you already ate breakfast and there's still an hour until your lunch break. Instead of forcing yourself to wait until "lunchtime," plan to eat a small meal every few hours.
You can also find ways to put a healthy spin on the dishes you love and add more nutrients into your meals. If you're craving a cheeseburger, try making
this delicious cheeseburger pie from OPTAVIA. The recipe has it all: lean proteins, fresh veggies, and healthy fats. Eating consistently throughout the day and upping the nutrients in your meals will help you stay fuller for longer, all while helping you feel good about what you're putting in your body.
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Keep a Carafe of Water on Your Desk
If you have trouble drinking the
recommended eight glasses of water a day, you're not alone. Set yourself up for success by placing a carafe of water on your desk. With water always at hand and in sight, you're more likely to drink up. You can also set a repeating timer on your phone. A continuous reminder to take a sip will help you stay hydrated throughout the day. If you prefer bubbly drinks, swap out that carafe for a big bottle of sparkling water — and add a squeeze of lemon for extra flavor.
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Practice Dynamic Stretching
There are many ways to move your body that don't require a two-hour stint in the gym — such as dynamic stretching. Get your body warmed up and ready for the day in the morning by moving your arms in circles or lunging backward and forward. You can also find smaller activities for incorporating movement into your daily routine — it can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to grab coffee, or cleaning your bedroom.
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Read Just 5 Pages Before Bed
Carving out a nighttime routine can curb racing thoughts and make the transition from daytime to bedtime easier. Reading can help you calm down after a busy day, but picking up a book can be difficult when your phone is within reach. To make the task feel less intimidating, and eventually establish a healthy habit, commit to reading just five pages before bed as a healthy habit (some nights you'll end up reading more!). Of course, you can adjust your nighttime regimen to align with your preferences — if you're someone who would rather read in the morning, your nighttime routine might consist of setting up ambient lighting or taking a hot shower before bed to wind down.
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Snooze Instagram Notifications on Sundays
Phone time limits seem great in theory, but it's a little too easy to click that "Ignore" button after 30 minutes of scrolling. Go off the grid (literally) by ditching your social media apps for a day. Pick a day when it's easy to get caught up on scrolling through your feed — like Sunday — and refocus your attention on those IRL connections. Meet up with friends at your local park or cook a healthy dinner with your roommate or family. But if that's too much of a commitment, you can try leaving your phone at home or tucked away in a hard-to-reach drawer.
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Find Support From Like-Minded People
Image Source: Cherri B
Dr. A says that creating and instilling these lifestyle changes is heavily influenced by the people you surround yourself with: "Building a support system is one of the most important things you can do." Whether it's reaching out to friends for words of encouragement when you're not feeling 100 percent or getting a group together for a weekend bike ride, lean on your community.
Take independent OPTAVIA Coach Cherri B (pictured above), for example. Through the OPTAVIA community, she got the support she needed to achieve a healthy weight and recognize how her mindset affected her overall lifestyle choices. "Now I'm living the life I was always meant to live," Cherri B says. "All I needed was the right solution, which started with looking at my habits and leaning into this inspirational community of people on a similar journey — including my own coach who had already accomplished what I was setting out to do." In the end, these connections were key to making those small tweaks in every area of Cherri B's life that ultimately helped her find long-term success along her healthy-living journey.
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