The Surprising Everyday Things that Have Really Kept Me on Track with My Health Goals

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

Get more sleep. Yes. Eat better. Of course. Get regular exercise. Well, duh. We already know all the things we need to do to be healthier (whether we do them or not). The question mark is more the issue of how, and finding ways to reinvent ways to stay motivated can often be the biggest challenge. So, I’ve gathered together five “how”s that have made things easier for me to stay on track with my wellness lately.

Cleaning Up at Home

This probably sounds odd. What does a clean living space have to do with getting your personal wellness in order? Well, I’ve found first-hand that a messy home acts like a hurdle to healthy living. Just close your eyes right now and imagine trying to cook healthy meals in a cluttered kitchen, or changing for a workout in a clothes-strewn bedroom. Then imagine doing those things in a tidy, sparkling clean space instead. I firmly believe that keeping a clean home acts like a springboard to making other healthy choices, every day.

Incorporating “Street Clothes” Workouts Into My Week

Getting ready for the gym is a workout in itself. Sometimes I’m exhausted just by the idea of having to pull my hair back, wash my makeup off and change my outfit—it’s enough to make me not want to work out at all. So lately, I’ve been finding ways to get active in my everyday street clothes, taking low-key walks in whatever clothes I happen to be wearing that day (sometimes I’ll change my shoes). I definitely haven’t abandoned the heart-pumping, sweaty runs and bike rides, but if I’m teetering on the idea of not doing anything, I make sure to let myself off the hook and simply enjoy getting outside, however I’m dressed.

Restaurants: Really Knowing How to Pick ‘Em

You might have an angel on your shoulder encouraging you to “make healthier choices” when you’re gazing down a restaurant menu deciding what to order, but I think it’s even more important to make healthier choices about where you go out to eat in the first place. I have a mental running list of spots around my city where I know I can order dishes that’ll taste as great as they will leave me feeling. If you start to be intentional about tracking these places down, you’ll have your own local list in no time.

(Image credit: Bethany Nauert)

Making Time to Plan My Meals—Seriously, Do it.

It’s just too easy to fall back on less healthy convenience foods when I don’t take the time to plan what I’m going to eat for the week. Do I love doing it? Eh, it’s okay. Do I get annoyed with myself when I don’t do it? Big time. So, every Sunday I devote a couple hours to the cause—choosing meals, shopping for ingredients and preparing them like a sous chef—doing everything short of cooking the recipes. That way I can just pull ready ingredients from the fridge, and I’m never more than 30 minutes away from a healthy dinner when I walk through my front door.

Get on it → Meal Plans from Kitchn

Doing Bedtime Rituals at Least an Hour Before Bedtime

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on my couch at night watching TV, so sleepy, wanting to go to bed, yet too tired to get myself there because I know I still have to wash my face and brush my teeth. That has to be the dumbest reason for not getting enough sleep. So I’ll be following this piece of advice starting tonight (along with hopefully the rest of you): Before we settle into our evening wind-down, let’s take care of all that night care business at least one hour before a reasonable bedtime. That way the moment those eyelids get heavy, we can be head-to-pillow in mere seconds. Sound good?

Do you have any “how”s that make it easier for you keep your health in check? Please share in the comments—I’m always looking for ideas!