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6 Tips for Leading a Happier
and Healthier Life

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By Elliot Caleira

Now that we’re well into the new year, you may be well on your way to accomplishing those resolutions. Others may be finding it difficult to gather enough ambition to pursue that “new year, new me” pledge. If that’s the case for you, here are six tips to help you get a jump-start on your new life.

Action, Not Words

As well-intentioned as your new year resolutions may be, they mean nothing if you don’t act to make real changes in your life. Think about the new people you meet or the prospective employers who interview you. They’re most interested in your achievements and the things you have done in your life. Talking about what you plan to do is just not that interesting to other people, unless you show them you act on your words.

Know Your Family

If you’ve ever been browsing health insurance quotes, you know how important and relevant your family’s medical history is to your own welfare. This is especially true, if you plan to implement lifestyle changes. Before you join that gym or start that new diet, be aware of common medical conditions in your family, especially those that may be genetically linked. If there’s a history of heart disease, diabetes, or hypertension in your family, you may want to start the new year with a check-up.

Change Your Eating Habits

This may be more difficult to do than adding exercise to your daily routine, because, if you’re like most Americans, you were raised on a diet heavy in processed foods, red meat, and sugar. Today, doctors and nutritionists are recommending diets that rely largely on plant-based foods. Vegetables, fruits, and nuts are primary staples you should be building a diet around. Depending on your dietary needs, you can experiment to find out which foods make you feel better and which ones you should be cutting out of your diet.

Reduce Sugar Intake

While this may be included in an overall diet change, it also deserves special consideration. For diabetics, eliminating sugar from their diet is vital to their livelihood. Once the condition develops, the body is no longer able to process sugar normally, so it’s important to be cautious about sugar intake. Even if you haven’t developed diabetes, too much sugar is unhealthy. Your intake should be eliminated, or significantly reduced to avoid a number of medical problems in the future.

Don’t Think of Fitness as a Chore

If you want to live a more active lifestyle, getting into a physical fitness routine isn’t going to work, if you’re not enjoying it. Instead of just joining a gym, because that seems like the thing to do, look for activities that you enjoy doing. Find more than one sport, so you can keep things interesting and diverse. By looking for fun in your fitness routine, you’re more likely to stick with it and reap the most benefits from it.

Reduce the Stress in Your Life

Stress can have a negative impact on your physical health, so it’s important to manage stress for your overall wellbeing. Look for ways to relax in your spare time, whether it involves yoga, meditation, or just a relaxing hobby that you enjoy. If you can’t find something to relax you at home, try going for a walk outdoors. Just being outside, enjoying the fresh air, and observing nature has been shown to relax people and have a positive effect on their mental health. By taking this time for yourself, you can limit your risk of developing illnesses, such as headaches, diabetes, asthma, skin conditions, anxiety, and heart disease.

Anyone can change their life, but it will take will power and effort. If change were easy, we wouldn’t make such a big deal out of it every January 1, so feel good about whatever small victories you achieve. Remember it’s going to take time and there will be bumps along the way, but, if you’re persistent, you can accomplish all of your goals.

Elliot Caleira is a freelance writer in the self-mastery and health and wellness spaces. When he's not writing you'll find him cooking or teaching Portuguese classes. More articles by Elliot.
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