10 healthy habits that are surprisingly easy to introduce

Posted: 6 October 2021 4:00 pm

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Whether you’re looking to implement some healthier eating habits, better manage your finances or give your current lifestyle a complete reboot, we’re here to help.

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If you’re on a mission to introduce some healthy habits into your everyday lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place. Many of us are habitually planning to make small changes that will have a big impact on the quality of our health and quality of life but the plans never seem to get off the ground. Well, we’re here to tell you that even without willpower there is a way.

Don’t get us wrong, you do actually have to want to succeed. Self-discipline is key here. But that said, there are some really easy, cost-effective solutions that can set you up for success. From affordable meal plans to easy-to-introduce daily exercise routines and beyond, we’ll take you through a series of small changes you can make today that will help you achieve your goals in the future.

Meal plan

1. Look for a simple and delicious meal plan

Plan ahead and take a moment to select what meals you will be eating for the week ahead. When you’re stuck at home and you’re unsure what to eat, it’s easy to reach for unhealthy snacks or meals. As such, industry innovators like the popular HelloFresh have come up with an easy and effective way way to plan delicious and nutritious meals for you and your household.

Choose from a wide selection of meals including regular menu options like Family Friendly and Quick & Easy, in addition to more balanced options such as Calorie Smart (under 650 calories), Carb Smart (less than 30g of carbs) or yummy Veggie dishes.

The ability to customise your plan based on the number of people in your household at a reasonable price helps to ensure success is achievable and won’t break the bank either. Get fresh ingredients and delicious recipe cards delivered to your door and know that what you’re eating is totally in line with a calorie-controlled diet when you choose that Calorie Smart meal plan.

2. Get your steps in

It is regularly recommended that adults walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, but how many of us actually achieve this? With the majority of working professionals operating from home or an office, chances are less than half.

Get an app on your smartphone or a fitness tracker and push yourself to hit that golden number. In doing so, you’ll feel an instant sense of accomplishment while improving circulation and helping to increase your metabolic rate.

And, don’t stop there! Once you’re regularly achieving or exceeding the recommended 10,000 steps a day, why not challenge yourself further. This can be something as simple as upping your goal by 1,000 steps at 2-week intervals or striving to double your step count on non-work days. The options are endless and the benefits will ensue.

3. Add some exercise to your daily routine

It’s important to raise your heart rate if you want your body to burn fat. Depending on your general fitness level, this can be anything from a fast-paced stroll around the park for 20 minutes to a 30-minute daily training session in your home gym. Trust us, it all counts!

  • If at all unsure about your fitness levels, check with a doctor or healthcare provider prior to introducing any vigorous exercise to your routine.

Exercise will not only help you achieve your goals faster, it’s commonly theorised that regular exercise releases endorphins that will leave you feeling relaxed and give you a more positive outlook overall. And, there is some truth to this! If you’ve ever pushed yourself to work harder, run faster or complete a longer workout you’ll know that yes, you’re left sweaty and exhausted but you also feel fantastic.

Exercise has been linked to better quality of sleep, an increase in libido and improved mental health. Start simple and work your way up from there. We’re not suggesting that someone who’s never exercised regularly start running 10,000 a day. But, consider that this could be a possible end goal. Don’t limit yourself because of your inexperience – the body is an amazing thing that can quite often achieve the impossible when given the necessary push to try.

As mentioned in recent Finder NZ analysis, if you back yourself to find cost-free ways to stay fit (see “explore the great outdoors below”, for example), cancelling an unused gym membership can also put extra cash in your pocket. If you pay $100 per month for your membership, you could save up to $1,200 annually by cancelling your contract and switching up the way you work out!

4. Choose water over wine

It’s great to hydrate for many reasons. Given that the adult human body is approximately 60% water, replenishing the amounts lost each day is a must for healthy functioning. We lose water through urination and sweat – no need for embarrassment, these are normal human activities we all experience every single day! And, not replenishing that lost water can leave you feeling groggy.

While it’s recommended that we consume anywhere between 2 and 4 litres of water each day, this varies depending on the individual. Headaches are a clear sign of dehydration and indicate the need to take in more fluids. So, do yourself a favour and next time you want to quench your thirst, ditch the alcoholic, sugary and fizzy drinks and reach for a good old glass of filtered cold water. Your body will definitely thank you.

5. Stop skipping breakfast

A bad habit that many of us need to kick is skipping breakfast. Breakfast literally means to “break” the “fast” that naturally occurs during the hours of sleep and doing so will kick-start your metabolism and get your body burning fat again.

Choose a healthy breakfast to start you off on the right foot. Low-fat yoghurts, fruit and granola bars are all healthy options that are low in calories, light on a tummy that’s not used to eating an early breakfast but will do the job just fine.

6. Social media detox

We live in an age where social media rules. Unfortunately, with all the positives this can bring (reconnecting with friends and family, staying in touch with those overseas and networking for a broader reach), there are some negative drawbacks too many of us suffer. If you’ve ever scrolled through the recent posts of all your happy, smiling, successful online friends, you’re bound to have experienced a lull in mood at one time or another. Remember, people only post what they want you to see.

In these modern times, it’s really important to take regular breaks from social media. Reconnect with reality and quit the virtual world, even if it’s only for a day or two a week. This will help boost your mood and improve physical relationships rather than concentrating on virtual ones.

7. Sleep well

A good night’s sleep boosts your mood, sharpens focus and gives your body some essential R&R time, allowing you to function at your best. A long-term great sleep regime can have amazing health benefits too. Sleeping well on the reg actually lowers the risk of heart disease and helps you lose weight and keep it off. Strange but true!

Adults should be aiming to get somewhere between 7 and 9 hours of shuteye a night. And, a regular schedule of bedtime and rising will help you get the best possible quality sleep.

8. Track your finances

A great source of negative energy is financial trouble. Luckily, this can be avoided completely with a little careful budgeting and the help of a financial tracker. Knowing what goes into your account, what unavoidable costs go out and where you’re up to with your disposable income is key to keeping your money in check.

Getting started with finance tracking is super easy. Some banks have really useful finance tracking tools and apps. There are also dedicated apps such as PocketSmith (made in New Zealand) and You Need a Budget (YNAB) that have been designed specifically to make tracking your finances and spending habits a breeze.

MoneyTalks is another great place to get helpful advice on budget planning. This financial helpline offers free advice and support from trained financial mentors. You can find the contact details and some additional support options when you need a little help with your budgeting through the New Zealand Government website.

9. Explore the great outdoors

Outdoor adventures are great for the soul. After just a few minutes in the sunshine your vitamin D levels will rise, improving bone health, heart function and boosting your mood. But, the benefits of being outdoors don’t stop there. Ditch the screens and opt for a walk in the wilderness and you should start to feel the stress and anxieties of life slipping away. Pick up the pace and you’ll elevate your heart levels and start to burn fat too. Keep your eyes and mind open and drink in all the fabulous and extraordinary things our natural world has to offer.

10. Be kind to your mind

Okay, meditation isn’t for everyone but it’s vital that you set aside some you-time given the stress and strains of modern-day life. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in the here and now. It is being aware of everything without being overwhelmed. While mindfulness is something we are all naturally capable of, it’s more effective when you practise it regularly – the ideal being daily.

Practising mindfulness doesn’t even mean you have to add something new to your routine, simply that you change the way you do something. It can be something as simple as washing the dishes, as long as you do it mindfully. Let your senses guide you and feel the movements, the water and the dish soap through your fingers. Live in the moment and be aware of what you are doing and let everything else fade into the background.

Be kind to your mind and you’ll find an inner peace that you never thought possible.

The last word

Don’t try to take on all 10 of these small changes today. That’s a sure-fire way to turn your world upside down and set you up for failure. Individually, they are little but put them all together and they become monumental. Instead, choose 1 or 2 of these minor lifestyle adjustments. You can add more as you grow in confidence and find that the changes have become a way of life rather than something you have to think about and stick to.

And if you slip up here and there, don’t throw in the towel and give up completely. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your route to a better way of living won’t be either.

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