Looking to get healthier in the New Year? Build habits.

From a blog in Smarter Living, we learn to start small, but like the Nike’s commercial, “Just Do It!”

Here’s what SL suggests:

physical activityGet some physical activity every day. “Physical activity is almost magical in its ability to improve quality of life. It reduces risks of nearly every physical and mental condition there is. If you can only do one thing in terms of improving your diet or fitness, improve fitness first. It doesn’t need to be fancy, long or boring. Ten-minute blocks of playing with your kids, dancing or even taking the stairs makes a difference.”

Get enough sleep. Seven to nine hours. One third of Americans don’t get enough sleep, but it’s impossible to overstate how essential sleep is to good health. It affects your immune system, hormones, appetite, weight, thinking, energy, concentration, temper, mood…even life expectancy. Luckily, there are ways to get a better night’s sleep.”

Quit smoking, or don’t start! “Smoking is associated with virtually all diabetes complications, and it’s a leading cause of heart disease. Cigarette smokers with diabetes are virtually certain to get cardiovascular disease, and it’s not if they get it, it’s when they get it.”

Nurture your relationships. “Fostering loving, connected attachment and close relationships is the single most important thing you can do for happiness. Whether its planning a weekly lunch with a friend, joining a local club or sports team, arranging a monthly date night with a partner or eating dinner as a family…never underestimate the importance of those activities with good health and wellbeing. The need for attachment starts in infancy and never abates.”

bouquet (775x800)Eat more fruits and vegetables. “The best way to get more fruits and veggies is to cook at home with unprocessed food. Start small: Cook one more meal a week than you usually would. Add an extra vegetable at dinner each night. Replace a sweet snack with a piece of fruit.”

Spend time in the sun, but not too much. “Light helps your sleep and mood, being out in the sun increases your likelihood of physical activity and sunlight is the only natural way to get vitamin D. The sun’s UV light is a leading cause of skin cancer, so protect yourself with sunblock, hats and clothing too.”

DSC05581 (600x450)Eat and drink less sugar. “Choose water instead of sugary colas or sports drinks. Staying hydrated maintains energy and prevents headaches and other dehydration effects. But don’t go overboard: No evidence supports the eight glasses of water a day claims. But evidence does support choosing water over soft drinks, alcohol and other calorie-dense beverages. Decreasing alcohol intake not only reduces calories, it also reduces the risks associated with excessive alcohol use. And that’s a good thing.”

DSC05579 (600x450)Do something just for you. At GreenAcres, we’d like to add doing something out of the ordinary. Something spur of the moment like taking a short road trip. Maybe it’s just picking up a bouquet of flowers to put on your desk or nightstand. Do something that makes you smile.

But as the blog mentioned in the beginning. There’s no need to jump in all at once. If you’re overwhelmed, you’re likely to quit before you ever get started. So, start small and create a habit with just one thing on the list. When you feel comfortable, then go for a second thing and you’re on your way!