15 simple changes for a calmer, happier, more successful you!
Living a happier life sometimes requires a bit of change. Change is rooted in an understanding that the old way wasn’t benefiting you. Once you’re aware of this, you can begin filling your life with methods that work in your favor. If you’re looking to make some improvements to your life, start with any or all of these 15 lifestyle changes for a successful and healthy year. You’ll feel more balanced and focused on what this year can mean to you, and naturally, you’ll start to notice more opportunities to be successful.
15 Lifestyle Changes for a Successful and Healthy Year
1. Drink More Water
Sixty percent of the human body is water, so nourishing that base is the most crucial place to start. Poor water consumption means your muscles, joints, and organs — especially the brain — aren’t adequately hydrated. Inadequate hydration means they won’t be able to function at full capacity, which slows you down throughout the day,
Drinking water on its own gets boring, so try any of these 55 Summer Fruit Infused Water Recipes For Weight Loss. Although they are summer focused drinks, you can enjoy them year-round. Half a gallon to a gallon of water a day is ideal, depending on how active you are. More activity means more water consumption.
2. Quit Sugar
Quitting sugar doesn’t mean you never consume sugar; it just means reassessing how much sugar you eat. My general rule for any item in the grocery store is to keep the servings under 7 grams. This can be easily accomplished by avoiding products that are flavored or have added ingredients. (e.g., instead of Greek yogurt with cherries, get plain greek yogurt, buy a bag of cherries to add in the yogurt, and drizzle some honey for additional, all-natural sweet flavor).
Sugar itself isn’t bad. It’s the refined sugar and sugar by-products that are added to what we eat and drink that are unhealthy for us.
The initial transition is challenging since you’ll be retraining your palate. But once you start to decrease your sugar intake consistently, your tolerance will begin to shift. If you’re looking for a great way to begin the sugar detox and transition, try our 14-Day Sugar Detox Plan.
3. Spread Out Juices and Soda
Drinking fewer juices and soda throughout the year will actually allow your taste buds to adjust and not require that intense flavor of sugar to feel satisfied.
One of my favorite recent lifestyle changes for a successful and healthy year relates to how I drink juice and soda. This year, I started buying bottled soda made with cane sugar because it feels “healthier” compared to the regular canned brands we’re all used to. I get tired of drinking water all day, so some liquid flavor with dinner offers a nice closeout to my day.
Instead of pouring the entire bottle into a tumbler, I grab a double glass and pour about 1/3 of the bottle into it. This allows me to get the flavor that I want to enjoy, without consuming 28+ grams of sugar in one sitting. I look at drinking soda the same way others look at drinking wine or liquor: moderation is best.
I still have my water on the table and focus on drinking it, though. Once I finish pouring, I place the cap back on top of the glass bottle and put it back in the fridge. If it’s a can of soda or juice, I pour it into a bottle container for tomorrow.
4. Plan Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time
When we are tired, we are attacked by ideas we conquered long ago.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Poor eating habits tend to happen when you’re hungry; it’s 2 PM, you haven’t had lunch yet, and the transition from “I’m hungry” to “I’m starving” is in full-effect. That moment, is when you’re more likely to feel the urges for the snacks and meals you haven’t had in months.
The best way to avoid this is to plan and prep ahead of time. Your day most likely follows a consistent cycle, so you’re likely to get hungry every day around the same time. Take the time to note what you eat, when you eat it, and how your hunger flows throughout the day. Maybe you need a heavier breakfast or lunch. Or maybe you need to load up on more healthy snacks in between to curb your hunger.
If you feel limited on time already, and are looking to start making changes now, look through some of The Best Clean Eating Meal Plans of the Year.
5. Make More Time For “Self”
Time for self is about pausing to get some very much needed time alone. Whether you do yoga, meditate, journal, craft, or just want to lay on the couch and think, enjoy every minute of the calm.
The average life keeps us cornered and surrounded by people, either at work, on public transportation, and especially with social media. Take a pause and make time for yourself daily.
Here are my favorite 7 Yoga Poses for Total Body Relaxation. Yoga is one of the best stress relievers in life. Find a flow that works for you and embrace the calm.
6. Move Daily
Regular exercise is a given for living a healthy and happy life. But in addition to exercise, be sure to stretch and move as much as possible.
Instead of the escalator, take the stairs that are right next to them. Instead of parking right in front of the store entrance, park on the other side of the shopping center and walk over. For every opportunity you have at exercising without actually doing exercise, take it. These are old concepts that have been around before, but they work well.
7. Read More
Books offer endless options for escaping, learning, or simply exploring. Life is real enough for me, so I tend to escape into fantasy books (Harry Potter has always been a favorite, and any sci-fi book by Issac Asimov). Occasionally, I’ll read a biography or history book, but at all times, I appreciate the quiet and calm reading provides me.
Find your genre of literature. Escape, research, and learn whatever you want. There’s a book for everyone and nearly every one of your interests.
8. Learn A New Skill
Brain activity, such as learning a new skill, can help decrease your risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Once high school/college is over, people tend to avoid learning unless it’s required for work. And even with work, once you learn the new skill, you end up in automation mode. Whether it’s a new language, painting, writing, crafting, or even making social media content, the more you put yourself in opportunities to challenge yourself and elevate how you understand how life or technology works, the more you help enrich your life experience.
There are over 300 Ivy League courses you can take for free. There are plenty of websites that teach you skills such as photography, photoshopping, coding, etc. for fair prices, too.
Organization works in different ways. Cluttered desks don’t necessarily mean a cluttered mind as everyone processes and works in spaces uniquely. The main goal should be to organize in a way that makes sense to you.
Controlled chaos is real. The universe is controlled chaos, but everything has a place and holds significance. Treat your space the same way. If you’re frustrated with how your space is, find an organization system that works for you.
There are certain items that I always have out because I know I’ll regularly need them. They aren’t organized, but I know where they are when I need them, and that works for me!
10. Consume Less
Consumption is one of the most significant drawbacks in our life. Television, video games, movies, social media content, news, and everything else that involves taking information from other people has become the standard for life. The more you consume from others, the more you dictate their influence over your life. Consuming less will allow you to make more time for what really matters in life, and often leads to greater happiness.
11. Create More and Invest In Yourself
With the time available to you from consuming less, you can now invest in yourself and the things that matter. That can be family, relationships, and your life passion(s).
You have a passion. Maybe you haven’t discovered it yet — mostly due to the constant consuming — but it’s there in your subconscious, waiting to be nurtured and revealed to the world. Making the time to slow down, reassess, and process your thoughts will slowly reveal what your passion is.
Once you realize your passion, hone it in, develop it, consistently put effort into it, and then do with it as you please. Maybe you start an Etsy shop or a secondary Instagram account and offer your product, thoughts, creative eye, or services to other people. From there, maybe you start a small side hustle or business that allows you to balance your life with your job. It’s up to you what you do with the free time, but make sure it aligns with who you are as a person.
12. Become a Morning Person
Being a morning person or night owl are personal choices. The only difference in being a night owl is that you have more available time to work through the night. A morning person has a set amount of time before they have to start their day.
We condition our bodies to either wake up early or stay up late to enjoy whatever we want. In most cases, morning people wake up early and invest in being productive for themselves. This can include reading, journaling, or catching up on the news. There are plenty of people who can be productive well into the night. Consider your usual workload, the amount of sleep you need to function, and the desire to rest. I’ve never heard of a morning person waking up early to binge-watch a show, but I know night-owls are more inclined to stay up and watch television, or start a project, get tired, and decide to watch TV instead.
Waking up earlier (between 5 AM and 7 AM) gives you a set time to focus on whatever it is you want. You’ll be more rested, more excited to tackle the day, and whatever you don’t finish, you’ll be more willing to set aside and complete once the day ends. Being a morning person can set the tone as a key lifestyle change for a successful and healthy year.
13. Challenge Your Fears/Insecurities
Most of us have thoughts that terrify us. Some fears can’t be changed, while others you may have some type of control over.
Heights make me uneasy because I naturally prefer and enjoy being grounded to the earth. I don’t want to miss out on life experiences simply because of my “fear” though. I try to throw myself into experiences that allow me to confront heights. The more I confront them and notice that everything works out, the more I’ll be able to rationalize and accept that being elevated doesn’t pose any real threat.
Facing yourself and your fears can be terrifying. Taking small, consistent steps to put yourself in safe situations that allow you to explore how you feel, decide what’s “real,” what’s not real, and what can be worked on, brings you one step closer to letting go of life limits.
14. Become More Social (However You Define It)
I’m a social introvert. For me, that just means I like to carefully choose who I transfer my energy and time with. Once I choose someone, I’ll always be open to making time for them.
Humans are innately social; I just tend to think we get forced into social interactions and are told we have to all get along and be friends. That’s not realistic, unfortunately. Every person you meet isn’t going to have your best interest at heart and vice versa.
The goal is to find people you do want to support and love and who are willing to reciprocate. Social media allows us to connect with over 4 billion people; there’s someone out there who would love to meet you. Find a way to connect with them.
And granted there are people who you won’t get along with, just learn from that experience and move forward. Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram are all spaces that allow you to choose what you see and what type of people you communicate with. Choose wisely!
15. Keep Your Immune System in Check
One of the most important lifestyle changes for a successful and healthy year is focusing on your unseen physical health. Most of these lifestyle changes positively impact your mental and physical health. Outside of bacteria or other microscopic invaders, another major factor in how our body responds to life is stress.
Environmental stressors such as air pollution, work stress, poor nutrition, excess sugar, and a host of other externals stressors weigh your body down. When your body is constantly in fight mode, your immune system doesn’t have the power to fight off more important invaders. Balance your health with everything above, make smart and healthy food choices (no more processed foods), and give your body a break from the constant fighting.
Cheers to a new year of life experiences!