Often it’s the small steps that bring about big changes, especially when it comes to improving your health and wellness. If you’re ready to develop some healthier habits, these 50 tips (doable in the next 50 days) are a great place to start:
1.) Schedule a wellness check – and stick to it. Find a family doctor or OB/GYN.
2.) Have an eye exam. While you’re having your vision checked, ask the doctor about screenings for glaucoma and other eye diseases. Find an opthamologist.
3.) Challenge yourself to eat at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal, every day for a week. Then try it again the next week.
4.) Spend one entire day on you. Sleep in, have lunch with a friend, call your mom, or watch a favorite movie.
5.) Schedule a dental exam or cleaning – and stick to it.
6.) Challenge yourself to drink at least two glasses of water each day.
7.) Give up soft drinks – and opt for a healthier beverage option – at least one day a week.
8.) Go an entire week without eating fast food. See if you can do it again the next week.
9.) Join an adult sports team or start a regular activity, like gardening or nature walking, that requires you to get moving
10.) Take a group fitness class – Zumba, Indoor Cycling, and Cardio Dance are just a few good options to choose from.
11.) Update your important medical documents– living wills, advance directives, healthcare records.
12.) Try something new: Teach Sunday School, join a book club, sign up to volunteer, take a class.
13.) Opt out of something that’s bringing you down: A negative relationship, an optional activity that no longer provides any benefit, a tedious household chore that can be postponed, holding yet another over-the-top birthday party for your child.
14.) Ask your doctor about recommended vaccines – and then be sure to get them.
15.) Pack a nutritious lunch to bring to work every single day for a week. Then try it again another week.
16.) Go for a brisk 20-minute walk every day for one week. Then try it again the next week.
17.) Call or text a friend or relative you haven’t seen in a while and make a plan to get together.
18.) Challenge yourself to go to bed at the same time every night for a week, at an hour that allows you to get adequate rest. Then try it again the next week.
19.) Ask your doctor about recommended screenings: Mammograms, prostate checks, colonoscopies, skin cancer screenings, and others.
20.) Make a list of your current medications and store it with your medical documents. Be sure to note the dosage and strength (the amount you take and how often you take it).
21.) Take a CPR or First Aid class.
22.) Take inventory of your health insurance products. Review your plans and make sure that your ID card is up to date.
23.) Make regular time to laugh. Find a new TV comedy and set your DVR, or beef up your collection of favorite funny movies.
24.) Ask your doctor about cholesterol and blood pressure screenings.
25.) If you work in an office, get up every 90 minutes and stretch, then take a brisk walk around the building.
26.) Ditch your devices at least one hour before bedtime – put your phone and tablet in the other room. If you need help winding down, listen to soothing music or read a favorite book instead.
27.) Set a quit date to stop smoking – and stick to it.
28.) If you’re not already doing it, start brushing and flossing your teeth every night before bed.
29.) Develop at least one new stress-buster. Instead of a bowl of ice cream or alcoholic drinks, treat yourself to a bowl of tasty, exotic fruit, take a long walk some place pretty, or enjoy an afternoon out with your spouse or best friend.
30.) Get a handle on your family medical history. Call a parent or other family member and ask about chronic illnesses and causes of death for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles on all sides of your family tree.
31.) Dealing with a chronic illness or recovery? Join a support group and get wisdom, understanding and advice from others dealing with the same challenges.
32.) Know your risks for common health conditions. Take an online risk test and then discuss the results with your doctor.
33.) Take stock of your refrigerator and pantry. In addition to throwing out (or donating) everything that’s past due or older than six months, challenge yourself to throw out all items that are less than nutritious. Replace every non-healthy item you discarded with something new, fresh, and heart healthy.
34.) Buy a set of hand weights. Start using them while you’re watching TV, helping kids with homework, or waiting for food to cook.
35.) Invest in a good pair of supportive walking shoes.
36.) Check your sunscreen for expiration dates. Throw out and re-purchase if you need to.
37.) Wash your hands regularly, using plenty of soap and warm water. Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to make sure you’re doing it long enough.
38.) Work on your posture when sitting down. Sitting up straight can prevent back problems and reduce back pain.
39.) Become a savvy food label reader.
40.) Challenge yourself to get up 30 minutes earlier every day for a week. Use the extra time to take a walk, read something inspirational, pack a healthy snack for work, or just get ready at a less stressful pace.
41.) Put the power of health apps to work for you. Download calorie guides, recipe ideas, carb counters, or apps that help you track your activity and exercise.
42.) Set aside time each weekend for food shopping – and to prep some nutritious food items. You can pre-chop vegetables for salads and side dishes, package up healthy lunches, slice up fruit for snacks. Planning ahead will help you avoid making “convenient” but less healthy choices during the week when time is short.
43.) Invest in a crock pot. It’s another way to prepare healthy meals without spending a lot of time. You can toss in your ingredients and let a yummy stew or soup simmer while you squeeze in a quick workout or take care of household chores.
44.) Start parking as far away as you can from your office, kids’ school, the grocery store, etc. You’ll be amazed at how much extra activity you can sneak in during the course of just one month with all of those extra steps.
45.) Break up with the elevator. Taking the stairs whenever possible is another great way to work in a mini-workout without taking time out of your schedule.
46.) Get organized, one week at a time. Pick out just one area each week that you’re going to tackle – like a junk drawer, the bathroom cabinet, or your locker at work. In 12 weeks you will have de-cluttered and organized 12 areas of your life, and the corresponding stress relief this brings is good for your health.
47.) Change up your workout routine for two weeks. If you always walk a certain route, try another one even if you have to drive a bit to get there. If you take Zumba classes each week, try Pilates or Indoor Cycling instead.
48.) Change your air filters, at home and in your car. Doing so will reduce the amount of dust, dirt, and allergens you’re breathing in.
49.) Take an inventory of your cosmetics. Products like mascara, loofah sponges, foundation and lip gloss should be discarded every three to six months.
50.) Set a bold health or wellness goal for next year. It can be anything from “take a vacation” to “run a half marathon” to “hike a state park” to “read a bucket list of great books”. Once you set your goal, create a realistic plan about how you’ll go about achieving it and then get to work.
You can get more health and wellness tips – plus a wonderful place to work out – when you become a member of the Guadalupe Regional Wellness Center.