Many of us believe that we need to make big changes to get any results, but making small, consistent changes can be far more beneficial in the long run.
When we try to make drastic changes, it can often be too overwhelming, so we tend to run out of steam and give up before we even get started, but small changes are more sustainable and are much more likely to become new habits.
Some areas that we can focus on include:
- Making small changes to our diet
- Making small changes to how we move
- Making small changes to how we sleep
Making small changes to our diet
Many people argue that eating healthy food is more expensive, but there are several ways that we can make changes to our diets without breaking the budget or having to overhaul our entire way of eating.
- Trying new recipes
- Trying foods that we don’t usually eat.
- Increase our vegetable intake by trying a new vegetable every week.
- Reducing our red meat intake
- Choosing lean cuts of meat and poultry instead of fattier cuts
- Reducing sugar intake. Try avoiding adding sugar to tea, coffee, and cereals and rather “saving” your sugar allocation for fruits or limited amounts of sweet treats. Don’t be tempted to use sweeteners instead of sugar because while these don’t impact your blood sugar immediately, your brain doesn’t get the signal that you have had enough calories so you keep craving sugars, or they can make you feel hungry.
- Changing refined carbohydrates like white breads, rice, and pasta to wholegrain versions
Making small changes to the way we move
- Taking a 20-minute walk after dinner
- Changing up your exercise routine, eg. trying a new type of exercise or another way to move your body.
- Try skipping, jumping on a trampoline, or doing squats for 4-5 minutes several times throughout the day. You may need to set a reminder on your cell phone to do these.
Making small changes to the way we sleep by:
- Thinking about your current sleeping habits. Are you sleeping too much or too little? Are you waking during the night and is there a health condition that needs to be investigated?
- Do you need to make any changes to your sleeping environment? Is your room too cluttered, too hot, not dark enough? Do you need to remove your TV from your room?
If we had to try and tackle all these areas at once it is less likely that we will make lasting changes, but if we choose one area and make the changes little by little throughout the year, we will find it a lot easier to maintain the changes. Once we have managed to make a change in one area, we will then be more motivated to change the next thing on the list and in so doing, 2024 can start small and finish big.
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 3 January 2024 to learn more. Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am.