By Jennifer McGregor
How many times have you told yourself that you’re too busy for a healthy lifestyle? That between work, kids, and everything else on your plate, you simply don’t have time to spare?
No more excuses. No matter how busy you are, your health has to be a priority. Without health on your side, you’ll struggle to keep up with work, family, and life. You might get away with it for a few months or a few years, but bad habits always catch up with you.
That doesn’t mean you have to drop everything to spend hours at the gym or abandon your favorite foods and start eating 100 percent clean. You can make healthy changes that have an impact and fit into your existing lifestyle.
Are you ready to get serious about your well-being? Here are four ways you can jumpstart healthy change in your life.
Go to the doctorWhen is the last time you went to the doctor to check up on your health? If you’re like lots of Americans, it’s been a while: A report from the CDC found that 34 percent of Americans hadn’t seen a doctor in a year or more. Annual checkups aren’t strictly necessary when you’re healthy, but if you can’t remember the last time you saw your primary care doctor, it’s worth scheduling a visit. Your doctor can perform screenings to detect health conditions and address problems you’re facing with your physical or mental health.
Track your eatingDenial is not compatible with change. In order to improve your diet, you need to be honest about what you’re eating and how much. Unfortunately, most people underestimate their calorie intake by 20 percent to 40 percent.
Tracking your food means no more conveniently forgetting about the donut you ate at work or the cocktails you sipped at happy hour. A food log, whether through an app or a pen-and-paper journal, tracks everything you eat to provide an accurate picture of your daily calorie intake. With that information, it’s easy to identify where to cut back without cutting out your favorite foods.
Declutter your houseClutter is more than the state of your house — it’s a state of mind. When your surroundings are cluttered, it leads to stress, frustration, and unhappiness. An organized environment, on the other hand, helps you feel calm and motivated so it’s easier to make good choices and meet your goals.
If you’re so overwhelmed by clutter that you don’t know where to start, hire a maid service to help out. You’ll still have to deal with the clothes and unopened mail piling up, but letting someone else do the deep cleaning takes a big chunk of work off your plate. And at an average cost of $119-$231 for a cleaning service in Louisville, it’s a cheap investment in your mental well-being.
Schedule active timeEveryone knows they should get 2.5 hours of physical activity every week, but only 20 percent of Americans actually pull it off. The rest of us vastly overestimate the length and intensity of our physical activity, giving ourselves more credit for working out than we’ve actually earned.
Instead of assuming you’re hitting the benchmarks for good health, guarantee it by scheduling active time into your week. In as little as 22 minutes per day you can meet the physical activity guidelines and reduce your risk for a litany of health problems. Considering the average adult spends 11 hours a day on digital entertainment, 22 minutes of spare time should be easy to find — even if that means working out in front of the TV.
Falling into unhealthy habits is easy, especially when you’re busy. Crunched for time, you reach for convenience foods over homemade meals, skip out on doctor’s visits, and let messes pile up around the home. And when you do find moments of free time, it’s so much easier to plop down in front of the TV than go for a run. But the path of least resistance is rarely the most fulfilling route. If you’re ready for something different, stop making excuses and start making change.
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