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Starting Small: Daily Changes You Can Make For A Healthier Life


One thing my mom always taught me as a teen was that in order to accomplish anything, the key is to start small.

I can get very easily overwhelmed (hello anxiety!) and I would call my mom often when I was at the brink of meltdown, like when I was taking finals in college or planning my wedding. After calming me down, she would encourage me to break down what it is I needed to get done and focus on just accomplishing the next small thing.

Now the more I actively pursue living an optimal and authentic lifestyle, the more I see my mom's advice reiterated by CEOs, life coaches, fitness instructors, and even the Bible.

Luke 16:10 says "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much."

Here are some things I have implemented in my own life that has allowed me to live healthier in both my faith and my fitness.

Daily Change 1: Hydration Before Caffeination

While this tip is certainly not new, it has been a game changer for me. I have always had trouble sleeping and being constantly tired so my first inclination was to reach for coffee or, even worse, Diet Coke in the morning and guzzle it like my life depended on it (to be fair, it did feel that way most mornings). However, I noticed I would end up feeling even more dehydrated, sluggish, and jittery.

I decided to switch things up and "earn" my caffeine every morning by not having my cup of Joe until I have had my water. I also try to jazz it up by adding limes or lemons or Crystal Light if I'm in a hurry.

Not going to lie, it took some adjustment for me and I didn't enjoy it at first. I would gulp down my water as I was making coffee but now my morning water is something I look forward to when I first wake up. I have also been able to extend the period of time between when I first wake up and my first cup of coffee as well as gradually cut back from 2-3 cups to 1.

This small daily change gives me more energy throughout the day, enables me to cut back on something I thought I couldn't live without, and helps me start my day with my health on the forefront of my mind.

Daily Change 2: Simple Swaps

After being diagnosed with PCOS a few months ago, I have spent a lot of time researching what foods affect my already-imbalanced hormones and how to mitigate my symptoms. I decided to try decreasing my gluten and dairy intake and see how my body responded.

While it is relatively easy to eat gluten and dairy free at home by sticking to whole and unprocessed foods (think veggies, lean meats fruits, nuts, etc)., eating out or dealing with cravings can be harder.

I have had to learn how to make simple swaps to keep things easy on both my body and my budget. Instead of reaching for carb-filled desserts packed with dairy and gluten, I switched to Nada Moo (a delicious dairy-free ice cream here in Austin) or made chia seed pudding with fruit (my new dessert fave!).

I ate a lot of toast prior to my diagnosis and since gluten free bread can be pricey and higher in calorie, I swapped my avocado toast for avocado rice cakes or a rice cake with almond butter and bananas.

My simple swaps have allowed me to include even more unprocessed foods that are filled with nutrients into my diet and my body has responded amazingly to it.

While my dietary changes were made due to a medical issue, the same principle can apply to you. Take a look at what you are eating and figure out how to make healthier alternatives. I used to drink entire LITERS of Diet Coke in a single day before switching over to sparkling water and, finally, water with lemon.

Start slow, start simple, and start today.

Daily Change 3: Timed Tidiness

Working remotely was a huge blessing that I was able to have at my previous job. Even now, as a freelance writer, I am able to write from the comfort of my own home. However, it can come with a catch.

I began to notice that when my home was dirty or disorganized, my productivity and creativity suffered and my anxiety increased. I would then either go on a spree for hours cleaning and organizing or get too overwhelmed and not do a thing. Either way, it was taking away from me enjoying my work and my life.

I looked up more ways on how to increase productivity and one of the suggestions was timed tasks. I started by setting timers for 10 minutes and seeing what all I could accomplish in that time. I began seeing that taking things in smaller increments helped me accomplish a lot more than I thought when I was overwhelmed. It also helped me set realistic expectations for when I felt I had to accomplish everything in one sitting.

Sweet friend, whether your goal is to memorize more Bible verses, hit a new PR in squats, or just making it a practice to get up 15 minutes earlier, start slow and start today.

These tips and tricks are certainly not new or revolutionary but they are tried and true for a reason. Don't put yourself to an impossible standard because we will never be perfect; we will always be in progress until we see Jesus again face to face.

Share with me what simple changes you have made that have changed your life over time or what changes you want to make; I would love to know!

Cheers,

Sarah

 

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