Yes, everyone wants to see immediate results when they do healthy things for few days. But this is also why you drop your new year resolutions after a week or two.
It is because getting healthy is all about the small things you do consistently. And today, we will introduce a small thing which is so simple that you won’t fail to do EVERY DAY.
This post originally appeared on DailyFoodFacts.
Do the easy things consistently
Have you ever thought about what the best thing for getting healthy would be?
Look no further, you’ll know about it at the end of this article.
When it comes to health most people start to overcomplicate things. They think about what foods to eat and what exercise routines to do, but in my opinion, that’s the hard approach.
I know we are all humans and we want to see results fast, which is often the primary reason why we give up. When it comes to your health, as with everything else in your life you have to be consistent. Slow and steady progress is what will make you healthy. Getting healthy takes time.
It’s useless to have a big new year’s resolution and start with a rigorous exercise & diet regime, only to stop doing it a few weeks later. You’ve probably read how 92% of new year’s resolutions get dropped within the first few weeks of the new year.
Getting healthy the easy way.
The easy approach is much different. You take a habit or a behaviour you want to implement and make it so small that you can’t fail. A popular example is flossing. Most people want to incorporate this habit into their daily life, but most of them fail.
I failed with it myself multiple times, simply because it’s annoying. Most people (myself included) also fail, because they make the habit too big. They start flossing all of their teeth, spending several minutes on this, only to stop a few days later, because “it takes too much time”.
Another (better) approach that works for most people is to start flossing only one tooth. This takes a few seconds and the habit is so tiny that you simply can’t fail. You’ll even feel stupid if you don’t do it.
From there you move on and increase the habit. You floss two teeth, three teeth until in the end you are flossing every single one. It’s a great tactic, that works for many people, although it won’t work for everybody, as everybody is different in building habits.
Another common problem we have, especially with building healthy habits is that we don’t see an immediate result. If we do see a result it’s usually very intangible and based on feeling rather than hard data.
In contrary to that take writing for example. When you are building a writing habit, you immediately see the results: the words you’ve written.
With your health, it’s a bit different. You won’t see big results because it takes time. Something I wrote a lot about is turning off electronics before going to bed since they mess with your sleep on multiple levels.
I really believe that this will not only improve your sleep but also increase your focus and attention span. Unfortunately, you probably won’t see immediate results. You might shut down your electronics one hour before bed, but your sleep might still be messy.
You might wake up in the morning, feeling sleepy and groggy, not being able to concentrate all day.
That’s when your brain tells you:”See I told you, this is useless. Your sleep isn’t good no matter what. Today I want you to check Facebook and Twitter again because that will make you feel good!”.
Well, your brain is wrong. Although your sleep might not improve immediately, doing this consistently will definitely lead to improvements. I promise.
This article is not about sleep. I’m sorry, I got ahead of myself. It’s actually about another really easy but effective habit. It’s one thing that has multiple positive effects attached to it.
Can you guess what it is? I already said it isn’t sleeping. Maybe exercise? Or eating vegetables? No these are too hard for the beginning. It’s something really, really easy. Something you’re probably already doing on most days, you just don’t do “enough” of it.
Let me explain.
Getting healthy is all about the small things you do every day. The small things that don’t require much work, but add up over time. Walking can be a huge contributor to that. Walking is like exercise it just doesn’t feel like it.
Let’s look at a short definition of walking:
to advance or travel on foot at a moderate speed or pace;
That doesn’t sound to hard, does it? Moderate is always good, isn’t it? The best part of walking is that you are already doing it, probably every day. You walk to your car, you walk in your office, you walk at home. Walking is already a habit, you just need to increase the amount of it.
Before I write about how to make this more actionable I want to give you some of the benefits of walking, short and simple. There are more of them than you might expect.
- Walking gets you moving and everybody knows how important this is. We spend an average of 9.3 hours of your day sitting and sitting is the new smoking as researchers are saying. When you are walking you are not sitting, which is a good thing for getting healthy.
- Your muscles get used. Even though they are not used so much as if your were exercising. Using your muscles will prevent them from atrophying. Did you know that after lying in bed for two weeks without using your legs you need physical therapy to walk again? Scary, right?
- According to a study conducted in 2013, walking can reduce your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Some researchers even say it might be healthier than running. They compared walking and running and while walking reduced the risk for hypertension around 9.3%, running only reduced it 4.5%.
- Walking gets you out of your office and into the fresh air and maybe even some sun. Getting fresh air will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed, while getting into the sun will increase your vitamin D production and reset your circadian rhythm, improving your sleep.
- Walking is a great thing to do to explore your city. While jumping in a cab or the subway is easy, walking will get you in contact with your surroundings. You’ll meet people and discover places you would have missed otherwise.
- Walking can even increase your creativity and productivity. Many famous people took walking meetings, for example, Steve Jobs, Aristotle, Charles Dickens, Harry S. Truman and Sigmund Freud. So you’ll be in good company.
- Walking will give your eyes a rest from all the closeup vision during the day. Don’t check your phone during your walk, but look in the distance. That’s what your eyes were designed for. Studies suggest that one of the main causes of increasing myopia is all the closeup vision and the lack of distance vision.
Walking might have even more positive effects on you personally, but you’ll have to find out about those for yourself.
Since I want you to start this habit as soon as possible, here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Start slow. Don’t think a five-minute walk is a waste of time. It’s not. Start with 5 minutes. If you enjoy it you can increase the amount of time.
- Park your car further away from your office/house and walk the rest of the distance. If your work is close enough you might even ditch the car altogether.
- During your lunch break take a short walk. This will make you more relaxed and productive afterwards. Even if your are 5 minutes late, you’ll make up for it by an increased productivity.
- Take a long walk on the weekend. Take your family or a good friend and just walk. Meet up and walk to a café or park close by. Update each other on what’s new. This combines walking and your social life as well. Isn’t walking just great?
- When you’re on vacation, don’t take a taxi or the public transport all the time. Walk through the city and talk to locals. This way you’ll discover more places you wouldn’t have seen otherwise. (Be aware of dogs! :D)
- Take walking meetings whenever it’s possible. If you only have a meeting with 2-3 persons ask them if they are up for a walking meeting. Maybe mention something about Steve Jobs and I bet they’ll agree. Most people will agree anyway. Not only will you get healthier while working, you might even come up with a super-creative solution for whatever you are talking about.
I personally love to walk. I walk every day for at least one hour, whether alone or with friends/my girlfriend. I’ve discovered so many places during my walks, came up with tons of ideas and always felt great afterwards.
At first, I saw it as a waste of time, but after a while, I realised that it actually made me more productive and less stressed.
Walking is really easy. Finding an excuse for jogging is rather simple (I personally don’t like jogging), but finding an excuse for taking a short walk is almost impossible.
Take a five-minute walk every day for a week and see how you feel afterwards. Increase it five minutes each week. It’s a great way to start getting healthy.
Do this today. Start walking.
Check-in Your Progress Now
Hard work pays off. Keep going!
Just did it