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Transform Your Life In 2 Weeks: 14 Simple Things To Do That Will Make You Healthier And Happier

Transform Your Life In 2 Weeks: 14 Simple Things To Do That Will Make You Healthier And Happier

Have you noticed that your quick fixes or diets don’t last very long and you end up going back to your old ways?  That’s because we are creatures of habit and in order to see long lasting positive changes in our lives we need to work on improving our habits one at a time.  Achieving a healthier and happier life doesn’t have to be hard, overwhelming or something you do all at once.  Just take it one day and one habit at a time.

Here is my two week campaign to help you transform your life.  Some of the tasks you may find easy, others you may find challenging and that’s ok.  The next two weeks are about you.  Start with day one and stay on day one as long as you need to; as long as it takes for you to make it something that you do habitually.  I’d love to hear how you go with this and what positive changes it makes in your life.

Day 1:  Drink more water

Would you car for a....

    Our bodies need water to function properly and because we can’t store water we need to drink it every day.  Water is needed for most of our body functions  and the general consensus is that the average adult should be drinking at least two liter of water each day (eight glasses each of 8 oz (= 240 ml) every 24 hours).  However, there is not one size fits all when it comes to the amount needed.  Aim for two liters a day and if you still feel thirsty drink more, if you don’t drink a little less.  You just have to listen to your body and drink accordingly.

    Day 2: Rethink your drink

    rethink your drink

      This one should be a little easier now that you have increased your water intake.  The next time you pick up a drink I want you to ask yourself – is this good for me?  Sugary beverages are high in kilojoules with no other essential nutrients and regular consumption may lead to weight gain, obesity, reduced bone strength and tooth decay. Try drinking water or green tea instead.  Green tea can potentially protect you against heart disease while coffee (no more than four per day) may help protect against type 2 diabetes.

      Day 3:  Eat mindfully

      Close Up Of Woman Eating handful Of Almonds

        It’s time to stop eating on the run, in the car, while watching television and with little attention to what you are actually putting in your mouth.  From now on, I want you to be mindful of what you are eating.  Ask yourself – will this food give my body the nourishment and nutrients it needs? Also, start practicing the following: eat only when you are hungry, stop eating when you are full and slow it down.  Digestion begins in your mouth, so the more chewing you do (approx. 20 times before swallowing) the happier and more grateful your tummy and intestines will be later.

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        Day 4:  Get the right amount of sleep

          “From serotonin production to blood sugar management, immunity, and heart health, sleep impacts every aspect of your health.”  Dr. Frank Lipman

          We all know how important it is to get enough sleep and just how cruddy we feel when we don’t.  Research suggests that the ideal amount of sleep may be seven hours a night although some people may need more.  Again, it’s about listening to your body and making note of the amount of sleep that makes you feel at your best.  Then when you figure out the ideal amount, stick to it and resist the temptation to oversleep.

          Day 5: Stop buying junk food

          stop buying junk food

            It’s pretty hard to resist the temptation of your favorite junk food when it’s staring you right in the face.  “One little bite can’t hurt.” Next thing you know, you’ve downed a whole packet of chips, block of chocolate or half a tub of ice-cream.  I get it; it’s delicious!  But doing this regularly is not helping that healthy diet of yours. So avoid the temptation and just stop buying it.  Get rid of everything that is sugary, fatty, greasy and salty.  Clean out your pantry and fridge and avoid even going down those aisles at the grocery store.

            Day 6: Ditch the low-fat, no fat products

            ditch low fat products

              Shira Lenchewski, RD, summed this one up much better than I can:

              “One of the most pervasive food myths is the idea that consuming dietary fat makes you fat. But truthfully, consuming any macronutrient (meaning carbohydrate, protein or fat) in excess will result in weight gain.  The fact is, fat adds flavor, and when it’s removed, sweeteners and artificial flavors are typically added in its place. And trust me: that is not a good thing!”

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              I would pick fat over sweeteners and artificial flavors any day.

              Day 7:  Practice some self-love

              You made it to day seven!  That calls for some serious appreciation and self-love.  Changing our bad habits is a tough gig and if you have been sticking to the above I’m guessing you’ve been working pretty hard.  So today is about taking some time out for yourself.  Do something that makes you happy and / or practice some of these self-love techniques.  Be proud of yourself and what you have achieved so far!  You’re halfway there :)

              Day 8: Cut down your sugar intake

              cut down on sugar

                We’ve already worked on cutting down the sugary beverages but now it’s time to cut back in other areas. I know this can be a big challenge for some but I’m not asking you to go Sarah Wilson on me, I’m just suggesting you cut back on the amount of sugar you are consuming each day little by little.  There are a ton of studies, research and opinions out there about why too much sugar is bad for your health (you can check a few out here and here).  In my opinion too much of anything is bad for your health.  It’s all about moderation.

                Day 9: Add more fruit and veggies to your diet

                fruit and veges

                  You know that eating more fruit and vegetables will improve your health. So what’s stopping you?  Today I want you to make a list of the different fruit and vegetables you like eating and how you plan to add more of them into your diet. Some tips: keep ready to eat fruit where you can see it, work out ways to make fruit and vegetables a part of every meal or snack, buy in season products, purchase a little bit at a time so it doesn’t go to waste and most importantly, enjoy the benefits you will see and feel when you start incorporating more of these foods into your diet.

                  Day 10: Try some protein in the morning

                  try some protein

                    Contrary to popular belief, current research has shown that weightloss may not necessarily occur by eating breakfast which has sometimes been thought of as “The most important meal of the day.”  I find that eating a healthy protein breakfast helps to control my appetite and gives me a clear mind.

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                     “High-protein breakfasts reduce the amount of ghrelin — a hormone that stimulates a feeling of hunger — in the bloodstream more effectively than do high-carb breakfasts.” Institute of Food Technologists

                    I encourage to just give it a go.  Try eating protein (eggs, greek yoghurt and fruit, oats, meat) and see how you feel afterwards.  Then the next day compare this feeling to your usual breakfast routine.  I think you will be surprised to see the difference.  Just make sure when you make over your breakfast routine, you avoid high sugar and processed cereals, they really aren’t doing your body any favors.

                    Day 11: Change your toothbrush head

                    change your toothbrush head

                      The American Dental Association recommends replacing the head of your electric toothbrush or your regular toothbrush every three to four months.  Your toothbrush is home to microorganisms from your mouth and also the environment where it’s stored.  Changing your toothbrush regularly will decrease the number of bacteria you are exposed to and ensure your teeth are always cleaned well.

                      Day 12:  Sneak exercise into your day

                      sneak in exercise

                        It’s time to get that gorgeous body of yours moving; no excuses.  You know what you need to do, you just have to make the commitment and do it.  Here are a few ideas on how you can sneak exercise into your day:

                        • Always take the stairs.
                        • Do 20 squats when you’re done in the bathroom.
                        • Use your lunchbreak to go for a walk outside.
                        • Park your car a little further away from work and enjoy the walk.
                        • Before sitting on the couch at night do 25 jumping jacks, 25 pushups, 25 crunches and 25 squats.
                        • Dance while your cooking, cleaning, working, whatever. Yes you may look a little weird but who cares, get a bit silly and have fun.
                        • Google the ridiculous amount of at home work outs that are free on Youtube

                        Day 13: Meal prep

                        meal prep

                          “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

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                          Meal prep is one of the best ways I know to keep your healthy diet on track.  When we have delicious healthy snacks and meals in the fridge or freezer ready to go, we are more likely to choose them rather than an easy option like takeaway.  My suggestion is to pick afternoon or a day each week that you dedicate to your meal prepping.  Get your recipes together, get the ingredients together and have a massive cook off.  You could prepare some salads, some vegetables that are ready to be cooked when you need them, fruit salad, boiled eggs, healthy treats, meals that you can eat this week or store in the freezer for when you need them.  Make it a habit to prep and I’m sure you will see the difference in your eating habits.

                          Day 14:  Find one thing to be grateful for every single day

                          gratitude

                            Happy people are not happy because everything is ALWAYS blissful and amazing in their life.  Happy people choose to be happy, they choose to look for the good in any situation, they choose to support themselves and they choose to make their happiness a priority in their lives.  So from now on, every single day I want you to find at least one thing you are grateful for.

                            “We only live once. We all have an expiration date after that we will never come again. I am not saying that to make you sad. I am saying that so you can cherish each moment in your life and be grateful that you are here and you are Special.” Pablo

                            Fourteen day challenge complete! Your next steps are to do a very big happy dance, practice some serious self-love and then work out what area of your life needs a little makeover next.  Keep going, you can do it and you deserve it!

                            Featured photo credit: bean bowl with poached egg-3/jules via flickr.com

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                            Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                            Boundaries are limits

                            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                            • When do you feel disrespected?
                            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                            • When do you want to be alone?
                            • How much space do you need?

                            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                            Sample language:

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                            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                            Final Thoughts

                            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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