Minor, simple things you do every day can either lead you on the way to disease, or towards optimal well-being and longevity.

Habits are those things we do regularly without thinking. These patterns are set up and reinforced in the brain through repetition, day after day.

For example, making coffee, feeding the dog, brushing your teeth, driving home from work, getting the mail — these are all patterns that become engrained so we can accomplish daily tasks (and get rewarded) without engaging the brain in decision-making.

Everyone has at least one bad habit. Whether it’s being chronically late, tapping your feet, chewing gum too loudly, eating sloppily, poorly communicating or eating junk food – a bad habit can impede your happiness, health, and social relationships.

Just a few small habit changes can make a big difference in your health and longevity.

We all want to live long and happy lives, but unhealthy habits can affect the quality of those years. What you can do is replace old bad habits with new habits to increase your quality of life! We all live busy lives, but living healthy doesn’t have to be an added chore. I’ve listed a few baby steps below that you can begin to incorporate into your normal routine to begin creating healthy habits.

It’s important to think long term—make choices that support health now and in the future.

1. EAT CLEAN WHOLE FOODS

If you take a close look at an apple, you’ll notice a lack of an ingredient list on its back – just pure apple. When you eat food that comes out of a box, a can or a take-out container, “pure” is instantly thrown out of the window. Instead of fueling your body with preservatives, chemically altered fats, extra sodium and artificial flavors, eat foods that are closest to their natural state as possible. A body that is fueled with vitamins and minerals operates better (and longer) than a body that is just fed.

2. DRINK MORE WATER

Drink water—lots of water—it’s a must-have healthy habit. Water is our body’s principal chemical component and makes up about 60 perfect of our body weight. Choose water over sugary, calorie-laden drinks, soda, and juices.

3. MOVE MORE AND OFTEN

Add constant movement throughout your day. To start, I’d suggest standing up every half hour at work or at home, lap your house while talking on the phone, or add a short a nighttime walk—it doesn’t matter how you do it, just move!

4. THINK POSITIVE

Thoughts are powerful, so be sure to pay attention to yours. There are a number of reports on health benefits associated with positive thinking, including increased life span, lower rates of depression, greater resistance to the common cold and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Come up with a positive mantra that you repeat to yourself when you feel negativity swirling in your head. Make it a goal each day to be more positive than the day before!

5. STRENGTH TRAIN

Moving is important like mentioned above, but it’s important you don’t forget about strength training. Studies have shown that after the age of 40, people lose about 8 percent or more of their muscle mass each decade. Our muscles not only keep our bodies functional, mobile and strong, but they also help burn calories even when you’re not working out.

Remember, you can only change what you decide you want to change. All psychological models of change emphasize the importance of commitment as a necessary first step. If you don’t see a bad habit, you won’t work on changing it. The more honest you are with yourself, the more likely you will be to start on the committed path towards change.

There are numerous ways of eating, drinking, thinking & training that can greatly enhance your health and longevity. As a health coach, I can help you create healthy habits that support your goals—one choice at a time!

For more information on replacing old habits with new healthier habits for life, schedule your free health evaluation with Crystal – 602.722.5627 – cjarvie@healthstyles4you.com.

by Crystal Jarvie

Crystal Jarvie is certified integrative health coach for HealthStyles 4 You. She focuses not only on nutrition but also on relationships, physical activity, career and spirituality and how those five things are connected to your health and vitality. She’ll help you take your health to the next level. For more information, please visit www.healthstyles4you.com.

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