12 life-changing habits for a healthier you

MAY 12, 2016
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Sure, you may have a couple habits that you’d like to break. But have you ever tried to create new, positive habits? All you have to do is start by working small changes into each day — ones that are good for your mind, body, and spirit. And gradually, you’ll form healthy habits. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to improving your overall well-being.


Pick up these 12 habits and head in a healthier direction:


  1. Rethink your drink: Juices, sodas, and sports drinks add empty calories to your daily intake. The solution? Swap those sugary drinks — yes, even the caffe lattes — for H2O, nonfat milk, or unsweetened iced tea.
  2. Break a sweat: Being active helps you stay fit and feel your best at every age. Getting 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days a week can lower your risk of serious illness and boost your mood.
  3. See your doc: Your doctor can tell you which preventive care services you need to help you stay well. Make appointments with your doctor as often as you need to, based on your age, family history, gender, and overall health.
  4. Kick the habit: Tobacco use is still the single largest preventable cause of disease and early death. Check out our smoking cessation resources and quit for good.
  5. Buddy up: Whether it’s a friend, a neighbor, your spouse, or one of your children, a partner can help you stay motivated, challenge you, and pace you. Best of all, a partner makes working out more fun.
  6. Seize the moment: Is there an activity you’ve always wanted to try, but you keep putting it off? No more excuses. Pick a day and make it happen!
  7. Explore nature: No matter what season it is, there’s always something beautiful to discover outdoors.
  8. Eat well: Fill up on fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy proteins. Give your body all of the vitamins and nutrients it needs. Lower your calories, saturated fat, and cholesterol. And try going meatless 1 day a week.
  9. Beat stress: Over time, stress can cause all kinds of health problems, including high blood pressure, an abnormal heart rate, increased blood sugar levels, depression, and anxiety. The good news? We can help you manage stress.
  10. Start a diary: Writing down what you eat can prevent overeating. In fact, a Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research study found that keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss.
  11. Indulge in sleep: Lack of sleep can take its toll on your mind, body, and overall health. Be sure to get the recommended 7 to 8 hours a night.
  12. Give back: Volunteering allows you to give back to your community. It also keeps you active, helps you create and strengthen relationships, and provides a sense of accomplishment.

Remember that these simple steps go a long way when it comes to improving your health. If you think you might have a tough time tackling them, it’s not as hard as you think. Angeline Ong-Su, MD, a family medicine specialist at the Kaiser Permanente Panorama City (California) Medical Center, says it just takes a little motivation, dedication, and determination. Her advice? “The key is challenging yourself and believing that you’re capable of change.”

TOPICSfitnessNutritionquitsmokingsleepStress Management