How to become healthier in all areas of life? Here are 50 little steps you can take to create a joyful and healthy lifestyle for good.
I guess that all of us sometimes think that our lives and our health could need some improvement. But once you take a look around and read through different books on this topic, you’ll soon be overwhelmed by the amount of advice, programs, and theories out there.
We don’t want you to fall into analysis paralysis or to feel like drowning in a sea of “shoulds” and “must nots”. Changing any kind of habit is work and depending on how long or often you’ve been doing these things, it can be harder or easier to implement new ways of living.
For today, simply take one or two of our tips from the list below and commit yourself to do this every day or every second day – depending on how much energy and time you have. Simply be consistent, a little goes a long way.
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How To Become Healthier (Step By Step)
Change barely ever happens all at once – instead of getting overwhelmed and not doing anything, simply start by doing something. Choose from the following list!
1. Start Blending
Make a smoothie out of some of the fruits you find in your kitchen – extra points if you throw in some green leafy vegetables as well.
A good base is always bananas and frozen fruit can add a nice texture. Don’t get too crazy with the ingredients and if you’re new to this, stay on the sweeter side. Sit back and enjoy!
Here are our 25 favorite plant-based smoothie recipes.
2. Meal Prepping
Pre-cook a whole bunch of rice (or any starch of your choice) and some veggies or beans for your next few evenings so you’ll have a satisfying and nutritious dinner in no time.Vegan Meal Prep Recipes →
3. Get Inspired
Pick up a reading habit and try to read a couple of pages in one of your favorite inspiring books.
If you don’t currently have one, we recommend “Peace is in every step” (Amazon Link) by Thich Nhat Hanh, “The Desire Map” (Amazon Link) by Danielle Laporte and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change” (Amazon Link) by Stephen R. Covey.
You can also listen to some inspiring podcasts if that’s your thing!
4. Stop Smoking
Easier said than done, right? However, smoking and tobacco are really harmful habits that can cause heart disease and mouth, throat or lung cancer.
There are so many books, groups and programs out there that can help you quit smoking for good! Try it once more. Or twice.
5. Ditch Dairy
Swap your coffee creamer and sugar in your morning cup of joe for some plant-based milk either without a sweetener or a calorie-free one like stevia.
Dairy milk is our number 1 source of saturated fat, it’s bad for the environment and even worse for baby and mother cows. We recommend soy milk or oat milk instead!Going Dairy-Free Guide →
6. Starch It Up
Eat more complex carbs like potatoes, rice, bean burritos or some whole grain pasta. These foods give you sustainable energy while at the same time keeping you from loading up on dessert or craving calorie-dense animal-based food.
Starchy foods are health-promoting, rich in fiber and satiating!
7. Snack Smart
Yes, this is a classic but effective one: Have some fruit as a snack instead of a chocolate bar. Nature’s candy will give you a nice amount of essential nutrients and hydrate your body at the same time.
Other healthy snacks include trail mix, homemade oatmeal bars, veggies with hummus and bliss balls.25+ Easy Blant-Based Snacks →
8. Eat the Rainbow
Sounds so cheesy by now, right? But did you know that all of the bright colors you see in the produce aisle offer different essential nutrients?
They help us remove free radicals, are loaded with prebiotic fiber and promote longevity. Start with the fruits and veggies you already like, try them cooked or raw, blend them into smoothies, soups or sauces.
9. Limit Sugary Drinks
Sodas, sweetened coffee or tea and fruit juices are all high in refined carbs. Unfortunately, when consuming them in excess, they can increase the risk for high disease or diabetes and contribute to excess body fat!
Try naturally sweetened almond milk latte, sparkling water or unsweetened teas instead.
10. Eat More Legumes
It has been shown in numerous studies that replacing animal-based protein with plant-based protein is the way to go if you want to live a long and healthy life.
This is a very good reason to start incorporating more health-promoting protein sources like legumes into your meals! They can even be hidden in smoothies or soups. Nobody would say no to a tasty bean burrito, either.Easy Chickpea Ice Cream →
11. Dance It Out
Play your favorite music and dance around, even jump if you can. Remember the time you were going crazy on a rebounder (Amazon Link) as a child?
That’s not just great for your mood but also for your arteries, lymphatic system and waistline!
12. Unplug Earlier
Set an alarm in the evening and unplug all your devices at a certain time. This will allow you to unwind before going to bed at a decent time and get some beauty sleep in. I know it’s tough but try to be pretty strict about it and view it as quality time!
13. Get Up
Don’t sit down for more than 1 hour at a time if you can because this can significantly lower your life expectancy.
Get up regularly, release any build-up tension, stretch, grab some water or take some deep breaths by the window — no matter if it’s at work or while watching Netflix.
14. Decrease Screen Time
While we’re at it: get away from your screens from time to time, don’t go on a 7-8 hours marathon of working, watching videos, writing emails, and scrolling through social media.
Unplug yourself from the virtual world for a little and slow down. If you have 30 minutes to linger on Facebook, you have 10 minutes (or more) for some meditation, yoga or even a short workout.
15. Go Green
Add some greens to your lunch or dinner for some nutritional boosting and crunchiness. Get creative, make wraps, put it into sauces or casseroles, steam them or prepare a quick green smoothie. You could also make some kale chips for the next movie night if that sounds like you!Easy Collard Green Wraps →
16. Leftovers Lunch
Don’t grab your lunch at some nearby store, make an effort to prepare it yourself at home.
It can even be leftovers from last night or a whole grain sandwich with some nuts and grapes. The bulk-preparing comes in handy here as well.
Here are our favorite cold lunch ideas!
17. Try a Morning Routine
Set your alarm 10 minutes earlier and practice some yoga or mindfulness in bed, maybe listen to soothing music while doing this. Drink a glass of water, journal for a few minutes, whatever feels most like self-care!
It doesn’t have to be exhausting or perfect, it’s rather a matter of waking up gradually and connecting with your body.
18. Health Screenings
Even if you feel fine, it is recommended to see your health care provider for regular checkups. These visits can help you avoid problems in the future thanks to the early detection of high blood pressure or small tumors.
Especially if you’re not feeling well, don’t consult untrained people on the internet! Have someone who is well-trained look at your issues.
19. Empowering Mindset
Listen to uplifting words while you’re doing your chores, drive in your car, or even while napping. The powerful phrases can shift your mindset towards being more positive, gentle, productive, and clear. Try to get used to a more positive inner voice!
20. Better Breaks
Use your lunch break to go outside and step away from what you’re doing for 8 hours a day. A change of scenery can help you to return with more energy and motivation. Extra points for eating your self-made lunch instead of getting takeout!
21. Juice Your Veggies
If you don’t like eating large amounts of veggies, we get it. But how about drinking them? From spinach to carrots, beets, celery and kale – the combinations are endless.
Add some fruit to make it taste less bitter. You don’t necessarily need a juicer, a good blender will also do. Or how about grabbing some fresh juice if you’re out and about to make things very convenient in the beginning?Best Juicers Guide →
22. Choose Gratitude
Whenever you feel stuck and unhappy, think of at least 5 things you are grateful for right now. This makes you realize that you would be perfectly okay if nothing changed in your life and takes the pressure off to help you think straight.
This can be turned in a daily ritual or gratitude journaling (Amazon Link) which is like prevention for an overall bad mood.
23. Reduce the Oil
Try to cook your meals without oil, get some non-stick cookware (Amazon Link) and steam your veggies in water instead of frying them. Here are some easy oil-free cooking techniques (plus all of our recipes are oil-free). This will keep your arteries healthier and waistline slimmer.
24. Go Whole
Choose to the whole-food version of everything you eat. Have brown bread instead of white, get whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers etc.
This also goes for olives or nuts instead of oil! Such food swaps will give you more nutrients and the fiber keeps you full for longer.
25. Personal Connections
Call a loved one, meet them somewhere and have a relaxing, inspiring conversation. Plus points for hugging it out, since this is extra good for your hormones (that goes for cuddling animals as well). We all need loving connections.
26. Hydrate Regularly
Get a marker and start drawing lines to outline the amount of water you’d like to drink by a certain time every day. This makes your goals visual and you’ll make sure to be hydrated throughout the whole day. Refill once or twice if you want to.
27. Get Your Nutrients
Plant-based or omnivore, we all need to make sure that we’re getting enough and not too much of our daily nutrients.
While vegans definitely need to take a B12 supplement and be conscious about eating plants high in calcium, iron and zinc, meat-eaters need to limit their saturated fat and make sure to eat more fiber in general. Find our in-depth resource on meeting all your nutrients here.
28. Digestive Rest
Try to eat your dinner early enough so you’re basically fasting for 12-14 hours. For example, if you eat breakfast around 7 am, have your last meal at 5 pm.
This doesn’t mean restricting your calories, but rather redistributing.
29. Visualize Goals
Come up with a list of what it is you truly want and visualize your goals and successes every day. It will make you happy and you’ll want to work for it harder, meaning it’s a lot more likely to become reality.
You can even create a vision board with pictures of what you’d like to achieve and hang it on the wall for some visual motivation.
30. Get Those Zzzs
Sleep for at least 8 hours a night and try to be in bed before midnight to support your body’s repair mechanisms and decrease your risk for chronic diseases.
If you’re still tired in the morning, go to bed half an hour earlier until you found the right amount of sleep you need in order to feel restored and energized.
31. Limit Alcohol Consumption
Too much alcohol can damage your liver and can cause certain cancers. It also contributes to deaths from car wrecks, violence and chronic health issues like stroke or high blood pressure.
Drinking in moderation means up to 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks for men (i.e. 12-oz of beer or 5-oz of wine) and not drinking at all is always preferable.
Try some non-alcohol drinks when you’re out!
32. Relax Those Muscles
Look into some methods of physical relaxation. You can either get a professional massage, ask your partner to give you one or even do it yourself!
Reflexology is a method of applying pressure to your feet and hands using a specific technique in order to support physical functions or changes in the body.
33. Take a Walk
Go outside and get some fresh air! Walking is great for unwinding and can leave you calm, refreshed and in a better mood.
Either go for a walk all by yourself, meet up with a friend or listen to some music or a podcast while you’re taking your 5-10k steps a day (just a rough number to shoot for!)
34. Eat Mindfully
Be in the moment and slowly chew your food about 20 times before swallowing – really pay attention to the texture, smell and flavor of everything.
Make an effort to be undistracted, don’t watch any videos or discuss hot topics while eating. Here’s our full article on mindful eating.
35. Ride Your Bike
… as much as you can, to go to work or grocery shopping. You might also combine it with taking a train if something is too far away. It won’t feel like working out but rather as a means to get around in an environmentally friendly, cheap and healthy way.
36. Visit Farmer’s Markets
Looking for local produce isn’t just better for the environment, it can also be cheaper and healthier because it wasn’t picked unripe, unlike many fruits and veggies you’ll find in the supermarket.
Getting in touch with where your food comes from, creating relationships, getting good deals and becoming inspired to try new veggies you never tasted before will all propel you towards a healthier, happier life.
37. Check Labels
Make an effort to take a look at what’s really in your food that you’re about to buy at the grocery store.
Read every label and make sure the product consists of mostly whole food plant-based ingredients with little added sugar and oil (except for some treats, of course). Calories aren’t so much an issue as healthy components.
38. Don’t Weigh Yourself
Especially if you have a troubled past in regards to eating and body image! Establishing a healthy eating pattern is much more important in the long run than shooting for a certain number on the scale.
You cannot control how much weight you can lose in a certain amount of time and daily fluctuations are very normal — these can play games with your mind and heavily influence your food choices.
When sticking to whole plant-based foods most of the time, you’re pretty much guaranteed to get and stay in a lean body. However, if checking your weight every now and then motivates you to look after yourself, do it!
39. Stretch Your Body
Start stretching your whole body while watching your favorite TV series and discover how much more flexible and strong you become after a while.
It’s good to unwind and keep yourself from bad posture, too — not just when slouching on the couch but in more and more everyday situations.
40. Connect with Yourself
You have your unique set of talents and needs, staying in touch with these and following them will make your life much easier and better.
Listen to your inner voice, don’t push yourself too hard and go at your own pace – no matter what you think is expected. We don’t all need to be the same, so play your strengths and build momentum.
41. Hunger and Satiety
Get back in touch with your natural cues for hunger and satiety. Don’t count calories or portion control everything, let your body take over and offer healthy food.
Make sure you drink, sleep and move enough and not just eat at every sign of discomfort or boredom!
42. Protect Your Skin
Sun exposure is linked to skin cancer which is one of the most common types of cancer in the US. Limit your time spent in the sun (especially around noon), wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses when you are outside.
Furthermore, it’s recommended to wear sunscreen year-round on any exposed skin like your face and hands. Look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 15 that blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
43. Choose Fats Wisely
While some fatty acids are essential for us (looking at your omega-3 and omega-6), there are also fats that aren’t so great for us. The debate about saturated fats and cholesterol is still going on and pretty much all health professionals agree that trans fat is double trouble!
Trans fat can be found in many processed foods from shortening to cookies, margarine and especially fried foods.
44. Make Healthy Food Convenient
One reason why healthy eating seems like such a chore is because processed foods are so much quicker to prepare and eat! The same goes for takeouts.
From following an easy meal plan that includes a prepping session so you’ll have healthy meals on your hands all the time to investing in healthy food delivery or subscription boxes, there are ways to make healthy choices much easier.
45. Smart Shopping
Simply put, you cannot eat what you don’t have at home. Therefore, during your next trip to the shop, make sure to only put those items in your cart that you truly want to eat.
Once intense hunger, boredom, panic, or whatever makes you eat less than optimally, comes around, you won’t have to make choices you will regret later.
46. Increase Variety
Try a new healthy food every time you go grocery shopping. It can be an exotic fruit, a scary-looking vegetable or an interesting mix of spices.
Also, don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry – make a list and stick to it. Trying a new food can also work when going out to eat because the chef will know how to prepare it!
47. Inspire Others
Healthy eating and living is way easier and more fun when friends and family are on the same path as you! Have them watch an inspiring documentary, such as Forks Over Knives or What the Health, with you the next time you gather and put on Netflix.
Likewise, you could gift them an educational or motivational book that you think they would enjoy!
48. Set Boundaries
In order to honor your true self, start being very honest with people and say no when you feel like it. Get to know your boundaries and let others know about them, too!
This will soon show you who really cares about you and your wellbeing – a perfect chance to get rid of toxic relationships.
49. Use What You Have
Make juice or soups out of leftover fruits and veggies before they turn bad. You can freeze them if you’re not in the mood for consuming anything right now and have some quick, healthy food options. Plus, you will save money and require fewer resources.
50. Colorful Bowls
Make your meals with love and make them look appetizing. This means cooking at home and adding more colors to your meals like steamed or raw veggies topped with fresh herbs, nut or seed butter, and a delicious sauce.
This doesn’t just make your food more tasty and interesting, it also boosts the nutritional value.
Become Healthier Each Day!
After you have how you want to become healthier and which habits you want to bring into your daily life, make sure to keep track.
Connect them with something that you already do and maybe even make a checklist to see if you follow through most of the time.
Many of these little changes have important health benefits and it’s great to look back one day and see how you took one step at a time towards a better life.Start Creating Healthy Habits →
Your list can also hold you accountable and you can share it with family or friends to inspire them. Who knows, maybe they’ll even join in, making it even easier and more enjoyable!
Writing your successes down helps you to focus on the positive and build up your motivation to take on some bigger projects.
Which one of these healthy habits are already part of your life? And which new one do you want to try out next? Let us know in the comments below and Pin this article here!