It’s pretty common around this time of year: You had big hopes of turning a new leaf and really getting healthy in the new year, but now, a few months in, you’re realizing nothing has changed. The great news? Every single day is a new opportunity to make the (Small! Easy!) changes necessary to have a much healthier, happier 2017. And the truth is, it really is the small easy changes that eventually become lifelong healthy habits. These tips from Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, Andrea Bastiani Archibald, will make it painless and even fun.
Resist the Urge to Dive In
Remember your grand intentions about suddenly going to the gym every day? There’s a reason why that probably didn’t go so well. When you try to go from zero to 100, it’s overwhelming—not just physically (ouch!) but also mentally. If you think what you’re doing is going to be incredibly difficult, you might start feeling defeated before you even begin. That’s why it’s important to start small and work your way up to the bigger stuff. Bundle up and go for a walk as a family every Sunday morning. After a few weeks, try increasing it to a jog or even a full blown run around the neighborhood.
Get Her Cooking
The amazing thing about fruits and vegetables (what we should be eating most of) is that there are so many varieties to choose from. Bring your daughter grocery shopping with you and help her pick out a vegetable that interests her each week. Look up ways to prepare it together, and then—if your daughter is old enough—have her help you cook a dish with it. When you serve the finished product as a side-dish to a family-favorite main course, she’ll feel proud of her involvement and be far more excited to try it. Over the months, you’ll discover all kinds of new, healthy foods you and your family love—and your daughter will become a little chef!
Go from A to Zzzzzzs
The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but almost nothing is as important to your family’s healthy new start as getting a good night’s sleep. When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to overeat, and to specifically gravitate toward unhealthy choices. You’re also less likely to feel up for physical activity. So make sure your daughter’s bedtime (and yours, for that matter!) is early enough for her to get the recommended 9 to 11 hours of sleep recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.