Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
"Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine," says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. "They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change."
Here are 10 to try:
1. Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra kgs. Even if you gain just one kilo every year, the extra weight adds up quickly.
2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. Include protein, healthy fats and slow-release carbs.
4. Eat three wholegrain servings each day. Most people eat less than one wholegrain serving a day - it's not enough!
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily servings of vegetables and fruits.
6. Trim the unhealthy fats and focus on the healthy ones like avocado and fish oils.
7. Consider calcium by including two or three daily servings of milk or yogurt. Dairy calcium is good for bones and may also help you lose weight.
8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.
9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge and include lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less as you become more aware of what you're doing.