😃🤓😷 This article was medically reviewed by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.
There are 24 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 91% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status.
This article has been viewed 119,329 times.
😃🤓😷 Improving your lifestyle can seem like an impossibly lofty goal. Changing everything about your life all at once is probably not realistic, but there are lots of small changes you can make to improve your physical, emotional, and mental well-being, and to enjoy your life more. Start small by making one or two changes at a time. Before you know it, you'll have the lifestyle you've always wanted!
Method 1Method 1 of 3:Improving Your Physical Well-Being Download Article
- 1Eat healthy. You may be overwhelmed by all of the latest fad diets, but eating healthy is really not all that complicated! Try incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean proteins (including fish, chicken, legumes, and nuts), and healthy fats (including olive oil, salmon, and avocados) into your diet. Avoid processed foods, salty foods, added sugar, and fatty foods as much as possible.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- Talk to your doctor about specific dietary changes you should make based on your personal and family history.
- Your diet can also affect your mental health. Fruits and vegetables are thought to increase feelings of positivity, while fats and sugars are linked to feelings of depression.XResearch source
- 2Exercise. Regular exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. Try to include at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise (like brisk walking) or 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise (like running or dancing) into your weekly schedule. You should also incorporate periodic strength training to help tone your muscles.XResearch source
- In addition to improving your physical health, regular exercise can also decrease symptoms of depression.XResearch source
- Staying active is much easier if you find an activity that you genuinely enjoy. Try several new sports or exercise classes until you find something you really want to do.XResearch source
- Having an exercise buddy can also help keep you on track.
- 3Take simple steps to lose weight. If you are overweight, there are a few really easy things you can do to lose a few pounds, which can add up to major health benefits. Try keeping healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables in your house for those times when you get the urge to munch between meals. You should also try to be aware of your motivations for eating. If you eat because you're bored or sad, try finding other ways of coping with these feelings, like going for a walk.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- 4Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol is fine in moderation, but too much can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and heart failure. Stick to no more than one serving per day if you are a woman or two if you are a man.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- 5Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel tired and unproductive throughout the day, which may prevent you from feeling good and from accomplishing your goals. Try to go to bed a bit earlier so you can face the day rested and energized.XResearch source
- If you have trouble falling asleep, try going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Avoiding caffeine and television before bed can also help.XResearch source
- 6Quit smoking. If you're a smoker, you can dramatically decrease your risk of developing several serious diseases just by quitting. One year after you quit, your risk of developing heart disease will have been cut in half.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- No matter how you plan on quitting smoking, support is crucial. Find a friend to lean on during the process or join a support group.XTrustworthy SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionMain public health institute for the US, run by the Dept. of Health and Human ServicesGo to source
- It will be very helpful to avoid places where others smoke and to spend as much time as possible in locations where smoking is not allowed. Being away from temptation can help you get through the cravings.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world's leading hospitalsGo to source
- 7Get a massage. Help yourself unwind and get rid of muscle aches by treating yourself to a massage every now and then. The muscles in the neck tend to get especially stiff!XResearch source
- Applying gentle pressure to the third eye and the pressure points on the feet can also do wonders for your overall health and well-being.
- 8Get checked for nutrient deficiencies. If you're constantly feeling tired and foggy despite changes to your lifestyle, your body may not have enough of an essential nutrient, like vitamin D. Getting tested involves a simple blood test. If you are found to have a vitamin D deficiency, you can improve your symptoms by increasing your sun exposure or taking supplements.XResearch source
- There are not a lot of clear or confirmed studies about the benefits of nutrient replacement, so it may not work for you.
- Other common deficiencies that can lead to fatigue include B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants.XResearch source
- Talk to your doctor about how to increase your intake of any nutrients you are lacking. Treatment may include supplements or dietary changes.
Method 2Method 2 of 3:Improving Your Mental and Emotional Well-Being Download Article
- 1Reduce stress. Stress is incredibly bad for your mental health, so commit yourself to reduce stress however you can.XResearch source
- The first step to reducing stress is to pay attention to the things that trigger it. Once you understand what causes you stress, you can decide how to react to it. In some cases, you may be able to avoid your triggers by staying away from certain people or not overcommitting yourself.
- If you can't avoid your triggers, consider managing your stress by incorporating yoga, tai chi, massage, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine. Exercise, even something as simple as walking, can also help reduce stress.
- 2Let go of the past. No matter what happened in your past, dwelling on it will only decrease your quality of life in the present. If you have trouble living in the moment, try deep breathing exercises or meditation to help ground you.XResearch source
- This doesn't mean you should block out the past. It's important to acknowledge and learn from it, but you need to move forward.
- Be sure to accept any personal responsibility you may have for whatever happened in your past. Continuing to blame others will not allow you to truly let go.
- If someone hurt you in the past, it's important to forgive, even if you never reestablish a relationship with that person. If you did something bad in the past, you must forgive yourself as well.
- Stay focused on the present. If negative thoughts about your past enter your mind, try reminding yourself that the past is the past and now you are focusing on the future. Saying this aloud may be helpful.XResearch source
- 3Set goals for yourself. If there is something you want to achieve, it's a great idea to set goals for yourself. Just make sure they are attainable goals. You will stay much more motivated and focused on the big picture if you reward yourself for making small accomplishments along the way.XResearch source
- 4Come up with a motivational mantra. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of your life, try to stay focused on all of the positive things you want to accomplish. To stay on track, repeat a mantra to yourself, such as, "I am working to improve my life" whenever you start to feel overwhelmed with negativity.XResearch source
- Be sure to acknowledge all of the small improvements you make. They don't all have to be drastic changes!
- You can also use a mantra when you are faced with situations over which you have no control. Try something like, "There is nothing I can do but make the best of this."
- 5Be thankful. When life has you down, try thinking about everything you have to be thankful for. It might be a loving family, a great job, or the world's best dog. Reminding yourself of these great things in your life will help keep you positive in the worst of times.XTrustworthy SourceGreater Good MagazineJournal published by UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center, which uses scientific research to promote happier livingGo to source
- Consider making a list that you can look at when you're feeling down. You can challenge yourself to add one new item to the list every day. You might be surprised by just how much you have to be thankful for!
- 6Appreciate the wonders of the world. Whether you're able to travel to see the world's most spectacular sites or you can just manage to see the local wonders, take some time to admire the world! Looking at awe-inspiring landscapes is a proven way to boost your mood.
- If you can't get out to see any natural wonders, at least look at some pictures. This can have a similar effect.
- 7Bond with your pet. Another proven way to reduce stress and improve your mood is to pet your dog! This can even improve your physical health.
- If you don't have a pet, even petting a stuffed animal can give you a serious mood boost. Or try volunteering at an animal shelter or asking a friend if you can come over and play with their pet.
- 9See a professional. If you are struggling with a mental illness like depression, it's important to get the help you need. Diet and exercise may improve your symptoms dramatically, but you may also need to see a mental health professional or join a support group to really improve your lifestyle.
Method 3Method 3 of 3:Enjoying Life Download Article
- 1Create and stick to a budget. It may not sound very enjoyable, but learning how to manage your money can make your life so much easier! Take some time to assess your income and expenses. Look for ways you can trim the fat and put some money away so you don't have to worry if an emergency comes up.
- Start a savings account if you don't already have one. Setting up automatic transfers from your checking account to your savings account will make it much easier to stick to the habit of putting money away.
- Don't deprive yourself of everything you enjoy just to save money. Instead, look for small things that you won't miss that much that end up costing you a lot of money over time. Premium television channels that you rarely watch are a great example.
- 2Stay connected with friends and family. When life gets busy, it's easy to fall out of touch with friends and loved ones. Having strong social connections increases your sense of happiness, so it's important not to let these connections deteriorate.XResearch source
- Reach out to old friends and let them know you'd like to spend time together.
- Try designating chunks of time for social engagement, whether it's going to a party or having lunch with a close friend.
- Consider joining clubs or groups that will allow you to participate in a social activity on a regular basis. If it is incorporated into your regular schedule, it might be easier to stick to.
- 3Nurture your romantic relationships. If you have a romantic partner, it's critical to invest time into maintaining the health of the relationship. A healthy relationship can do wonders for your emotional well-being, but an unhealthy one can have the opposite effect.XResearch source
- Openness is crucial to successful relationships. If you have a hard time opening up with your partner, start small by making a point of telling him or her about the things you did today and why you did them, or alternatively about how you are feeling and why. The more you practice, the more open you will naturally be in your relationship.XResearch source
- 4Find a hobby. Try to develop an interest in at least one hobby, and then commit yourself to pursuing it on a regular basis. Incorporating something you love into your daily routine is a great way to increase your overall happiness.
- 5Stimulate your mind. Keep yourself sharp and engaged by regularly challenging your brain. You can do this by reading books, doing puzzles, or even engaging in stimulating conversations.XResearch source
- Don't try to change everything about your life at once. Introducing small changes one at a time will be much more doable.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
- It is always easier to make changes in your life when you have a support system. See if you can find a friend or loved one who is interested in making the same changes. You can both encourage each other to stick with it.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
- Don't let yourself believe that you don't have time to live a healthy lifestyle! You can always find time for something this important.XResearch source
About This Article
If you want to adopt a physically healthier lifestyle, eating more nutritious foods is a great first step. Most people benefit from eating more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. To keep your body in good shape, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each day. You can also improve your health by limiting harmful habits, like smoking and heavy drinking. Your body needs plenty of rest to repair itself at the end of the day, so make sure to regularly get a full night’s sleep if you can. Doing relaxing activities like getting a massage now and then can also benefit your physical and mental health. Additionally, work with your doctor to identify and manage any possible health problems, such as vitamin deficiencies. For more advice, including how to improve your mental and emotional wellbeing, scroll down!