hab-it • noun: a usual way of behaving

Today we continue to look at how to achieve physical wholeness. Your life depends on it, so you might as well start today.

1. Drink (water).

todayThe average American drinks 375 pounds of soda a year. That’s over a pound of soda a day. Even two 12-ounce cans of soda a day will probably increase your risk of an early death.

How much sugar should you consume in a day? Not much. Women should stick to 6 teaspoons a day, or less. A can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar. By drinking water throughout the day (flavor it with lemon wedges or drink filtered water if you struggle with your water’s taste), you’ll keep hydrated and less likely to down a soda. Start by filling two 32-ounce bottles with water when you go to bed at night. Try to drink all of the water throughout the day.

2. Walk.

Did you know that most newer smart phones have a built-in pedometer? I don’t find it quite as accurate as my FitBit, but it does a decent job of keeping track of my steps. I challenge you to start walking more today. Check the health app on your iPhone or Android each evening and record how many steps you have taken that day. If your daily average falls under 10K, commit to walking more.

When I first started wearing a pedometer, I struggled to take my recommended 10,000 steps a day. The pedometer held me accountable. Look for ways to incorporate more walking into your life. Myriad websites and magazine articles tout the benefits of walking. Just do it.

3. Sleep.

Believe me, I’m preaching to the choir here. My FitBit Blaze tells me how much I sleep each night, and the statistics sober me. I sleep an average of 6 hours per night—less than someone my age needs. That sleep deficit accumulates over time, causing us to experience weight gain, memory loss, irritability, and fatigue.

Take an inventory of what keeps you out of bed or tossing and turning. For me, books provide the main distraction. I value my health more than I value finding out what happens next. I plan on going to bed at eight today (don’t judge—I get up at 4!). If you have problems falling asleep, check out these tips.

4. Decompress

Each day brings stressors that cause tension, stress, anger, impatience, and irritability. Take time each day to decompress. Everyone has a different decompression style. Phone a friend (but set a time limit on the whiney part of your conversation—no need to add stress to your friend’s day). Journal. Air box for five minutes. Run as hard as you can. Do something creative. Pray. Pull weeds. Bake. Throw a frisbee. Take the dog for a walk.

Just do something today that helps you decompress so that stress doesn’t build up in your system. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders, and early death.

5. Bounce.

Yep. You read that right. You can be like my husband, and bounce one leg against the other each time you sit down. Or, you can buy a yoga ball and bounce when you read, work on the computer, or watch television. You don’t have to bounce like Tigger to get health benefits. By gently bouncing, my resting heart rate (52 BPM) goes up to between 80-105 BPM—that makes bouncing a fat-burning endeavor. I also have to use my core muscles to stay balanced. Don’t settle for the Stuff-Mart variety of yoga ball. Find a proper-sized one. I had a 65cm yoga ball, but I felt like a kid sitting in a grown-up’s chair. When I switched to a 75cm ball, I felt like an adult again.

I purchased yoga balls for my classroom, too. Visitors might feel a little dizzy when they walk in and see all of us bouncing, but no one falls asleep in my classes and I don’t have to deal with fidget spinners. (affiliate link)

Don’t get me wrong, if you start these five healthier habits today, your health won’t improve by the time you wake up tomorrow. But starting these habits today WILL make a difference in your physical wholeness over time—which should increase your chances of more tomorrows.


Your life depends on your health, so you might as well start these five easy habits today! #health Click To Tweet

Nurture Yourself Takeaway #18—Commit to making these five small changes in your life today (only one of them costs money—the yoga ball). 


  1. love all the suggestions you have..
    i totally need to sleep and walk more.. proof – this comment is being written past midnight when i do need to wake up early tomorrow for a early drop off to marching band practice….

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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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