Here at FitnessHQ, we’re big believers in taking steps to be a better you. This is a pretty broad train of thought — we think those steps can include everything from eating better to taking time to do something that makes you happy each day.
In fact, we’re such strong believers in it that here at FitnessHQ, we host monthly challenges where gyms, friends and other wellness-minded groups can work together to become better versions of themselves. If you’re interested in signing up, click here.
Exactly what does it mean to be a better you? For every person, being better looks a little different. We’ve put together 18 things we think everyone should do to optimize not only their athletic performance, but their quality of life in general.
18 Ways to Be a Better You
1. Take Vitamins
Whether you swear by magnesium or take fish oil religiously, vitamins are a great addition to your routine, especially if you aren’t getting enough in your diet.
Not sure where to start? Try a daily multivitamin to cover all of your bases. If you have any underlying medical conditions or are on any sort of medication, check with your doctor first.
2. Get More Sleep
Sleep is so essential to our body’s functions and not getting enough of it will effect everything from your mood to your ability to focus on tasks. Even if you know that not getting enough sleep isn’t great for your health, the reality of how detrimental it is may shock you. Learn more about that here.
Normal adults should strive for at least eight hours of sleep a night, more if you’re doing physical exercise or strenuous work. Have a hard time falling asleep? Check out our 25 tips for sleeping better naturally.
3. Eliminate Negative Sources of Stress
Stress is sometimes an unavoidable part of life, but if you have areas of your life where you can trim the fat, so to speak, don’t hesitate to do it.
Do you have a friend who is constantly complaining on social media? Unfollow them. Are you in a bad mood because you’re always late to work and you start of your day in a hurry? Wake up earlier. Want to feel and look better but can’t seem to find the time to eat healthy? Meal prep. Find ways to eliminate unnecessary sources of stress in your life so that you can redirect your energy towards stress you can’t control.
4. Take a Break From Social Media
Social media can be a beautiful thing, but sometimes it’s best to put your phone down and do something else with your time. Between election season and the multiple tragedies that have unfolded across the world in recent months, it’s easy for Facebook to be a downer.
Say no to the political status and take a walk or read a book instead.
5. Wake Up Earlier
Waking up earlier has been linked to everything from being more successful to having a better outlook on life. Waking up early gives you ample time to start your day in your own time and eliminate morning craziness.
Try waking up thirty minutes early and starting your day with some stretches and a cup of coffee or tea. Take five to ten minutes to meditate or pray. You’ll be amazed at what that short amount of “me time” will do to improve your day.
6. Eat Healthy Meals
This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people still aren’t convinced of what a huge role your diet plays in your health. The food you eat can affect everything from your immune system to your mental health. Not sure where to start? You can check out the Whole30 program, the Paleo program or the Zone diet for ideas on how to start improving your diet.
If you’re not really a program type of person, try incorporating more vegetables into your diet, eliminating processed food and products with added sugar.
7. Work Out
Again, it may seem like a “duh” but exercise doesn’t come easy for a lot of people. The trick is finding something that you don’t mind doing. Whether it’s jogging, yoga, parkour, CrossFit, PokemonGo, whatever — find something to get active at least four days a week. Keep your routine varied and try new physical activities whenever you get the chance.
8. Get a Pet
Believe it or not, there are health benefits to having a pet. Pets can help you reduce stress levels, have a healthier outlook on life and lower levels of depression.
Be aware that taking on a pet can add more stress to your life temporarily — getting a dog or cat is a large responsibility. However, I think most pet owners would agree that once you settle into your routine, having pets is overwhelmingly beneficial.
9. Try Something New
Routine can be a wonderful thing, but it can also sometimes lead you into a rut. If you want a little more stimulation in your life, try something new. Maybe there’s a new workout class in town you’d like to check out or an instrument you’d like to learn to play.
It’s never to late to learn new things. Invigorate your brain on a regular basis to stay fresh.
10. Get Some Vitamin D
Too much sun can be dangerous, but so can not enough sun. Vitamin D is essential for many of your daily functions and can lead to everything from rickets to depression.
You’re especially at risk for Vitamin D deficiency if you far from the equator, work night shifts, cover your skin for religious reasons, are dark skinned, pregnant or older.
11. Avoid Processed Meat
If you’re a Paleo or Zone person, you’re probably quite the meat eater. However, eating too much red meat and processed meat has been linked to certain types of cancer and can be bad for your health. Instead, try to beef (I’m punny!) up your diet with lots of fish, turkey and chicken.
12. Set New Goals
Having something to work towards sets you up for a successful life. It gives you drive, it gives you ambition and it makes you more likely to work hard and take risks.
Set some new goals for yourself. Don’t wait for Monday or next month or the new year. Start now with making yourself better. And whether you do that by setting a new goal in the gym, chasing a promotion at work, making a weight loss plan or something else, we’ve got some tips for making sure you’re able to set and follow through with your goals.
13. Give Back
How do you make yourself better? By making the world around you a better place. Clean out your closet and donate the clothes to a homeless shelter. Volunteer at your local dog shelter. Leave a gatorade in the mailbox for your mailman. Whether you give back on a small scale or in a big way, helping others is a sure way to help yourself.
14. Drink More Water
Water is the essence of life and drinking more of it can only be beneficial for your body. If you’re anything like me, making the transition from soda to water may be hard, but we’ve got 15 easy ways to make sure you’re getting enough each day.
Trust us, your body will thank you later.
15. Wear Sunscreen
Gone are the days where you should only wear sunscreen on the beach. These days, you should wear sunscreen every single day. Not only does too much sun exposure cause wrinkles, but it puts you at risk for skin cancer.
Whether you’re a guy or a gal, it’s easy to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine. Most skincare companies offer moisturizers infused with sunscreen that can easily be applied before you head out the door in the morning.
16. Get Organized
Does anything feel better than getting organized? Buy a planner, clean out your closet and make a five year plan while you’re at it.
17. Conquer a Fear
Maybe you’re scared of trying something new or maybe you’re scared of heights. Pick a fear and go after it to prove to yourself that you are bigger than your fear. Of course, pick an irrational one — for example, you should be scared of snakes and should not square up with one.
By conquering a fear, you’re literally showing your mind who’s boss. The new-found confidence you gain when you do something unexpected will translate into other areas of your life.
18. Travel More
Explore new places and learn new things to keep your life ripe with adventure. Traveling can be costly, but at the end of your life you will remember your experiences more than the nice things you owned.