Upgrade your whole life with eight simple swaps for a healthier you

Ever year, right around the New Year, I make a resolution to improve my lifestyle and create healthier habitats.

Of course, right after I make that resolution, I usually notice how busy I am after the holidays, and how many social obligations I have, and how little time I have to go to the gym or cook healthy meals. So it doesn't tend to happen.

Instead, I end up waiting until the spring, when the changing weather gives me the burst of energy I need.

Somehow, when the sun is shining and the birds are out, it is just so much easier to summon up the motivation to clean my house, throw out old clothes, and cook something delicious and adventurous, like this amazing steak with chimichurri sauce!

I've also realized that there's no reason I have to make radical lifestyle changes to live a healthier life. Now, my new motto is employing the "simple swap."

That means, instead of going on a major diet or buying all new clothes, I just substitute one healthy habit for one unhealthy one, once a week. Using this system, making changes is easy and painless, and I still get the healthier lifestyle I want!

Eat At The Table, Not On The Couch

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

I used to eat at my computer or TV at least four nights a week. I wasn't paying any attention to my food; I was scrolling through Facebook or watching HGTV. I was also gaining weight.

If you're distracted while you eat, you aren't paying attention to physical cues telling you that you're full. Plus, a sit-down dinner is a valuable opportunity to catch up with loved ones, which always improves my mood!

Grab A Book Instead Of The Remote

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

At the end of a long day, it can be tempting to go straight home and turn your brain off for a while with some mindless TV. Next time you have that impulse, why not pick up a good book instead?

It doesn't have to be a highbrow work of literature, just picking up a crossword puzzle or a magazine helps to stimulate the problem-solving parts of your brain and keep you from going into the unhealthy territory of binge-watching burnout.

Stop Grazing And Start Eating Full Meals

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

We're all taught to eat three square meals, but lots of us skip breakfast, eat lunch and dinner on the go, and supplement those meals with lots of snacking in between.

That leads to a lot of empty calories and mindless consumption during the workday or while the kids are at school. If you find you get hungry between meals, consider sipping water or tea instead of snacking, or bump it up to five small, protein-rich meals.

Skip The Text And Call Instead

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Technology makes it easier and easier to communicate with people, while simultaneously making it harder to really connect. Texting is quick and easy, but it's just no substitute for a real conversation.

Next time you're making plans with a friend or scheduling an appointment, make the effort to call. Even the tiniest social interaction is a mood-booster, and you're setting a good example besides!

Ditch Basic Black And Amp Up Your Look

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

I am so guilty of this one. Wearing all black is quick, it's easy, it's slimming—I could go on. But wearing all black is also pretty darn depressing.

Adding color to your wardrobe is an instant mood-booster, plus you're practically guaranteed to feel good about how you look when you put lots of thought and time into your outfit.

Trade Bottled Fruit Juice For Fresh Fruit

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

I never really thought there was much difference between a glass of OJ and a whole orange. They're both healthy, right? Well, sort of. Fresh fruit is chockful of vitamins, nutrients, and natural sugar.

Fruit juice has some of that, but with way more added sugar. (Even if it's "natural sweetening.") Real fruit is way better for you, plus it has all of the fiber and roughage that you lose in a juice.

Work At Your Desk, Not Under The Covers

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

These days, just about everyone has access to a laptop. This makes it easier than ever to balance work and life, but it can also lead the bad habit of bringing your computer to bed with you and working on your taxes or your quarterly report until late into the night.

Even though that bed is cozy and comfy, it's better to establish a clear work space at your desk. It will help you separate your professional life from your personal life, and we guarantee you'll sleep better without your boss' next email calling you.

Serve Your Eggs Boiled, Not Fried

Maya Borenstein for LittleThings

Eggs are a great way to start your day, delivering six grams of protein at less than 100 calories per egg.

That said, it's much healthier to eat them hard-boiled than fried. For one thing, fried eggs have way more fat from the cooking oil.

Plus, hard-boiled eggs can easily be added to salads or lunch boxes, and you can remove the yolk in a jiffy if cholesterol is a concern.

What are your favorite simple lifestyle swaps? Sound off in the comments below and make sure to SHARE these easy changes with friends and family!

Some of your 'healthy' foods might not be what they're said to be:

Some Healthy Foods Not So Healthy, Doctors Say
Some Healthy Foods Not So Healthy, Doctors Say

More from LittleThings:
World's oldest living person attributes her age to two simple secrets
Grounded airplane becomes a comfortable home deep in the woods
Happy Walnut Day! The original 'superfood' is in the spotlight May 17th
Teen wins scholarships for crafting glow-in-the-dark duct tape prom outfits