Simple steps you can take to feel a little healthier this year – whether it’s mentally or physically.
Kate Bubacz / BuzzFeed News
Leading a healthy lifestyle can be tough, especially if your schedule is busy AF.
So we asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about the small and doable steps that they took to live a healthier lifestyle in 2017.
Here are all the awesome things they had to say!
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Free yourself from believing that it’s your responsibility to make everyone happy.
I’m a people pleaser so it’s really uncomfortable for me when someone is mad because I always think it’s my fault. But I started therapy and learned that many times it’s not my fault when people are angry, and it’s not my responsibility to use all my time and energy to make them happy again. Sometimes people just need to work it out themselves.
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End those draining friendships that have been taking a toll on your mental health, or at least stop devoting your time and mental energy to them.
I finally broke off some friendships that were having a really negative impact on my life, and it helped my mental health tremendously.
Leave the house at least once every single day.
I’ve found staying inside all day sounds comfortable, but actually just makes my depression worse, especially during the winter. So now I make sure to leave the house every single day, even if it’s my day off, it’s raining, or I’m sick. I’ll just take a short walk to Starbucks, go around the block to a park, get groceries, etc. It’s really important to get some fresh air, get your blood pumping, and be outside.
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Put a “no bullshit” policy into effect, and hold yourself accountable.
It means not lying, not hiding the truth, and not accepting anything less from anyone else. I decided to become more open about my feelings and it’s had a really positive effect on my overall mental health. Being compassionately honest with myself has helped me face my unhealthy habits and show me where I could use a little work and self-reflection. It’s hard but I’m getting there!
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Try to drink more water and tea, and less sugary coffees, juices, sodas, and alcohol.
Of course I still need coffee every once in a while, and some weekends it’s really tough to cut down on alcohol. But overall, not drinking soda and juice at all has really helped my body feel better! I’ve also started really enjoying water.
And quit drinking diet sodas, too.
I was never one for “regular Coke,” but I was drinking five to six cans of Diet Coke per day. Sometimes it was all I was drinking. I decided to give it up and haven’t had one for exactly one year. I feel so much better because of it and now can’t stand the thought of drinking it again. I had raging headaches and cravings for the first week or so, and now I don’t even crave it. It might be a small thing, but it has made a huge difference. Now I’m committed to working on the rest of my physical health.
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Try an app, like Fabulous, that helps you take up small healthy habits and stick with them.
When I turned 31 this year, I wanted to make a healthy change, but I’ve always had trouble keeping up with new habits. So I did a little looking and found an app called Fabulous that’s all about making and upkeeping small changes. It has an easy-to-use interface, it’s not overwhelming, and it can be tailored to your individual goals and needs.
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I’ve been going to yoga classes three times per week for a few years now. But this past year, I️ started doing yoga every day at home, whether it was a full routine or just stretching. It’s definitely paid off!
Lauren Zaser / Via buzzfeed.com
Slowly use less of, and maybe eventually try to cut out, sugary sauces and condiments.
When eating, I started cutting out all the additional sauces and condiments that I was adding to my food, especially when I ate out. I realized that it was just a habit to drench my food in sauces and that I was really just eating unnecessary empty calories and added sugar.
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Back in May, I gave up all added sugar for three weeks. I had been thinking about doing it for a while, but I was really inspired to do it by a BuzzFeed article I read! The article helped me realize that I actually can kick a sugar addiction and it made me so much more conscious of what’s actually in the foods I’m eating. I don’t follow a specific diet at the moment, but I do think about and apply some of the healthy habits I’ve learned every day now.
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Stop crash dieting, and focus more on learning what’s actually in the food you’re eating.
I stopped the toxic dieting cycle that has caused me to be miserable for more than half of my life and it’s helped tremendously! I’m now working on happily living life without worrying about the food “rules” that have been ingrained in us and am currently giving a giant middle finger to the diet industry.
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But definitely add more veggies into your diet.
Even if it just means eating a small side salad once per day, or throwing some frozen veggies in with your stir-fry dinner.
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Allow yourself to sleep in just an extra 10 minutes every morning.
It’s weird, but just having those extra 10 minutes to relax and wake up slowly made my mornings a lot less frantic.
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Tackle only one thing on your to-do list at a time, and don’t beat yourself up over things taking longer than you thought.
Making a conscious choice to only take on one problem at a time, and not beating up on myself when I took a step backward in my progress, was very key for me this past year. I always felt like a failure because I was expecting so much out of myself and holding myself to unrealistic standards. Once I started taking my time with things, and allowing myself to enjoy the progress I was making, no matter how small it was, my daily outlook became so much healthier.
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Make your mental health a priority and maybe find a professional who can help you do that.
I found a good psychiatrist who has been helping me find a medication combination to treat my bipolar and borderline personality disorder. He’s been very encouraging and is smart and thorough when explaining medications, therapies, and any other issues that I find myself struggling with.
I may not be totally healthy yet, but I am well on my way to a better 2018.
instagram.com / Via Instagram: @ellicottcitygirl
Start following social media accounts that will inspire you to eat/live healthier.
I started following @inspiralized, bought a multi-blade spiralizer from Amazon, and tried to make more meals with veggies and less pasta throughout the week. The recipes have been so easy and delicious!
instagram.com / Via Instagram: @inspiralized
Stop grocery shopping on an empty stomach.
This seems so small, but I always made sure to never shop on an empty stomach. I realized that when I shopped while I was hungry I was buying junk that I didn’t need or even really want. Shopping on a full stomach has helped me eat healthier and save money.
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Stock your home with ~healthyish~, delicious groceries you’ll actually want to cook with.
Learning to cook helped me 100%. Now I stock up on canned and frozen foods that I can doctor up in various ways, so that when I’m hungry, I can throw something together instead of getting fast food (which, let’s be honest, still happens once a week, but it’s a start).
instagram.com / Via Instagram: @jverafit
And start attempting to cook your own meals, even if it’s just a few times per week.
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I started cooking at home more. My mom has diabetes, and when she was taking care of my grandmother, I started doing more cooking. My grandmother has passed on, but I haven’t stopped doing the majority of the cooking. We still eat out occasionally, but it’s enough of a change that my mom’s blood sugar has been better, and her A1C and triglycerides have improved, too. My sibling also is no longer pre-diabetic!
I’ve started watching a ton of streaming cooking shows, subscribed to the BuzzFeed Tasty newsletter, and have learned a lot of new healthy cooking ideas.
Make a commitment to cutting out some time every week to catch up with loved ones.
My best friend and I started talking every week – sometimes random stuff, sometimes serious stuff – in order to just catch up, reflect on things, clear our minds, and just be there for one another. It’s worked really well.
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Start making doctor appointments and actually going to them.
I’ve always been someone who doesn’t get things checked out when I’m sick or have an injury, and always puts off annual checkups. This past year I actually made myself go in to the doctor and I plan on making a habit of it.
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Make a pact to be on social media less, or even delete your accounts for some time, to reflect on how your habits are affecting your life.
It seems sort of trivial, but I deleted all of my social media accounts. It was pretty difficult for me to let go, but I have felt so much better after doing so. I also have more free time to focus on my mental health and my physical health because I’m not constantly staring at my phone anymore, which was having a HORRIBLE effect on my eyes!
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Learn what macronutrients are and take them into consideration when planning out your meals.
I started keeping track of my macros and eating more fruits and veggies and I’ve felt ten times better since doing so.
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And finally, consider joining a gym so you can lift some weights and feel strong AF.
I joined a gym for the first time in my life and learned how to use the equipment there. It’s made a huge difference in the way my body feels every day.
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Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Follow along at BuzzFeed.com/NewYearsRevolution from Jan. 1 to Jan. 14, 2018.