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Habits – we’ve been building them our whole lives. Some are harmlessly quirky and become part of our distinct personalities. Others are beneficial to others and should always be encouraged. Unfortunately, we also all have bad habits that can be tough to shake.

Bad habits range from the annoying to the downright dangerous. But, as the saying goes, habits are meant to be broken. Making small adjustments in your habitual routines can lead to big improvements in health and wellness. Changing habits for the better can change your life for good.

Instread of eating out, consider cooking in.  Preparing your own food gives you greater control over the quality and quantity of what you eat. Plan menus that are high in fresh produce and low in fat. 
Instead of smoking, consider quitting. If you’re not a smoker, stay that way. If you’re struggling to quit, ask your doctor for help. The sooner you stop the more time you give your body to repair any damage done.  
Instead of riding the elevator or escalator, consider taking the stairs.  Adding even a single flight of steps into your daily routine can add up. 
Instead of shortening your your sleep cycle, consider getting 7-8 hours of nightly ZZZs. Give yourself the gift of sufficient rest to provide your body and mind with the breaks they need to fuel your busy days. 
Instead of prioritizing work over all else, maintain a healthy work-life balance. Work and other responsibilities can be hard to avoid. But they must be kept in proper perspective. Find ways to give family, community and your own quest for self-improvement a fair share of your time and attention.
Instead of drinking soda, consider drinking water. Your body craves hydration. Don’t offer it chemical substitutes that are known to cause a variety of health issues. More than any other beverage, water quenches your thirst and helps keep your system in good working order. 
Instead of staying seated at your desk, consider standing and walking while you work. Vary your routine to keep your circulation moving. Consider a height-adjustable desk that allows you to stand up and stay productive at the same time. Or stroll around your office while talking on the phone to add more movement to your workday routine.
Instead of vegging out, consider moving more.  Even just a few minutes of exercise a day can make a difference to your short- and long-term health.
Instead of holding onto negative relationships, consider spending more time with people you love. Why surround yourself with individuals who drag you and your mood down? Your emotional wellness depends upon healthy, meaningful, productive relationships.  
Instead of being tethered to devices, consider “unplugging.” Challenge yourself to do without technology for some part of every day. Let dinner table conversations linger. Start a new book. Take a walk. Experiment with a new recipe. Play a board game. You might be surprised at how rejuvenating it can be to be truly wireless. 

Instead of stressing out, chill out. Stress can wreak havoc on the body and mind. Relaxation, on the other hand, has measurable health benefits. Determine what your own most common stress triggers are, then train yourself to respond differently when they arise. Take time each day to meditate, practice yoga or simply close your eyes and breathe.