If you’re thinking it’s high time you drop some weight, get more exercise and/or generally take better care of yourself, we’re rooting for you! The SUCCESS editorial team presents a calendar for your day-by-day to-do list along with suggestions for filling in the daily blocks. It’s important to write down the goals because doing so will make you much more likely to follow through.
Feel free to pick, choose and use our action items in the calendar exactly as written—or let them inspire you to tackle something more tailored to your life. Either way, we challenge you to be proactive about improving your mental and physical well-being by jotting down daily goals and then following up by completing an action item each day. And we ask you to share your May results at editor@SUCCESS.com and on the SUCCESS magazine page on Facebook. Then we hope you’ll build onto your progress by creating and following daily plans for June, July and beyond. You’re worth the effort!
1. Each week, block out at least three 30-minute time slots for brisk walks or other aerobic exercise and two 20-minute sessions with weights.
2. Apply the 20-20-20 rule to care for your eyes when using a computer. Every 20 minutes, gaze at an object at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.
3. Make it a point to eat a superfood today; options include broccoli, blueberries, kale, sweet potatoes, oats and salmon.
4. Show your appreciation! Buy a co-worker or employee something small yet thoughtful—a latté, a handwritten card, his or her favorite snack, etc.
5. Set up your bedroom for sleep: Keep it cool and dark (no electronics on—not even a cellphone glowing).
6. Do jumping jacks during TV commercials tonight.
7. Purge your pantry: Get rid of high-fat snacks such as potato chips and cookies.
8. Make an appointment for your annual physical.
9. To enrich your mind while refreshing your body, read a book outdoors.
10. Choose the salad, not the burger, when you dine at a restaurant.
11. Go to bed earlier so you get eight hours of sleep.
12. For a quick workout during lunch, jump rope. Or just go outside and walk around your building or neighborhood.
13. When tension mounts, inhale for a three-count and exhale for a six-count. Repeat as needed. It’s a quick, subtle way to relax wherever you are.
14. During your weekend, plan, shop and cook your meals in advance for more healthful choices.
15. To fight tooth decay, chew sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating.
16. Stand—even walk if you can—during all phone calls today.
17. Feed your bones: Add calcium to your diet with cow’s milk, almond milk, yogurt, etc.
18. Unwind with soothing music. Try Bach, Debussy or sweet love songs from your favorite new artist.
19. Limit meat portions to the size of a deck of playing cards.
20. Laughter is the best medicine. If you’re stressed after work, listen to a funny podcast on the way home or find CDs from your favorite stand-up comedians. Leave your baggage at the office.
21. Wear ankle weights as you work on chores around your home—doing the dishes, sweeping, dusting, picking up clutter. You’ll sneak in a mini-workout!
22. Use positive self-talk to boost your optimistic outlook and cheer yourself past a challenge. Write “I can handle it” on a sticky note and post it on your bulletin board.
23. Stock your fridge with healthy, easy-to-grab snacks such as celery stalks, carrot sticks, fruits (plums, pears, apples, oranges, cantaloupe chunks) and fat-free yogurt cups.
24. Do 10 push-ups this morning and every morning. Increase the number to 12 next week, 14 the next, etc.; keep going until you reach 50.
25. Drink more water. Keep a container close at hand during the workday.
26. Brainstorm a problem with a mentor.
27. Increase your intake of omega-3s by eating foods such as salmon, chia seeds, tuna, lake trout and anchovies. Or take a supplement. Omega-3s lower triglycerides and blood pressure and they may help with arthritis and depression.
28. Compile your favorite upbeat, adrenaline-inducing songs for when you exercise—or just need to motivate yourself.
29. Eat four half-cup servings of green veggies.
30. Put a flu shot reminder on your calendar; get one around Oct. 1.
31. Treat yourself to a massage, a great de-stressor.
32. Take an after-dinner walk with your family.
33. When baking, use applesauce to replace half the fat in cakes, bar cookies and cupcakes.
34. Do 10 sit-ups tonight and every night. Increase to 12 next week, 14 the next, etc.; keep going until you are doing 50 per night.
35. Get your mind in a happy place by doing a random act of kindness.
36. Make an appointment for a dental cleaning and checkup.
37. To reap major health benefits, drink green or white tea.
38. Do stretches every hour on the hour at work.
39. Break a big project into small chunks (write each on your calendar) and do them one at a time to avoid deadline stress near the end.
40. After a workout, hit the steam room for 10 minutes to calm your muscles, clear your mind and sweat out that little bit extra.
41. Write or print out your favorite inspirational quote and stick it wherever needed—the bathroom mirror, a laptop, etc. One option is the following by Norman Vincent Peale: “It’s always too early to quit.”
42. Call a parent or mentor. Just because.
43. Give Fido a hug! The simple act of petting a dog decreases levels of cortisol, a hormone related to stress and anxiety.
44. Freeze ripe bananas (on wooden sticks if possible) and eat them for dessert instead of ice cream or other unhealthy sweets.
45. Smile at a stranger. It’s the quickest way to lift up someone else’s day as well as your own!
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SUCCESS staffers Mary Vinnedge, Jennifer Chang, Jessica Krampe, Susan Kane and Josh Ellis compiled these action items.