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12 Steps to Better Living
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12 Steps to Better Living

Work, family, laundry, shopping... when did you last take some time for yourself? Finding time just for you is a healthy lifestyle change that can make a big difference to your well-being. To help, we've broken down the year into 12 monthly goals. Just focus on one change each month and by the end of the year, you'll be 12 steps closer to feeling healthier and happier, inside and out.

  1. Get Some Shut-Eye
    Try for 8 hours of sleep tonight and every night.
    Benefit: When at rest, the body repairs itself most efficiently. Having trouble falling asleep? Have some soothing warm milk or a hot cup of herbal tea before bed. Nothing is impossible when you've had a good night's sleep.
  2. Quiet Time
    Get up 15 minutes earlier to have a few minutes all to yourself before the day begins.
    Benefit: You'll never wake up on the wrong side of the bed again. Use this time to plan your day or simply relax and savour a nice hot cup of coffee.
  3. Sweet Sensation
    Don't forget dessert! Indulge in a rich, chocolatey dessert to treat yourself.
    Benefit: Moderation is the key to a balanced and satisfying diet. Treat yourself to a sweet goody after a healthy dinner as a delicious reward.
  4. Buddy Up
    Call a buddy and arrange to workout together.
    Benefit: Haven't seen your best friend in ages? Catch up with a friend while boosting your metabolism. Working out together maintains your commitment - you'll always go since you won't want to let your partner down.
  5. Top 3
    Count your blessings.
    Benefit: Devote 10 minutes before bed to write down the top 3 good things that happened to you that day. This puts you in the habit of seeking out and appreciating those things that make you happy.
  6. Tick It Off
    Try to scratch off two or three things from your 'to do' list every day.
    Benefit: Finish a few small tasks each day for a great sense of accomplishment. Make that appointment, send some cards or clean out your desk - it doesn't take much!
  7. Stretch It
    Take up yoga or stretching.
    Benefit: Exercises that involve yoga and stretching are low impact ways of keeping your body healthy and your mind uncluttered. Join a class or try some exercises on your own at home to release stress and tension.
  8. Dinner Swap
    Make a deal with a friend.
    Benefit: One night per month, double the amount of dinner you make and deliver it to a friend's house. The following week, your friend reciprocates. For an even simpler dinner, serve on paper plates so there won't be any dishes to clean.
  9. Fun Days
    Schedule time for fun.
    Benefit: When you're busy and overwhelmed, fun isn't always a priority. Make sure it becomes one. Schedule fun events and get-togethers so that you always have something to look forward to. Plan a night out at a play, concert, comedy club or movie.
  10. Bathtime Bliss
    Take a long hot bath.
    Benefit: Lounge in the bath with a book or magazine to relax and ease aching or stressed muscles.
  11. Love Thyself
    Be good to you!
    Benefit: When you reach a goal, celebrate with fresh flowers, a movie, a manicure or a massage. Rewarding yourself encourages you to continue to strive for a healthier lifestyle.
  12. Think Positive
    Always keep an 'I can do it' attitude.
    Benefit: Think positively in a challenging situation to encourage positive results. Whether you're facing a tough meeting or a family problem, an optimistic outlook puts most situations into perspective.
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