Big goals can sometimes seem overwhelming. I'm a big fan of incremental tweaks, small changes that add up to make a serious difference.
A while back, for example, I vowed to eat breakfast at my table rather than at the dishwasher while emptying dishes. Now I choose healthier food, I eat more slowly, I enjoy my meal more, and I eat less. What tiny changes can you make today that will pay off big down the road?
Here are some healthy life hacks to get you started.
1. Build a bonfire to burn more calories.
Two simple facts: Muscle burns more calories than fat does, and firm glutes look good in jeans. To get the most bang out of your exercise time, then, focus on the largest muscles in your body first—your legs and butt. Do it with one simple exercise that can be done anywhere: the air squat.
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, arms straight in front of you and parallel with the floor. Soften your knees, then slowly push your hips back and drop your buttocks toward the floor, until your thighs are parallel to the ground or lower. Pause there for two seconds, and then quickly return to standing.
Repeat 11 more times.
The slower you lower, the harder and more effective the exercise will be.
2. Purr-fect your posture.
Stretch like a cat for 30 to 60 seconds when you roll out of bed each morning. It's like hitting a reset button on your body. Get on all fours on the floor, and curl your back toward the ceiling like a frightened cat. Hold for 10 seconds, then bend in the opposite direction, lowering your bellybutton toward the floor.
Cat-like stretching first thing in the morning improves posture, promotes blood flow, and relieves body tension, according to the Mayo Clinic. And better posture is an instant age-eraser.
3.Create an optical illusion.
When your eyes look whiter, the surrounding skin looks brighter.
"Lavender is one of my go-to eye-shadow colors for adding sparkle and counteracting red tones in your whites and the skin around your eyes," says Lori Taylor, a global makeup artist for Smashbox cosmetics. Dust opalescent lavender shadow over your lids, and pair it with deep-black mascara.
Before you dig in to a meal, take 60 seconds to think about your food. Spend a minute enjoying the aroma of your dinner, imagining where the ingredients came from and how they came together. Then savor your first bite.
Research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported that people who approach mealtime slower and took their time between bites weighed less than those who ate in a hurry. You'll find a powerful workshop on establishing mindful eating habits by the top expert in the field in 20 Pounds Younger.
5.Ease age-accelerating stress.
Overcome work-induced anxiety with a 60-second meditation routine. Just four slow deep breaths in and out can instantly calm you, re-energize you, and help you pivot out of a mid-afternoon funk, says 20 Pounds Younger life stylist Gabrielle Bernstein. What's more, keeping your stress levels low with mini meditations like this will lower your body's production of cortisol, to keep your weight loss in full swing and help you maintain a good mood.
You'll find more anti-aging hacks in 20 Pounds Younger, which details a whole program off easy steps that'll make you younger, leaner, and stronger in 2015.