Lifestyle Steps Examples

It is important for each person to understand where they are on this journey and find what steps will set the course for their best possible health.

A great place to start is with Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen Checklist. You can download an app for your phone to help keep track how you do each day.

Or this article from the Blue Zones website on 20 Habits For a Healthier, Happier Life.

Below are some other specific healthy lifestyle actions to consider. Click on the links below to learn more:

Enjoy Fruit: 2-4 servings per day (1 cup fruit or ½ cup berries)

Enjoy Vegetables: 3-5 servings per day (1 cup)

Enjoy Beans: 2-3 servings per day (½ cup pinto, black, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans)

Enjoy Whole Grains: 2-3 servings per day (½ cup hot cereal or cooked grain like brown rice or quinoa, 1 cup cold cereal, 1 slice whole grain bread, 1 small corn or whole wheat tortilla)

Add Mushrooms and Onions/Garlic: a couple times of each per week

Add Tree Nuts: ¼  cup each day (walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, etc)

Have a variety of Seeds: ground flaxseed 1-2 tbsp each day (also chia, sunflower, sesame)

Have a variety of Spices: turmeric ¼ tsp each day. (also curry, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon)

Limit Salt: less than 2 grams per day (even less is best)

Drink Water:  2-3 servings per day (8-12 ounce glass)

Drink Tea or Coffee: 2-3 times a day (green, black or herbal tea, coffee)

Switch to plant based milk (soy milk or almond milk etc, but not rice milk) from cow’s milk

Decrease ice cream and/or cheese 1-2 times a week (or even stop dairy completely)

Limit eggs to only 1-2 times a month (or even stop eggs completely)

Switch to beans (legumes) from meats 3-4 times a week

Limit white meat (poultry and fish) to 2-4 times a week (or even stop white meats completely)

Limit red meats (beef and pork) and processed meats** to 1-2 times a month

(or even stop them completely)

(**bacon, ham, sausage, hot dogs, lunch and deli meats, smoked dried or canned meats)

Begin walking* or jogging** (Exercise-Lifestylefacts.org)(Exercise-Nutritinfacts.org)

  • Start at 5-15 minutes 3-4 days a week if desired
  • Increase to 20-30 minutes 4-5 days a week when able
  • Work up to 45-60 minutes 6-7 days a week if desired

*or other light to moderate intensity activity like yoga, light housework. Moderate activity  feels like you can “talk easily, but not sing” and may cause a little perspiration

**or other moderate to strenuous activity like biking, swimming, tennis, gardening. Strenuous feels like “you can only talk a few word sentences at a time” and usually gets you sweaty

Start strength, stretching and balance exercises 2 times a week

  • join a gym (or set up a home gym)
  • attend a yoga, tai chi, dance or another exercise class (or do at home with DVD/Online)

Commit to not sitting for over 1 hour without getting up and moving for 5 minutes

Make time each day for mental relaxation and spiritual connection:

Encourage Joy and Avoid Negative Stress:

  • journal about positive experiences. Celebrate and enjoy them. Also explore the more difficult experiences. Identify any counterproductive thoughts and feelings and try to focus on more reasonable and helpful ways to think and feel about them
  • consider what ways you feel joy
  • consider also what ways you feel stress
  • commit to steps you can take to find more joy and less stress
  • can you ask someone such as a friend or family member to join in your journey?
  • would a trained counselor be helpful?

Encourage Healthy Sleep:

  • less caffeine and alcohol
  • more physical activity and outside or in bright light time
  • slow down and dim the lights before bedtime (including TV,computer, and phone screens)
  • have bedroom set up for better sleep (dark, quiet, cool)
  • allow for 7-9 hours of sleep
  • get checked for sleep apnea if you snore, stop breathing, find it difficult to stay awake during the day, have difficult to control insomnia or high blood pressure, or depression or memory issues

Make sure you are challenging your brain to stay sharp by doing complex tasks

  • start reading a book
  • schedule time for making art or playing a musical instrument
  • regularly play a complex game you enjoy
  • learn a new activities such as cooking, gardening, or another craft or hobby
  • seek an opportunity to teach, mentor or lead

Maintain a strong social connection:

  • regularly attend a club, classes, or church
  • commit to strengthening an important family relationship or friendship

Take time each week to consider what gives your life meaning and purpose

Commit to stopping or minimizing harmful lifestyles:

Commit to making a safe lifestyles a priority:  

  • wearing seat belts and helmets, having smoke detectors in place and working, gun safety, caution when using equipment and chemicals

If you think there are some steps you would like to take to improve your health and well-being, you can help set yourself up for success by spending some time on the Lifestyle Steps in Action page.

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