Blog | Monday, July 6, 2020

With wellness habits: something is always better than nothing

The philosophy of “something is always better than nothing” is one of the most useful things to remember when it comes to lifestyle medicine and incorporating better habits into our daily routines. I've found that for many people, especially those right at the start of their health and well-being journey, the task ahead may seem very daunting and intimidating. You may eat a load of junk food, have no regular exercise routine, or have a ton of weight you want to lose. Such a big mountain to climb.

A very important thing to remember, is that we don't need to start off with huge changes immediately. There are always little, often tiny, things we can do to keep stepping in the right direction. If you've eaten a fast food meal, why not have an apple or a handful of blueberries afterwards? If you're eating a pizza full of carbs and loaded with cheese (something that you know will be terrible!), why not make an extra effort to put some vegetables on it as well? Do you find yourself sedentary in your desk job for most of the day? Then get up and ascend a few flights of stairs for a few minutes! If you know there's no way you can work out for 30 minutes to an hour because you're so busy—then just have a five-minute workout instead!

These little things add up very fast, soon become normal, and a series of habits that you're regularly engaging in, especially as you start feeling better about yourself in general. “I must eat an apple today,” “I have to have some vegetables with that,” “I need to get up and move around.” I know because this is how I started my wellness journey several years ago. Miniscule changes evolved over time to a regular ingrained pattern that has left me in better shape and feeling more energetic and happier too. I'm not going back!

This doesn't just apply to people initiating lifestyle change for the first time in their lives, it can even apply to seasoned enthusiasts. We all have days of indulging and a lack of exercise. No matter where we are … if we just keep doing those little good things every day … it soon adds up and magnifies.

Suneel Dhand is an internal medicine physician, author and speaker. He is the founder of DocSpeak Communications and co-founder at DocsDox. He blogs at his self-titled site, where this post first appeared.