12 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2012

12 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2012

womans shoe on grass

Written by Rachel, Contributing Writer

It’s January, so we all know what that means… New Year’s Resolutions.

Did you know that according to Time Magazine, most of these so-called resolutions fail after 9-10 days? So, if your wrote any you probably already stopped or quit one or more of them. Dictionary.com defines resolution as a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.

A couple of reasons why we fail at resolutions are we’re too busy and we’re too broad. What we need to do is say exactly what our goal is and how we will accomplish it. We need to take baby steps, and not think “all or nothing!” Sometimes I fall into the pit of giving up because I’m not doing what I should be or what I think I should be doing. I say don’t make resolutions! Take steps towards the goals or “resolutions” you want to accomplish. 

Let’s take exercise for example. Maybe starting or exercising more is one of your goals, so start by making small attainable steps towards that goal like walk this week, then next week walk twice, then after a while you can jog, and so on. We are all on the fast track, we have a want “it” now mindset, but taking steps towards a healthier life takes time, mostly because you have to break old habits.

I have come up with steps to take to become healthier this year. Steps that I believe will help in all aspects of life: Emotionally, Mentally, Physically, Spiritually, and they are steps I want to take (and improve on) to become healthier this year as well!

Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that by testing you may discern the will of God, which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

1. Choose Whole Foods

If you are a reader here at Keeper of the Home, this is no secret to you! Whole Foods are the most nourishing foods you can give your body. I heard this quote somewhere, “If it’s natural eat it, if it’s not, stay away from it.”

Our bodies were created to eat God food, not Man food. God foods are whole foods like: fruits, vegetables, herbs, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, whole grains, and healthy fats. Man foods are: overly processed “food” with ingredients you can’t read, with additives like msg, food dyes, artificial flavors and sweeteners, refined sugar and the list goes on.

For example, Kraft Mac & Cheese, McDonald’s chicken nuggets, Coke, or Cheetos among a kazillion other things are some man foods.

12 Steps to a Healthier Life in 2012
photo credit: Kath Eats Real Food

I’m not saying you should never eat processed foods, but an important step to take would be to read the ingredients. Find out if the ingredients have whole foods that are going to nourish you and your body. To read more about baby steps in the right direction, click here or to find list of healthy sources click here.

Action step: replace man food with God food

2. Think Positively

This is pretty self explanatory, but if you are thinking negatively about things, it’s not a surprise that you are not living to your fullest. Is your glass half empty or half full? Moses thought he wasn’t good enough and gave many excuses to God why he wasn’t but God didn’t care, He had a purpose for Moses.

Remember that God has a plan for you, too, and leave the negative self talk behind. The Mayo Clinic reports that Researchers continue to explore the effects of positive tinging and optimism on health. Health benefits that postive thinking may include:

  • Increased life span
  • Lowers rates of depression
  • Lowers rates of distress
  • Greater resistance to the common cold
  • Better psychological and physical well-being
  • Reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease
  • Better coping skilles during hardships and times of stress  {source}

Action step: don’t think about how or what you can or can not do, think “I can do all things!” Philippians 4:13

3. Make Time to Exercise

The benefits of a little exercise far out weigh my “I don’t feel like it” excuses but sometimes I still put it on the back-burner, however, if this is one your goals, which it is one of mine, I hope you will find time to do it.

photo credit

There are simple ways to incorporate more exercise into your daily routine. Try exercise videos from your library. Mindy from The Purposed Heart says she loves to do the videos with her one year old and loves seeing him have so much fun. Do activities you enjoy and even get your kids involved; when the weather is nice take a walk with them.

If you only have 10 minutes in your day, try burst training. Exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, combats health conditions and disease, helps you to sleep better, helps reduce depression, boosts your energy levels and makes you feel better about yourself.

Action step: take 15 minutes two days this week to do some kind of physical activity

4. Follow a Schedule

To be short and sweet, every second in the day has a purpose, whether it is nursing a baby, washing the dishes, writing a blog post, or eating dinner. If you don’t make a plan, than you may be losing valuable time.

I know this is very true for me, sometimes I find myself at the end of the day saying “what did I get done?” Sometimes, I didn’t need to get anything done but to spend time with my little ones, but other times I find that I spent too much time on facebook instead of doing x, y and z. No schedule should be set in stone but having one that is used as a guideline helps you get more things done that you want to get done and brings order to the home.

Action step: start by using Ann Voskamp’s The Daily Draft to get on a daily schedule

5. Reduce Toxins

Toxins are poisons and the are found everywhere in our everyday lives. There are so many that we simply cannot remove all of them but we can reduce them. Toxins are found in the environment, in the foods we eat, and even what we clean our home with. These toxins are hazardous to our health and cause sickness and disease.

cleaning chemicals
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I know that can sound overwhelming, but you can take baby steps to find out more about where toxins are and how to remove them.

Action step: replace your conventional household cleaners with natural ones or even make your own

6. Use Natural Personal Care Products and Home Cleaners

Number 5 above pretty much summarizes the need to use natural beauty and house cleaners. Your skin is your largest organ and it soaks up everything you put on it and/or it exposed to.

Just as there are warnings against second hand smoke, the hazardous labels on these products should say that the fumes are toxic and your skin soaks them up. Stephanie, Keeper of the Home owner and editor wrote an informative post here that explains even more about personal care products.

Action step: switch one of your make-up products to a natural brand

Tomorrow we’ll continue on with the last 6 steps to a healthier life… 

What are some baby steps that you plan to take towards healthier, more natural living this year?

Top image by lachlan

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  1. Great post. I am excited to read part II.

    A few years ago my goal was to cut back on diet soda. At that time I was drinking at least one a day, or possibly more like two depending on the size of the bottle. Now, this isn’t awful but I found that due to the soda I was not drinking enough water. My action step was to replace the soda with a glass of water, every other day. Eventually I found that I cut back more and more on the soda as the water was keeping my thirst quenched and I just felt better overall. Now, two years later I hardly drink the stuff. Maybe one a month if I am just really craving it! (And when I do I find I cannot even finish the can b/c I no longer prefer the taste) 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing that story Brittnie! I’m sure many other readers have done the same thing, admittedly, I have as well. Probably about 3-4 years ago, my husband & I would go through several cans of diet coke daily…. now we know that stuff can kill you! It’s all about learning and growing!

  2. Fabulous as always, Rachel. 🙂 I really need to switch to a better makeup…..would you write a post sometime about natural make-up brands??

  3. This is timely for me as all of the things you’ve listed have been on my mind. I have started eating more whole foods and exercising 6 days a week. I was happy to lose 5 pounds in a short about of time, which makes me feel better about myself and as a whole physically. Looking forward to the other tips!

    1. Michelle, WAY TO GO! You are on a great start, I need to exercise 6 days a week too, lol! What exercising have you been doing? You should check out Stephanie’s new ebook about creating a meal plan with whole foods!

  4. I’ve been drinking a lot more water and less coffee and soda. It’s cheaper, healthier(especially abstaining from my creamer), and sets a good example for my kids.

    1. That’s great Paula! Creamer can be so addictive, especially that “fancy” stuff, I know because my taste buds like it. I now use half & half and sweeten it with stevia and sometimes maple syrup for a good treat. You’re a great mom for setting a good example for your kids! Keep it up!

  5. Great ideas and info Rachel. I do have to admit I bunny trailed on the chicken nuggets bit. Where did you find they have to be labeled in CA? I can’t find it on Google….

    1. Hannah, there is a warning label proposition in CA: http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/AtHome/cancer-warning-labels-based-on-californias-proposition-65 (my hubby added the chicken nugget thing, but it still is the same as far as what’s happening in the food the food) The McD label is apparently “false” I believe, but here is another person’s post about it: http://sportyafros.com/nutrition/mcdonalds-food-now-comes-with-a-warning-label/ (so either millions of us have been “punked” about the label including me or it is true) Either way it’s still not good, sorry for the confusion I brought! I’m going to edit this post, thank you for asking the question.

  6. So I really need to work on the whole making a schedule thing:) This is a great post Rachel! Reading Romans 12:2 was just the encouragement I need this morning:)

    1. Thank you so much Andrea, that is so sweet! I also need to work on scheduling… I was telling someone else, I haven’t mastered any of them! If we ever think we have “arrived” that isn’t a good thing because we can never stop learning or know enough. Hope you are having a great weekend!

  7. Excellent post! I have made it to day 13 on my commitment to 31 days of being sugar free, so I guess I’ve passed the initial meltdown stage. I am looking forward to reading the rest tomorrow!

  8. This looks very similar to my list too! It all started with a short-term goal of giving up Diet Coke for 30 days after my 34th birthday. Now I keep trying to incorporate small changes, a new one every month or so. Thanks for the post! I would be interested in a makeup post too! I get some mineral makeup from Everyday minerals and moisturizer from a local woman, but knowing other options would be nice.

    1. Elizabeth, great idea about short-term goals, baby steps upon baby steps! Stacy asked the same thing about make-up, I will look into that and try to do it for y’all! Keep up the great work girl!

  9. Hi Stephanie, I am trying to comment again. It seems when I add my blog name at the bottom my comments won’t go through. Not sure why?

    1. Have you commented previously before? First time comments are held in moderation until we can approve them, so that may be why they’re not showing up. Once a person has had an approved comment, their other comments usually show up right away or within a few minutes, without being held in moderation. Occasionally, a comment goes to spam if it has outbound links in it, just because the spam filter gets confused, but we do go through the spam comments every few days to try to catch the comments that make it in there by accident.

      1. Ok, thanks. Yes, I have commented over the years but didn’t have a blog before very recently.

        1. Kim, glad Stephanie figured that out for you, didn’t know if you still had a question or comment? I’d love to hear from you!

  10. This is a great post – I love your list, you are so right there is so much more to being healthy than just one or two things… I never keep new years resolutions ever – hopeless at them… I think because I expect to fail!!! But I do need to make a few health changes: sleep better, eat better, exercise better etc… This year I let my kids in on the project and it has been fabulous… I told them I had to exercise – one of them walks with me up the mountain behind our house everyday while everyone else does the chores and gets ready for school. They have been great and long may it last!!!

    1. se7en, that is great! I need to do that more, get my kid’s involved. What I’ve been doing, if I find I have been online too much (for not good reason) I tell my kids “if mommy gets on the computer, tell her no mommy, you said you can’t get on there!” and it works every time!

  11. Great post!! I agree completely with all of these. I’ve made large strides in your first four, but need some work in the last two! Definitely something I’ll be investigating in 2012.

    1. Pam that is awesome! #5 & #6 are sooo very important! If you click on the links in those numbers, you will find some good, reliable info! Let me know about your journey when you take those steps, I’d love to see if it makes a difference for you!

  12. Great post!! Think Positive makes happier in life. If you are a good attitude then you can react in every situation very well also.

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