Every day people make (yet another) resolution to get and stay healthy, only to fall back into bad habits. Call it bad timing, too much stress, or just plain ole’ lack of discipline, but most people aren’t able to get healthy after so much initial gusto. Those that eventually DO get healthy can’t stay healthy. Why? Because it’s hard!

Now, a question: is the actual act of getting healthy hard, or is it setting our priorities? We’ve never – in the history of the world – had more distractions and temptations than we do now. Adding a second barrel to that shotgun, work has never been more competitive and stressful than it is right now. Many of us end up taking this double-barreled shotgun and shooting ourselves right in the foot.

Some of us take the completely wrong approach; we eat what we want and try to work all of that food off. Some of us do the exact opposite and simply eat less and not workout at all. But all of us make staying healthy way too difficult. Believe it or not, there are many simple things that can be done to get and stay healthy.

In fact, here are 20 S-I-M-P-L-E things we can start doing right now:

1. Trash the junk food

That’s right…trash it. Forget about how much money you paid, or how a little bit isn’t doing anyone any harm. My friend, having junk food in the house makes it much, much more difficult to abstain from indulging – especially when a quick bite is needed to take care of those hunger pangs.

2. Stock up on healthy snack foods

Yes, there are good-tasting healthy snack foods. Nuts, berries, grapes, apples, oranges, bananas…the list goes on. This should be pretty easy to do after you’ve completed #1 and are in need of some quick eats ‘round the house.

3. Get a simple recipe cookbook and buy the ingredients

For those of us that are not good cooks (hangs head in shame), this is an absolute must. The truth is those snacks are not going to hold us over for too long. We need to cook something up on occasion.

4. Bulk up the cooking

It’s much easier to stick to a healthy diet when food is already stocked. Cook up some chili or make a healthy stir fry and store those extras away! How much easier is it to zap something in the microwave than it is to prepare a whole meal?

5. Stay out of bars and restaurants

Nothing will derail healthy eating like the local bars and restaurants. Beer, liquor, appetizers, and other “no-no’s” are much easier to succumb to when you’re sitting down and ready to indulge. If you must go out, stick to the healthy side of the menu and lay off the booze.

6. Find fun ways to exercise

The truth is that most of us – even those that do it often – hate working out. Working out simply is not very fun, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be. Sports like basketball and tennis are very fun and also very healthy. Biking and hiking are awesome, too!

7. Get a workout buddy

While many of us may not like working out, it’s much more fun (or at least tolerable) if we have a friend there with us. Friends and workout buddies add some extra incentive not to slack off as well.

8. Use social media for extra motivation

The truth is that most of us are on social media. So, use Facebook or another platform to notify your circle on your intentions. We’re much less likely to slack if we include others in our plans for healthy living, as it adds another dimension of accountability.

9. Plan nights out in advance

We all need nights out of the house to maintain our sanity. Not only is this okay, it’s absolutely necessary in our opinion. However, with so many different apps and sites that make it easy to plan a night out, we should be making the most of them. Plan your night out and stick to that plan, even if others don’t want to follow along.

10. Lay off sugary drinks

Soda and energy drinks are so commonplace, yet so bad for us. Sugar is perhaps the biggest culprit in an unhealthy lifestyle. If you need your soda or energy drink fix, choose the diet variety.

11. Schedule your breaks

Many of us are in a work environment that requires sitting at a computer or in a cubicle. To that end, schedule your 15 minute-or-so breaks effectively – get outside, take a brisk walk around the office, or find something else to do besides sitting in the break room.

12. Get your spouse/significant other onboard

This one is tough on those that have someone living with them. While you may wholeheartedly embrace a healthy lifestyle, your main squeeze may not. So, share your thought process and ask for their support. They may not be willing to embrace your lifestyle, but they should be willing to be an advocate.

13. Make small changes

A lifestyle change is a difficult transition, no doubt about that. Instead of making all of these changes in one go, take minor steps. Don’t fret about having to do everything at once by making small, incremental changes to your habits. If you can implement all of these in one go, that’s terrific…but you shouldn’t feel obligated to.

14. Make healthy choices a lifestyle

With all this talk about “lifestyle changes,” it’s appropriate to intercede here. Don’t think about these nutritional or diet changes as a “phase”. Incorporate your method of healthy living into a day-to-day routine – something that doesn’t have any kind of end date.

15. Celebrate your successes

It’s probably best not to go out to McDonald’s to celebrate your newfound lifestyle. That said, it’s okay to get out and enjoy the strides that you’ve made in this difficult endeavor. Go watch a movie you’ve wanted to see or buy yourself something to savor the moment. You’ve earned it.

16. Try new, healthy foods

There are plenty of good-tasting, healthy foods that you’ve probably not heard about or tried before. Look into picking up some raw fruits and veggies, avocado, flaxseed, or tofu. Some of them are an acquired taste (avocado or tofu), but can be truly delicious if made using the right recipe or use them as a compliment to your meal.

healthy food

17. Make subtle diet adjustments

Many of the foods that we enjoy can still be enjoyable if we make some slight modifications. For example, if you like chicken, buy chicken that is not fried or peel the skin. If you like salad, add some more veggies and scale back on the ranch dressing, and so on.

18. Explore ethic diets

There are some great Mediterranean and Asian foods out there that are very healthy and taste quite food. Visit a local Indian or Thai spot, and you’ll find some healthy and tasty meals that serve your new lifestyle well.

19. Don’t smoke

Goes without saying, but you should lay off the cigarettes. It’s a difficult thing to do, but there is plenty of support out there to assist you with trying to kick the habit. Not to mention how much better your body and mind will feel having this monkey off your back.

20. Remember…diet before exercise

This is true: diet is more important than exercise…and it’s not even a close contest. You can lose weight and get healthy quicker by changing up your diet than you can by working out five times a week. This is because no matter how much you exercise, if you still eat like it’s your first time at a buffet, it won’t matter too much.