Small Changes = Big Results!

Embarking on some new healthy changes in your life? Great! Even if you’ve been inactive or have had poor eating habits for a while, no worries. You have to start somewhere, so why not start from where you are now? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. You can’t do it all at once and you’re not supposed to. Trying to do too much at once will only lead to frustration, or even worse, injury. So start slow. Here are five little things you can do each and every day to set you off in the right direction of all that you desire for yourself.

1) Set an intention.

In my yoga and yoga nidra (guided meditation) sessions that I teach, I direct my students to create an intention. This is similar to a mission statement for yourself. You say it in the present tense, like it’s already true. A great example is, “My body is fit and healthy.” Repeating intentions to yourself is a very powerful practice that takes only seconds but makes a big impact. What you believe, you can achieve.

2) Stretch for 5-10 minutes every morning.

I’m talking five minutes, not an hour, and you don’t even need to head to the gym! First thing in the morning, do a simple spinal twist while you’re still lying in bed. Take a few deep breaths on each side and gently stretch your spine. Then get up, spread your feet about three feet apart, and just hang down over your legs in a forward bend for a couple of minutes. Let your neck and shoulders relax and breathe into any stress or tension. When you feel ready, slowly roll up one vertebra at a time, then do a few big shoulder rolls, exhaling as you release the shoulders down the back. This is a wonderful tension reliever and takes only minutes. You will feel better instantly. What a great way to start the day!

3) Get quiet for 5 minutes.

Most people shudder at the thought of trying to meditate. I often hear, “I can’t turn my mind off!” Or, “I can’t stop thinking!” That’s OK…we’re not supposed to stop thinking. All meditation is is tuning into yourself. Shutting off the phone and TV for five minutes and sitting quietly is all you need to do to begin tapping into a feeling of peace and calm. Take any pressure off yourself to “stop thinking” and simply observe your breath. When you think about something, notice the thought but then keep returning your attention to the breath. All it takes is five minutes to feel a difference.

4) Choose one unhealthy thing to cut out of your diet for one week.

I’m not talking a whole diet overhaul here! Just ONE thing will make a difference. White sugar or white flour are the obvious choices. Or maybe it’s diet soda (seemingly innocuous, but actually quite unhealthy.) Making one small change like this will improve the way you feel, and you may be surprised at what this accomplishes. Like I said before, you need to start somewhere, and a journey begins with a simple step. Making one change will probably inspire you to make additional changes without feeling like you HAVE to but rather because you WANT to.

5) Make a green smoothie every day.

Most of us don’t get enough greens in our diet. Greens are THE most nutritious and revitalizing thing to put in our bodies, and it is documented that the more greens we eat, the less we crave unhealthy foods. I highly recommend VitaMineral Green by HealthForce Nutritionals (order yours here). Blend with some fresh or frozen fruit (I like strawberries, bananas, and mangoes), some yogurt or milk or OJ – it’s really up to you! I’ve been making green smoothies almost every day for a couple of years now and I never get sick of them. They are so delicious and I know I am doing something so healthy for myself. Try it and feel amazing!

Five small changes…and you’re on your way! Stay positive, get healthy and have fun!



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About Missy Balsam

Missy Balsam is a full-time yoga instructor living in Naples, FL. Missy graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Psychology, then worked as a sales and marketing executive for many years before leaving the corporate world behind to follow her heart. Missy completed her 200 hour certification with Baron Baptiste, and since 2007 has found her true path sharing her love of yoga with others. Missy’s teaching style is one of empowerment, inspiration, and joy, encouraging students of all levels to keep growing and evolving, discovering the happiness that is already inside of all of us. And...even when it’s challenging, to just have fun and not take it all so seriously!

In addition to teaching group and private yoga classes, Missy leads kirtan concerts with her band Wabi Sabi. Kirtan is call and response devotional yoga music and chanting, and is another form of yoga practice called Bhakti. She is passionate about sharing kirtan which, like yoga, has created boundless joy in her life. For more about Missy, visit her website, and her facebook page Missy Balsam Yoga.