What do you consider wellness? Is it a number on the scale or how many steps you have taken? Perhaps it is what you did – or didn’t – eat or how often your doctor sees you.

At FIT4MOM Arlington-Alexandria, we believe wellness moves beyond simple numbers or checklists. Wellness is a combination of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health; if one is lacking, the others will as well, causing you to suffer.

Most of us are chasing a goal to feel better and make better lifestyle choices – to be healthier. But there is so much noise in the media, we are often unsure where or how to start, much less what the overall ending should be. How do you start on a path to healthier living?

No matter what your goals are, here are 5 simple ways to find a healthier you.

1. Journal

Grab your pen & paper or open your favorite app. Writing things down can be transformative! If you want to make better nutritional choices, write down what you eat each day. If you want to be happier, start a gratitude journal. Whatever your goal is, begin journaling to help you track where you are now & decide where you want to be in the future.

2. Ask “Compared to What?”

Every time you are questioning if you should eat a particular food, always ask yourself: “Compared to what?” If there are healthier, more nutritious options readily available, choose those instead.

3. Don’t Try to Go Alone

Skip the lunch date and go for a walk with a co-worker. Ask your kids to build an obstacle course out of exercise equipment with you. Movement can be more fun when others are involved.

4. Relax!

Create a relaxing ritual before bedtime. Stress not only makes you miserable, it wreaks havoc on your sleep. Develop some kind of pre-sleep ritual to break the connection between all the day’s stress and bedtime. These rituals can be as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour. Think of including reading, lavender baths/showers, yoga, foam rolling, and meditating.

5. Practice Self-Gratitude

We should always practice gratitude with ourselves as much as with others. Instead of focusing on the items you did not accomplish that day, make a list of what you DID accomplish throughout the day! This may show you that you have done more than you think. So maybe you skipped your workout, but did you drink your goal amount of water? If you ate poorly for lunch but chose a healthier dinner, give yourself a pat on the back. Be sure to thank yourself for jobs well done.