Small Change Adds Up!
When I decided to stop drinking diet soda, I also stopped carrying pocket change. The logic was simple: the rattling of change in my pocket triggered me to find and feed vending machines. Soda machines are typically neighbors with candy and chip machines, so I'd keep feeding the machines until my pockets were empty.
Hubby and I have always used a quart jar to hold our spare change, but since I wasn't scooping out change every morning, eventually we had to trade up the quarter jar for a half-gallon jar. When it got full, I realized that the jar had become visual evidence of my change (pun intended!).
Sometimes we don't notice little things. Sometimes we think we aren't making a difference. Sometimes our small changes don't have a dollar value. But small changes can be priceless! Here are a dozen ideas for getting started with your own small changes:
- Stand up every 30 minutes and walk around or stretch for 1-2 minutes.
- If you eat breads or cereals, go for whole grain options.
- If you buy yogurt with fruit, switch to plain Greek-style yogurt and add fresh fruit.
- Enjoy a dish of yogurt and fruit instead of ice cream.
- Take a walk on your breaks and lunch hours.
- Pack lunch instead of eating fast food or restaurant food.
- If you have the option, use the restroom on a different floor and take the stairs to get there.
- Drink a cup of water first thing in the morning.
- Get a good night's sleep. Set a night-time alarm to remind you when it's time to wind down and get ready for bed.
- If you crave cookies and baked goods, make your own so you can use healthier ingredients and eliminate the added bad stuff. For example, use canola oil or applesauce in place of butter; use egg whites instead of whole eggs; experiment with cutting the amount of sugar and salt called for in the recipe.
- Enjoy a fruit smoothie every day; add frozen spinach for a vegetable boost.
- Eat breakfast. Breakfast doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming; just choose an option with protein, carbs, and whole grains. My four favorite breakfasts: 1) oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, and milk; 2) hard-boiled egg with whole-grain toast and a banana; 3) whole-grain toast with almond butter and a banana; 4) breakfast smoothie: half banana, 1 cup of mixed frozen fruit (usually strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple), ½ cup frozen chopped spinach, 1 scoop whey protein powder or egg white protein powder. Yum!
These changes may not be as easy to measure as the change in my jar, but whatever you choose to do, find some way to visually measure and share your success. That's part of the fun!
Oh, and no, I haven't counted the change in the jar yet. I think I'll trade up to a gallon jar and wait until it's full.