Living well doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition-and it shouldn't be. The little things you do every day, like topping your bread with olive oil instead of butter or taking five minutes to stretch, are what add up to a healthy lifestyle in the long run. Here are a few suggestions for living your best life (see how many you can make a habit):

  • Keep it short. If the thought of carving out a 30-minute block of time for exercise is too daunting, break it up into bite-sized chunks. Instead of grinding away on the elliptical machine for a half hour, sneak in a brisk 10-minute walk while your teens are getting ready for school, put in 10 minutes of stair climbing during your lunch break, and dance vigorously for 10 minutes while dinner cooks. You're finished!

  • Brown-bag it. Preparing your own lunch at home and bringing it to work saves not only cash, but calories, too. You can load up whole-wheat bread with lean protein such as turkey slices, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and mustard, then add a piece of crunchy fruit for dessert. Leftover chicken-vegetable soup from dinner last night? No problem. Spoon it into a reheatable container, add some multigrain crackers and a yogurt, and skip the drive-through.

  • Be a friend. Nurturing your friendships is one of the most important things you can do for your well-being. Friends enhance your self-esteem, provide companionship, and have your back when things get rough. Want to make new pals? Get out there. Take a class, hang out on your porch, join a hobby group, or volunteer. Respect the friendships you have by making time for them. Don't let the demands of work and family life overtake you to the point where you shut out people you value. When you do get together with friends, be supportive, positive, and a careful listener.

  • Stretch. Focusing on cardio and weight training to get into shape? Remember the third piece of the fitness puzzle: flexibility. Stretching can help you in almost all of your daily tasks, from bending down to wipe up spills to navigating an icy parking lot without falling. It also improves circulation due to increased blood flow to your muscles-especially important if you've suffered an injury. You'll stand taller and feel more relaxed, too. Try an introductory yoga or stretch class, and enjoy limbering up. Just be sure to check with your doctor first.

  • Embrace healthy fats. If the last time you had a peanut butter sandwich was in sixth grade, it's time to revisit this old favorite. The fats in peanuts and peanut butter can help lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease. Peanuts also contain fiber, vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Make your sandwich super-healthy by using whole-grain, high-fiber bread and swapping out the jelly for banana slices. Other heart-healthy foods containing good fats are cold-water fish such as salmon and herring, avocados, and olive oil.