(Photo-illustration by Jeff Neumann, The Denver Post; photos: Jupiter Images)

Inspired by the title of the new Alexander McCall Smith mystery, "The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon," here are 25 small changes you can make that will nudge you just a hair closer to your fitness goals in the new year. Will any of these turn you into a chiseled Olympian? No. Will all of them chip away at the list of bad habits you didn't even know you had? Yep.

Breathe more deeply. Every hour, on the hour, take three extra-deep breaths. More oxygen to the brain can improve memory and slow aging; more oxygen to muscles and organs makes them healthier.

Park in the most distant spot in the parking lot when you visit the supermarket.

Skip the cheese and sour cream on your Chipotle order. This saves over 200 calories.

Pack a piece of fruit in your work bag and eat it instead of begging a co-worker for chocolate.

Have standing meetings at the office. Some studies say that standing burns 50 more calories per hour than sitting.

Brush three times a day instead of two. And stand on one foot while brushing your teeth for one minute. Then stand on your other foot while brushing for another minute. Boom, 20 calories, and you'll strengthen your core.


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Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Six flights of stairs burns about 30 calories.

Choose whole-wheat pasta instead of white. You'll fill up on less pasta, and you'll hit your fiber requirements for the day sooner.

Ditch the remote. If you want to change the channel, get up off the couch to do it.

Substitute whole-roasted meats for processed deli cuts — which have been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes — in your sandwich.

Take a brisk, 10-minute walk around the block twice a day. If you weigh 160 pounds, this burns about 70 calories.

Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning. Consistency breeds deeper, more beneficial sleep.

Bend deeply at the knees (a.k.a. squat) when loading dishes into the dishwasher. Squeeze your glutes on the way up. (Check with your doc, or avoid this one, if you have knee trouble.)

Throw on workout clothes on your day off. Even if you aren't planning to work out. You never know — your outfit may inspire you.

Take bigger steps when you walk. Stop shuffling — stride like you mean it. And stand tall. Good posture can only help.

Go meatless two days a week to cut fat and cholesterol (and save money).

Keep fresh, cool water at hand. You may have to visit the restroom more often, but you'll be well hydrated, and there's nothing wrong with getting up and walking to the restroom.

Make your own salad dressing, and use olive oil or canola oil, which can help raise HDL (a.k.a. "good") cholesterol, and add good flavor.

Find a restaurant within walking distance and walk there to eat once a week. (Caveat: "Walking distance" means five or six blocks. Next door doesn't count.)

Have one glass of sparkling (or still) water with lemon or lime for each one of wine or beer. It will slow down your caloric intake (liquid and in snacks) and keep you hydrated.

Floss. Just, floss. Every day. There are too many benefits to list here.

Practice this phrase: "Small coffee, please." Use it in place of "upside-down caramel macchiato, please." You just saved 200 or more calories.

Chew gum at the movies, instead of scarfing down a family-sized popcorn. (Bonus: No popcorn residue on your jeans.)

Meet friends or co-workers for a walk around the park or to get a cup of coffee (not a caramel macchiato) instead of a cocktail.

Call your primary care physician and make an appointment for a full physical.

Tucker Shaw: 303-954-1958, tshaw@denverpost.com or twitter.com/tucker_shaw