One lament I hear from many dads with young children is this: "I don’t feel as healthy as I used to."

It’s obvious why – with a full-time job, a growing family, and a home to maintain, there is precious little time to care of you. In fact, for many of us, we willingly put our own needs on the backburner to provide for our family. But that momentary sacrifice might cost you permanently in the long run. By sacrificing your own health needs, you might cause lasting damage to your body or your mental and physical state. That won’t be good for you and it certainly won’t be good for those who depend on you.

There are only a few things that you need to do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. You know what most of them are and here are a few tips to make them a priority in your life.

1. Eating Healthy

This is most critical and most difficult task of all. If you eat poorly as an adult, it can be incredibly challenging to change your lifelong habits. Instead of going out to eat for lunch, start bringing a healthy lunch from home. Begin buying healthier food at the grocery store and commit to changing your diet. You know the foods and beverages that aren’t good for you – so, avoid them. Or at least eat less of them. If your wife and children are also eating unhealthy, this can be an opportunity for all of you to commit to a healthier lifestyle.

2. See Your Doctor

If the last time you went to the doctor you got a lollipop on your way out, it might be time for a check-up. Your doctor is not someone to be feared. Instead, think of him as a partner in your long-term health. Ask your doctor to order blood and urine work too, in order to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Also, go in with a list of questions about your eating, sleeping, exercise regimen, and any issues that you’re noticing in your daily life. As we age, we will begin to see small but significant changes in our bodies and overall health. Most are probably completely normal, but you can never be too sure, so tell your doctor about them.

3. See Your Dentist

For many of us, our teeth and gums are almost an afterthought. Until something goes wrong. Then, they are a constant source of pain and a drain on our wallets. If you have dental insurance, use it. Sure, you may get reminded (harshly) about the need to brush better and floss more consistently, but that’s the dentist’s and hygienist’s job. Take the time to see the dentist twice a year and you will save yourself in the long run.

4. Exercise

For many of us, running around the park with our kids feels like the most intense workout that we can handle. And it definitely helps. But it shouldn’t take the place of regular, sustained exercise. Each day you should try to get outside for a brisk walk, bike ride, or jog. If you can do other activities, like swimming, yoga, or a workout at the gym, all the better. But for many of us, exercise is low on our priority list and that needs to change. If you make exercise a necessity and build time for it – even if it means getting up a little earlier in the morning or trying to get to the gym during your lunch hour – you will see the results and be grateful you made the change.

5. Live Moderately

It seems like just a few years ago you could party into the wee hours of the morning and snap back in time to be at work in the morning. Those days are long gone, my friend. And at this point in your life, you’re probably better off for it. That doesn’t mean that you must curtail your social life. It just means that you’ve matured and your social life has changed. Cutting back on drinking or smoking will not only make you feel better and healthier in the short term, but it will probably add years to your life.

6. Listen to Your Body

We listen to our cars when they start making a strange noise. We listen to our appliances when something seems off. So why wouldn’t we listen to our bodies when a part of it doesn’t seem to be working properly? As we age, our bodies sometimes break down. It’s normal and the only way to even partially stem the tide is to eat healthy and exercise regularly. By listening to your body when something seems out of whack, you might catch a problem before it becomes a bigger problem and something to truly be worried about. Also, our mental health is crucial too. Listen to your brain and body if you're feeling depressed, angry, or experiencing another issue that might require counseling.

7. Sleep

As parents of young children, we have to sacrifice sleep. That just goes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean that sleep shouldn’t be a priority. It’s a good idea to skip watching that late night TV show in favor of getting to sleep early. It’s also a good idea to build in a nap every once in a while to keep yourself fresh and somewhat rested. If your sleep is being compromised again and again, it might be worth hashing out a sleep schedule with your wife so that you can catch up.