Do you know that what you repeatedly do, defines who you are and how far you go in life? As Sean Covey once said, “ Depending on what they are, our habits would either make us or break us. We become what we repeatedly do”. That is why we need to make the decision to break bad habits and build healthy habits that would significantly improve our lives.
Bad habits can negatively impact your life. It leads to poor health, low energy levels, lack of motivation, reduced creative spark and poor work and social life. Hence, you need to imbibe healthy habits to improve the quality of your life.
What is a healthy habit?
A healthy habit is a behavior that benefits your physical, mental, and emotional health. These habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good. They are not easy to develop but and often requires changing your mindset. But if you’re willing to make sacrifices to better your health, the impact can be far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability.
Positive habits are the basis of your success, while healthy habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good. Good habits include things like regular exercise, a balanced diet, punctuality, keeping promises, etc.
How do bad habits affect your life?
Habits are the brain’s way of helping us by establishing a pattern that neurons can follow. They put us on autopilot. They can be your servants or masters. Most people choose the latter by fostering the bad ones. Here are examples of how bad habits are/can affect your life;
- You cant get work done because you waste time in front of their smartphones or TV screens.
- You get stressed out during submissions because you procrastinate a lot till the deadline.
- You struggle with weight and health because you have bad eating habits.
- You feel good when doing them but feel bad afterward.
- You promise to break the bad habit, but you cannot resist the temptation.
- You pledge to do it tomorrow until the idea disappears into the ether.
Bad habits are magnets that pull you away from your goals. They slow down your growth.
Many people would like to stop them. Despite their best efforts, they are unable to change. Their habits take them to the direction they don’t want. Bad habits are somewhat difficult to break because they make a person feel good but it is possible to break a bad habit and build healthier ones.
30 healthy habits that would improve your life
Let’s get right into 30 habits you can adopt that would improve your life. Research shows that sixty-six days is the average time for a person to form a habit. It varies from 18 to 254 days for it to stick. We split these habits into sections that cover major aspects of your life;
- Healthy eating habits
- Healthy work habits
- Healthy relationship habits
- Healthy habits for your mind
Healthy Eating Habits
1. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient-dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. These constituents of fruits are great for our bodies and improve our overall health. The more colors you paint your plate with, the more variation you’re getting nutrient-wise. Plus, it keeps things interesting so you don’t get bored.
2. Practice mindful eating
Mindful eating is paying more attention to how you eat, being more present to make better food choices. If you get the mindful eating down, you will have an easier time creating new habits. Stop eating in front of the TV or computer, put down all distractions, and actually pay attention to what you’re putting on your plate and in your mouth. You’ll feel more satisfied, stop eating when you’re already full.
3. Store more healthy food.
A lot of times you snack on what’s in your cupboards, refrigerator, and freezer. If all you have in there is processed foods like fries, chocolate, and ice cream, then you’ll find yourself snacking on them and that’s not good at all. To break this habit, make sure to replace them with healthy snacks such as dried fruits, seeds and nuts to help satisfy your hunger cravings.
4. Eat slowly
Pause before taking a bite, and chew slowly and intentionally. This will help you bring your focus back to the task at hand which is eating and keep you from mindlessly putting in more than your body really needs.
5. Cook your own food
The best way to know what’s in your food is by making it yourself. You can also better control your portion sizes. You’ll eat fewer calories and avoid the chemical additives, added sugar, and unhealthy fats of packaged and takeout foods that can leave you feeling tired, bloated, and irritable, and exacerbate symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety.
6. Use smaller plates
This is another way to help control your portion sizes. Just use smaller dishes. You can use a salad plate for the main course. That way, you can get closer to the right amount of required servings for each food.
7. Drink enough water
Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins. Going through life dehydrated causes tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s very common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated will also help you make healthier food choices.
8. Control emotional eating
Not everyone eats just to satisfy hunger. Many people also turn to food to relieve stress or cope with unpleasant emotions such as sadness, loneliness, or boredom. But by learning healthier ways to manage stress and emotions, you can regain control over the food you eat and your feelings.
9. Create an eating schedule
It’s not just about what or how you eat but also when you eat. Eat breakfast, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism while eating small, healthy meals keeps your energy up all day.
Avoid eating late at night. Try to eat dinner earlier and fast for 14-16 hours until breakfast the next morning. Studies suggest that eating only when you’re most active and giving your digestive system a long break each day may help to regulate weight.
Healthy work habits
10. Take the stairs
This is a quick way to get your heart rates up when there’s no time for a workout. If you work on the 20th floor or higher, maybe try taking the stairs halfway and catching an elevator when you’ve exhausted yourself.
11. Take breaks off the computer
Staring at a computer all day is exhausting, and hard on the eyes, neck, back, and head. So, remember to take short breaks between tasks, turn the brightness down on your computer, sit up straight, use eye drops or glasses, and shift positions occasionally.
12. Take your own lunch to work
One of the biggest problems office workers face is poor or bad nutrition. Bringing your own food to work helps you take control of the kinds of food you choose to eat. Yes, this takes work, but it’s so worth it for your health and your bank account.
13. Keep a healthy snack around
Lunch isn’t the only thing that holds your diet back. If your office is like most, the only snacks you have available are highly processed vending machine selections. This has to change. Keep some healthy snacks in your drawers.
14. Avoid negative vibes
Too much negativity will put a strain on your emotions and adversely impact your mental health. Thankfully, it’s often possible to avoid negative situations and surround yourself with positivity. Avoid office gossip and drama at all costs. Protecting yourself from this friction will keep you focused on work and productivity.
15. Unplug for sometime
Being constantly connected to the internet is exhausting. Though your job may require you to be dialed in for most of the day, look for brief periods where you can unplug and disconnect. Whether it’s a mid-morning break, your lunch break, or the commute to and from the office, cherish these opportunities to connect with your soul.
16. Stand and stretch
Try standing to work for just 30 minutes a day. This will boost your energy. And if your office doesn’t have any place where you can work standing up, then just make sure you’re physically standing up and stretching at least once an hour.
17. Just breathe
If you just take one minute or more of your time a day to stop, look away from your work, and just breathe, you’ll feel a lot better. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you might even practice mindfulness or meditation.
18. Stay hydrated
Water is one of the big pillars that can affect every aspect of our lives. Afternoon hunger cravings, random headaches, and general feelings of fogginess can be attributed to dehydration. However, staying hydrated improves your rate of weight loss, your mood, your brain functioning, and your energy levels.
Healthy Relationship Habits
19. Respect your loved ones
The foundation of any good relationship is the level of respect within it. Being honest, avoiding gossip, and valuing your loved ones for the unique individuals they set the tone for all your interactions.
20. Be present
Respond to your partner. Be attentive and present. You can show your attention by doing very simple things: responding to your partner when they ask a question or bringing something on your way home when asked. It’s really as simple as showing your attentiveness and responsiveness when something arises.
21. Set goals together
Rather than trying to sabotage one another, learn to set goals and work towards it together. This habit is especially important for romantic relationships, in which you’re operating as a team. Uniting to overcome a challenge is a powerful way to bond.
22. Stay connected
Nearly all of our lives are busy from the moment we wake up. You are probably no different. However, part of having a long, happy relationship is to show your love and affection when apart from each other. Connect with each other through the day by sending a text on your break or giving your partner a call on the way home.
No one is perfect and no relationship is perfect. Personal flaws are part of being human. You will continually realize that the person has some quirks that push your buttons. To be in a healthy relationship means accepting these shortcomings, forgiving them, and loving the person anyways.
24. Appreciate each other
Showing appreciation can be as simple as saying “thank you” or a short note, but the effects are far-reaching. Whether your partner just did a load of dishes or your friend came in at the eleventh hour to save the day, don’t miss the chance to say thanks.
Healthy Habits to Improve Your Mind
Meditation is probably the most talked about concept for having a happy life. Studies have shown regular meditation practices reduce stress, anxiety and health issues. The main reason is it can help reduce overthinking and create a more mindful mindset. It can come in the form of just sitting quietly, yoga, prayer or purposeful breathing.
26. Get enough sleep
Sleep often gets ignored when we’re living busy lives but that’s no excuse. Getting adequate sleep is paramount to an optimum healthy mind. Sleep deprivation causes mood swings, irritability, health issues and all-round disfunction that affects how we think and causes us to react negatively to things happening in our daily lives.
27. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude has been found to increase happiness and reduce stress creating a more positive mindset. People often get caught up on what didn’t go well in their day even if the majority of what happened was positive. A good habit to start is to think through your day and note everything that was great.
Extra tip: You can have a gratitude journal where you can write down the things you are grateful for each day.
28. Get off social media
Getting off social media to detox is very important. The comparison game online can cause you to feel deflated and like failures if we’re not living how others are currently living. This in itself is reason to have a period of detox from your phone or computer. Detoxing will give you that sense of freedom of time to do other things that will boost your mental health.
29. Get rid of toxic relationships
Sometimes people’s mental wellbeing declines because they get used to being around people who bring them down. This can damage their self-esteem and self-worth. You are the sum total of the five people you’re around the most. Ask yourself are these five people supportive, kind and fun to be around? If not, it may be time to rethink your relationships.
30. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly improves your overall health including your mental health. Even if you don’t like going to the gym or running in the cold weather. Why not choose fun exercises like dancing, yoga or a team sport? When exercise is fun, you’ll have much more motivation to do it regularly.
Everything should be done in moderation. Healthy habits are about balancing work and pleasure. It would take sometime to fully develop these habits, so be paitent with yourself. To take up these healthy habits, pick one from the list and focus on that first. When you put in the time to develop these 30 healthy habits, the effort that you put into your body, mind, work and relationships will come back to you many times over.You can do this. We are rooting for you.