50 Healthy Habits for Life
When it comes to creating healthy habits for life, you’re going to need time to let things take their natural course and let your body and mind get used to your routine. The longer you stick to your routine, the more you solidify it.
You might have seen people with six-pack abs and thought it impossible you to have that, I certainly have. The trick is to start with something small and put yourself in situational triggers like not going down the temptation aisle while shopping (the aisle with all the chocolate, chips, soft drinks and biscuits), choosing something with more vegetables, and many more things listed below.
We all have habits and different ways of doing things. Some might be better and some might be complicated but at the end of the day, we’ve all trained ourselves to do something in a certain way.
Creating healthier habits is all about changing behavioral routines, essentially changing and replacing the set things you’re already doing or not doing. There’s a snowball effect when you practice something long enough. You start getting used to the routine and sooner or later you just do without even thinking about the next step.
Healthy habits apply to a range of things in our everyday lives such as social, physical, mental, financial, and spiritual which is covered in our list below.
So, how do you Define a “habit”?
We went ahead and asked the almighty Google the “definition of habit” and he/she/it responded with - a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.
In other words, a habit is something that impacts your life in a positive or negative way.
Making or breaking a habit is going to be hard, no one is going to promise you it’s easy but if you stick to it, you’ll find it becomes easier and easier, and soon it just becomes automatic.
Here's our list of habit!
10 Healthy Habits for Life - Socializing
1. Smile when you greet someone
Always add a smile when you’re greeting someone. It could be a family member, friend or someone you just met. Have a smile on your face to lighten up the moment. Those small little moments in time could go a long way.
2. Firm hand shake
Having a firm handshake is a must. You don’t want to be holding a dead fish, neither does anyone else. Grip and squeeze the other person's hand like an apple or a ball, not too soft and not overbearing. Hold the handshake while looking into someone’s eyes for maximum for two seconds, any longer, it starts getting weird.
3. Talk less, listen more
You know that feeling when someone listens to you? It’s like they understand what you’re saying and when they ask questions, it’s like they’re trying to help you figure out something without being judged. There’s a difference between active listening and just listening to give a response.
4. Remember people’s names
Have you ever had someone you thought was semi-close to you and they forget your name? It’s a little bit degrading and embarrassing.
I used to find remembering names challenging till I started making up little stories about up (in my head). It's a technique I picked up while attempting to improve my memory, mnemonics. If there's one thing that stands out about the person, I'll associate it with the first three letters of their name.
The battle of wits! Getting into the habit of bantering is one of the most frustrating and fun-est? funest? funnest! things you can have without external activities. Banter makes you think on the spot for a quick retaliation of words. Just make sure the other person knows you’re bantering and not insulting him or her.
I've decided my next habit is to rule world the world!
6. Laugh at yourself and your mistakes
Humble is the first word that comes to mind when someone can openly share their mistakes and laugh about it. The majority of people don’t like braggers. If you can share your mistakes, laugh and joke about it, you’ll find more people are attracted to you.
7. Dress to impress
One of the most important habits. You’ll be perceived to a better degree if you dress well. I’m not saying don’t wear casual clothes but having something that makes you look good will give people a more positive perspective about you.
8. Body language
One of the most common habits and something you should always keep in the back of your mind. Having an open body language is highly regarded as being friendly and trustworthy.
How to use open body language, you ask? When you’re talking to someone, let them finish talking while maintaining 60% eye contact without fidgeting with one hand in your pocket and the other at your side. Use the 40% to look at the left and right for about 3-4 seconds to make it look like you’re taking in what they are saying.
9. Put your trash in the rubbish bin
Putting your rubbish in the bin will benefit you, your kids, your grandchildren, and your great great great great great cousin, I mean grandchild*.
10. Put yourself in different situations
There’s an infinite amount scenario that you can be in and only very very very rarely does anything turn into a disaster. Even if something does go wrong, if you’re still alive, you’ll have a good story to tell, and you just learned what to do if the same situation ever happens again.
The trick: just show up. Everything starts by showing up.
10 Healthy Habits for Life - Physical Body
1. Go outside
Getting that daily dose of fresh air is a must! You have 24 hours in a day. Seven – nine hours are for sleeping, eight (perhaps more) are for work, and after all your other daily usual routines, which leaves ~four hours. If you spend 30-45 minutes walking each day, it’s going to have a snowball effect on your health and well-being.
If it's rainy, put on a jacket. If it's snowing, wear a small heater around you with a super long extension cord to melt the snow! Whatever it takes to get that daily dose of fresh air!
We all know we should hit the gym or at least go for a walk daily, but that’s where being human kicks in. Humans are natural procrastinators. Unless you’ve already set a decent routine and followed it long enough, then most likely you (we) won’t do it unless forced too.
Whenever I can’t be bothered or think it looks too rainy to go outside, the first step I take is to put in my exercising shoes. After that, the habit kicks in automatically. The important things put on them running shoes!
3. Eat more veges and fruit
Yes, the price of living has gone up, and yes fruit and vegetables may cost a more than a couple of burgers, but like the title of this article, healthy habits for life, it’s meant to advise you on healthy habits.
We don’t need to tell you to eat your veggies and fruits. You already know they contain multiple sources of vitamins, has fiber, is low in fat/sodium, has no cholesterol and could help fight cancer, type 2 diabetes, and other types of diseases. Heck, some fruits are said to be natural aphrodisiacs.
4. Cut down on sugar
You know one thing that’s causing everyday people to get bigger and fatter? Sugar. Let’s break that cycle and replace it with something else natural.
Cutting down on sugar is easier said than done because sugar can be addictive. The best way to battle this addiction is to go cold turkey and replace your living environment with no sugar AT ALL!
5. Drink water and green tea
Yes, yes, you might have heard these a thousand times, “drink more water!”, “cut down on the fizzy drinks!”, “green tea is good for you!” And it’s true, we all should. Green tea contains antioxidants, increases blood flow, helps your body fight cancer with MANY more health benefits while water cleanses and hydrates the body.
I’m not going to bore you with any more facts. If your intuition tells you tea and water is good for you, but you still go for the fizzy stuff, that’s up to you (time to break the habit?).
My next habit is to replace normal walking with back flips!
6. Sit up straight
Having a good posture is vital as part of a healthy habit routine. If you’re like me, you’ll be spending a good portion of each day in a chair. As a writer and a project manager, I oversee things to ensure they’re going on track. A big chunk of my weekly schedule is on a computer.
Good posture is a must because we all spend a fair amount of time sitting down. Sitting straight will reduce your body molding into weird shapes like having a hunch back. No more slouching! Good posture also increases blood circulation to your legs. If you don’t get enough blood to your legs, they could fall off!
7. Cut down on fast foods
Nowadays it’s easier to buy fast food because it’s quick and convenient. The only thing is, you’re in-taking all the saturated fats and sugars that come with the combo meal. The body in absorbing more calories from one combo meal than it needs, which causes weight gain. Stop!
The secret: snacks, meal prep, and tracking. There needs a plan in place otherwise you'll start eating anything and everything around you. Have a set plan for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Snacks are fantastic! The low-fat snacks of course.
8. Go to bed early
There’s nothing like catching the early morning sunrise! Humans were originally hunters and gatherers during the day so biologically speaking, we're daytime species. Society operates during the day because we're more productive.
Have you ever seen someone who sleeps during the day? Probably not because they're sleeping.
9. Get some sun
The good old natural vitamin D. Sometimes it can be hard to get out because work or life gets in the way. Make it a habit of doing things in the sun when you can.
10. Limit your alcohol intake
Watch your drinking! It’s fine to have the occasional beer or wine but don’t let this become a habit. If you’re at out with friends or at a party, drinking helps as a social lubricant, but when you start to get drunk on a weekly basis, it’s time to stop before it spirals down to an addiction level.
10 Healthy Habits for Life - Your Mentality
1. Remember those who’ve helped you
The best way I’ve found to remember those who’ve helped you the most is to write their names down. I have a small journal in my car, and whenever I come across someone life-altering(ly?) helpful, I jot them down in my little black book of awesome.
Family doesn’t count, when it comes to priorities, family always comes first. They'll be there no matter what.
2. Create new things
Can you learn to creativity? Apparently so. According to these findings, creativity can be taught and managed. It's not about whether you're creative or not; it's about the process to get into that creative zone.
3. Fold them sheets!
There’s something therapeutic about folding sheets and clothes. Folding a basket full of rectangular towels or bed sheets from one side to another is weirdly relaxing.
Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself!
Just like everything on this list, writing on a consistent basis is going to take time and effort. It took me a while to get back into the habit of writing. The last time I wrote something worth reading was when I was in high school (high school means college for all you American readers). There was a wide time gap between the time I was in high school and the time I started writing for a job, ~3-4 years.
The trick you ask? Chunking.
Aim for say 1000 words. Write a 100-300 word chunk. Do something else for 10-15 minutes. Rinse and repeat till you hit the 1000 words mark. Continue this daily for a month, and soon you’ll have the 1000 words done in one sitting!
5. Don’t take things too seriously
If someone makes a joke about you, laugh and go along with it. Joke back and have fun. You could get into the habit of being offended, or you could take it lightly and hit them with a wise crack.
I can do push ups with no hands!
6. Start with the small things
I’m going to cut the fluff here, a reason why people stop short with their goals is because they set their expectations too high. “I’ll lose 100 pounds in the first two weeks.” That’s not how it works. Setting your expectations too high is sometimes overly daunting. You know the first thing people do when they get scared? They start distancing themselves away from that thing. Similar thing with goals.
The secret is to start small and let it snowball. Start with something that you can do every day with little to no effort. If you continue to do it daily, your mind and body will begin to recognize the pattern and associate it with your other daily activities. The longer you do this small thing, more you’ll do it automatically. Allow yourself to level up.
7. Stick to one thing at a time
If you’re doing something, cut the distractions out and focus on that one thing. Get it finished so you can move on to other things that require more of your attention.
Cooking is oddly relaxing. I don’t mean one of tray dinners, I mean getting a recipe, following the instructions for a tasty meal. Set out different ingredients and attempt to make it the best meal possible!
Making a meal is a process similar to habit development. First, you have to plan the equipment and ingredients need for the food. Then you have to gather the required things to make the meal. After that comes making the meal itself. The process of creating something tasty and nice!
The way I look at it, creating a meal is like separate habit each time you make a meal because of the process involved. You have to plan, keep track (usually from a timer), see what works by adding different ingredients and get results.
9. Keep a tidy environment
Have you ever walked into a messy place or an untidy table and just felt uneasy? That's because your brain is taking in too much information at once. It’s like being hit with an invisible water balloon.
Your brain can't handle the amount of information from the surrounding environment.You'll feel and think better when you have minimal things around you.
Any tips? Of course! Have a place for everything you need and get into the habit of putting it back in the same spot. Or have a drawer to stuff things in. Out of sight, out of mind.
Life can be full on. When you’re fed up with everything, find a remote location, take a deep breath and let out a “UGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH”!
I'm serious. Giving a good yell is one of the most useful advice I’ve received. Instead of venting at someone else, find a place to let out your bottled stuff. If you ever worked in a high-stress environment, this will come in handy.
The best time is evening time because everyone will be finishing work and if the temperature drops, even better. The colder it is, the less distance the sound waves will travel. Find a location with no one around and just start screaming! My prime location is on the beach at night time.
10 Healthy Habits for Life - Financial Needs
1. Divide your income into portions
I know, I know, this part may seem boring but trust me, it’s useful! I’m no financial expert nor do I know your current situation but if you can, you should always divide your income into different parts.
After you pay your weekly/monthly expenses, you should have a little bit left over. That “leftover bit” should be divided into 5-10% savings, 5-10% for emergencies, 5-10% for investments, and the rest leaves your spending money.
- 5-10% bank
- 5-10% emergency fund
- 5-10% investment fund
15-30% of your income goes towards something for the future while you still have a decent chunk of spending money! The earlier you start, the more you'll have down the line. Start saving ASAP!
2. Save a portion of your income
I just want to highly this point. 60% of all Americans do not have the behavioral habits to save their money. I believe this habit should be top priority of everyone's list.
I can tell you from personal experience it's better to have your own money than to go asking for it from the bank or worse, family.
3. Learn to invest
Investing takes a little bit of risk. You could either make your money back or you could potentially lose it. There are different ways of reducing risk such as diversifying and trying to understand trends in the market. On the flipside, you could earn more than enough if you invest the right opportunities.
CAUTION: Please don’t read something like this and go investing in the next thing you “think” might be significant. Investing takes time to understand the different parts of a system and how it works.
4. Grow your money
This part is safer compared to investing. Leave your money in the bank with interest. Over time the compound interest will grow exponentially, providing the bank's requirements are met.
This is what financial experts refer to as a “long-term strategy.” Putting a portion of your income into a bank account now will give you a bigger return 8-10 years from now if you consistently add money towards the growth.
5. Plan for the future
Using money as a metric for your future helps you decide on how much you’ll be needing for the lifestyle you want. It’s good to have a plan for the direction you want. The plan might not always turn out the way you want it but at least you can narrow down the little details you want and how to get there.
The trick (in the simplest form): where and what do you want to be doing in five years? Five years from today, how much would you like to be making? Where would you like to be doing? Where are you living? These are all questions to help you wonder about your future and a way to get there.
Another day, another dollar!
6. Don’t waste money on things you don’t need
This should go without saying but having the self-control to avoid buying things you don’t need is a habit you must work on daily. Trust me; it gets easier the more you tell yourself you don’t need it. There are things we want and things we need.
The secret: walk away or turn away from the thing that’s caught your eyes. Out of sight, out of mind.
7. Know your weekly or monthly expenses
It can be hard keeping track of everything you spend your money on, but the only thing is you only have to calculate your general expenses like your rent or mortgage, weekly or month shopping costs, power, water, electricity and anything else that you know for certain where you have to spend money.
8. Sell your old stuff
"Another man's trash is another man's treasure" as the saying goes. You won't know what people want so put everything you don't want on sale! Place the belongings you don't want or need into a pile of "unwanted," take a couple of pictures and upload it to eBay or the closest thing you have to eBay. A little effort can pay off big time.
9. Focus on multiple streams of income
“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”, one of the best advice that was given to me when I was younger.
Having one income stream is just as risky as investing. Let's assume you have a job where you were suddenly fired. Your main source of income would be cut off, and you'd be left stuck in a rut till you find another job/source of income.
There are many ways to find different sources of income, it could finding and selling different things through eBay, selling t-shirts and mugs on various trends, or you could start your own small business selling advice in an area of your expertise.
The main takeaway from this point is, get into the pattern formation of finding and creating different streams of income.
10. Understand the basics of business
The reason I put this as a habit is that so many people don’t know the basics of running a business. If you think running a business automatically makes you rich, you hella wrong.
Time and investment need to go into the things you're building, so you need to make a Return On Income (ROI) on the money you put in based on a particular time frame.
If you were asked to invest $100 and was told you could make it back + more, you should ask "how long?" Same with $1000, $10,000, $1,000,000 and so on. You always need to know when you're going make your investment back.
10 Healthy Habits for Life - Spiritual Well Being
During those tense and stressful moments, you need to remember one thing, breathe. Breathe in slow, breathe in deep and breathe out. When life gets too much, and everything just seems bleak, breathe.
Try it. Breathe in slow, breathe in deep, breathe out. Remember the sensation you might be feeling.
2. Say thanks
Ever had a sincere “thank you” from someone? The feeling is bliss and sweet to know you did something for another person and they appreciated your efforts.
Saying a sincere thank you is one of the nicest things you can say to someone. A thank you will beat any compliment.
3. Give back
Let’s face it, some of us are givers, and some of us are takers. When it comes to giving back, always start with the people who’ve helped you the most and ask for NOTHING in return. They’re the people you should and always cherish the most.
4. Learn to meditate
There’s been multiple studies on how meditation helps improve your brain activity by increasing the white matter in your brain (white matter is the part of your noggin the that helps you learn and directs information to different/correct regions of the brain.)
A fair warning, getting into the habit of mediation takes time and practice, it’s not an overnight thing.
5. Help others
"Do to others as you would have them do to you," does this need further explaining?
I'm crazy and I know it!
Travel and explore the world! Or at least the country you live in. If not, just your city. You’ll be surprised to see what you can find when you stop at different places. Ask friend, family or strangers if they know of any particular places in your city.
7. Be part of a community
Having a united goal is awesome! When you have something you really want to do, it’s always easier knowing other people are aiming for similar things.
Use google or talk to people about your hobbies and your likings. You’ll be amazed by the people you can meet.
8. This little something
Write little notes to people. I especially like this because everything is heading towards a technology age where pen and paper are becoming more obsolete and is now turning into a hobby as opposed to something you need.
I personally think it’s awesome to receive a hand-written note or letter from some. I guess I like it because receiving that little gesture is more personalized. I’m weird.
9. Spend time with the people you care about
As life and its priorities get in the way, you should make it a habit of spending more time with the ones you care about. After all, there a good reason why you care about the people you care about. Make sure to spend time with your friends and family!
10. Adopt a dog!
Okay, this is more of a happiness thing than a behavioral change. Having a puppy is one of the most incredible things you could ever have! There's a reason why dogs are deemed "man's best friend."
A study was done in 2007 to find the impact between humans and dogs and the results were highly positive.
In addition to providing emotional benefits, pet ownership improves one’s physical and mental health. Studies show that pet ownership reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, helps to prevent heart disease, helps to fight depression, and therefore lowers one’s healthcare costs (APPMA.org). One possible explanation for these health benefits lies in the fact that pet owners, particularly dog owners, are more physically active than non-pet owners (Duncan, 1997).
The study was done a while ago but still applies much to day with the increasing amount of people owning dogs and other pets.
No one can follow pick up a habit within a day. It takes time for you to reprogram or program yourself to do that certain thing. Once you’ve built up your habit to a point where it becomes weird not to do it, then your goal of creating a new habit is satisfactory! You still need to practice and continue the habitual change otherwise it’ll be replaced by something else.
I realized the list a little long so here’s how to use it, choose five habits you want to develop, from the list above or your own and start tracking your progress.
I know this may seem a little anti-climactic but to keep things as simple as possible, choose ~five or as many habits as you want and record your results throughout the next month. Start small and carry on!
Stay consistent and record your results!