It has been said that we are the sum of our habits, and I completely agree.
But when life gets busy, it’s our habits that remain, and that’s why incorporating as many of these healthy habits into your daily routine is so important.
Even if you can’t incorporate all of them, and I don’t recommend tackling them all at once, you can start with the ones that resonate the most with you.
If there’s any that you practice today that I didn’t cover, or something that works for you that you’d like to share, please leave a comment below!
1. Drink hot water with lemon
When you wake up in the morning, you are at your most dehydrated state.
Drinking water is the best thing you can do first thing in the morning, but warm water is even better.
It’s more soothing to the throat, and body, and adding lemon can add some zest to your morning and provide an additional energy boost, immune system jolt, as wells as aids in digestion throughout the day.
2. Make a short priority list
Making a list of your top 1-3 goals is a good idea for several reasons. First of all, if you list everything you need or want to do, it can actually cause you to accomplish less.
Studies show that people faced with too many options actually can feel overwhelmed and get stressed out, causing them to succumb to a phenomenon called paralysis analysis. This is a situation where you if you have too many conflicting priorities, you struggle to decide which to start with and are afraid that by starting one, you won’t get “all the others” done, and you end up doing none of them.
You’ve heard this a thousand times. But there’s something to be said about that.
I’ve meditated for a year straight, and I’ve stopped. But I’m starting up again. Why? Because meditation really makes a difference.
It forces us to slow down, changes our attitude, and just seems to wipe away anything overly negative holding you back or keeping you in “attack mode.”
I meditated the other day, as I’m starting to ramp up again, and boy did it help. The burdens of the day just seemed to fall away and I felt refreshed afterwards.
I practice a form of transcendental meditation taught by Emily Fletcher. It’s taught both in-person, and online, with the latter being my only option at the time. This style of meditation worked well for me because I’ve struggled with staying awake during breath awareness — especially when attempting to meditate in the morning.
One drawback to meditation is the time commitment. 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening…that’s a lot of time. But a wise man once said:
The people who don’t have time to meditate are the one’s who need it the most.
Benefits include: less stress, more calm, get sick less often, increased intuitive awareness.
4. Stretching or yoga
Stretches and yoga movements are good not only for the body, but the mind. They can be performed almost anywhere, and at any time.
Benefits to performing yoga daily include:
- Reduced stress
- Injury prevention – back pain is the most common
- Faster recovery
- Better posture
- Improved circulation
- Increased energy
What are you grateful for? I hope you can come up with at least a few ideas right now.
Being grateful for something is the opposite of being angry, sad, and depressed. Arguably one of the best pick-me ups of all time, expressing your gratitude (whether silently or writing it down in a journal) is one of the healthiest habits you can adopt.
- Grab a notebook (or piece of paper if that’s all you have) and write down things you are grateful for
- Use the following format: “I am grateful…”
- Once you reach 10, you are done. You can certainly write as many as you want, but 10 is the minimum.
Repeat every day. It will make you smile.
Being grateful is awesome because it forces you to think of the positive things in your life (everyone has some), and when you do this you are physically unable to think of something negative. This is powerful because it flips the script if you are feeling down or depressed.
One of natures anti-depressants, at it’s finest.
You can pick up journals that are designed specifically for gratitude journaling, if you would like. Here is one I recommend:
Many of the greats kept a diary or journal every single day. This is an easy thing you can do at any moment during the day, although I would recommend doing so in the morning or evening.
Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Mark Twain are probably some of the most famous. But there are plenty of other famous people who kept journals.
These individuals kept a journal handy for the purpose of formulating thoughts, ideas, and inventions (or just to keep track of their travels and reflect on their experiences). Doing so might have been the very thing that kept them sane, or even allowing them to rise above the masses.
Da Vinci’s notebooks have gathered a particularly high amount of fame. A documentation of his legacy, more than 7,000 pages of illustrations and notes, are preserved on subjects from architecture, anatomy, astronomy, architecture, and river flows to personal things like daily tasks, purchases, and his clothing inventory (he was fond of pink tights, apparently).
Morning pages are a popular journaling method that could change your life. It prime directive is to get problems and all the swimming thoughts out of your head and on paper instead. That rhymes, so I’m going to repeat it:
Get your thoughts out of your head, and on paper instead.
The idea behind morning pages came from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. I have a copy of this, but the basic premise is that everyone is an artist, and needs to get out of their own way by getting all the crap out of their heads. This leaves room so you can be positive and creative, and all good things.
The concept is simple, but the benefits are massive. All you do is write three full stream-of-consciousness pages every single day. It doesn’t have to be about any particular subject.
Benefits of morning pages include:
- Clearer mind
- Less anxiety
- Better ideas
In addition to the Artist’s Way book itself, also offered is a companion journal that you can use to write in for your daily morning pages. But any notebook or journal will do. My favorite journals is the Leuchtturm 1917’s with dotted pages.
7. Go for a walk
Walking is one of the most powerful forms of exercise that ever existed. An elevated 45-60 minute walk can burn 300-400 calories, or about 6,000-7,000 steps.
My grandmother lived to 92, and I attribute her longevity and health to the fact that she walked at least a mile nearly every day.
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to look at incorporating a distance like this into your daily habits.
Giving yourself a task or goal could help, too. My grandmother would pick up change on the sidewalk, and put it into a mason jar to give to us grandkids. More than once per year I would benefit from counting and depositing this money into my savings account. It was significant, too: like $15-20 at a time. And for a kid, that was kind of a big deal.
A great option for counting your steps are free apps built-into your phone, such as the health app for iOS or Google Fit for Android. Otherwise, you can get fancy with a Fitbit or Garmin device, which counts steps, tracks your heartbeat, and much more.
8. Talk to a friend or family member
Loneliness is a life shortener, and that is a fact.
Perhaps you are doing fine in this department. Great! Keep up the good work!
But if you are honest with yourself, and think you could do a better job staying connected with friends and family, then do yourself a favor:
Make it a habit to talk to, hang out with, or just do something special with someone that you care about. Every day.
It could be a phone call, text message, email, or better yet: a 30-60 minute get together.
There’s a great quote floating around that could help you out for this one:
Never eat lunch alone.
Wise words, because everyone eats lunch. If you go out of your way to schedule lunch with someone, you can go ahead and check this box off. Just remember to make plans for tomorrow too 🙂
9. Say hi, help, or compliment a stranger
Doing something like this is reciprocal in nature. This means that if you put out good vibes, there is s tendency for good vibes to come right back to you.
I know we all prefer staring at our smartphones, listening to earbuds, and walking with our heads down, but think about it for a moment: we are social creatures, designed to live and operate in packs – not alone.
Certainly you have friends and family you could talk to, but the world is such a big place that it would be a shame to stick to only those you know.
Meeting strangers takes you out of your comfort zone, yes, but it also teaches you the value of kindness and positivity.
And we all know the world could use a little more if it.
I put this one on here just because I’ve come across more than one person touting the benefits of short, daily exercise as a habit.
Just 20 minutes a day is something you could consider (unless of course you are following a lifting or running program that would trump this recommendation).
Things like crunches, pushups, isometric holds (any bodyweight movement, really) are fantastic ideas to look at.
A big benefit to this is it becomes an automatic habit, and you don’t have to worry about “when was the last time that I worked out?”
With so much information and things to do each day, it’s easy to cast exercise aside, but as a daily habit you’ve already got it taken care of.
What are your healthy habits?
This is your chance to share what’s keeping you happy and healthy below. Leave a comment, and I’ll be sure to reply and consider it for another post!