There are no cheat codes in life. To improve your life, you will need to put in a little bit of work. The good news, it’s not as hard as it seems like to create the daily habits that make all the difference. Contrary to what Hollywood movies led us to believe, transforming our lives doesn’t come with a grand and phenomenal gesture. Instead, it comes with the cumulative effect of positive daily habits over time. People who have it together all swear by the power of habits. There are even multiple best-selling books about it.
Whether they’re little or big, these tasks can make all the difference. But today, we will specifically focus on those smaller tasks. Why? Because we want to aim for S.M.A.R.T objectives (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely).
To get your body stronger, mind clearer and relationships stronger, here are 15 daily habits you can follow.
15.) Eat Healthy
A body can’t get healthy if the food it digests isn’t balanced, clean, and properly cooked. The best way to ensure this actually happens is by learning which foods are good for your body and making your own meals accordingly. You will actually not only learn how to cook — an indispensable life skill — but you will also save plenty of money. If you are on a diet or have food allergies, this is the best way to guarantee your food is in check. Other than that, there are also plenty of ways to adopt a healthy regime.
- Master the art of meal prepping. Planning ahead can help you avoid unhealthy fast food options or impulse eating and grocery buying.
- Drink enough water. Health authorities advise an intake of 2.7 liters per day for women and 3.7 liters for men. To do this, get a good reusable water bottle to remind you to drink enough. This daily habit can help inspire you to eat healthy.
- Know which foods are good for you. Food affects people differently based on theirgenetics, region and even blood type. You can perform digestive tests to learn which food is best for you.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day because it gives you the energy to get going with your other daily habits and important tasks.
14.) Get Enough Quality Sleep
The eight hours of sleep we’ve been told to have every night is almost a fantasy to many of us now. We’ve been trying to squeeze in so many activities during our days (including binge-watching our favorite Netflix shows at night) that getting sleep seems harder than ever.
- Go to bed at the same hour every night. This helps train your body to rest.
- Re-do your bedroom to help you fall asleep better. Try soothing colors and darkening curtains.
- No electronics before bedtime. The blue light can make your brain think it’s daytime instead of time for bed.
- Watch out for caffeine. Try not to exceed four cups of coffee per day (max), and do not drink caffeinated drinks after 2 PM.
13.) Exercise — Even If It’s Only a Few Minutes Per Day
Exercising every day is hard. We’re not gonna lie. But you can hack your daily routines to ensure you get at least a little bit of workout done.
- Walk 10,000 steps a day. Download a walking app and try to reach your daily goal.
- Buy a gym membership. Then, once you have the membership, schedule going to the gym in your calendar or phone.
- Find yourself a gym buddy. Most people find going to the gym more fun if they have someone to it with.
- Bust some music and just dance! If you don’t like the idea of formal exercise, a few minutes a day of dancing to your favorite tunes can help get your blood pumping with a minimal amount of effort.
12.) Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a mental state where you focus on the present while peacefully acknowledging your thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. Its health effects have been proven effective on several occasion on both the body and mind.
- Meditation sessions. If you’re not used to meditation, a guided session can help you meditate correctly.
- Learn deep breathing technics. Use them while you reflect on your day.
- Practice yoga or any “conscious fitness” exercise. Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness.
11.) Brush and Floss Your Teeth
Flashing pearly whites don’t come easily. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after every snack and meal, but we know it’s not always doable. There are some bare minimum daily habits you should have to make sure your teeth and gums stay healthy.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Don’t forget to do this daily task for at least two minutes.
- Use fluoride toothpaste. These kinds of toothpaste can help make sure your teeth get a deep clean.
- Floss every night. Food and grime can get stuck between your teeth.
- Get an electric toothbrush you love. An electric toothbrush can help your teeth get cleaner or even distract you while you brush.
10.) Keep Your Finances on Track
Financial education is not, unfortunately, taught in our schools. This leaves plenty of young adults and even adults with financial problems that could have easily been avoided. Learning how to manage money is a fundamental skill. You can get help from the internet, from your banker and from books. In terms of money, always prepare for the worst and hope of the best.
- Budget daily. Calculate your daily costs and set a daily budget you shouldn’t cap.
- Save 20% of your income. A savings account can get you a long way, so make sure to have one.
- Book a meeting with your banker. Make sure you regularly check on your finances whenever you can. Your banker will help you know if everything is in good shape and give you advice on how to get a high credit score.
9.) Make Your Bed
A Navy Seal admiral once gave a commencement speech at the University of Texas in 2014 and said: “Change the world by making your bed.” Honestly, we couldn’t agree more.
Making your bed every morning will make you feel great about yourself. After all, you managed to tick a task off your to-do list as soon as you woke up! And really, would you rather slip at night in a tightly made bed or in a messed one?
- Invest in nice bedding. This bedding can help you want to take care of it.
- Make your bed after you shower. This can help turn this task into a daily habit, and leaving your bed to sit unmade for a few minutes can help air it out.
8.) Control Who You Interact With the Most
You already know it: the people you surround yourself with play a tremendous role in your life. You will be surprised at how much you recharge emotionally by talking to your loved ones. But the effect of the people around you is way more powerful than that. It is said that one’s salary is more likely to equal the average salaries of their five closest friends. Give it a thought and check if it applies to you!
- Connect with your loved ones frequently. They’re your support system. You can either visit them or reach out to them via calls and texts.
- Rub shoulders with doers and accomplished people. You want to pick up their daily habits too.
7.) Read at Least Two Pages Per Day
In addition to making you learn new stuff, reading also makes you a more creative and empathic person. It boosts your memory and even decreases your stress. Don’t fix a non-achievable goal like the reading the Odyssey in two days. Keep it simple and consistent so you don’t get overwhelmed.
- Diversify the genres. Fantasy books, industry-specific articles, Wikipedia articles, e-books… All are good to read.
- Read before bed. Developing this habit will help you have some quiet time and fall asleep faster.
- Have a good source of light nearby. Your eyes will get hurt if you read in the dark or on your phone for too long.
6.) Keep a To-Do List and a Journal
Before you do, plan. After you do, reflect. Keeping a to-do list is the perfect on-the-go habit you can develop to start controlling your life. A journal can also serve this purpose, in addition to helping you articulate your thoughts and clear out your mind by jotting down what you feel.
- Make a to-do list every night. Keep it on your phone, a sticker, or in a journal. This daily task can help you keep your life organized.
- Start bullet journaling. There are plenty of videos on YouTube that show you this technique. Use the #bujo hashtag to look for examples on Instagram and Tumblr.
5.) Unplug — for Real
That can seem a bit odd coming from a website, but we all should spend less time on the internet. Seriously. Spending so much time on the internet can be one of those daily habits that gets in the way of other good things. Between the incessant email alerts, intrusive app notifications and countless Facebook mentions, we have developed a big FOMO (fear of missing out) that’s slowly eating our real lives. We should all tone it down a bit.
- No phone during meals. Whether you’re in your living room with your family or in a restaurant with friends, be in the moment and ban all electronic distractions.
- Download a social media blocking extension on your browser. This can help you stay on-task.
- Delete social media apps from your phone. Let’s be real, do you really need to be on every single platform? Choose your favorites to help you limit your time online.
- Go out more. Swap a Netflix show for a theater play or a concert. Go for a walk. Learn something new!
4.) Learn Something New
Your brain is a muscle and it should be trained. Keep it sharp by picking up new skills.
- Watch documentaries and TED talks. This is a low-effort activity that can help you learn a lot. Turn on the TV, curl up in a blanket and get smarter!
- Read industry-specific books. This is a particularly good book for aspects of your field you’d like to learn about.
- Listen to podcasts on your way to school/office/home. Find some great educational podcasts to learn during time you’re normally not doing very much.
- Learn a new language. Get an app or computer program, or sign up for a class at a local college to open up more of the world to you.
- Enroll in a MOOC. You can learn about anything through online courses. You’ll impress your friends with your new knowledge of art or history!
3.) Prioritize Your Goals and Tasks
We only have 24 hours/day, so it is impossible to do everything we want to do. The solution? Prioritizing. Once you set your goals, prioritize them from most important to least important. Every task that comes your way should fit somewhere in your chart.
Once you figure out where it stands, you can decide how much time, money, and resources to allocate to it.
- Evaluate goals frequently. Every year, month, week and day, reevaluate your goals to make sure you’re still on the right track. This is one of the daily habits that can help you stay on track.
- Write down your goals. Writing things down can make a goal seem more real.
- Choose specific steps. Goals are easier to achieve if you map out a plan to help you achieve them.
2.) Keep Your Mental Health in Check
Your brain can only work at its full capacity if your psychological, emotional, and social well-being is good. Mental health can be affected by biological factors, life experiences and family history of mental health problems.
- Listen to your body. If your mind is tired, it will sooner or later reflect on your body.
- Find an outlet for your stress. Stress really is the disease of the century. Have a regular creative or physical activity to let it all out and avoid the burnout.
- Seek professional help if needed. Psychiatrists and psychologists can help you develop coping mechanisms and know yourself better.
1.) Understand That You Won’t Always Be at Your 100% — and That’s Fine
Maybe you won’t be able to follow all these habits every single day, and you know what, there is nothing wrong with that. Expecting someone to bring their A-game every day in all areas of their life every day would be foolish. So don’t be too hard on yourself and just do your best!
- Celebrate the little successes. Treat yo’self! Reward yourself for the good things you do and celebrate your accomplishments big and small.
What do you think of these daily habits? What are the ones you want to focus on this year? Let us know! And if you want to feel good about your life, the 15+ books featured in the next article might rock your boat!