53 Simple Healthy Habits to Improve Your Quality of Life
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Do you know you could elevate yourself to a whole new level just by following simple healthy habits that are bound to enhance your life? There are at least 53 habits you can add to your list of personal goals for improving your quality of life, starting today!
I imagine you’re quite eager to make significant changes for personal and professional growth and could use a few ideas. In anticipation of your needs, I’ve outlined new routines that promote physical, mental, and emotional health, employment success, and overall happiness.
What are Healthy Habits?
Healthy habits are things you do daily, frequently, or routinely that have a positive impact on your physical and mental well-being. Habits form over time from repeating the same routines and behaviors. Eventually, they become things you do by default or subconsciously without having to think them through.
Developing positive habits such as eating healthy and exercising helps protect you from chronic physical and mental problems. You’ll feel and function better and get closer to achieving a better work-life balance.
According to a 2009 study by the European Journal of Social Psychology, it could take between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit. Having the right mindset and sticking to the habit can shorten the timeframe.
53 Healthy Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle
You can literally transform your life by changing the way you eat, sleep, work, treat yourself, or deal with personal relationships. All you have to do is to follow set routines, be disciplined, and be patient until they become a natural part of your everyday life.
Healthy Eating Habits
1. Eat breakfast every day
Breakfast is the “most important meal of the day.” You need it to replenish the supply of glucose your body lost overnight. A healthy morning meal provides the nutrients needed for your brain and body to function well.
Wake up early, so you’ll have enough time to prepare your meal. Make a healthy breakfast consisting of grains, e.g., oats, proteins, e.g., eggs, fruits, vegetables, and dairy, such as fat-free yogurt.
2. Eat whole foods
Eating whole foods can help correct nutritional deficiencies that arise from eating too much fast food. They have a higher nutritional value than processed foods, e.g., wheat bread, and can lower the risk of diabetes and other chronic diseases. Stock up on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk, yogurt, lean meats like chicken and fish, legumes, nuts, and seeds.
3. Have a “no-meat” day
Meat is packed with proteins and is a healthy part of your diet. Too much meat, especially red meats like beef, can increase the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Choose a day of the week you won’t eat meat, e.g. Fridays. Substitute it by adding more greens to your plate, such as spinach.
4. Increase water intake
Drinking plenty of water helps remove toxins from your body and replenishes fluids lost through sweat and urine. Water also optimizes the movement of nutrients and oxygen to your cells. Drink 8 glasses of water a day, as recommended by doctors, to stay hydrated and keep your body and joints functioning well.
5. Reduce sugar intake
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), reducing sugars can lower the chance of obesity and heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends drastically cutting back on added sugar to no more than 200 calories per day (about 12 teaspoons).
Stop adding sugar to your tea, coffee, or cereal. Consider zero-calorie sugar substitutes such as Stevia. Remove foods high in sugars from your daily diet such as sodas, fruit juices, cakes, and puddings.
6. Quit snacking in between meals
Snacking in between meals can cause unwanted weight gain, especially if you consume those that are considered junk foods, e.g., chips, cookies, and sodas. Eat a solid breakfast to prevent adding extra calories to your diet and stave off hunger and cravings in between meals. If you need to boost energy, opt for a healthy snack such as a protein bar.
7. Stop binge eating
Binge eating is consuming a lot of food when you’re not hungry and in one sitting. Doing this regularly can lead to weight gain or an eating disorder if it’s done to cope with emotional distress. Develop the habit of eating fiber-rich meals and drinking a lot of water to curb overeating. Also, keep a journal to track moods that trigger food cravings.
8. Remove soda from your diet
Sodas are sugar-filled drinks that generally do not contain nutrients and do nothing more than increase your calorie intake. Opt for unsweetened beverages or 100% fruit juices. Limit the replacement beverage to 1-2 servings a day. Grab bottled water instead of reaching for a soda, even if it’s a ‘diet’ soda.
9. Read food labels
Know what’s in the foods you consume. Take a few minutes to read the nutrition content and ingredients they contain. Some foods contain substances that can trigger allergies or otherwise make you sick. Watch for sneaky marketing strategies like 100% fruit juice “from concentrate” to avoid consuming artificial sugars.
Healthy Exercise Habits
10. Keep yourself active
You don’t have to be gym-bound to exercise. Keeping your body moving is considered exercise. Physical movement increases blood circulation, burns calories, and helps maintain heart health. Take the stairs up instead of the elevator or get up and move around your office every 30 minutes.
11. Exercise at least three times a week
A formal exercise routine is another healthy exercise habit to build. Regular exercise strengthens your muscles, reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease, and helps manage weight. Choose something you’re comfortable with, whether it’s jogging outdoors, running on a treadmill, stair climbing on an elliptical machine, swimming, or aerobics.
12. Get outdoors for short walks
Walking is a simple and quick way to relieve tension and stress. Taking a 30-minute early morning walk daily is a great way to boost your energy for the day. Following your lunch break or after work is fine if a morning walk routine isn’t practical. What matters is getting some form of exercise and mental relaxation on those walks.
13. Track your steps with a fitness device
I bought a step-tracking watch to count my steps daily and chart calories burned. A wearable step tracker helps you to be more active. You can also use it to help maintain your weight. Shoot for the popular daily goal of 10,000 steps or set a higher goal. Activate the built-in alarm that lets you know it’s time to get stepping.
14. Do yoga
Yoga is a popular way to engage in low-impact exercise and can be as effective for weight management as formal gym exercise routines. Get yourself a yoga mat for comfort on the floor. Select a yoga program you could follow along at home or take yoga classes at a yoga center. Remember to warm up to get your heart and muscles ready for downward dog and other poses.
15. Dance for 30 minutes a day
Fast-paced dancing for 10 minutes three times a day is a fun way to increase your step count and burn calories. Dancing burns calories fast and is good for lung and heart health, building stamina, and keeping fit. Step into comfortable dancing shoes and get moving to the beat of fast-paced, upbeat music. You’ll start sweating in no time!
Healthy Sleep Habits
16. Set a sleep and wake schedule
Use your phone or another device to set a sleep-wake schedule. That way you’ll consistently go to bed and wake up at a specific time. Try to get at least 6-9 hours of sleep. 6-9 hours of unbroken sleep helps prevent sleep deprivation, according to the Sleep Foundation.
You’ll wake feeling refreshed, energized, focused, and ready to take on the day. Following a bedtime ritual helps regulate your natural body clock.
17. Don’t drink coffee before bed
I get it. You ‘run’ on coffee as so many other Americans do. As much as you feel like you can’t survive without your cup of Joe, you have to have an end time for caffeine consumption.
Health experts recommend you drink your final cup of coffee by 3:00 PM or at least 6 hours before bed. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake and restless at bedtime.
18. Eat hours before bedtime
Eating just before bed doesn’t give you an opportunity to burn off calories. Other risks include gaining weight or developing chronic digestive conditions such as acid reflux and heartburn.
Practice eating your last meal of the day about three hours before bed. This gives your body time to digest it. Eat a few slices of apple if hunger takes over, but don’t make it a habit.
19. Unwind before bed
Optimize sleep by getting yourself mentally prepared. Relax in your recliner and watch a show that makes you laugh. Read a book or meditate. As sleep nears, dim your lights, put on sleep music, then lie down. Breathe gently and allow your body to relax. Focus on your breath to prevent your mind from wandering to negativity and allow your body to drift off into slumberland.
20. Put away electronics ahead of bedtime
You have to set boundaries with your electronic devices if you want to have the best night’s ZZZ. Blue light from these devices interferes with the body’s release of melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel drowsy. End screen time with your TV, phone, tablet, or laptop about 2-3 hours before bedtime. Set an alarm to remind you to turn off electronics.
21. Take short naps
Do you have any idea how physically and mentally rejuvenating napping is? Short naps can compensate for sleep interruptions during the night.
Try taking a 20-minute power nap during your lunch break. Make sure you set a wake-up alarm. You’ll wake feeling re-energized, less stressed, and in a better mood. If you’re napping at home, do it before 3:00 PM to avoid trouble sleeping at night.
Healthy Workplace Habits
22. Get to work on time
Punctuality says a lot about a person’s reliability and credibility. Stay on your boss’s good side by arriving on time every day, whether it’s in a traditional or virtual office.
Aim to arrive about 10-15 minutes early. This way, you’ll get to calm your mind after the morning rush. Use the extra time to square away any preliminary tasks like logging into your computer or checking emails.
23. Create a schedule
Plan to stay on top of tasks and perform them efficiently daily. Schedule start dates and due dates to keep track of projects and assignments. Keep track of to-do lists and recurring tasks.
Task management software with recurring task features such as Asana, ActiveCollab, and Taskade can make life so easy. Set up reminder alarms or text notifications for meetings, conferences, and seminars.
24. Organize tasks
Decluttering your physical and digital workspace regularly and using task-management Apps and tools are just a few ways to stay organized. There are even digital to-do lists.
Get organized by downloading FREE downloadable templates to organize tasks and make work smooth and efficient. Visualize tasks and projects, optimize your workflow, and improve project management using ClickUp’s Calender, Kanban Board, or Lists.
25. Break down large projects into smaller tasks
Breaking complex goals or tasks down into manageable bite-size parts and phases helps maintain workflow and improves productivity. Tracking your goals and tasks and meeting deadlines also becomes easier.
Start by identifying the primary task. Break it into smaller tasks. Set the timeframe for completing each. Follow the schedule and time limit for completion. Make use of workflow tools such as Clockify, a FREE time-tracking tool, or the Pomodoro technique to tackle tasks in timed segments.
26. Take short breaks
Taking five-minute mental breaks every 25-30 minutes can increase focus and productivity. Get up and move around the office to increase blood circulation. Stretch your arms, legs, and back to loosen up tense muscles and minimize back pain. Also, practice taking your eyes off the computer screen every 20 minutes to avoid eye fatigue and vision problems.
27. Take lunch breaks
Lunch breaks aren’t a privilege but a legal right of every employee, so don’t feel bad taking it even if you have work piled up on your desk. In fact, taking lunch breaks and leaving work when you should are ways to achieve a work-life balance. Eat your lunch on time to refuel and reenergize your body to handle the rest of the work day. Save about 10-15 minutes to step outdoors to refresh and rejuvenate yourself.
28. Tackle work right away
Employees are more productive between 8:00: AM and 2:00 PM according to studies. Get your work done right away. Capitalize on your brain power, energy, and focus during the first four hours when you’re likely to be most productive.
Starting work immediately helps counteract procrastination and low energy as the day progresses. Take on tasks in order or priority to meet deadlines.
29. Socialize with co-workers
The work environment is stressful by nature. Befriend and strike up conversations with at least one friendly and approachable colleague. Offer to pick up lunch or grab coffee together and attend workplace gatherings. Staying socially connected at work can give you a positive view of the workplace environment and help you get through the day with greater ease.
Healthy Relationship Habits
30. Give your partner their independence
Relationships function better when each partner is able to take charge of their own life. Give your partner autonomy to manage their own affairs instead of offering to help solve every problem they encounter. They’ll make mistakes but learn to take accountability and correct missteps. Give them space to breathe and blossom. In so doing, there will be less chance of creating a codependent relationship.
31. Make time for your partner daily
Spending time with your partner after a long day’s work can be soothing. Make it a habit to set aside time to connect and interact. Ask how their day was or if you can help them solve a problem. You don’t always have to talk much.
Just sitting in the same room in silence can be enough. These steps help build intimacy, strengthen your bond, and deepen trust between you two.
32. Communicate daily without electronics
Many couples have confessed that they text, email, or call each other via phone when in the same home. This practice eliminates the intimacy experienced in face-to-face conversations.
Ditch the phones. Get together and talk about your day or discuss plans face to face. Hug and cuddle. These are forms of non-verbal communication and are absolutely better than heart and hug emojis.
33. Pay attention to what your partner is saying
Making your partner feel valued by listening to their concerns and ramblings helps improve the relationship. Actively listen to them. Be empathetic instead of judgmental.
Offer understanding and support. Avoid jumping to conclusions or offering advice. Sometimes, all your partner wants is a listening ear, love, and support.
34. Make your partner feel appreciated
Feeling unappreciated and unloved within the relationship are two common reasons for breakups and divorces. It doesn’t cost anything to let your partner know every day how you feel about them.
Communicate with kindness, send them uplifting messages, tell them you love them or send flowers. Most importantly, tell them face-to-face that they are important to you.
35. Spend quality time with family
Holding down a full-time job and managing other aspects of your life can make it so easy for us to unintentionally neglect our families. Making time for family is important in creating a work-life balance.
Have a meal, watch a show, play board games, or go for a walk together. Do at least one of these things a day to be emotionally present and make your family feel loved and cared for.
Healthy Self-Care Habits
36. Take care of your oral health
Good oral hygiene protects your teeth and gums and lowers the risk of chronic diseases linked to poor oral health. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and use an antiseptic mouthwash to protect against gingivitis.
Do it like clockwork until it makes you feel uncomfortable to miss this daily oral hygiene routine. Maximize oral health care by seeing your dentist for teeth cleanings at least every 6 months and yearly for oral cancer screenings.
37. Quit alcohol
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans reported that adults can drink in moderation. A new study concluded no amount of alcohol is good for you. Don’t buy or bring alcohol home. Avoid places or situations that can cause alcohol cravings. Decline offers to drink with friends.
Get comfortable with this habit and you’ll protect your brain, heart, and kidneys from conditions related to chronic alcohol consumption. Not to mention, alcohol dependency.
38. Stay away from cigarettes
Nicotine and other chemicals found in cigarettes are as harmful to your health as alcohol. Don’t let it get to an addiction. Break the smoking habit by starting a new habit to overcome it. Toss out all tobacco products to create a cigarette-free environment.
Stay away from activities, people, and places that can trigger the urge to smoke. Substitute cigarettes with sugar-free gum, toothpicks, or carrot sticks.
39. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap
Make it a habit to wash your hands at key times to protect yourself and your family members from catching germ and virus-related illnesses such as cold and flu. Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap.
Practice the habit each time before eating and after using the toilet, changing nappies, blowing your nose, and playing with pets.
40. Check your weight monthly
Keeping abreast of your weight puts you in control of maintaining your ideal body weight based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) chart. Get yourself a bathroom scale. Check your weight on the last day of each month.
Create a healthy diet plan to increase or decrease your weight based on the result. Routinely checking your weight can help prevent obesity, malnutrition, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
41. Get a health checkup regularly
Stop putting off your annual doctor’s appointment or regular checkup visits, regardless of whether you feel fine. Your doctor can uncover and treat health problems that don’t cause any symptoms (or as yet), such as hypertension, cancer, and hepatitis.
Call today to schedule an appointment. Set digital reminders so you won’t miss this upcoming and other doctor visits.
42. Practice good posture
Walk, sit, stand, and jog the right way to minimize stress and pain in the knee joints, ankles, hips, back, neck, and spine. Sit upright with feet pressed flat against the floor when working at a desk.
Explore ergonomic chairs, low-back support cushions, and footwear that promote good posture. Get up and stretch frequently to minimize spinal misalignment and poor posture.
Healthy Habits for Mental Health
43. Slow down
Train yourself to take on life at a slower pace. Rushing to work and elsewhere fearing you’ll be late causes your stress levels to go up. Anxiety can kick in once the fight-or-flight ‘switch” in the brain gets turned on.
Plan ahead and leave early to avoid rushing and stressing over being late. Delegate household chores to take the load off of you. This will give you more time to focus on important priorities.
44. Check in with yourself throughout the day
Daily challenges and emotional stress can interfere with your sense of well-being. A good time to check in with yourself is whenever you feel your mood shifting from happy to irritable, worried, or angry. Ask “How am I feeling right now?”
Checking in helps you to determine what emotion you’re sensing and work through them. Practice taking short mental breaks, deep breathing, and focusing on the positives to release anger and worry.
45. Write in your journal
Journaling is an age-old habit that has been tested and proven to relieve stress and pent-up emotions. Write down your thoughts and feelings in your journal. Write as your thoughts flow.
Don’t stop to think about or judge your feelings. Forget about grammar and spelling. The goal is to spill your heart out until you experience relief.
46. Practice deep breathing
Negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety, can interfere with your breathing. Take slow deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat until you feel calm.
Deep breathing slows down your heart rate, relaxes your muscles, and regulates blood pressure. If you keep using breathing techniques each time you feel scared or worried, it will eventually become an automatic response to emotional distress.
47. Practice gratitude
A habit of thankfulness for the good, the bad, and the indifferent can make you forget about worrying over what you don’t have or what could go wrong. An easy way to practice gratitude is to repeat daily gratitude affirmations that make you feel calm and centered. For example, say, “I am grateful to be alive” and “I am grateful for the blessings in my life, both big and small.”
48. Shut down negative self-talk
Encouraging self-talk uplifts while speaking negatively about yourself can lead to self-doubt, loss of confidence, and low self-esteem. Examples of harsh self-judgment language are “I don’t deserve this” and “I’m stupid.”
Practice curbing self-sabotaging statements through the use of positive affirmations. Affirm that you are a good, worthy, loving, kind, and deserving person using “I am” statements. Say “I can do this” and “I am enough.”
49. Set and uphold boundaries
Another way to control stress and protect your mental health is by habitually saying, “No,” when you don’t feel like doing or giving something. Here are other important boundary habits to establish. Stop taking on people’s problems and overextending yourself by leaving work at the end of your shift.
Cut ties with toxic friends. Tell your friends and family members to notify you before showing up at your home. Keep reinforcing the habit until they realize you mean business.
Social media can become an addiction if you’re not managing the time spent online. You can be so tuned in that your work, kids, and partner get neglected. Here’s a simple and easy solution to regain control of social platforms.
Practice spending no more than 1-2 total hours online per day. Log out and tune out while you’re at work, on a date, or spending time with your family. Turn off push notifications that bait you to check who “liked” or commented on your posts.
Be careful about the type of information you’re feeding off of on a daily basis via social media. Delete or block feeds from followers and social pages that trigger anger, outrage, sadness, anxiety, or loneliness. Connect to people and pages that keep your spirits lifted through kind words, sound advice, or inspirational quotes.
A social media detox is a must to avoid suffering distress associated with digesting toxic social media posts. Let Go of the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) on who’s doing and saying what. Take control by logging out and deactivating your account.
Opt out of push notifications while you’re offline. Use the time for self-care and reconnecting with real people offline. See 7 Steps to Complete a Social Media Detox.
53. Avoid phone use during dates
Nothing turns a man or woman off worse than being on a date with someone who is constantly texting and distracted by their phone. It’s a bad habit that shows a lack of respect, low interest, or boredom. Train yourself to put your phone away.
Show that you’re present by actively engaging in a conversation with your date or partner. Respectfully end the date if you’re not enjoying yourself, instead of using your phone to sabotage it.
Final Thoughts on Healthy Habits for Better Living
New habits aren’t easy to form and that’s precisely why I hope you’ll read How to Build New Habits that Stick before you go. The trick is to act a certain way repeatedly until it becomes a trait or natural behavior.
It also helps to use a habit tracker App to gauge how you’re progressing with the new habits you started working on. There are tons of them out there, you just have to find the one that fits your lifestyle best.
Finally, if you need help with building habits, then check out this nine-step blueprint that walks you through the entire process of creating lifelong habits.)