Healthy habits are what keep the healthiest people, well, healthy.
But what about the little healthy habit tweaks that could provide an almost instant gratification? The ones that will actually make a difference in improving your lifestyle?
- Getting outdoors
- Creating evening rituals
- Learning how to meal prep
- Quieting your busy mind
The above habits have both short- and long-term positive health impacts from an improved mood to better quality sleep — all guaranteed to make your life that much better. Paired with other important habits like eating well and exercising daily, you’re almost guaranteed to elevate your health.
Ready to change or adapt some new habits to feel happier and healthier?
Habit change is easier than you may think; this post covers ways to stay healthy and happy by forming helpful everyday habits with ease.
Healthy Habits Help You Live Fully
When you feel your best, you’re more energized and able to embrace life’s joys and challenges.
Not only do healthy habits prevent certain health conditions like heart disease and diabetes, your daily habits can keep you mentally well, too. Regular habits and routines also can help you feel more in control of your life. When you take care of yourself in all aspects of your life, you feel more capable, calm, and strong.
As you add in new habits, do so slowly. Adding too many into your life at one time can cause “behavior relapse” and make it easier to skip out on your new habits!
Here’s a look at four habits to improve your life quality right now:
Not only will you be happier the more time you spend outdoors, but it’s also a great chance to exercise and spend quality time alone or with loved ones. Research shows those who spend time in nature improve their overall well-being.
Ways to enjoy the great outdoors:
Enjoy seasonal activities - Go pick apples at an orchard; head to a pumpkin patch, visit your local farmer’s market; go to a u-cut Christmas tree farm, cut your firewood, take a hike, etc.
Take a walk - Walking is an easy form of exercise as it’s gentle on the joints and body. Walk your dog more often, hold a walking meeting during work; enjoy an evening stroll with your family.
Enjoy a hike - If you need to reset your mind, consider taking a hike. Research shows being in nature can increase creativity, restore calmness, and improve your mood. The All Trails website can help you locate trails near your home that are rated by fellow trail and nature lovers.
- Host a gathering - Social connection is more important than ever. It’s good for your mental health and helps you feel rejuvenated after connecting with your social circle. You can still social distance and plan activities that don’t require close contact like Frisbee or even a backyard movie night.
Ready to enjoy time with loved ones at a fun social gathering? Consider making our newest recipe to serve to your guests: Raw Lemon Tart with Dragon Fruit!
Create an Evening Ritual
To close out the day on a positive note, it’s important to take time to unwind, unplug, and get a good night’s sleep to stay healthy and feel restored. Evening rituals help your mind fall into a relaxed state to prep you for a night of quality rest.
Easy ways to develop your ritual:
Set an alarm - It’s best to keep your bedtime the same every evening — even on weekends — so as to not confuse your biological clock. This makes it easier to fall into a deep slumber. Give yourself an hour away alert along with a 15-minute alert to help you wrap up the evening’s activities in a timely manner.
Skip screens - Avoid screen time at least an hour before sleep as the blue light emitted from the screens can interrupt your melatonin production, which helps you doze off. This means phones, tablets, and television screens!
Consider what relaxes you - Everyone has different ideas of relaxing. Reading, journaling, meditating, and stretching are all great ways to help the mind and body relax.
Write your worries down - Do a written brain dump on paper just before sleep to reduce stressful thoughts from keeping you awake.
Recall the good - Take time to reflect on three good things that happened during the day. A gratitude practice can help you feel more present and peaceful. Anything from spending time with your dog to enjoying a backyard picnic with your family counts. Write it down, too!
If you often open your fridge and wonder, “What can I make for dinner?”, then it’s time to add meal planning as a new habit. Meal planning saves you time and money by helping you stick to your prescribed list. Reduce food waste and minimize your time spent in the kitchen by planning ahead. Check out Frugal Nutrition — created by functional nutritionist Caitlin Self — for easy vegan and paleo recipes!
When you start meal planning:
- Collect your recipes for the week - Whether you like to use Pinterest or the family cookbook, make a list of and save all the recipes you’ll need for the week.
- Create your grocery list - There are two good rules for grocery shopping: Never go hungry and always write out your list before going to the store! This saves you time — you won’t need to run out later when you’ve forgotten that miscellaneous ingredient — and money so you don’t put extra items in your cart when you’re famished.
- Write out your weekly menu - Creating a plan for your weekly meals will make it easier to see exactly what you’re having on any given day. It will also reduce food waste as you’ll be able to plan meals with your freshest ingredients first.
Stick to it - Stick to your weekly menu that you’ve laid out. Doing so saves time, money and effort — no more worrying about what’s for dinner at the last minute!
- Meal swap with people - Keep mealtime interesting by opting to do a meal swap with your neighbors, friends, or coworkers. This will expand your palate by allowing you to try new foods and recipes you might now otherwise have thought to try.
- Consider seasonal foods - Seasonal foods are a real treat that only come around during certain times of the year. Spend less and get the best nutritional benefit by using these ingredients during the time of year they’re in stock.
Focus on the Mind
Your mind is the key to habit change. Habit formation starts with the thought that it’s time to make a lifestyle change. When you focus on mindfulness techniques, you can also improve your mental and physical health. Incorporating daily mindfulness practices can lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and reduce chronic pain.
Some tips on learning to quiet your mind:
- Set up a special place - Find a quiet place that feels calm and organized. You can sit in a comfy chair or on a yoga pillow to get comfortable and start your mindfulness practice. Start off with just a few minutes a day and expand your time from there.
- Use a timer - Whether you spend two minutes or 20 minutes focused on deep breathing, chanting, or guided meditation, consider a timer for when you’re first starting out.
- Focus on your breath - For those who may be new to meditation or mindfulness, it can feel tough to quiet the “monkey brain” that’s always going. When in doubt or feeling overwhelmed, come back to your breath to focus and be in the moment.
Take in the current moment - Everyday life can be busy and overwhelming. It’s okay to pause and reflect on how you’re feeling. Acknowledging leads to acceptance, which can help you be more in the moment and makes resetting your mindset easier.
Get outdoors - See our #1 tip in this post again! Spend some time walking your neighborhood with no music and fully enjoy the walk. If you dislike sitting still, a walking meditation practice might be for you.
How to Make Healthy Habits Regular
A habit is a repetitive behavior or regular practice that you do.
For better or worse, our habits set the stage for how our life looks and feels every single day. When done often enough, habits become ingrained and are set on autopilot. This can be why bad habits feel so tough to break!
The good news is, you can set your mind to adopting better habits.
If you’re ready to develop healthy habits you want to be proud of, you need a game plan. It’s essential to make your habit changes in a way that you can watch your progress and celebrate it.
From creating a plan to sharing your wins, here’s a look at how you can keep healthy habits strong day in and day out:
Create a Plan
Failing is no fun. That’s why a plan is a necessity when you want to make a lasting change in your life. Write down reasonable, small goals and the steps you need to get there. For example, if you want to make meditation and mindfulness a part of your life, write your plan down. It may include a plan like including deep breathing sessions in your daily routine. To accomplish that, you might set up daily timers reminding yourself to do some deep breathing at specific points in the day.
Make it Fun
When you begrudge a new task, it can be hard to find the motivation to keep on it. Try to make it fun for yourself by having a friend join you, creating a challenge for others to commit to, or even just rewarding yourself for accomplishing it. Be creative and have fun with it!
Having an accountability partner can increase your chances of meeting your goals by 65%, according to the American Society of Training and Development. Up your chances of making real change by finding a reliable accountability partner who will help you make changes and cheer you on.
Sometimes it can be tough to picture yourself changing your ways. Think of it as a way to positively change your life instead of a task you “have to do.” Imagine how it would feel to accomplish a habit change. Do you feel happier? Healthier? Stronger? Focus on what you’ll gain by adding this new habit into your life.
You can stick with your new habits if you watch your progress grow. Use a paper journal, a digital app, or an Excel sheet to keep an eye on your growth. Doing so will encourage you when you have days when your motivation or willpower doesn’t feel so strong.
It’s important to celebrate your wins — especially when it comes to habit change. What’s the point if you don’t have fun with it, too? Take yourself out for a manicure; enjoy that dessert, or even just self-care time. Progress is progress, so celebrate it!
Celebrate a Win
Call a friend and do a happy dance when you have made progress — big or small. Whether that means drinking more water daily, exercising your body, or learning how to relax better, it’s all good change to celebrate. Better yet, if you have an accountability partner, celebrate your wins together!
Once you get into a routine of good habits, you won’t want to give them up! And it’s important to remember self-compassion matters when you’re aiming to stick to new habits. Strive for change, not perfection, and it will be easier to start over again if you fall out of your habit for any reason!
Develop Healthy Habits for a More Fulfilling Life
When you focus your everyday habits around wellness, it creates a positive, cascading effect.
You know the basics: Eat well, sleep well, and exercise often. If you haven’t tried incorporating the above habits along with the usual basics, give it a try. You may be surprised how it saves you time, increases your energy, and makes you feel healthier.
The more healthy habits you incorporate into your life, the bigger well-being boost you’re likely to see. As long as you’re open to adjusting and breaking some of your not-so-healthy habits, you create room for optimal happiness and health.
Start small and know that while bad habits can be tough to break, it’s still doable.
Lastly, when you start seeing even small changes, take note. These are the small victories that will propel you forward to maintain your healthy habits all year long.
What are some of your healthiest habits? Share with us how you maintain them year-round!