Healthy Habits to Start to Improve Yourself
It’s probably safe to assume that most of us plan to become better versions of who we are now. However, putting that plan into practice isn’t always easy—and making room for healthy habits among the other important aspects of your life can sometimes seem daunting. If you’re able to work through that adversity, taking the time and effort to add engaging, productive habits to your routine can help you feel good and may improve your overall health.
So, which healthy lifestyle habits should you consider adopting?
Healthy Habits to Start
Maintain A Beneficial Sleep Schedule
The health benefits of sleep are numerous and include increased awareness, alertness and energy. Sleep is just as important for the things it keeps you away from, though, including depression, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
The amount of sleep you should be getting varies by age, but these numbers are just suggestions. If you don’t feel like you start the day refreshed, you may need to extend your time in bed to allow enough rest for your body.
For children 13-to-17, the correct amount of sleep is usually 8-to-10 hours. For adults ages 18 through 60, 7 or more hours is recommended. It’s suggested that adults who’ve reached ages 61-to-64 should get 7-to-9 hours of sleep, while adults 65 and older should sleep for approximately 7-to-8 hours.
In order to maximize the quality of your sleep, try keeping your sleep schedule consistent. This will train the brain and body to expect this much-needed recovery time. Keep the bedroom quiet and cool while avoiding the bed as a spot for reading or watching television. Once again, this will train the brain to associate a bed with sleep. Finally, avoid caffeine after the early afternoon and avoid alcohol in the hours before bedtime.
Avoid Staying Stationary
Working out for a minimum of 30 minutes is one of the best daily health habits a person can work into their day-to-day life. Physical activity shouldn’t be confined to that one set period during your day, though. Making small changes or taking deliberate action to add more activity to your life doesn’t need to get in the way of your daily routines or responsibilities.
It can look like something simple, like parking in the back of a store’s lot to increase walking distance—you may already do this because you believe it cuts down on the chance that someone will damage your vehicle. It can also look like a big change, such as switching to a standing desk or working 5-minute walks into your work day. While you’re at it, do what you can to take the stairs instead of opting for the elevator.
Exercise helps maintain weight, provides an energy boost, improves mental wellness and contributes to keeping an array of health conditions at bay. These small improvements should probably be utilized in conjunction with an exercise routine, but alone, they’re still healthy habits to synthesize into your everyday routine. Today, there’s a large suite of apps that make this easier than ever.
There are so many reasons you may not be able to resist those donuts in the break room. Maybe they’re part of some sort of social symbolism, like a birthday treat or an office gift from a coworker. Maybe they’re your favorite type or from your favorite shop. Sometimes, willpower doesn’t hold up to circumstance—but don’t let the reason be hunger. Pastries and desserts aren’t meals, and replacing a source of proper nutrition with a blueberry cake donut robs your body of good things while giving it a lot less in return. Avoid situations like this by planning your meals in advance.
If you plan your meals, you’ll be able to factor in your own nutritional needs while taking into consideration the things you’d like to avoid. It’ll also save your money if you’re used to ordering out for lunch.
Factoring in fruits and vegetables is a great, easy way to plan meals. Prepare meals that are easily transported and take little prep once it’s lunchtime, like soups and salads. Get creative while preparing with simple seasonings that improve the veggie or fruit eating experience. Mix it up with different fruits and veggies to avoid meal burnout.
Allowing your body to fall into a state of dehydration can impact blood circulation, body temperature, brain functionality, and more. Making proper hydration a part of your healthy habit routine can do more than just quell thirst—it can keep you operating as your absolute best self.
Adults should drink approximately 9-to-13 glasses of water a day, with the high end of that range serving those who possess biological traits usually associated with males, while the low end is the recommended amount for those who possess biological traits usually associated with females. Spread this amount throughout the day so you’re staying hydrated.
Start the day with a glass of water, and make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day by keeping a filled bottle handy. If you aren’t a fan of plain water, try adding natural flavoring or see if you enjoy sparkling water.
Benefits of Healthy Habits
The aforementioned habits—and any additional healthy habits to start you may come across or learn about from others—have their own direct benefits. Drinking more water can improve your lifestyle and performance, as can the right amount of quality sleep. Staying active helps you stay fit, which comes with its own set of boons. Beyond the direct effects those causes cause, though, you’ll find a number of secondary results.
To build healthy habits, you must also create a cycle where willpower and self-reliance keep you on a set path. Not unlike a muscle, these can be trained and repeated use can make it easier to adopt new daily healthy habits into your life.
Just remember that these changes won’t happen overnight. Research suggests it takes an average of 66 days for any impactful change in your habits to firmly take hold.
Tips for Maintaining Healthy Habits
Identify Undesirable Behavior
Any action you take with regularity, like brushing your teeth or driving the same route to work in the morning, can become habitual and may even induce a sort-of auto-pilot feeling. Try moving through your day with an increased level of self-awareness. Is there a moment when you’re prone to unhealthy snacking? Is there a time during the workday when you should take a moment to breathe and avoid hitting a mental wall? These undesirable behaviors can be changed or replaced once they’re identified.
Adopting healthy habits is easier if you reduce your chances for failure. Put everything you need for your workout together and get it ready before bed so, in the morning, you aren’t giving up because you can’t find a clean shirt. Meal prep during the weekend so you don’t use exhaustion as an excuse for poor nutrition. Buy multiple portable water bottles and keep them clean so you can always grab and fill one before you head out the door.
Try Working on Habits Early in the Day
It’s possible that human beings have a finite supply of willpower that depletes as we make decisions throughout the day. Try budgeting time as early as possible for habits you’d really like to work on.
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