Healthy habits lead to living your best life. Let’s face it, sometimes its hard to take care of yourself. It’s almost easier to try and take care of other people or focus on work. Engaging in a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming, there is no point in getting around that, but it’s worth-while. Healthy habits make for an increased quality of life for you now and in the future. It increases happiness and sense of meaning. Self-care is important, people! 2018 was a huge year for me in terms of healthy habits. It was the year I finally looked at my life and realized I should treat my body right, physically and mentally. This list isn’t in any order of importance. Here are my top 10 picks for healthy habits we should all continue to strive for in 2019.
1. Regular Exercise
Aside from doing seasonal sports in high school, I didn’t take up regular exercise until 2018. Better late than never? Even after waking up at 1:30 am and getting home from work at 1:00 pm when I worked at Starbucks, I would still pull on my yoga pants and head to Orange Theory to get my hour in.
Before that consistency, I would go to the gym for maybe 2 weeks with the mindset of how I’m going to lose weight and get so fit and blah blah blah. Something just clicked one day and I realized, regular exercise is just an important thing to do. I wasn’t in it to quickly lose weight, I was doing it because it made me feel good and I was in the market for an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercise is something that will benefit you now and in the future.
Consistency beats crashing and burning after two weeks because you’re not seeing any progress or getting tired of the early mornings or after work gym sessions (and if you are someone in the market to lose weight, it will come with time). The gym works for me, but regular exercises could mean hiking, soccer, walks, anything that gets you out and moving!
2. Eat Good Food
This was another huge feat for me in 2018. Diet is such an important part in overall health. Feeding your body Oreos and Doritos all the time is not the way to go if you’re looking to improve health and wellness. That’s probably obvious. Plus, abs are made in the kitchen, right? Its hard to just flip a switch and completely just transform your diet in a day from one full of processed foods, sugars, and artificial flavorings. But taking it day by day and making goals makes it a bit easier.
Make a conscious decision to not eat anything with added sugar for one week, or to eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables every day for a week. You get the idea, and improving your diet can make you feel better physically and mentally. I personally need to work on eliminating added sugar. I love chocolate- but I don’t need dessert every day. Stepping back from that is currently a (slow) work in progress!
3. Drink More Water
Water is basically the elixir of life. It increases energy and reduces fatigue, clears your complexion, flushes out toxins in the body. You need to get in on this! The human body is composed mostly of water so if you’re not drinking enough of this goodness every day then what are you doing? 64 oz (or 8 cups) of water a day is a good baseline, but really you should be drinking more. I mentioned in my New Years Resolutions post here that one of my goals this year is to drink 100 oz of water every day. To help me drink more water, I put a water tracker up where I can see it and mark off each day how I’m doing. I attached a free simple water tracker below.
You can find my water bottle here!
4. Write Down Your Goals (& Work Towards Achieving Them)
How are you going to achieve the things in life that you want? If you have a bunch of ideas bouncing around in your head, I always find it helpful to write them down. It helps you to visualize what you want to achieve so that you don’t just stay stagnant in your life!
It helps you prepare a plan, tracks your progress, and motivates you. Post them where you can see them and try to do something every day that contributes to your goals. Do you want to lose weight? Make a step towards that goal and schedule when you’re going to exercise or meal prep. Do you want to open your own business? Make your business plan. Whatever your goals are, make sure you can see them this year and start making steps toward achieving them. Taking control of your life will lead to you living your best life, right?
Here are some CUTE notebooks!
5. Read Everyday
I feel like reading is so underrated… but in my opinion is a healthy habit that everyone should set aside some time in the day to do. Books can teach you new skills, feed your imagination, improve your critical thinking skills or creativity, and give you a new perspective on the world. I aim to read 52 books a year, or one a week (also one of my goals in my 2019 New Years Resolutions). I’ve made this goal the last 4 years and the closest I’ve gotten is 36 books. Maybe 2019 will be the year I reach 52.
Regardless, if you make an effort to read every day, even if it isn’t a book, you will expand your mind. 30 minutes a day isn’t much. It’s only 2% of the entire day. Read before you go to sleep, or instead of watching an episode of Chopped. Listen to an audiobook on your way to work, or read during your breaks instead of scrolling through social media. There are enough hours in the day if you find the time for it.
Some of my favorite books of 2018:
- You Are a Badass®: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
- Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
- The Woman in Cabin 10
6. Get Yo’ Sleep
We live in a fast-paced world. A life where everyone tries to do anything and everything. Where everyone is telling you that must choose one thing or the other but also do this and do that. We sacrifice important aspects of our life- usually health and sleep. But seriously, you need quality sleep. If you need to drink three cups of coffee the next day to function and stay awake, then you probably need more sleep (or you have a deep caffeine addiction). When you get enough sleep, you will be rewarded with better focus, more motivation, and feeling less stressed. It’s not healthy to substitute 2 hours of sleep your body needs with 2 extra hours of Stranger Things, let’s be real.
7. Invest in your Hobbies
Why should you invest in your hobbies? Well, you have the hobbies that you do because they make you happy, right? It’s time where you get to decompress. Investing time to de-stress is beneficial in the long run. When I don’t have time to decompress, I get super emotional and burnt out. So, whether you’re dedicating an hour a day to do something that you enjoy doing, or a couple hours on the weekend, it’s time well spent.
8. Look for New Experiences
New experiences can give you new perspectives, allow personal growth and development, and they can also help you decompress. During my solo backpacking trip, I was looking for that new experience. Immersing myself in different cultures and meeting people from all over the world gave me what I was looking for. I learned a lot about different cultures, overcame my fear, and I got to learn what I was truly capable of. You don’t have to travel to a different continent to find new experiences. Just trying something new, like ice skating, enhances your personal bank of experiences. You can relate to others better, find new passions, and have fun (yes, you’re allowed to have fun).
9. Make Time for Others
“Me time” is important but having relationships with others (and not just of the romantic variety) is also important. Setting aside time each day to catch up with the ones you love and maintain relationships is so beneficial. Do you know what your mom is up to? Has it been a while since you’ve talked to your friend and you’re not quite sure how they’re doing? Keep up with the relationships you have in life and form new ones.
Setting aside time to give someone a call, even if it’s on your way home for work helps to maintain your support network and it lets others know that you are thinking about them and that you care. Maybe have a weekly coffee date with your best friend to catch up on what’s gone down that week, or a lunch date with your dad or watch the weekly episode of a TV show with your squad. Whatever you need to do, time maintaining or creating relationships with others is really a healthy habit.
10. Be Punctual
If you’re meeting with a friend and said you were going to show up at 9:00 and you wander in at 9:20, they just spent 20 minutes of their time that they could have spent doing something else… and you can’t get back time. Being punctual is a healthy habit that also helps to maintain your relationships. When you’re on time, you are showing someone else that you respect them and value their time. It’s one thing to be running late and not purposefully arrive on time, but it’s another to know that you are consistently late and not do anything (like set your alarm an extra 30 minutes sooner) to make a change.
I realize that all my healthy habits involve time and effort. There are no quick fixes to having a healthy lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort! Life gets crazy. You have things to do, I get that. A week from now, a month from now, a year from now and even longer than that you will be thanking yourself if you even decide to focus on one (or more) of these habits! You will be living your best life with less stress and more accountability for yourself. Plan your day and make daily goals to try and accomplish everything you want.
Make 2019 your best year yet!