Whether you're looking for a complete life overhaul, or if you're just wanting to tweak a few things, there are certain habits you can include in your day that are a sure-fire way to improve your life.
You don't need to make massive changes in order to see big results, and in fact, it's more often than not the little things you do each day that make the biggest difference.
When it comes to improving your life, small changes, little habits, done consistently (because that's key) are the best ways to make a lasting positive impact on your life.
Here are 9 habits that you easily add to your day and will help you improve your life. (Hint: you don't have to do them all… pick one or two and once you've got them down pat, then add another).
1 – Keep A Schedule For Yourself
Do you live your life pro-actively or reactively? That is, do you take steps to be in control of what's happening, or do you just deal with things that come up.
So many people fall into the latter category, and that's totally understandable. Taking a more ‘go with the flow’ approach is the right way for some people… but not everyone.
Try creating a schedule for yourself each day. The level of detail of your schedule is up to you and what you need. You can create a basic routine outline, such as breaking your day into categories (morning, day, afternoon, evening, night) and each category has tasks assigned to it.
Or you can be more detailed and create a schedule where you do the same things at the same time each day.
Be sure to add anything important to your schedule and tweak as you go.
This means you will feel more in control, you won't have surprises pop up and change your plans last minute, and you'll get more done in your day.
2 – Read Every Single Day
Whether it's the newspaper, a book, a magazine, or your favorite blog (like this one) taking the time to read every single day is a habit that can seriously improve your life.
Because you will be exposed to new ideas, concepts, and information that can help shape the way you think about things.
Reading also requires focus and allows your brain to empty out from all of the little thoughts buzzing around in there all day long. This is a good thing because not only do you get a break from thinking, but it opens up your mind to new ideas and allows you to be more creative when it comes time for decision making.
As you read, make little notes in the margins or add quotes from what you're reading into a notepad on your phone (or wherever). Later on, these notes and quotes can spark new thoughts and ideas and lead to new things you might not have ever thought about.
3 – Breathe Deeply
Remember when you were a kid, and your mom would tell you to breathe deeply in order to calm down?
Well, that advice wasn't just for kids, it's good advice for adults too! Especially in our busy, fast-paced world where everything is moving so quickly and we don't take the time to stop and smell the roses.
When you're breathing deeply it calms you down, slows your heart rate, reduces your stress levels, clears out your mind, and allows more oxygen into your system which is good for just about every organ in your body.
So next time you're feeling tense, stressed out, anxious… remember to breathe!
4 – Eat A Power Breakfast
You've heard of power lunches… but what about power breakfasts?
When you eat breakfast every day it's so much easier to stay focused on your goals. You have more mental clarity and are less distracted by hunger pangs.
If you have a full stomach you won't feel the need to snack every few hours, which means no mindless eating throughout your day.
But don't just have ‘any' breakfast, have a power breakfast! Eggs for protein and healthy fats to give your body the energy it needs when you first wake up. Throw in some fruit or nuts if you want to get in some vitamins too.
If breakfast really isn’t your thing, then make sure the first meal you eat for the day is your ‘power’ meal with protein and healthy fats to nourish your mind and body.
5 – Do One Thing At A Time
Multitasking is actually a myth. Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time, whether it's reading an article, writing an article, or any other activity you might be doing.
By trying to do too much you spread yourself too thin and accomplish nothing in the end. You'll find that when you do a task one at a time you make fewer mistakes and produce a higher quality output.
If someone is talking to you while you're trying to focus on something else, give them 100% of your attention or tell the person that you need to complete your current task and then you can give them your attention. Most people will respect this and understand (if they don’t that’s not your fault).
Keeping a to-do list handy can help you stay focused on one task at a time. If a thought for something else that you need to do pops into your mind, write it down for later and get back to your task.
You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are when you a single task-focused.
6 – Wake Up Early
Waking up early does wonders for your energy levels throughout the day so you can accomplish more with less fatigue.
It's not easy though.
Getting up early means that you have to be able to turn your brain on before the caffeine, or sugar rush that most people use for their ‘jump start' in the morning.
But with time and practice, it will get easier.
Once you get into the rhythm of things you'll find that the earlier you start your day, the more productive you are and the better quality sleep you get at night which means waking up early won't feel like such a drag anymore.
You can use this extra time in the morning to start a practice of journaling, set your intentions for the day, or even write a to-do list. We all want extra time in our day, what could you do with an extra hour each morning?
7 – Spend Time Outside
Even if it's just 5 minutes in the sun or in the fresh air, spending some time outside is good for your body and mind.
It refreshes you and gives you a boost of energy after being cooped up inside all day.
Plus, spending time in nature has proven to help with depression and anxiety which means you'll be able to get more done without feeling like everything's going wrong.
The mood boost that comes with spending time outdoors is fantastic and will have such a big impact on how you approach just about everything in your life.
8 – Drink Enough Water
Did you know it's suggested that around 70% of Americans are dehydrated?* And that chronic dehydration contributes to your cardiovascular health, your brain health, and even your energy levels.** It's not surprising considering our bodies are made up of 60% water and it's essential for almost every function of our body.
We need to start taking care of our bodies by doing things like drinking enough water – no matter how busy or on the go we are.
By not giving your body the hydration it needs you're going to feel sluggish and unmotivated. But a glass of water is a quick, easy solution that you can drink anywhere.
It's recommended that women drink around 11.5 cups (or 2.7 liters) of water a day, and men should drink around 15.5 cups (3.7 liters)****
How does that compare to how much water you're drinking now?
Grab yourself a large water bottle, and keep track of your daily water intake for a week. See how different you feel after a week of good hydration (you'll probably make a few extra trips to the toilet in the first few days until your body adapts to its new normal).
9 – Make Connections With Family & Friends
Family and friends are the people who love, support, and care for you. They're your cheerleaders when things go wrong. And they're there to celebrate with you when good things happen.
But of course, family and friends can be more than just “support systems.”
Human connections are one of our basic needs. Even the most introverted of people still need to make meaningful connections with others.
But, when life gets busy, and things keep popping up, weeks or even months can go by without a proper catch-up (Facebook messages and tagging each other in funny memes don't count).
Use the first tip on this list (creating a schedule) and schedule regular time to make connections with family and friends.
Video call if you're not geographically close, organize a coffee date if you are, and make time for connections.
You'll feel better for it and so with those you love.
Adding new habits into your day doesn’t have to be complicated. Pick one of these habits (or two that work together, like #1 and #9, or #2 and #3) and work on including these into your day. After a week or two, take some time to reflect and ask yourself if you feel these habits have helped you improve your life and what positive changes they’ve encouraged. This will motivate you to keep going and keep working on creating a life you love.
*Source – https://www.medicaldaily.com/75-americans-may-suffer-chronic-dehydration-according-doctors-247393
**Source – https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/the-health-dangers-of-chronic-dehydration
**Alternate Source – https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/73/suppl_2/97/1930742 (this is the actual study abstract)
***Source – https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects
****Source – https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20National%20Academies%20of,fluids%20a%20day%20for%20women