We are creatures of habit. Everything we think, say and do is a result of deep-seated habits etched into our minds through years and years of repitious behavior. Those very same habits either help to propel us forward or to hinder our progress in life. In fact, the state and quality of our lives right now is a direct reflection of our daily habits.
Habits are an undeniably powerful part of life. They’re an integral part of the underlying behavioral psychology that shapes the direction of our lives. They’re so integral that a study determined that approximately 45 percent of everything we do on a daily basis is driven by our habits.
Parting ways with our bad habits and replacing them with good habits is by no means a simple task. It takes commitment, willpower and an unwavering desire to overcome our seemingly natural tendencies to think, feel, speak and act in a certain way.
Read more: 10 Bad Habits You Must Eliminate From Your Daily Routine
Clearly, for those absolutely committed to things like happiness and success, habits offer the pathway to enrichment in life. They’re also the tools we use to help automate our progress towards one end or another, assisting us with the achievement of our goals and the fulfillment of our dreams.
Still, for the most part, we’re often left in the dark. We’re unsure of ourselves or where to start on the road to developing good habits. What are the best habits to have in your life when you want to succeed or be happy? Are there some that usurp others, providing some secret magical recipe for achieving life’s loftiest goals?
What are the best habits to have in life?
While any list of habits concoted might seem subjective, there are, in fact, 25 particular habits that will not only help you to succeed, financially speaking, but will also keep you healthy, happy and fulfilled in life. Focus on these 25 habits, consistently making efforts to instill them into your daily routine, and in time, your progress and momentum towards your goals will skyrocket.
1. Wake up early.
The early morning hours are a time for peaceful reflection and ample productivity, where the world is still and asleep, allowing you to focus wholeheartedly on your long-term goals. Anyone who is serious about success in any measure knows that it’s important to wake up early.
Even if you’re not a morning person, use incremental changes in your daily routine to start waking up earlier and earlier. Begin by setting your alarm clock back by 15 minutes the first week, 15 minutes the next week and so on. Do this until you can wake up at least two hours earlier than you’re waking up now.
We spend a great deal of time immersed in our problems. But problems are also a sign of life. The only time we’ll lack problems is when we’re six feet under. And if you want to shift your focus away from your problems, you have to be grateful for what you have. Yes, even for your problems.
Gratitude is the surest pathway to health, happiness and success. It shifts our attention towards what we have rather than what we don’t have. It’s the natural abundance of simple pleasures and opportunities that we’ve been afforded with and blessed with that we often take for granted.
Studies have confirmed that people who smile a genuine smile (also referred to as a Duchenne smile) are happier in life. This is one of the best habits for allowing you to find emotional, mental and spiritual peace-of-mind over time — simply by placing a smile on your face.
The physiology of our bodies dictates the psychology of our minds. When we frown or slouch or do any number of other things that convey a sense of depression and unhappiness, our mind takes those cues and runs with them. However, once we shift our outward appearance by consciously adjusting ourselves, our inward feelings follow.
4. Eat a healthy breakfast.
Breakfast is an important part of life. Yet, 31 million Americans skip breakfast every single day. And that saying you’ve heard your entire life about breakfast being the most important meal of the day? It’s 100 percent true. If you’re serious about success, eat a healthy breakfast every single morning.
This single habit doesn’t take much effort. Some planning is certainly required, and if you’re rushing out the door every morning with barely any time to spare, you might want to consider waking up earlier to ensure that you wield this habit in your own life.
One of the absolute best habits to have in life is to exercise every single day without fail. This isn’t about heavy weightlifting or running a marathon. This is about doing lightly strenuous activity to oxygenate your blood and boost the endorphins in your body.
Not only will you feel physically better when you start this habit, but you’ll also feel more motivated, have more mental clairty and be more emotionally sound. Exercise releases dopaminine, oxytocin and serotonin into the system, giving an almost euphoric effect without the usage of any drugs whatsoever.
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6. Drink water with lemon.
One habit that has monumental health benefits is to drink a large glass of water with lemon every single day. Lemons are a natural source of Vitamin C, but also possess other health benefits — such as helping with your digestion, boosting your immune system, along with cleansing and rehydrating your body.
The water itself is also an important way to flush any toxins from your system early on in the morning when you first arise. Ultimately, over time, this will also aid with things like weight loss, a reduction in any inflammations and an overall boost in energy.
7. Walk 10,000 steps.
Most people have heard about the benefits of walking at least 10,000 steps in a day. Yet, as a society, we tend to fall far short of that goal. One study, which provided shocking results of just how many steps we do take, compared that number to countries from around the world by studying participants from the U.S., Switzerland, Australia and Japan.
Americans, on average, take 5,117 steps a day. Compared to Australians, who take 9,695 steps per day, and residents of Switzerland, who take 9,650 steps per day, and those of Japan, who take 7,168 steps per day — we fall way short. Event still, this single habit is a great way to resolve our sedentary ways. Park further from the office or take the stairs when you can to help boost your daily steps.
8. Vitamins and minerals.
As a culture, we lack the necessary vitamins and minerals through our food intake. Processed and refined sugars, carbohydrates and other foods that are a staple of the American diet help to exacerbate this problem. We simply don’t get the proper nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis.
Find a good set of vitamins and minerals that you can take every day. It’s easy to ignore this healthy habit, but the feeling after weeks and months of doing this on a regular basis, is tremendous. That impact can help us to improve other areas of our lives by providing mental, emotional and physical clarity.
9. Effective time management.
An essential habit for succeeding at anything in life is effective time management. How well you manage the precious little time you have says a lot about what you can achieve. And considering that we all have the same amount of time in this world, how you leverage this resource will dictate your potential for success.
Find a good system for managing your time and implement it. This isn’t complex to do, but does require conscious and consistent effort. However, once this habit has been solidified into your daily routine, virtually anything is possible, and no goal will be too big to attain.
10. Daily goal setting.
Most people have goals. Whether it’s something to achieve in business or in life, we’re all moving in one intended direction or another. However, while long-term goals do give us direction, it’s the daily goals that we set that allow us to create short-term milestones that are integral to our success.
Long-term goals can seem overwhelming even in the best of times. But by implementing a daily goal-setting strategy, you can overcome some of the enormity associated with achieving big things in life by focusing on the one-day-at-time, short-term scenarios.
11. Inspire yourself.
It’s often difficult to stay motivated for any considerable amount of time. We get discouraged and dissuaded from our goals when things arise in life that send us on tangents and veer us off track. But one of the absolute best ways you can stay motivated in life is to inspire yourself on a daily basis.
Read, watch inspirational videos and get inspired by stories of others who have achieved their dreams. Anthony Robbins calls this your “hour of power,” but you can spend as much or as little time on this as you need. Inspiration is the pathway to achievement because what the mind can conceive, it can achieve.
12. Save and invest.
No good habit list is complete without one that calls for saving and investing. We often overlook the necessity to save for the future because we’re so busy living in the present moment. The truth is that most Americans have less than $1,000 saved up at any given moment.
But it’s not just about saving. You have to invest the money that you save, and do so wisely. The more attention you pay to this now, the more your life will be replete with financial success in the future. You should also be sure to have at least six months worth of savings in your account to stave off any potential financial calamity in the future.
Read more: Why Entrepreneurs Need to Save and Invest Money
13. Budget and track expenses.
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.” It’s easy to lose sight of little expenses, but they add up, especially when we fail to budget. Be sure to manage all of your expenses, and sweat the small stuff, so to speak.
When it comes to sound financial habits, this is an important one to have, and one that will lend itself to your future financial success. The money saved on frivilous or extraneous expenses can be saved and invested for your future. Don’t ignore the future for sake of revelling in the present moment.
14. Learn something new.
Educate yourself, and learn something new every single day. Committ to learning and improving your life, whether it’s by acquiring new skills or enhancing the existing skills you already have. From foreign languages to software programs and apps, you should carve out a small amount of time every single day to dedicate to this habit.
Whether you decide to learn something new through an online course, an audiobook, a blog post, a video tutorial on YouTube, or even through TED Talks or other means, the importance of implementing this habit is paramount. Find something that’s worthwhile learning and do just a little bit of it every single day.
Physical clutter results in a loss of focus. When our lives are disorganized and in a state of disarray, it’s hard to stay focused on our goals. Take the time to organize your home and office, and do just a little each day to enforce this habit. Take a single drawer and organize it, or organize a solitary corner of your home or even a cabinet in your office.
The importance of this habit is highlighted by a study in the Journal of Neuroscience titled, “Interactions of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms in human visual cortex,” which says “Multiple stimuli present in the visual field at the same time compete for neural representation by mutually suppressing their evoked activity throughout visual cortex.” In plain English — clutter lends itself to a major loss of focus.
16. Contribute to others.
In our quest to achieve and succeed, we often forget about others. We fail to contribute something of value to our fellow man, woman or child. This isn’t about donating money; this is about contributing your time, which is far more valuable than money. It also helps to shift your focus from a state of lack to a state of abundance.
We tend to spend too much of our time steeped in worry and anxiety. But, when you enlist the habit of contributing to others, you can easily alleviate your personal concerns, and even your problems, by realizing the necessity of helping others. In fact, it’s the people in this world that contribute the most value to others that end up achieving the greatest success.
Clearly, it’s not just about what you know in this world. In order to succeed, we need to reach out to others — who you know is extremely important. But networking isn’t just about dropping names; it’s about finding ways that you can help and add value to the lives of others.
The best networkers in the world are also some of the most successful individuals. But they didn’t focus entirely on themselves at the outset. They always looked for ways that they could help others without thinking about receiving something in return. That’s how the world’s best networkers are born.
18. Break through fears.
We spend a lot of time immersed in fear. Those doomsday what-if scenarios play out in our minds throughout the course of any given day. We’re so worried and nervous about the future that we forget to enjoy the present moment. It’s so ingrained in our minds to fear things that it stifles our progress.
Breaking through your fears is quite possibly one of the most important habits that you could develop. Get used to doing one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable each and every single day. Talk to a stranger, give someone a compliment, or tell someone the truth about something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
19. Take action.
Take action. It’s a cliche that we’ve all heard repeatedly, yet it’s something that many of us fail to do. In fact, we do just the opposite — we procrastinate. We fail to take action for whatever number of reasons, hindering our progress and ability to achieve any of the monumental goals we set for ourselves.
The best way to overcome procrastination is to use the 15-minute rule. Take whatever it is that you’ve been putting off for the longest, set a timer on your phone for 15 minutes, and only commit to doing it for that long. Why only 15 minutes? First, it breaks the cycle of inaction. Second, after 15 minutes, you’ve built some momentum, so you might just keep on going.
20. Follow a plan.
Having a plan is integral to every successful entrepreneur — and person — throughout history. Whatever it is that you want out of life, not only do you need long-term goals and daily goals to help conceive, but you need to follow an intricate and detailed plan that you create along the way.
Without a plan, we often fail to realize our goals. Without understanding how we’ll get from point A to point B, it’s hard to see the cliched forest through the trees. But when you stick to a plan and track your progress, making changes along the way, you can eventually reach your goals as long as you don’t give up.
Read more: How to Improve Your Focus to Increase Your Effectiveness and Results
21. Enjoy “me” time.
One of the habits that most of us fail to implement in our lives is to enjoy some down time — or “me” time. Do one small thing that you love doing every single day. It’s not always about achievement and success. By doing one small thing that you love, you’re actually instilling peace of mind and re-focusing your center.
Whether you listen to your favorite music pumping through headphones, take a walk through the park, go for a drive along your favorite road, watch a movie, or anything else for that matter, be sure that you always carve out some time for yourself in the day.
22. Implement positive thinking.
Like attracts like. When we think negatively, harboring negative thoughts, we attract negative things into our lives. When we think positive, we attract positive things. It’s hard to stay positive all the time, and it’s often our natural tendency to think negatively about things.
However, positive thinking is one of the surest pathways to the achievement of your goals. Ignore the naysayers and the people who doubt your abilities, and pursue the things that you love, staying positive all the while. It’s purely a matter of momentum. Think positively for long enough, and good things begin happening.
Whether you read the newspaper, financial news, a novel, a non-fiction book, or anything else, find time to read something. Reading is an important habit to develop in life, and you shouldn’t rely on audiobooks or movies all the time. Good old-fashioned reading, the traditional non-screen way, does the trick.
Reading can help you uncover new worlds, ideas or ways of doing things that you might not have known about before. It’s also a great way to educate yourself or entertain yourself at any given moment.
24. Get ample rest.
Although it’s important to wake up early every day, it’s also imperative to get ample rest. Finding that delicate balance might be difficult, especially if you have kids, two jobs and other obligations. However, if you care enough about your physical well-being, along with your future success, you’ll focus on a minimum of six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
If you have trouble falling asleep, be wary not to drink coffee or alcohol too close to your bedtime. Also, if you smoke, eat too much sugar, or ingest any other type of toxins throughout the day, you’ll find it difficult getting to bed at a decent hour. Cut those out of your routine so you can get some ample rest at night.
25. Journal your thoughts.
Journaling your thoughts is a great way to reflect on who you are and what you’ve been doing in life. Time can go by so quickly that we often forget the details of what we did even a few short months ago. Those details are often novel to recall as it adds clarity and purpose to our lives, reminding us of life’s lessons and joys.
Get in the habit of writing out your thoughts and journaling your experiences on a daily basis. Intertwine it with your goals, hopes and dreams for the future, writing out what you envision your life will look like down the road, then come back to read it later on to get a window into your mind at any point in your life. This is a powerful method for self-reflection, and also a great way to motivate and inspire yourself going forward into the future.
How many of the habits above have you already worked into your life? Are there bad habits that seem to continue holding you back from achieving any semblance of success and happiness? Bad habits can get in the way of our progress and quitting them is not easy by any means. However, it’s all a matter of momentum. It all boils down to small incremental steps that you can take day in and day out to help you build up the right repertoire of habits to help you achieve whatever your heart desires. The habits above are some of the best habits to have in life. How many of them will you agree and commit to taking on today?
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com
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