11 healthy habits that will improve your life

Love to look better and feel happier? Here are 11 healthy habits that will improve your life.

In many ways, our habits help define us. They’re the patterns that we spend our daily lives acting out, so it stands to reason that they would have a major influence on our physical and mental well-being. 

That’s why getting into healthy habits is such an important part of achieving total health. Developing these habits is like making a smart investment that will bear major dividends down the road.

Something that starts small grows to have an outsized impact over time. In this guide, we’ll talk about 11 good habits that will serve you well throughout life. 

1) Going outside

The simple act of being outside, no matter what you’re doing, is beneficial to the human mind and body. You don’t have to be Bear Grylls. Heck, you don’t even have to know what to bring camping if you start with something easy, like a 30-minute daily walk around the neighborhood.

But outdoor time, like everything else we’ll talk about here, has substantial benefits when incorporated into regular practice — and your outdoor skills will develop, too.

2) Drinking water

Water is the closest thing we have to a “secret sauce” for total mind and body health. Try to drink at least a half-gallon of water a day. If you currently consume a lot of sugary drinks like sodas or processed juices, try substituting water with lemon.

Your body will love you for it. You might have to make a few more bathroom trips during the day, but trust us, the trade-off is worth it! 

3) Reading

Not everybody wants to tackle Crime and Punishment in their free time, but that shouldn’t keep you from picking up a book of some kind and diving in. (And if you do want to read Crime and Punishment, more power to you. It’s a great book!)

From mystery to fantasy to non-fiction to the classics, reading will help keep your cognitive faculties sharp. Audiobooks are a perfect way to incorporate reading into your daily routine, and many public libraries offer audio titles for free for anyone with a library card. 

4) Meal prep

Do you find yourself stressed about cooking and reaching for frozen meals and takeout throughout the week? Looking for a way to get more healthy food in your body?

By consolidating your cooking into one or two meal prep nights a week, you can achieve greater control over your diet, as well as saving time and money. Start out by choosing a few easy recipes and learning to cook them really well. Then, scale up your batch size, and voila — you’ve got several days’ worth of delicious, healthy, pre-cooked meals

5) Journaling

A journal is an ideal private space to organize your thoughts and express your emotions. Just a page or a paragraph a day can provide a fantastic creative outlet and a dose of healthy introspection.

And please, don’t think you have to be a great writer! You’re writing for an audience of one, so don’t be afraid to spend time testing out partially formed ideas or experimenting with how things sound when written out on paper. 

6) Screen-free time

It’s nearly impossible to avoid screens in today’s world, so the best choice is to be cognizant of how much of your time they occupy and judicious about when you choose to use them.

At the very least, experts say you should banish screens from your life for the last hour before you go to bed. Replace the screen time with something else from this list, like reading or journaling. A headlamp is an ideal way to complete these while transitioning to sleep. 

7) Eating breakfast

Eating a nutritious breakfast gets your body charged up and ready to take on the day. Ideally, you want breakfast to be a balanced meal with protein, carbs and fruits and vegetables all present and accounted for, so find a few recipes for easy balanced breakfasts that you enjoy.

Avoid sugary cereals and energy bars if you can and opt for foods rich in fiber, lean protein and whole grains. 

8) Seeing a therapist

Whether or not you have a diagnosed mental health condition, seeing a therapist can improve your life in a multitude of ways. Most people benefit from having a calm, friendly person to help them process ideas and emotions, especially during stressful life events.

A tip: A great therapist is one that you instinctively click with, so don’t be afraid to try a few different ones before you settle on one. 

9) Sleeping at least eight hours

We know that it’s easier said than done for many people, but getting a minimum of eight hours’ sleep (or an appropriate amount for your age) should be a major health priority.

If you have trouble sleeping enough, make sure you’ve tried some different options. Some people like white noise, others like supplements like melatonin and still others like meditation — or a combination of multiple techniques. 

10) Healthy snacking

Replacing that bag of chips with some carrots and hummus can create a surprisingly significant upgrade in your health and well-being.

Consistent healthy snacking is a great way to get more healthy foods into your body. And when you cut out the unhealthy foods, you’ll be astounded by just how many calories you can shave off your daily totals. 

11) Flossing

Yeah, we said it. Few people love flossing, but it’s the number-one thing that most people don’t do when it comes to keeping their teeth clean. And look, you really don’t want to deal with the consequences of not flossing, such as gingivitis and other nasty mouth infections.

If you struggle to use traditional dental floss, grab some of the plastic floss picks available from any pharmacy or grocery store. 

Take it slowly – changing habits is a gradual process

Remember that changing your habits is a gradual process. Choose a small handful of these habits to start now and document your progress or use an accountability buddy if it helps you stay consistent.

And if something doesn’t stick, don’t get mad at yourself. Instead, get curious about what circumstances led you to fail and investigate how you can work with rather than against yourself.