Daily habits are the actions that help you achieve your goals — big or small.
How many of your daily habits would you say are healthy habits?
This year, consider creating daily habits that make you feel your best. The ones that you’ll be proud of when you start reflecting on your progress. Maybe it means drinking more water, meditating, or even practicing self-compassion.
Need some encouragement?
Below, we cover a variety of physical, mental, and healthy eating habits worth trying this year.
Physical Healthy Daily Habits to Try
How often you should workout is as deeply personal as your preferred workout. Keeping achievable, step-by-step goals is one way to maintain a daily physical activity routine. Aim for some type of movement each day.
Here’s a look at some simple, active habits worth trying:
Walking is a great daily habit to get into for a variety of reasons. Not only is it free, it’s a simple way to stay active — especially important if you sit all day long. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends 30-minute brisk walks five times weekly to lower cancer risk.
Make your walk even healthier by:
- Adding wrist or ankle weights
- Walking with a friend or neighbor
- Switching between walking and running
Even if you don’t fit in 30 minutes all at once, as long as you hit a minimum of 30 minutes walking daily, it doesn’t matter how you do it. Take the stairs, walk to the bus, stroll to the mailbox, or listen to a podcast while walking on the treadmill to get your steps in!
Sure, it might be easier to hire the young high schooler next door to rake up all those leaves, but wouldn’t you rather reap the cardio benefits yourself? Consider different ways to burn calories simply by cleaning up your house daily.
30-minute chores for a 125-pound person burn the following:
- Vacuuming: 99 calories
- Mowing the lawn: 135 calories
- Washing the car: 135 calories
- Making the bed: 187 calories
- Raking up leaves: 120 calories
Ready to make your house shine and get a workout in at the same time? Start cleaning!
Get Your Shut-Eye
Love staying up a little too late? Consider making this one of your top priorities to fix this year. High-quality sleep helps improve concentration, productivity, athletic performance, and much more. It’s also a key player in keeping your immune system strong — a must during cold and flu season.
Lack of sleep is linked to:
- Higher rates of depression
- Weakened immune systems
- Increased heart disease risk
- Higher weight gain due to increased calorie intake
If you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep several times a week, you may consider a natural supplement like melatonin or lemon balm. Always speak with a healthcare professional or pharmacist prior to exploring sleep aid options, though.
Enjoy Time With a Pet
Not only are pets fun to be around, it turns out that they’re good for your health, too! When you have a pet (especially a dog), you’ll find there’s more of an opportunity to get outdoors to exercise. Regular walks or play time with your pets can keep health conditions like cholesterol and triglyceride levels lowered, along with blood pressure.
Make it a daily habit to:
- Play with your pet indoors
- Socialize with other pet owners
- Get outdoors with active pets like dogs
Pets also tend to help people with dealing with depression and other mental health issues like anxiety. This is why it’s not uncommon to hear about therapy dogs and other animals making their rounds in cancer treatment centers. Pets provide a sense of calm and relaxation to humans they’re around, which is why it’s a great idea to spend more time with your pet each day!
Healthy Eating Habits to Try
When you make it a daily habit to eat well, you're prioritizing your overall well-being and give yourself a chance to have optimum wellness. Healthy eating habits lowers your risk for chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. It also helps you maintain or lose weight to ensure you can stay active and enjoy what life has to offer.
Struggling with your daily healthy eating habit? Try these tips:
Drink More Water
When in doubt, the first thing to consider doing differently for your diet is drinking more water. It’s one of the easiest ways to make a healthy diet change. The human body is made up of almost 60% water, which is why it’s crucial to stay hydrated. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water alone, so if you experience brain fog, up your water intake stat! Even if you don’t work out daily and sweat a lot, your body still needs water to operate properly.
A few ways to consume more water:
- Try flavored water - If you can’t get past plain water, you have some options. Add fruit slices like lemon or oranges to your water. You can also try coconut water (without added sugar) to get a boost of potassium and electrolytes.
- Put it in a pretty pitcher - Working from home and trying to keep your water intake up? Sometimes just putting your water in a nice-looking pitcher can make it more tempting to grab and drink. Or, have a few pre-filled, reusable water bottles ready to grab-and-go from the fridge.
- Add a straw - Keep reusable drinking straws on hand to make it easier to consume the water you need. Some people find it makes it easier to get their daily water intake in when they drink out of a straw. See if it works for you.
- Change your drinking container - It may sound strange, but some people prefer drinking water from a glass instead of a plastic cup. Whatever you need to put yours in to drink more, do it!
Have Your Team Drink Up: Download Your Free Water Challenge Campaign Toolkit!
Choose Healthy Snacks
It's a lot easier to go for a bag of potato chips than for vegetables that aren’t pre-cut when you’re hungry. Keep a variety of healthy options in your fridge and on the counter to make it simple to snack smart.
Make it easier to grab healthy snacks whenever hunger strikes with these tips:
- Skip out on soda - See our above tip! Nix soda and try to drink water instead. Water intake is essential for optimal health.
- Keep it on the counter - If you have a bowl of fruit and veggies in sight, it's a lot easier and more tempting to consume them. Try keeping bananas, apples, mango, avocados and tomatoes in a bowl to enjoy when you’re hungry.
- Pre-cut your veggies and fruits - When you want a snack, it's a lot easier to grab and go when your snack is prepared already. Consider washing and cutting up your vegetables as soon as you come back from the store. Pre-cut celery, zucchini and other veggies and place in separate containers that make it easy to snack on with a side of nut butter or hummus. For fruits like apples, you may want to cut them up a day ahead of when you plan to eat them. Squirt apple slices with lemon juice to minimize browning!
A final easy tip for cutting out what’s not good for you: If you can’t pronounce the ingredients on the nutrition label, it’s probably not healthy for you to eat. Put it back on the shelf and don’t tempt yourself by bringing it home.
Check out this list of 7 Healthy Snacks for Work to Supercharge Your Day
Skip Stress Eating
You might consider ways you can let some time pass before you head to the fridge. Distract yourself in a way that you get caught up. This can allow you to reconsider after the activity if you were really hungry or simply looking for a stress distraction.
Ways to cope with emotional triggers instead:
- Drink water
- Read a book
- Take a long walk
- Do some deep breathing
- Acknowledge the behavior
Part of self-care is enjoying food. However, if you’re stress eating, it’s unlikely you’re able to fully and mindfully appreciate food. Take a moment each time you eat to consider how it’s nourishing your body and if you’re eating in a moment where you can truly slow down and appreciate each bite.
Put Your Fork Down
To go along with stress eating, this tip is one that makes it much easier to appreciate the meal in front of you. Often, it’s easy to rush through meals — especially a working lunch — and not fully enjoy the flavors, textures, and sights of a meal.
Benefits of putting your utensils down:
- Less likely to overeat
- It’s easier to savor the food
- You can enjoy conversation more
After each bite, put your fork down. Take a sip of water. Savor the flavors. You’ll be less likely to overdo it with your meal if you take the time to see how full your stomach really is.
Write in a Food Journal
If you’re trying out a new diet, a food journal is a great option to consider. Or, if you’re simply trying to see where you have some dietary gaps, it can help you pinpoint those with ease. Food journals can be as simple as a note on your phone or a physical notebook you keep on hand.
Keep these in mind as you journal:
- Estimate how much you ate
- Record your mood at the time
- Make note of the time you ate
- Record any physical symptoms after eating
- Write down all that you eat (even small bites)
It’s important not to judge yourself as you do this activity. It’s simply a good habit to do, especially if you’re trying to eliminate food allergies or pinpoint mood triggers that may cause overeating. Look at it as a way to collect data and share it with your healthcare professional if you’re looking to make serious lifestyle changes.
Daily Mental Clarity Habits to Try
Mental clarity is an area that often gets overlooked in daily life. But, mental clarity is the reason you can get things done more efficiently. If mental clutter and chaos goes on for too long, it can cause disruption in your workflows, goal setting, and productivity.
When you practice daily habits that lead to mental clarity, it can:
- Help you feel more content
- Give you a clearer vision
- Help your prioritize what matters
- Make it easier to get projects done
Here are a few ways you can get more clarity around your personal and professional goals in a healthy, satisfying way:
Skip Email First in the Morning
What’s the first action you take upon waking in the morning? If it’s checking your phone and then going through your inbox, it may be time to change that daily habit. When you check your inbox right away, it can put you in a frenzied state of going through your to-do list right away. Instead, consider a more calm morning routine.
To limit your time in your inbox, consider:
- Trying a tool like Inbox Pause
- Checking your inbox once or twice daily
- Unsubscribe from unnecessary marketing emails
- A policy of only checking it once you’re in the office
- A specific hour to check all your digital devices
Skip the morning email checking. It can distract you and get your off course for your day, especially if you see tons of emails awaiting your response. Fill in the time you check email with another activity instead like journaling, walking, or enjoying the benefits of a cup of coffee.
When you’ve gotten into a spat with someone, it can be hard to look past wrongs. But, the longer you hold onto grudges, the more harmful it can be for your health. When you don’t forgive (whether it’s yourself or another person), there’s a sense of lost control. Give yourself the control back by forgiving in the moment, when possible.
You may choose moments of forgiveness throughout the day like:
- When a driver cuts you off
- A moment of self weakness
- When a coworker is rude to you
- Your spouse reacts unkindly
Forgiveness can offer more clarity and create room for other more important areas of your life you need to think about. Consider ways you can forgive more freely for more emotional freedom.
We are our own worst critics. How many times have you beaten yourself up? It takes practice to be kind to ourselves and offer self-compassion. It may come unnaturally at first, but with time it can be done.
Consider self-compassion breaks when you find you’re being hard on yourself. This includes being mindful of how you’re acting toward yourself and catching it in the moment.
Dr. Kristin Neff offers this insightful self-compassion practice when you’re struggling:
- Say to yourself during a difficult time: “This is a moment of suffering.”
- Then tell yourself: “Suffering is a part of life.”
- Next, offer yourself a soothing touch (such as a hand over your heart) and tell yourself: “May I accept myself as I am.”
Dr. Neff recognizes it can be uncomfortable to try at first. She advises you imagine you’re talking to a close friend who is having a similar problem as you. How would you talk to them? Talk to yourself in the same way.
When journaling, you can free write or choose to pick a topic to cover. Pick the option that will make it the easiest for you to commit to writing regularly.
Some prompt options to consider:
- What am I most proud of today?
- What am I grateful for today?
- What felt challenging today?
- What does my ideal day look like?
- What exciting event happened today?
- How can I offer myself more self-compassion?
Journaling can offer clarity over struggles you’re been dealing with. It can also provide you a way to better organize your thoughts and emotions, too. Research shows it also boosts immunity and keeps the memory sharp.
Struggling to solve a problem? Is your mind stressed out and racing? Meditation could be a simple way to calm yourself and find clarity. This ancient tradition is practiced in a variety of ways, making it easy for you to pick and choose a style that best fits your needs.
Nine of the most popular types of meditation practice include:
- Mantra meditation
- Spiritual meditation
- Focused meditation
- Movement meditation
- Progressive relaxation
- Mindfulness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
- Loving-kindness meditation
- Visualization meditation
If you’re a really busy person who can’t sit still, you might try a walking meditation. This allows you to physically move while also being in a contemplative state. Walking outdoors in nature without any headphones is a great way to meditate in a naturally calm state.
Change Your Habits Anytime
If you're committed to making 2021 a healthier and happier year, you'll find a way to change your habits to contribute to your success.
Is it hard? Sure. But it’s also hard to be unhealthy, unhappy, and unwell. You get to pick your level of “hard” that you contend with daily. That’s why habits are an essential part of setting healthy lifestyle goals.
Be sure to check out our content on the topic of habits:
- 7 Healthy Work Habits for a More Productive Day
- 5 Healthy Office Habits That Will Make You Happier At Work
- 9 Healthy Habits All Remote Employees Should Practice
Now it’s time to go on and try out some new habits! Give it time along with some good effort, and you’ll be proud of yourself and feel better, too.
What healthy habits do you plan to try this year? Let us know in the comments below!