Ever wonder why are healthy habits important?
For one, good habits can get you to where you want to be in life.
Healthy habits — both lifestyle and work-wise — are essential for happy and healthy employees. Every decision made (and we make millions each day) compacts and has a lasting impact on health and well-being. Well-crafted habits ensure goals are reached both professionally and personally.
Below, we cover the importance of healthy habits and how they have a positive impact on life in the short term and long term at work and home.
The Key to Success of Maintaining Healthy Habits
Healthy habits are important both at work and at home. They help us to stay physically and mentally healthy, which in turn helps us to be more productive and successful in our lives. Overall, positive habits also help you maintain a positive attitude, which can be beneficial in both your personal and professional lives.
Why Work and Home Habits Matter
At work, healthy habits can help us to stay focused and productive.
For example, eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help us to stay energized and alert throughout the workday. Eating healthy snacks during the day can also help us to avoid feeling sluggish or tired, especially when it's tempting to stop by the office candy bowl.
Taking regular breaks throughout the day can help keep you focused and productive. Taking time to relax and unwind can also be beneficial in helping us to stay productive at work.
At home, healthy habits are just as important. Eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can help maintain physical health. Stress management through taking time for hobbies or activities you enjoy can also be beneficial in helping you maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life.
If you’re prone to keep up with your habits at home, you’ll likely maintain them at work, too. Have some habits you want to change? There’s always a way to incorporate better habits to meet your goals.
The Stages of Healthy Habit Change
Whether you’re thinking about eating healthier, getting more active, or quitting smoking, it’s not always easy to adapt to a new way of doing things.
As the saying goes, “Old habits die hard.”
Removing bad habits or unhelpful habits is a process that takes time and often several tries. Willpower plays a large role in making habits stick. It takes a lot of self-discipline and self-encouragement to remember why you wanted to change or add to your habits in the first place.
Four stages exist for habit change:
- Contemplation: Thinking about making a change but unsure of where to start.
- Preparation: You’ve made the decision and have specific ways to go about it.
- Action: You’re acting on your plan and actively making changes and adjustments.
- Maintenance: You’re settled into your new habits and you’re used to the changes.
It can be a challenge to break habits or add new ones. Each time you work on the habit, try to look at it as an opportunity for improvement. It’s easy to look at it as “another thing to do” or feel contempt toward the new habit. Instead, consider the ways it’s benefiting you and how it’s making you healthier.
The Key to Success of Maintaining Healthy Habits
You only have one energy source when it comes to all that needs to be done in a single day. There isn’t a separate energy source for work, home, kids, hobbies, etc. This is why self-control can feel so hard at the end of a long day — you’re exhausted from using up all your energy.
One of the best techniques to use when you’re looking at habit change is to focus on your new habit in the morning.
Those early morning hours usually can give you the most energy and willpower to push through any negative thinking. Put your priorities first — for example, exercise — and know that it will get done before your schedule or life decides to challenge you.
At the end of the day, your mental capacity is much less for trying to challenge yourself. Once you get a routine down, you won’t have to use as much willpower; it will come more naturally.
Healthy Habits Worth Incorporating at Work and Home
Want to be intentional about the habits you create? Write them down. Make them a part of your schedule and take time to recognize that you have a habit to build on or work on. Once you start doing the habit at home, it will be easier to do it at work and vice versa.
Here are some healthy habits to try working on daily:
At work and home, learn to look for good things, and be thankful for them. Even in hard times, there are good moments. A regular gratitude practice can turn into a healthy habit that increases your resilience and improves your immune system, according to the University of California, Berkeley.
Whether you’re taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator or chasing your kids around the yard, aim for daily movement. Doing so increases your immune system, strengthens your heart and muscles, and improves your mental health. This is a daily habit your body will appreciate for years to come!
Kicking this bad habit is hard, but it’s worth it. Not only will your health insurance premiums typically go down, but your life quality goes up. From the moment you quit smoking, you recover your smell and taste and your lungs repair themselves.
Too much stress damages the body physically and mentally. Look at ways you can reduce your stress load at work and home. It may mean using a planner at work or hiring a house cleaner at home. How can you better manage your schedule and life to stress less?
Humans are social creatures. Make it a habit to regularly connect with your favorite coworkers and friends and family. Doing so can rejuvenate your soul and energy. Even if it’s just grabbing a cup of coffee, taking a walk on your lunch break, or doing a FaceTime call, make time each week to socialize for a healthy spike of dopamine.
Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is a simple way to save money and keep your healthy eating on track. When you plan ahead, it makes it easier to stay on autopilot for cooking meals that are loaded with nutrients. Plan your work snacks and meals, too. Doing so will keep you from making repeated trips to the vending machine when you’re hungry.
This is just a starting point of ideas to consider. Think of other areas where you struggle or would like to build better habits. Then start planning on ways to implement them!
Empower Yourself Through New Habits
With a new year coming, it’s a great time to prioritize healthy habits. It doesn’t have to be a resolution, either. Just make it a goal to continuously work on yourself to improve your life. It takes daily habits — or stepping stones — that when done regularly can make all the difference.
A few final tips:
- Be realistic - Your new habits will be hard to implement at times. Remember why you wanted to do them in the first place and keep the habits realistic. Example: Don’t try to lose five pounds in one week. Remember it takes time.
- Focus on what matters - It’s easy to get sidetracked or think your habits don’t matter. Each day you practice your habit, it gets stronger. Reinforce your habits by practicing them daily and focusing on why they matter to you.
- Give yourself grace - No one is perfect when it comes to habit creation and follow-through. Some days will be easier than others. Be patient and give yourself grace.
What habits have been hardest for you to add to your daily life? How do you plan to implement them better this year?