Most of us have habits we’d like to change in our lives – one little thing that might bring us a tiny measure of satisfaction or just a bit more joy to our day. Here’s the great news–it is within your power to make those changes; it takes a small investment of time, but you can do it!
“Forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not.” –Octavia Butler
Here are ten habits that will improve the quality of your life:
(Don’t worry, you don’t have to squeeze them all into your life today or tomorrow. Start small and start with one. Remember, life’ is a marathon, and it starts with that first step.)
1. Get up early.
One of the most common habits of successful people is getting up early. It’s the time of day when they can brainstorm, create and get stuff done because they aren’t interrupted.
2. Visualize success.
Want to reach a goal? Think towards the finish line. A sprinter’s mental image is of crossing the finish line first, seeing their competitors coming in at a very distant second. Before a putt is taken, the golfer has already drawn a mental picture of the path the ball will take and visualizes it going into the hole. These are the habits of people at the top of their game, and it’s not just in sports. To be happy and successful, do the work while visualizing the result.
3. Eat better.
It’s hard to be happy when your body isn’t feeling its best. If you want to start feeling better immediately, all you have to do is make small changes to the type of fuel you use. The advice is simple: to eat more natural, whole foods and less processed ones. Drink water and green tea and fewer sodas and energy drinks. Creating new habits doesn’t have to be hard or an all-or-nothing proposition. Start by adding one good food and eliminating one bad.
4. Exercise regularly.
Now that you’re getting up early and eating better, what will you do with the extra time? Move. Adding more movement into our day is an important part of being happy. Keeping the body active as it goes through life helps ensure your life is active well into its golden years. As with any habit, start small and then continue to add activities you enjoy that also help you break a sweat.
5. Sleep more.
There is no doubt that sleep affects our happiness. We are fooling ourselves when we think surviving on four hours of sleep a night is what we need to do to achieve our big goals. Good sleep helps us be more productive and make better decisions, which are things to be happy about.
6. Accept that which you can’t control.
Happiness can’t exist amid worry and regret. Let go of the things you can’t control while saving your energy for the things you can. There’s no point in getting upset at the traffic that makes you late. Adopting habits such as leaving the house ten minutes earlier, though, is something you can control. Focus on the solution, not the problem and watch your attitude shift.
7. Evaluate your routines.
There is a love-hate relationship with the routines of our day. Some routines are necessary for efficiency, but too many may prevent us from living in the moment. It’s well-known that one of the best ways to increase our happiness is to be more mindful. The goal is to create a balance between habits/routines and embracing the moment. Wake-up and bedtime routines help our body shift from one state to another, so those are helpful. But the routine of driving to work may prevent us from an opportunity to learn, observe and establish our mood for the day. Let’s evaluate our habits and routines and see where we can bring more mindfulness into the day.
8. Keep good company.
They say that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Are the people around us happy, or are they complainers? It’s very hard to be happy when we spend most of our time around people with bad attitudes and habits. Choose your inner circle wisely.
9. Have a relationship with your money.
It’s impossible to be truly happy when you don’t clearly understand your financial picture and spending habits. We can remain in denial, but eventually, it will catch up to us. We should learn how we spend our money, recognize our debts and find ways to set ourselves up for a future that includes a happy financial forecast.
10. Forgive yourself.
We all make mistakes; it is part of life. Happy people forgive themselves for the mistakes they made yesterday and vow to try harder today. They don’t dwell, and they don’t punish themselves. They simply try to be a better version of themselves today and cultivate helpful habits that will make them a better person.
Developing new habits need not be complicated. Just take one step at a time. The time it takes to cultivate new habits will vary depending on how difficult it is and our willingness to make it happen. Our job is to pick one thing and take action. Just taking the action will make us happier.
Final Thoughts on Creating New Habits to Improve Your Quality of Life
As you read these new habits, you might feel overwhelmed. Stop and take a deep breath. Making one or two small adjustments at a time is perfectly acceptable. Perform the new action until you adopt it into your routine, and then add one or two more. It takes time and repetition for these changes to become second nature–but they will with your dedication and investment of time. So have patience–don’t expect overnight miracles. The quality of your life will begin to increase a little at a time as you add each of these new behaviors.