What habits should one develop to achieve a successful, happy life?

A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.” Psychologists define habit formation as “the process by which new behaviors become automatic.”

Every habit that we possess is, literally, a neural pathway that has been inscribed into our brain. We etch these pathways through repetition until we cultivate and form a new habit.

In this article, we discuss fifteen healthy habits worth forming. You’ll notice that each habit falls into one of five categories: diet, etiquette, finances, health, and general.

Here are 15 habits everyone should try to develop:

“Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.” – Warren Buffett

1. Cut down on your sugar intake

There are numerous reasons to cut back on sugar: it has no nutritional value, accelerates fat storage, increases the risk of heart disease, causes tooth decay and cavities; raises blood pressure, and more.

A better option? Get into the habit of storing fruit and healthy snacks (more on the latter below.)

2. Keep a supply of healthy snacks available

Seriously, get a bunch of plastic baggies and fill them with the healthy stuff. Here’s just a short list: almonds, dried fruit, homemade trail mix, low-sugar granola bars, rice cakes, apple slices with peanut butter, carrot sticks – the list is almost endless.

3. Drink better water drinking habits

There is no other substance more critical to our body than water. Period.

Every cell in our body uses water to regulate body temperature, moisten tissues, lubricate joints, protect organs, ease digestion, flush waste produces, dissolve essential minerals and nutrients, and carry oxygen throughout the body.

The easier way to make drinking water a habit is to buy a large water bottle, keep it filled, and take it with you wherever you go.

4. Put the phone away when someone’s talking

We understand that people use their phones for almost everything nowadays, including business purposes. But did you know that accumulating research shows an overdependence on technology can change your behavior? There are technology addiction therapists for crying out loud!

Anyways, be courteous and stash the phone occasionally.

5. Practice active listening

Active listening is rare, which is precisely why you should make it a habit. To actively listen is to fully concentrate, understand, respond, and remember what’s being said without preparing your response beforehand.

6. Develop random acts of kindness habits

Random acts of kindness are beautiful things. Try to make it a point to do something nice for someone every day. This act of kindness could be a smile, a “Thank You” card, or an email that makes someone’s day.

help people

7. Adopt a simplicity mindset

Practicing simplicity is more than just consuming less – it is a state of mind. We, as Madonna famously sang, “live in a material world.” Consumerism is at the heart of most economies, but we needn’t participate in it.

To be “financially minimalistic” is to keep your values in mind (e.g., social welfare, ethics, spiritual), to spend your money with intent, and to not be guided by impulse.

8. Forget about “Keeping up with the Joneses”

Don’t buy into the misconception that you must have the latest, trendiest stuff. Too many buy into the notion that having the most updated phones, gadgets, and clothing will make them happy. They won’t – collecting these possessions will only leave you with an empty wallet.

Fashion, automobiles, health and wellness products; nearly everything sold today is replaced with “the latest and greatest” – at a premium.

9. Keep your loose change somewhere

No kidding. Buy a dang Piggy Bank if you have to. Will it look ultra-cool carrying 20 dollars worth of quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies to exchange for cash? Who cares?

If you want to one-up your efforts, stash that 20 bucks into your savings.

10. Don’t underestimate exercise – even in small doses

Simply put, you don’t need to work out seven days per week.

We wrote an article a while back about the Tabata Interval Training Method – a 4-minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) regimen designed by Dr. Izumi Tabata.

The results of Tabata’s research are extraordinary: short periods of HIIT outperform sixty minutes of moderate exercise in every important measurement (e.g., fat burning, recovery time, muscle generation.)

HIIT training involves short bursts of intense exercises and short periods of rest.

11. Develop better sleep habits

The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) recommends around seven to nine hours of sleep for healthy adults. That said, sleep quality is just as important.

Sleep hygiene – habits that help ensure a good night’s sleep – is critical. Lay off the caffeine, limiting daytime napping, and having an established bedtime routine are three crucial elements of sleep quality.

12. Make your mental health a priority

We often get so wrapped up in physical exercise that we forget our ole’ noggin. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled stress warns how is a problem that has spread across the globe.

Stress management is undoubtedly the single best habit to form, and you can employ many strategies. Mindfulness, yoga, meditation, exercise, and deep breathing are just a few ideas.

13. Stay away from drama and gossip

In an ideal world, drama, gossip, and other unnecessary theatrics wouldn’t exist. Nothing can be gained from making too much out of things or participating in gossip sessions.

Mind your business and let others mind theirs.

14. Make your workplace comfortable

If you have to put in the time for “the man,” you might as well be comfortable doing it. Take a look at your desk; can you add something to give it a more “at home” feel? Maybe you love quotes or other motivational stuff. Make them visible.

Trust us; you will enjoy your time at work just a little bit more.

15. Stay in touch with your family

Living far from relatives can take its toll on you and the people you love. Do yourself and them a favor: keep in touch. “Friend” them, text ‘em…or, here’s a novel idea, call them!

Make it a habit of letting the family know you love and think about them as often as possible.