Do you often find yourself a little disillusioned with life going through the same routine day after day? Do you ever wish that you could have a more fulfilling life filled with purpose and satisfaction?
Our lives can be separated into five pillars: happiness, health, vitality, wealth, and leisure. And the key to having a well-rounded existence is to improve the quality of your life in all of these spectrums. Here are daily habits you can implement in each of these areas to help give you the life you deserve.
Happiness is often seen as our end goal, but rather than having a moment when we find happiness and have it as something that we can keep forever, it’s something that must be worked on regularly. Think of it as being like the journey rather than the destination.
Obviously, there are always things in your life that will change your mood and how you feel about the world, but here are some habits you can practice daily to help lift your baseline happiness.
1. Smile to Reduce Stress
We understand that, when you’re stressed, the last thing you probably feel like doing is putting a smile on your face. But research has shown that holding a Duchenne smile (smiling with both the mouth and eyes) can reduce your heart rate after engaging in stressful activities.
The physical act of smiling sends impulses to your brain that can actually alter your neurochemistry and aid with stress and depression. If you can’t fake it, try holding a pencil in your mouth to keep your muscles in the shape of a smile – even 15 minutes a day will help boost your mood.
2. Practice Gratitude
Sometimes it can be easy to forget just how much most of us have to be grateful for, especially when life seems tough. Try spending time each day writing a list of 5-10 different things that you can express your gratitude for. Not only will this help to remind you of the good in your life, but it can also help stop you from focusing on the negative sides.
There are times when this practice is very difficult, but it’s important that you dig deep to find even the smallest or most basic things to write down. Even the fact that you wake up every morning is a blessing that can be added to your list.
3. Connect With Your Loved Ones
It’s been scientifically proven that people who are more socially connected are not only happier, but healthier as well. However, with our busy lives in the age of text messages, we don’t always take the time to tell the people in our lives how we really feel about them.
Try to make it a habit to have at least one phone call or in-person meeting each day in which you can truly connect. The best thing about this practice is that it’s not just improving your life, it’s improving the lives of everyone you connect with. Try making it a rule and see how much love comes back to you.
The benefits of mediation have been well-publicized, with the practice helping with everything from lowering blood pressure and reducing stress to relieving pain and of course, increasing overall happiness. Some people might be put off by any spiritual connotations, but it doesn’t have to be a religious practice.
All meditation requires is that you be present in the moment. Sit quietly and breathe naturally, without thinking about the past or the future or any of your problems. Feel the air moving in and out of your lungs and listen to the sounds around you. All it takes is 15 minutes a day for you to begin to see the benefits.
5. Daily Learning
This might not sound like something that will put a smile on your face, and yes, the effects might not be instantaneous, but being committed to learning a new thing each day will make you a happier and well-rounded person in the long run.
Daily learning allows us to grow and become more mature people, which can help put our problems in perspective and help us set more constructive long-term goals. It doesn’t have to be a structured course that requires a large time commitment, just take 30 minutes each day to read a news article or blog or watch a video tutorial.
Our physical health is something that we can easily take for granted until something goes wrong. Many of us will schedule a regular check-up at the doctor or dentist, but our health is something that really needs to be maintained every day.
We’re not talking about restrictive diets or intense exercise regimes here, but there are a few small things that, when done every day, can make a huge difference to your health and wellbeing. See what changes you notice after implementing these 5 daily habits.
1. Eat Breakfast
Everyone has heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but while it sounds like a cliché, there’s a great deal of truth to it. The benefits of regularly eating a healthy nutritious breakfast, and the dangers of skipping breakfast, might surprise you.
Studies have shown that, by eating breakfast, men can reduce their instances of heart disease, and keeping up the habit can lower bad cholesterol, aid with weight loss, and improve your memory. On the other hand, women who skip breakfast at least once a week are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes.
2. Take 10,000 Steps
Getting your daily exercise doesn’t have to be hitting the gym, but experts recommend that we should all do at least 10,000 steps a day. Many of us don’t even come close to hitting this number each day, but, by making it a habit, we can reap benefits that include not only weight loss but also a decreased risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Many smartphones will track your steps automatically or you can use a pedometer to measure your progress. For some people, reaching 10,000 steps might be difficult, but it could be simple as parking a little further from the office or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Drink 64 Ounces of Water
You might have heard that the human body is made of 70% of water, but among our organs, this percentage is much higher, with the heart and brain consisting of 73% and the lungs up to 83% of water. In order to keep all of these organs in the best of health, we need to supply them with enough water.
The general advice is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses per day, but if you want to be more specific, the Institute of Medicine advises 9 glasses for women and 13 glasses for men. Just make sure this is water, not tea, coffee, or soda.
4. Get Your Vitamins & Minerals
There is a long list of vitamins and minerals that your body needs in order to perform at its full potential, and deficiencies in these substances can even lead to serious health problems. Taking a daily supplement can help top up any vitamins that you might be missing.
The best way to get vitamins and minerals is through your diet, but many people have a diet that is less than ideal. Even with a reasonably healthy diet, it can be hard to keep track of your exact levels, so taking a daily supplement is the best way to ensure you’re getting your daily needs.
5. Brush Your Teeth
It’s obvious that brushing and flossing your teeth every day is vital for keeping your pearly whites in the best of health, but did you know that good dental hygiene can have health benefits that extend far beyond your mouth.
Regular brushing can help prevent gum disease, which has side effects including inflammation of the joints and memory loss. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to more serious illnesses such as heart disease and fertility issues for both men and women.
If you want to achieve all that you hope to in your day or even in the longer term, the amount of energy that you have will make a huge impact on your ability to do it, and on the quality of your life in general.
The energy that you have will often be dictated by how you live your day to day life, including your habits. As we have seen, habits can affect both your physical and mental well-being, all of which will then impact your vitality.
1. Learn to Manage Your Time
There are times when we feel like we are overwhelmed, struggling to deal with everything that comes our way. This leaves us no time to relax and recharge or even focus on the things that make us feel happy and fulfilled, sapping our energy and vitality.
Time management is not just about getting things done but also learning how to distinguish what is important from what is simply urgent. Creating lists can help you focus on both your short and long-term goals, as well as help eliminate time-wasting activities like binge-watching TV.
2. Get Enough Sleep
While we’re sleeping, the body goes through many processes to help you remain healthy. Not only is this time for resting and recharging, but also time for your immune system to fight inflammation and for your hormones to repair and help growth. When you rob your body of sleep, you are not giving it time for all of these vital functions.
Experts say you need at least 7 hours of sleep, though the number may be higher for some people. Sleep deficiency will have an impact on your daily mood, energy, and health, but can also have long-term effects on your lifespan and memory.
3. Eat Your Greens
You probably have always been told to eat your greens, but do you know exactly why? It actually doesn't have to do with getting your vitamins and minerals (though it will help) but rather with regulating your body’s acidity levels. If the balance is too far off, this can cause serious illnesses and even death.
Your body needs to maintain a pH level of 7.365, which is slightly alkaline, but many of the foods we eat such as sugar and coffee are highly acidic. To combat this acidity, you need to ensure you eat enough alkaline foods, such as root vegetables, lemons, and peppers.
4. Get some exercise
We’ve already seen how walking 10,000 steps per day can boost your overall health, but to experience real benefits, you should try to engage in at least 20 minutes of exercise. This means your body needs to move and you need to break a sweat.
Most of us know this, but we still struggle with incorporating exercise into our daily habits. The type of exercise doesn’t matter, the most important thing is that it’s something you feel you can stick to. Start small and build up the habit over time.
5. Find Your Inspiration
Your vitality isn’t just about your physical energy – it can be the things that drive you on and motivate you to achieve your dreams. When we’re feeling uninspired, it might seem like we don’t have any energy, so try and find something that will keep you going.
Imagery can be a very powerful form of motivation, which is why ‘dream boards’ have been very popular. Hanging an image that inspires or motivates you in a place where you can see it every day will help you push through the tough times to achieve your goals.
It’s easy to fall into the habit of worrying about money, which is understandable since it has a great impact on where we live and other aspects of our quality of life. Taking care of your financial well-being can have knock-on effects on your physical and mental health as well.
Whether your goal is to make an extra thousand dollars a month, become a millionaire, or simply pay off your debts, you’ll need to start with the basics. Try to incorporate these 5 daily habits and you’ll be creating a solid foundation for anything you want to achieve.
1. Establish Your Goals
Whether you want to reach for the stars or have more modest plans, if you don’t clearly set out what you want to achieve, you’ll lack the focus that will help you get there. Not only will writing down your goals provide you with motivation, but it can also help with breaking them down into smaller steps.
The best way to reach your goals is by ensuring that they are S.M.A.R.T. goals. This means that they need to be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. Reviewing your goals and milestones on a daily basis will help keep you on track.
2. Set Aside Savings Automatically
There are so many reasons why having savings in the bank is a good idea. This money isn’t just for holidays or emergencies, but can also be used to take advantage of investments when the opportunity comes along.
Money experts recommend setting aside 20% of your income as savings, but if you can’t manage that, the most important thing is that you get into the habit of saving. This money should come out automatically from your paycheck before it lands in your account. That way you won’t feel like you’re losing anything.
3. Track Your Spending
Setting aside savings is one thing, but knowing what happens to the rest of your paycheck is another. Most people can tell you what they earn, but how many of them can tell you what they spent on groceries or clothing in a month.
Once you start tracking your spending on a daily basis (yes, all of it), you’ll see how many seemingly trivial purchases add up to big chunks of money over the course of a year. $4 a day on coffee quickly adds up to $1,460 a year.
4. Stick to a Budget
Once you’ve started tracking your spending, you will have a good idea of where your paycheck is going, and whether you want to adjust your spending in any category. This will also obviously help you ensure that your bills are always paid and will tell you how much you should be able to save each month.
Once you’ve allocated a budget for any recurring bills, take the remaining monthly amount and divide it to get a daily budget. If you can stick to this daily budget and not spend any extra, you know that your monthly budget will be met. Over time you can work on cutting expenses and increasing your savings.
5. Educate Yourself
We’re not necessarily talking about learning the stock market here. Dedicating even a small amount of time to educating yourself can be one of the best ways to develop your career, which will lead to an increase in your income.
It doesn’t have to be a formal course, but something as simple as subscribing to newsletters or magazines in your field that will keep you updated with changes in the industry. If this isn’t relevant to your particular career, then educating yourself on investing would be an excellent use of this daily learning time.
While we often think of leisure time as the time that is left when we are done with everything else, a time without any obligations. So it might seem counterintuitive to create tasks for yourself during this free time.
What you do in your spare hours can have a great impact on your overall quality of life. You can imagine the difference you feel between spending your nights in front of the television as opposed to spending your time doing things that will enrich your life. Here are 5 habits to help you add value to your leisure time.
1. Organize Yourself
Cleaning your house might not seem like everyone’s idea of leisure time, but spending just 5 minutes organizing your space can have a big impact on how you feel. Declutter a room, tidy your desk, or throw a few things away.
Having a clean and tidy space around you will allow you to focus on bigger and better goals. It’s not just about being organized either – this daily practice of decluttering is part of forming positive habits, which will lead to being able to stick to habits in other parts of your life.
The idea of leisure time is something that you have to yourself, but have you ever considered using this spare time to enrich the lives of others? Volunteering your time can be a wonderful way to help others that are less fortunate than yourself and engage with your community.
Offering either your time or your money should be done freely and without the anticipation of a reward, but there are benefits that you can take from it. By giving to others, you are sending a signal to your brain that there is abundance in your life, and that there is plenty to go around.
3. Socialize & Network
Spending time with your loved ones has been proven to increase your health and happiness, but there are others in our lives that don’t fall into the category of close friends or family. Taking the time to reach out to these people can have benefits across the board.
The most obvious benefit is that of your career. A study has shown that 79% of wealthy people spend at least 5 hours a month networking, compared to just 16% for poor people. Even if it’s not directly related to your work, you’ll be surprised by the kind of opportunities that can arise when you connect with others on a daily basis.
4. Do Something You’re Afraid Of
We all have things that are holding us back from reaching our full potential in life. Sometimes there is a genuine reason we fear these things, but other times it is just the idea of the fear that stops us from moving on. Make a list of the things that scare you and aim to tackle one thing on the list every day.
After sticking with this daily habit for even a short time, you’ll notice that each day, when you face a new challenge, your fear will be somewhat diminished. Overcoming these fears also allows our brains to come up with new ideas that we could never have believed were possible.
5. Do One Thing You’ve Been Putting Off
There could be some overlap with the point above here, but there can be things that we are not necessarily afraid of, but that, for some reason, we have avoided doing. Let’s face it, no one enjoys filing their taxes or changing that broken bulb, but the longer you leave it, the more it will play on your mind.
Be completely honest with yourself and write a list of all the tasks that have been at the back of your mind. Some tasks might be larger projects that need some time to be completed, but if you spend just 15 minutes each day working on something on the list, you will eventually get them all ticked off.