Healthy habits take three weeks to form.
Forming healthy habits is important for a lot of reasons.
It can mean the difference between a basic life vs. a good life.
If you develop good work habits it’s likely you’ll have a good career.
Put in place good financial habits and you will be able to experience more of life with your money.
Healthy eating habits will add years to your life.
Healthy habits impact a lifetime but they happen in the day-by-day of life.
A habit is part of the unconscious mind. Second nature, as we call it.
When a habit forms, your brain has connected two neurons together. The more you do it and reinforce the habit, the stronger the neurons become.
Start with healthy habits when you wake and your day will be productive from morning until night.
So what healthy habits should we do on a daily basis? Here are ten for a starter below.
Healthy habit #1. Wake up early
Waking up early is a healthy habit that has a load of benefits.
For one, you have more time to yourself. You can go to the gym or work on a side-project before you start work.
Waking early also reduces your stress levels. You’re not rushing to get to work. You have time. You can plan the day ahead.
If like a competitive edge, as I do, then you’ll understand the feeling of satisfaction knowing that you’re hard at work while your competitors sleep.
I’m a night owl by nature. My body prefers to stay up late as opposed to waking up early. My genetic analysis told me I’m a carrier of the CLOCK gene. People with this gene are more inclined to stay up until the early hours.
This is true. I’ve found in the past my most productive hours are between 11pm – 4am. These are my flow state hours but they do not make for a good social life.
Instead, I choose to go to be early to wake up early. My range is usually around 10pm – 11pm for bed and then I usually wake around 5am. The quality of sleep I get is much better during this time.
Get into the habit of waking up early each day and see how much more you can accomplish.
habit #2. Show gratitude for the day
Do you ever wake up on a morning, struggle to get out of bed and think to yourself, “I’m not looking forward to today!”.
If you have, and it’s not one of those rare bad days like attending a funeral of a loved-one, then something in your life is wrong.
If you’re filled with dread each morning then you have some things that need addressing.
I was once working in a job I hated. It was a ‘prestigious’ job with a grand title, lots of international travel and a salary that put me in the top one percent of income earners in the UK. I hated it.
Each morning brought a sense of dread. I was dead behind the eyes. I left after four months.
Life’s too short to feel that way. No amount of money or grandiose title can make me live a life that’s not true to myself.
Here’s a fact.
You are going to die.
Maybe not tomorrow and perhaps not for another 60 years, but it will happen.
As Marcus Aurelius said, “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.”
Gratitude is just an emotion and with the right mindset you can manifest it each and every day.
Wake each morning and remind yourself of this. I do, every day.
Healthy habit #3. Make your bed
What has making your bed on a morning got to do with being a healthy habit?
A lot, actually. Making your bed allows you to start your day right. It sets the precedent for the day.
You wake up early, you show gratitude for the day and you make your bed.
As Admiral William H. McRaven said in his famous commencement speech, making your bed the first thing on a morning “will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”
Make your bed.
habit #4. Drink water and start early
I fast on a morning (see next point) which means that my current kitchen routine consists of making a coffee, popping a vitamin D capsule and guzzling a pint of water.
Drinking a pint of water first thing on a morning will rehydrate you and make you feel full.
Water makes up 60% of your total body. Not only do you need it, you are water.
While there’s little scientific evidence to suggest you have to drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, you should drink enough to feel hydrated.
I drink around five pints of water a day (I have a pint glass especially for it) and I usually try and drink them before 4pm. That way, I’m not drinking later in the evening which can have you up at stupid o’clock in the morning to go to the toilet.
Staying hydrated is important. The impact it can have on both your physical and mental performance are well-known.
When you go into the kitchen on a morning, down a pint of water and continue drinking it through the day. Lay off it on an evening. Your body and brain will thank you for it.
Healthy habit #5. Do intermittent fasting or eat a healthy breakfast
Other than the occasional 20 hour fast, my fasting protocol over the last couple of years is this:
- Stop eating at 8pm
- Start eating at 2pm the following day
The only thing I consume during a fast is water and coffee.
All I’m doing is skipping breakfast and having a late lunch. It’s a simple protocol with a lot of benefits.
Fasting helps decrease insulin levels, reduces inflammation, increases brain function and gives you greater control of how much food you eat. Not to mention it’s one of the best skin care tips for men.
But isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day?
No, it isn’t. It’s a myth created by cereal companies years ago to convince us to eat more of their products. Perpetuated in the mainstream vernacular ever since.
Breakfast isn’t bad, but neither is skipping it.
If fasting isn’t for you or you work in a manual job that requires energy, eat something healthy. Soft boiled eggs and porridge are good but stay away from the sugar-covered crap.
Fasting is not for everyone. For me and my body, it works extremely well.
If you’ve never tried it, you should. It may be a healthy habit you do forever.
If you have tried it and don’t like it, get something healthy down you for breakfast.
Healthy habit #6. Exercise
Doing a workout helps you habit stack.
Make your bed and you are more likely to be productive throughout the day.
Do a workout and you are more likely to eat healthy foods throughout the day.
My body craves healthy food on days I exercise and I usually reach for a piece of fruit rather than a chocolate bar.
Exercising doesn’t have to be intense each and every day. Do enough to remind your body that you won’t allow it to get fat, weak and out of shape.
On days I do a workout I either hit the gym to lift weights, do HIIT treadmill or I’ll pound the pavement on a five-mile run.
I usually do this as soon as I wake. I’ll jump out of bed, throw on my gym gear and head to the gym.
In the age of distractions, if I don’t train early then my chances of hitting the gym that day gradually diminish. This works for me. Do whatever works for you.
Some people go to sleep in their gym clothes. If you think this might work for you, try it.
Get into the habit of exercising three to four times a week.
Healthy habit #7. Move throughout the day
One of the best things you can do for long-term health is be active all day.
It will help you burn calories and keep your muscles and joints supple. In our desk-based society, this is becoming increasingly harder to do.
For me, I like to walk and can easily cover ten to twenty miles in a day. I enjoy lifting weights and other forms of resistance training but with my long limbs my body was designed for walking and running.
It’s one of the best low-impact exercises you can do. It clears your head, burns calories, helps you get fresh air into the lungs and injury-free.
In London, I walk as much as I can. Why take the tube when you can explore on foot in one of the most historic cities in the world.
Get into the habit of walking instead of driving or using public transport and your body will be energy burning machine.
If walking’s not your thing then try something else. Cycle to work or get a standing desk if you work at a computer. Just don’t remain stationary.
Healthy habit #8. Interact with people you’re attracted to
One of the best ways to increase your natural testosterone is to interact with someone you’re physically attracted to.
It’s a reminder that you are just an animal. And like all other animals on earth, you are attracted to the same species.
That sensation you feel when you interact with someone you’re attracted to? It feels great because it’s the essence of why we are here.
Boil life down to its bare minimum and all we are here for is to reproduce so why wouldn’t it feel great?
But it’s not just in the physical sense you can be attracted to someone. Often their mind or personality is where the attraction lies. Sometimes it’s a combination of all three.
As a society, we are more connected through our screens. Social networks and dating apps are how people increasingly interact, even with their close friends. Having a real world interaction is one of two choices these days.
Human connection is important and it can only be done in the physical world. Reading body language and nonverbal communication will give you much more information about what the other person thinks or feels than a text-based message ever will.
Make it a habit to get out and interact and find the people you’re attracted to.
Healthy habit #9. Spend some time on a side project/hobby
Having a side project is good for the soul.
It allows you to dream a little.
It may never take off or amount to anything but it will keep you busy and provide you with a focus when you need one.
A side project could be a business, a blog or with a group of mates in a band.
It may take years to materialise. Decades even. Or it may never materialise at all. Who cares, it’ll keep you enthusiastic about life.
The author of Game of Thrones didn’t get his big break well into his later age. Before then he was relatively unknown.
“But my kids are both my hobby and my side-project.”
Well, one day, your kids will think you’re uncool and want to live their own life so don’t live yours through theirs.
Make it a habit to allocate some of your time to work on a side project. And dream a little with it.
Healthy habit #10. Educate yourself every day
You’ve probably noticed this internet thing is not going away.
You may have also noticed that it’s disrupting countless industries in its wake.
When you open your smartphone from the comfort of your bed, you have access to the world’s information.
So does everybody else. It’s becoming a competitive world out there.
That’s why you have no excuse not to be a life-long learner in today’s digital age. If you don’t, you are left behind.
Every day I make time to either read a book, listen to a podcast or watch something educational on YouTube.
It’s not hard to do. Stick a podcast on while you’re commuting or cooking. Get up earlier to read a chapter of a book.
For me, I have to learn new stuff. My brain would feel deprived if I didn’t.
Charlie Munger said his partner and world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett, is a lifelong learning machine.
When speaking about the financial success of the multibillionaire Buffett’s investment prowess, Munger said, “Without Warren being a learning machine, a continuous learning machine, the record would have been absolutely impossible.”
Become a learning machine yourself. You may not have had a privileged education like some. You may not have even been to college or university. It doesn’t matter now.
What matters is, you make a habit of educating yourself every day and take action with that knowledge.
There are ten health habits as a starter for ten. There are no doubt many more but implement these and you’re good.
What are yours?