Creating healthy habits doesn’t have to be as difficult or complicated as we often make it. While diving into the details can be interesting, oftentimes it’s the simple healthy habits you create that make the biggest impact.
What Is A Healthy Habit?
A healthy habit can be defined as “a practice that one deliberately makes part of their daily routine“. It’s something you do often enough that it becomes almost effortless.
How Can I Start Building Healthy Habits?
It is possible to build habits in just a single day — all it takes is a little bit of planning and willpower.
Step 1: Identify the Right Habit
If you have a list of 10 or 20 habits in mind then it will be easier to narrow them down to just one. Oftentimes your first idea isn’t actually the best one for you.
Think about how this new habit will impact your life. If it doesn’t provide some benefit then it’s not worth implementing.
There is no rush to pick the first habit you come up with, so take your time and choose wisely.
Step 2: Identify a Trigger for This Habit
What will trigger this new habit? It can help to write this down in a journal or on a piece of paper. This way it’s easier to remember when it’s time to do the habit.
Step 3: Make a Plan for This New Habit
You know what habit you will be developing, so how can you go about making this happen? Think about small changes that can make this new habit easier to commit to. What should your environment look like? What other people are involved and how will they be impacted?
Step 4: Take Action Today
If you’re just starting out, it can be beneficial to pick a habit that takes less than 5 minutes to complete. This way you can more easily overcome the urge to skip your new habit. Once you’ve mastered the first one, then feel free to expand and start building more healthy habits.
Why Does It Matter?
You can live a healthier and happier life by building these small healthy habits. If you keep working at them then over time they will become an extension of who you are. You’ll find that your health improves, you’re more productive throughout the day, and physically you will feel better than ever before.
When you focus on these simple healthy habits, you will find that other areas of your life will improve as well. By establishing a foundation for better health you are giving yourself the resources to work on being more productive at work or school, have more energy throughout the day, and just generally be happier with life in general!
Simple Healthy Habits You Can Start Today
If you’re wanting to improve your health, change your body, or simply feel better about yourself and your life, then these simple healthy habits can help you get there.
Healthy Morning Habits
These healthy morning habits will help you to kick start your day in the best way possible.
1 – Drink A Glass Of Water First Thing In The Morning
If you’re struggling to hit your water intake for the day, drinking a big glass of water first thing can help you get off to a good start.
2 – Start Your Day With 10 Big Deep Breaths
Deep breathing not only helps wake you up gently, but it can also assist with proper digestion, blood circulation, and mindfulness.
3 – Wake With Natural Light
Leave your curtains open and use the morning sun to wake you up. Waking as the sun rises can be beneficial for helping create natural sleep cycles (of course this will depend on your season and sunrise time as well as your daily commitments).
4 – Stay Off Social Media Of A Morning
It’s such a habit to wake and grab our phones and start scrolling. Instead, create a habit where you don’t check social media until after a set time. Less social media time is actually better for our mental health.
5 – Create A Quality Morning Routine
Take a look at your daily schedule and really plan out what you need to do in order for this day to be as productive as possible. This simple healthy habit can help you create a better, more grounded start to your day.
6 – Do 30 Minutes Of Exercise In The Morning
Exercise is a simple healthy habit that will help you get stronger and healthier, but research has shown it can also help with our mental health. In fact, simple exercise in the morning is a good way to combat depression and anxiety.
7 – Make Breakfast A Priority
Breakfast is often called the most important meal of the day. It’s a simple healthy habit that can help you keep your energy levels steady, blood sugar balanced and avoid the dreaded mid-day crash.
8 – Walk To Work If Possible
Incorporating simple daily exercise is a simple healthy habit that will only improve our health and help us feel good about ourselves. If walking to work isn’t possible because of distance, at least try walking for five minutes when you get into work or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
9 – Find Your Passion And Do That First Thing In The Day
Start your day with simple, easy tasks that give our life purpose and direction. It could be meditation, journaling, simple exercise or any simple healthy habit that helps you feel inspired.
10- Make Your Bed Every Morning
Making our bed is a quick and easy task that can help us start our day with a small sense of accomplishment and pride. It’s also been shown to be a great way to reduce stress levels during the day.
11 – Set Your Intentions For The Day
Before getting into your day, take a moment to set your intentions. This can be as simple and meditating and asking yourself if you’re in alignment with the way you want your day to go or simply stating out loud how you would like this day to go.
12 – Write Your To-Do List For The Day
Writing your to-do list for the day is a habit that can help you feel in control of how your day will go. It’s also an easy way to make sure you get everything done that you intended.
13 – Outline Your Priorities For The Day
While you’re working on your to do list, be sure to outline your top 3 priorities for the day. These are the things that absolutely must get done. Outlining these can help you keep focus and feel more productive when you tick them off.
14 – Make Fewer Decisions (Use Routines)
We make so many decisions every single day, it’s no wonder we end up with decision fatigue and absolutely exhausted by the end of the day. Make fewer decisions by creating routines such as the order in which you do things (wake, coffee and breakfast, shower, get ready, etc).
15 – Boost Your Coffee
I’m never going to be the person that tells you to give up your morning coffee, but you can boost the health benefits of your coffee and make it work for you. Adding supplements like collagen to your coffee can have huge health benefits and help increase your protein intake for the day.
16 – Take Your Vitamins
So many of us don’t get the essential vitamins we need from our food. Even when we eat healthily, it can still be challenging to get all the vitamins we need. Be sure to see a naturopath to find what vitamins you specifically need, instead of taking generic multi-vitamins, and take the recommended dose each day.
Healthy Eating Habits (And Drinking Habits)
We couldn’t create a list of simple healthy habits without including healthy eating habits too!
17 – Cook Your Meals At Home
Instead of eating out or ordering in, cook at home. Not only will you save money and eat healthier food, but you’ll get the chance to experiment with new healthy recipes and add more veggies to your plate. Which leads to…
18 – Eat More Veggies
Veggie-heavy meals are a good way to stay full and satisfied after a meal while also adding more nutrients to your body. Try new vegetarian recipes for something different and interesting.
19 – Avoid Sugary Drinks
We all know that soft drinks and other sugary beverages are not great for our health, and often neither are the ‘healthy’ options! They trick the brain into thinking we’ve consumed sweet nectar, when in fact it’s artificial chemicals. Stick with water or unsweetened tea and coffee.
20 – Eat More Fiber
Adding fiber to your diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your digestion, strengthen your immune system and lose weight. For optimal health benefits, aim for at least 25 grams per day.
21 – Meal Plan or Prep Your Meals In Advance
Another great way to reduce stress levels, save money and eat healthy is by planning your meals in advance. Either pick out recipes you want to try each week or cook all your meals in bulk on the weekend so they’re ready for the rest of the week.
22 – Don’t Skip Meals
Skipping breakfast or lunch can result in food cravings later on, which can lead to making poor food choices. Always aim to eat every 2-3 hours, so you don’t get too hungry and give in to temptation!
23 – Have Healthy Snacks On Hand
Snacks are a great way to boost your energy throughout the day and satisfy your cravings for something sweet. Make sure you have healthy options on hand so you don’t fall into the trap of vending machine snacks or convenience store snacks.
24 – When Feeling Snacky, Drink A Glass Of Water First
Many of us reach for a snack when we’re feeling hungry. If you find yourself reaching for an unhealthy option, try drinking a big glass of water first – it might be enough to fill you up and make you realise you were actually just thirsty.
25 – Eat Seasonal Food
Eating seasonal food is a great way to reduce food waste, support local farmers and eat healthy. There are also two major benefits of eating seasonal food – you get fresh produce at its best taste and nutrition level, while the farmer gets the most out of his crop which helps them stay in business.
26 – Eat The Rainbow
As well as eating seasonal foods, aim to eat a variety of colors from the rainbow – reds, oranges, yellows, greens and blues. The different colors represent different vitamins and nutrients that are important for optimizing health and energy levels.
27 – Avoid Intolerances & Inflammatory Foods
One of the best ways to feel healthier and happier is by avoiding foods that trigger your allergies or cause inflammation in the body. These can include dairy, gluten, soy, corn – it’s worth doing an elimination diet to discover intolerances or speak to your naturopath for help.
28 – Eat Anti-inflammatory Foods
It’s important to incorporate foods that help fight inflammation into your diet. Inflammation is the root cause of many diseases and conditions such as arthritis, gout, diabetes and others. Foods like turmeric or ginger can help fight the cause.
29 – Ditch The Diet Mentality
We’re all guilty of thinking we need to go on a diet in order to eat healthier. But focusing too much on restricting what you eat takes away from the enjoyment of food, and can lead to developing unhealthy habits. Instead, focus on portion control, nutrient-dense foods and eating mindfully .
30 – Avoid Junk Food
Most people know junk food is bad for us but it’s easy to reach for the chocolate and crisps if we’re feeling bored or tired. Find healthier snacks that you can easily eat when you get a craving like some fruit, vegetables or nuts.
31 – Eat Slowly And Mindfully
Eating slowly and mindfully is a habit that can help you savor and enjoy your food more. It’s also been shown to make it more likely we’ll stop eating when we’re full, resulting in lower calorie intake and less mindless snacking through the day.
32 – Limit Your Caffeine Intake
The jittery feeling we get after caffeine is often mistaken for energy, which can make coffee addictive. The caffeine we get from coffee and tea is actually a drug that can quickly build up a tolerance. Find out if you’re affected by caffeine and limit your intake to increase energy levels.
33 – Understand Food Is Fuel
We are quick to categorize food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ when really, it just fuels our body in different ways. Avoid using ‘good’ or ‘bad’ to describe food, and instead, think of the type of fuel/energy it will give your body.
34 – Have A Donut (Or Whatever Treat You Like) Once A Week
I’m giving you full permission to have a donut once a week. While this might seem like the opposite of having healthy habits, it actually is not. After all, moderation is key! So make sure you save your calories for that sweet treat and indulge guilt-free.
35 – Get The Kids Involved In Cooking
One of the best things you can do for your health is to get the kids involved in cooking. Whether it’s just helping out, or giving them their own age-appropriate jobs, allowing children to help with meals is a great way to help develop food habits for life.
Healthy Exercise Habits
We all know how good physical movement is for our bodies. Creating simple healthy habits around exercise can help us keep our body moving and in great shape for longer.
36 – Work Out When You Have The Most Energy
Workouts can be draining for some people so it’s important to work out when we have the most energy. If you find you get tired after lunch, schedule your workouts earlier in the day and eat a protein-rich breakfast.
37 – Find A Workout You Enjoy
If getting to the gym or going for a run is an arduous task it will be much less likely that we stick to it. Find a workout you enjoy, whether it’s dancing or basketball, and try to make it part of your daily routine.
38 – Make Healthy Friends (And Get Active With Them)
I’m certain you know already that having healthy friendships is a major determinant of our happiness and success levels, but did you also know it’s one of the best ways to improve your health? Having friends who inspire us to be active, healthy eaters or who simply motivate us to live healthier lives makes following through with these habits so much more doable.
39 – Eat Before Your Workouts
If you’re planning on working out, try to eat a healthy meal about an hour before. Not only will this give your body the energy it needs but it will also help reduce muscle soreness after you’ve worked out.
40 – Get Out Of The House (Go For A Walk)
Instead of hanging out at your house or apartment all day, get out and walk. Not only will this be a great way to clear your mind, but you’ll also benefit from the fresh air and extra sunshine.
41 – Have A Lazy Day Sometimes (And Don’t Feel Guilty About It)
While it might sound counterintuitive, sometimes having a lazy day is actually great for your health. Allowing yourself this ‘me’ time means you’ll be in a better mood to take on the challenges of the next day, and it also feels super luxurious to treat yo’self once in a while.
42 – Use Incidental Exercise
Sometimes we don’t have time to set out and run or go to the gym. To make up for this, try using incidental exercise which is when you use small bursts of physical activity throughout your day such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking short distances when possible, or playing with the kids.
43 – Stretch Daily
One of the simplest healthy living habits you can start is to simply stretch daily. This will improve your flexibility so you can move around more easily. Find a stretch video on YouTube you can follow along with and stretch your body.
44 – Lift Heavy Things
Adding weights to your exercise routine can increase bone density, increase muscle mass, and have an overall positive effect on your health. Start with just a couple of pounds and work your way up from there.
45 – Take Up Yoga
Whether you’re a seasoned yoga pro or have never tried it before, adding in some daily or weekly yoga practice is a great way to improve flexibility and balance while decreasing stress levels at the same time.
46 – Get Your Heart Rate Up
Whether it’s running, dancing, kickboxing, skipping, cycling, or any other cardiovascular exercise that raises your heart rate – aim to add regular cardio sessions into your week. The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are well known and well documented, plus they make you feel good (have you heard of the runners high?).
47 – Pay Attention To Your Body
Have you ever stopped, closed your eyes, and actually paid attention to how your body is feeling? Take some time each day to mentally move around your body and note how you’re feeling. Are you feeling tight, relaxed, energized, sore, tender?
48 – Just Move
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea of needing to do a workout, or a specific routine, but really, you can keep things simple. Just move your body, in any way you’d like. Swing your arms, dance around, twist and bend, jump… anything. Your body is made to move.
49 – Start Your Workout
If you’re more of a workout kind of person, but you’re struggling with motivation, tell yourself you’ll just do 5 minutes. If, after those 5 mintues, you’re still really struggling and want to stop, then take that as a sign from your body to rest (as long as you’re not doing it every single day).
Chances are though, after the first 5 minutes you’ll be past the hardest part (starting) and be more willing to just keep going.
Nighttime Healthy Habits
Nights are such a good time to close off from our day and prepare for the next. Avoid the trap of maintaining your healthy habits throughout the day, then falling off the bandwagon at night. Creating simple healthy habits for your evening and night can help with this.
50 – Limit Screen-Time Before Bedtime
Research has shown that blue light from simple electronic devices can interfere with our simple healthy habits, making it harder to fall asleep. Try turning off all screens an hour or two before bedtime for better quality sleep.
51 – Read Before Going To Sleep
Research has shown that reading for a bit before going to sleep helps you fall asleep faster and also boosts your creativity levels. Reading from a Kindle or book is better than reading from a phone screen as the light can keep you up longer.
52 – Get Enough Quality Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for our mental health and physical wellbeing. Most adults need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night, but more important than the number of hours you get, is the quality of sleep you have. Make sure you’re getting good quality sleep each night.
53 – Use Your Nighttime To Meditate And Reflect
Meditation is great for many reasons, but one of the best nights to meditate or just be still and reflect on your day is at night. Get into bed with a book light, journal, or guided meditation app and take some time to yourself before drifting off to sleep.
54 – Have A Conversation With Your Spouse
Whether it’s a quick, 15-minute conversation or a long-winded chat – make sure to put the electronics away and have some non-electronic face time with your partner.
55 – Read To Your Kids
If you have kids, spend some time each night reading books to them. Not only is this good for their development, it’s also a great time for your to bond.
56 – Do Something For You
Do you have a hobby or a craft you love? Personally, I love crocheting, and making crochet part of my nighttime routine. It helps my mental health as I get downtime for myself, and it makes me feel proud of the things I accomplish.
57 – Plan For Tomorrow
One of my favorite parts about the night is writing out my daily to-do list and planning for the next day. I like that time before bed because it’s very relaxed and non-stressful, but also makes me feel productive.
58 – Go To Bed At A Reasonable Hour
While it’s tempting to stay up late after the kids are asleep for some time alone, you end up in a cycle of late nights, early mornings, and lack of sleep that causes spikes in your cortisol (stress hormone). Instead, get the sleep you need and schedule in some kid-free time during the day (when you can enjoy it more).
General Healthy Habits
Some things are just generally good for us:
59 – Spend Time Outdoors Every Day
Spending time in natural light is a simple healthy habit that helps our sleep cycles, boosts vitamin D levels, and improves focus.
60 – Stop Multitasking And Focus On One Task At A Time
Multitasking has become the simple healthy habit of the day for busy people, but research shows that it decreases productivity while increasing stress levels. Instead, focus on simple tasks, one at a time.
61 – Get Around Some Positive People Every Day
Positive people have been shown to help increase happiness and lower stress levels. Make a simple healthy habit of spending some time with positive people every day. It will boost your mood, help keep you motivated, and just make you feel good.
62 – Stand Up Regularly
In our simple healthy habits, simple movements can make a big difference to our health. Try standing up for five minutes every hour and moving around a little. It can be a simple healthy habit that just makes a big difference over time.
63 – Examine Your Thoughts And Stop Negative Ones In Their Tracks
Our thoughts have been shown to have a simple healthy habit on our happiness levels and overall wellbeing. Research has shown that simple things like writing a negative thought down, examining it, and then refuting it can help break the cycle of negativity in simple ways.
64 – Think Of Three Things You’re Grateful For
Gratitude is a simple healthy habit that’s been associated with increased energy levels, better sleep, and improved relationships. At the end of each day write down three simple things you’re grateful for or spend five minutes thinking about them.
65 – Spend Time With A Pet
Pets can be simple healthy habits that will increase our happiness, relieve our stress levels and encourage activity through playtime. Pets also provide us with non-judgemental, simple healthy habits. Spending time with someone else’s simple healthy habits can give us perspective and inspiration.
66 – Have A Break At Work And Move Around
Keeping simple healthy habits at work is important for both productivity and wellbeing. Set an alarm on your phone or computer to go off every hour as a reminder to stand up, move around and take a break.
67 – Find Something To Look Forward To Every Day
Having something to look forward to is a simple healthy habit that’s been shown to increase happiness levels. Find something you’re excited about, whether it’s day-to-day or at the end of your week.
68 – Get Competitive
Try playing a game or sport that is competitive to help release dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy. Anything that involves a little (healthy) competition can be good for you.
69 – Work During Your Peak Time
Everyone has different peak times that can be influenced by our circadian rhythm. While most people’s peak time is around 10am, pay attention to when your natural peak time is to boost productivity. If you’re more productive in the afternoon, that might be the best way to get things done efficiently.
70 – Make Time To Meditate Each Day
Meditation has been shown to help relieve anxiety, stress and depression, as well as boost our creativity levels. Studies have also shown that meditation can strengthen the connections between brain cells. Try setting aside 10 to 20 minutes each day to meditate and see how it positively impacts your stress levels.
71 – Get Enough Vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiencies are common due to the lack of sun in the UK and USA, which means many people aren’t getting enough. Milk and mushrooms are some of the few natural food sources that contain vitamin D, but it’s also found in oily fish such as mackerel and sardines.
72 – Use Positive Affirmations
While it’s easy to dismiss positive affirmations as just another self-help trend, there have been many studies that prove them to be effective. Studies show that positive affirmations activate the reward center of your brain (triggering dopamine) which can make you feel more happy and positive.
73 – Focus On Your Breath
Our breathing has a simple healthy habit on our stress levels as it’s controlled by the amygdala parts of the brain. When we’re stressed or anxious, our breathing speeds up as a result. Taking time to notice your breath can have a profound impact on your wellbeing, as well as your response to stress.
74 – Write Out Your Problems
Writing about your problems has been shown to help reduce anxiety, stress levels, and depression. This is because writing can shift our thinking from being overwhelmed by a problem into seeing it as something that can be solved.
75 – Use Journaling Prompts
Journaling can be a simple healthy habit that helps us reflect and process our thoughts and feelings. Instead of just writing down what you did each day, try journalling three things you’re grateful for, five things that made you happy, and one thing that would make today great.
76 – Declutter Your Home
Clutter has been shown to have a negative impact on wellbeing, stress levels and productivity. Try to declutter your home environment by donating or throwing away items you don’t need to make room for the things that matter.
77 – Big Deep Belly Laugh
Studies have shown that a big deep belly laugh can release endorphins and reduce stress in the same way as exercise. Watch a funny clip, call up one of your funniest friends, or go see a comedy show to get your daily dose of laughter.
78 – Spend More Time In Nature
Being outdoors in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and anxiety. It can also help boost self-esteem, optimism, and our overall mood. So instead of scrolling through social media when you have a few minutes spare, get outside for a walk in the sunshine!
79 – Smile More Often
Science says that smiling actually makes us feel happier! Smiling sends signals to our brain that we are happy, regardless of whether we actually are. The good news is that you can fake a smile and get the same benefits (although it can make you feel a little weird…).
As you can see from this list, adding healthy habits into your lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming. Simple healthy habits have a compounding effect and can have a huge impact on our overall well-being.
Which healthy habits are you going to add to your day?