Habits can help you get ahead in life, or they can hinder your progress, development, and happiness. The good news is that you can cultivate your own habits. You can decide which repeated patterns stay and which ones go. All it takes is some self-discipline and awareness.
We’ve compiled a list of the best habits to help you lead a more productive and happy life – both in work and at home.
Habits for Productivity
Rid your life of clutter
When your environment is cluttered it can be difficult to focus. Create a habit of giving everything a home, cleaning while you go, and having an end-of-day routine for putting everything where it should be. Reducing clutter will help to clear your mind, give your better focus, and reduce stress.
Superfoods are rich in nutrients and brain-boosting vitamins. Up your daily intake of leafy vegetables, blueberries, and walnuts to give your brain an extra boost. You’ll feel less tired and have more focus.
A simple 15 minute walk every day gets the oxygen in your body moving more efficiently. It can boost creativity and energy for hours after you sit back down again.
Wake up early
Many top achievers swear by a 5am wake up time. Waking up early gives your body a chance to properly adjust before starting work and means you’re tired earlier and sleep more deeply. Research has found that people who wake up earlier are more likely to succeed in business, display higher levels of initiative and resilience, and earn higher wages.
Follow a morning routine
Having a set routine helps you get out of bed and get ready for the day more quickly. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment to start your day off with the right mentality.
Plan your day
Having a daily planner will help you to see everything you need to accomplish in your day. You can prioritise, tick things off as you go, and balance your tasks throughout the day.
Small, regular, and planned diversions throughout your day can help you to focus better and improve your productivity. Standing up, stretching, having a snack, or even changing your task will give your brain a chance to rest and reset before tackling the task again.
As far as possible, set up a workplace where you can control the environment. Studies have shown that once you are “in the zone” it can take as long as 25 minutes to get back there after a distraction.
Be a goal-getter
Give yourself goals with practical steps and achievements. Let them be big goals that can take years as well as small daily goals. Being able to see your goals written down gives you greater ambition and productivity levels. As you achieve your goals, you will also be inspired to set and reach more.
Arriving early helps you to feel in control. It also looks more professional and improves your time management skills.
If a task seems too big, break it up. Create a habit of breaking jobs down into smaller, more manageable parts that can be handled more easily.
Create a system and stick to it
Systems help things to move along smoothly. Find the systems that work for you and then make them a habit. This could be opening emails first thing in the day, or a specific way of filing. Whatever works for you and helps you work more efficiently.
When you plan your day, look at the tasks at hand and prioritise. This will help you to complete more tasks and stay on top of things.
People wear multi-tasking like a badge of honour, but research has shown that doing multiple things simultaneously wears out the brain faster and makes us less likely to accomplish things quickly and well.
Follow the 15-minute rule
You can do anything for 15 minutes. Create pockets of 15 minutes in your day for various tasks, chores, or hobbies. You will be amazed at the results. Even daunting tasks, when broken into 15-minute sections, can be conquered easily.
Create a nighttime routine
No more late- night emails or binging your favourite TV show until 2am. Create a calm and relaxing nighttime routine that will help you fall asleep and get a better night’s sleep so you have more energy during the day.
- Complete daily reviews
At the end of the day take time to review your progress, goals, accomplishments, and tasks for the next day. This will help you stay motivated and give you a better handle on work the next day because you have had a chance to mentally prepare.
Habits for Happiness
Hugging has been shown to increase the “happiness” hormone and decrease stress. Some studies suggest that receiving 8 hugs a day can even help alleviate or prevent depression.
Spending time in nature boosts the immune system, lowers blood pressure, increases patience, and decreases anxiety and depression. Spending 15 minutes outdoors before noon will also help keep your sleep cycle constant. The vitamin D from the sun will even boost your mood.
A habit of gratitude creates a positive outlook. It also makes those around you more likely to want to be with you. Build appreciation and gratitude into your daily habits by thanking people for service or keeping a gratitude journal.
Your physiology has a surprising effect on your psychology. Smiling, even when you don’t want to, can trick your brain into thinking you are happy until you truly are. Smile often and soon you won’t need to even think about it.
Keep it positive
A positive mindset makes all goals more achievable. Learn to banish negative thoughts and immediately replace them with positive ones.
Find your mantra
What inspires you” Who spurs you on to live your best life Having a go-to thought can help to lift you from a bad mood and give you the motivation you need to get things done.
Gardening reduces stress, anxiety, and depression. The simple act of using your hands, nurturing life, and watching things grow is good for you. Even if it’s one tiny pot on your windowsill.
Learn to say “no”
Putting boundaries in place can be incredibly freeing. Practice saying no when you need to.
Learn to say “yes”
Try new things and challenge yourself by saying yes to things you would normally turn down. The sense of adventure and excitement will boost your mood and give you great memories.
Even a 10-minute jog will boost your serotonin levels and improve your mood. Try and fit some form of exercise into your routine every day. Find what’s fun for you and make friends who will help you stick to your habits by finding sports teams, dance groups, or fitness clubs.
Learn to let things go
You will never be able to control everything and the more you hold on, the more miserable you will become. Learn to let the little things go so that you can be more peaceful and content.
Habits to Improve your Life
Eat dark chocolate
Dark chocolate has surprising health benefits! Eat a piece a day to improve oxygen to your brain and protect it from free-radical damage.
Breathing deeply decreases the stress hormone in your body. Taking a few moments regularly throughout the day to simply breathe can help you stay calm and focused.
Listen to music
Music stimulates most parts of the brain. It has been shown to relieve pain, improve the immune system, and motivate you in whichever task you are busy with.
Water is vital to a healthy functioning body. Drink 6-8 cups of water a day to help regulate everything from digestion to hormones.
People who keep learning throughout life have been shown to stay sharper and happier for longer. Read a non-fiction book or take an online course, but never stop learning.
Have a regular time to visualise the future you want. This will help you stay motivated and excited for life.
The most successful people all swear by it: reading. It helps you develop new ideas, foster empathy, and understand the world around you better.
Being around people is good for your mental health. Social interaction can help reduce anxiety and depression and give you a sense of purpose and belonging.
Most people suffer from tension headaches and sore muscles because they don’t take the time to stretch. A simple 5-minute stretch twice a day can improve blood flow and increase comfort and relaxation.
Writing helps you to create connections in your brain through the flow of letters and words. It can also help you reflect on your life, process events, and develop communication skills.
Be a mindful eater
Fad diets won’t help, but taking note of what you’re eating and avoiding distractions while you eat can help you eat more healthily and enjoy food and your body more.
Listen more, talk less
You’re less likely to say silly things if you listen instead of talk. Take time to make people feel heard – it will make you and them feel better. It will also allow you to develop empathy, consideration, and a holistic worldview.