When people start looking for a better quality of life, they ultimately come down to making a change in their habits and trying to create new, healthy ones. In this post, I want to share with you my pick of habits, which have helped me achieve some major results in improving my productivity, my energy level, and my overall satisfaction. I can promise you, that if you give them a try, you will surely be able to benefit from them but first, let’s make it clear, what exactly a healthy habit is.
8 Habits For A Better Quality Of Life
Now, “healthy habit” is a very generic term. Basically, anything from doing exercise, eating more plant-based meals, drinking eight cups of water, writing regularly for your blog, making your bed, waking up early, can qualify as a habit that becomes a value over time and creates your daily routine. However, most of us have a major issue with habits – they don’t stick. Orr…actually, we don’t stick to them.
We usually start with the best intentions to improve ourselves, be it physically or emotionally and, initially, we are so determined to make the healthy habits part of our routine because we can’t wait to benefit from the results. However, we quickly realize that this is so daunting. It takes time, efforts, discipline, willpower, determination, endless positivism, practice, stubbornness and some premium pep-talk, which often isn’t enough to make us stick to the end.
I, however, consider myself a habit maker and a self-improvement junkie from a very little. For instance, I was constantly re-organizing my desk, writing step-by-step plans to achieve my goals, creating vision boards, sticking them to the wall, and annoying everyone around with my never-ending determination to try new things and make habit changes and improvements.
And I think I’ve achieved some major progress over the years since I have successfully influenced the basic food habits of my family for good. And I can’t miss out to mention the little victory I won with the TV when I was little by convincing everyone to shut it down during family eating times and gatherings and, later on, to replace it for more chats, more good books, music, and outdoor walks.
And this is huge, I am telling you, because I don’t know about yours but in most Bulgarian families, the TV takes a central place and everyone has to keep quiet and listen to the news, and the president’s speech on New Year!
So, now after you’ve got an idea of whom you are dealing with, let me tell you about my 8 habits, that I have implemented in my life and, apparently, in the life of the lucky ones that live around me. He he 😀
They include a fair share of self-discipline, partially because of the upbringing that my parents gave me, and also because of the society, I grew up in. Bulgarians are kind but also a bit tough people and demand a lot from their kids. For example, they would include me in the household chores from a very little. They would give me small responsibilities like throwing the garbage or mopping the floor or helping with gardening and, usually, would keep me accountable for those things. At the same time, they would trust me about doing my homework and would never micromanage me.
So, naturally, I grew up with a lot of discipline, sense of responsibility, motivation and a focus on self-improvement. In fact, now I often say it with pride and gratitude – this upbringing has helped me to achieve every single goal that I have set to my mind so far, whether it was graduating from a business university, pursuing my career plans or becoming a blogger.
If you are not so highly motivated, disciplined, and organized person, however, don’t despair. There is hope even for the creative souls who love chaos, can’t stand schedules and planners and only work on something when their muse comes to visit. So, take it easy! The habits that I am about to share are absolutely achievable for anyone.
In fact, here I am going to give you some tips on how to approach them:
- Pick one habit at a time – Listen to your gut and choose the one habit that matters most to you right now. You probably have a goal in mind that you want to achieve. Think about the first step towards that goal and you will find the habit that you need to pick.
- Implement for 1 month – Pick one day to begin and start small – one exercise, one healthy meal, one hour of a walk. One step at a time. Don’t try to be perfect and don’t stress on doing everything absolutely right. Allow yourself to have wins and fails during that one month.
- Stick to it – Make it non-negotiable. Don’t create excuses. Just, do it.
- Find someone to support and encourage you – This is the best way to make sure you’re on track. Ask your bestie, your mom, your partner, friends, or hire a coach.
- After 30 days, move onto another habit that you want to implement.
So now, let’s take a look at those 8 healthy habits that can bring major results to your daily life, your productivity, and efficiency.
8 Habits For A Better Quality Of Life
1. Dedicate some “me time”.
One major reason, for which I believe many people can’t succeed in having a better quality of life and doing the things that they want to do is that they simply don’t make the time for it. How many times you’ve decided to start something new, like exercising in the morning, for example, but then the alarm rings and by the time you open your eyes you already are in a rush, just grabbing a quick coffee and getting out of the door to start your day. In the evening the typical excuse is “I didn’t have time”.
Okay, it happens. I mean, it really happens even with me but if you really want to do some positive change, implement a habit, or gain back your focus, you have to make it a priority and dedicate some “me time” during which you can nourish yourself. If the mornings don’t work for you, try the evenings when you are more relaxed or the weekends. You are the one that decides how and when to do it. Just make time for yourself to do what you want to do and don’t give excuses or replace your “me time” for some other activities.
But how do we find the time for ourselves?
- Schedule it. Okay, here is a trick I usually do – I set a time for myself just the way I would mark the things that I want to do in my calendar. I add the “me time” in my To Do list and the ringer, which pings me when it is time for it. You can choose your own reminders – set up notifications, put your alarm on, write it down in your notebook, grab a sticky note and stick it to the door or the fridge.
- Set a few minutes. If you want to train yourself to dedicate some personal time, there is no need to practice it for a whole hour. Just take some 10 to 15 minutes (after all, this is such an insignificant portion of your day!) and just do it. Sit with a good short read, grab a cup of tea, meditate, listen to some music, stare at one point, do some short exercise or do some activity that you want. Just set that “me time” during the day and don’t trade it for anything.
One thing I really like to do in my personal time is to listen to audiobooks and I find this app called Audible super convenient because I can have it with me anywhere and listen to the latest bestseller while on a long ride, or checking out the latest self-help hit with eyes closed while relaxing. I also regularly schedule a daily plank exercise as a part of my physical activity challenge and some 10-minute computer breaks from my writing because these are the habits I slack on often. You can start small by finding some 5 extra minutes for yourself. Okay, you got this!
- Think of your “me time” as a priority. Mark your “me time” as urgent, important, red, a non-negotiable, because if you don’t, most probably you will skip it.
- Seek support and delegate tasks to free up some time. Okay, there is a thing that you can probably agree on. Most of us hate asking for help. We have some strengths that we are proud of, but when it comes to asking for help, we consider it as a weakness. We’d rather go down the rabbit hole that is as long as a tunnel to China to do our own research or load ourselves with all the workload. However, seeking support from our partner, kids or friends and outsourcing something you’re not good at, which is taking a lot of your time and efforts, is a great strength. And that strength comes from admitting that you know your limits and capacity and respect your personal time and efforts. So, don’t feel shy or weak when asking support, advice, or guidance for your work or daily chores – you will most probably benefit from that more than from keeping yourself constantly busy and banging your head against the wall with something that you can’t handle. Embrace the habit of asking for help when you know you’re going to waste a lot of time dwelling on something.
2. Eat the rainbow.
If you are conscious about your health, one good thing that you could do is to incorporate more plant-based meals in your diet. No matter what kind of modern or ancestral diet cult you belong to, you will do your cells a favor if you give them some of the good green stuff because:
- First, they are an incredible source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. (Here I usually sing the Cucumba song :D).
- Second, they are filling and help your digestion work like a clock.
- Third, when you eat more veggies, you’ll naturally crave more veggies instead of processed crap.
- Fourth, they are the best source of complex carbs, which, unlike the simple carbs that will make you gain weight quickly, will help you maintain a good shape.
And not only that. Veggies are yummy. Believe it or not, this season I’ve probably eaten more leaves than all the rabbits in the zoo. I mean, most of my friends know me for my cravings for salads (which I top with some goodies) and I never miss a chance to indulge on. Be it a good leafy mix or a fruit bowl.
You may also like to read about: Superfoods That Power The Brain
This healthy habit can definitely bring major and impressive results on your overall energy level, your mood, your look, and productivity, especially if you’re trying to balance your weight, improve your stamina, and feel good during the day.
It’s super simple even though I know you’ve been told otherwise. Start eating real food. Veggies, meat, healthy fats. Eat when you are hungry. Don’t eat when you are not. Drink water. Keep it simple. And most importantly ENJOY!
3. Sleep like it’s your job.
I don’t care if you are a programmer, a hustler, a career ladder climber, a freelancer, or a night owl. You have to get some good zzz’s, my dear! And let me tell you what comes as a bonus. Not only you will be in the most energetic and amazing mood, but your skin will glow, your focus will be sharp as a razor, and you will be able to nail any task that comes in your way. Basically, the more quality sleep you get, the more superpowers you will unlock. Don’t believe me? Come on, do your research. I dare you.
4. Reduce stress.
It’s a well-known fact that stress causes illness and wears us out. Therefore, avoiding chronic stress and taking steps to reduce it is one of the best things you can do for your mental, emotional, and physical health.
My favorite ways to handle stress?
There is a simple mind trick that I usually do – I reduce the importance. When I feel I am stressed, I take a second to ask myself will that thing, which is stressing me out now, matter tomorrow, next month, in a year? Very often the answer is no.
You will be amazed how this simple technique works and how much clarity it can give you over the current situation. We, people, tend to give too much of importance to too many things without realizing that this actually gives us more anxiety, which is totally made up and unnecessary.
Another thing I often do when my anxiety kicks in and nothing helps is I take a nap. Works like a charm.
Talking to a friend is also a super therapeutic method to cope with the stress and share your worries and, sometimes, even writing them down can help a lot as this is one way to get them off your mind.
And a piece of advice I always give to myself and others – don’t load yourself with more than you can handle. If you en up with too much workload, you will surely get stressed and exhausted.
Learn more: How To Manage A Heavy Workload?
5. Move your body (or booty).
Now, I’m not the first person to tell you how important the movement is. But what I’ve found is that the more I move through the day, the better I feel and it really feels refreshing to sweat it out once in a while with a good sprint session, a nice walk or some good dancing. You can call it “work out”, “training” or “exercise”, but the general idea is to have some movement, which you enjoy and have fun with.
6. Let go of your perfectionism.
Let’s be honest – perfection doesn’t exist. It is an illusion that can be destructive and can often make you feel unfulfilled and miserable. In addition, it also causes major anxiety, stress, lack of satisfaction, depression and emotional meltdowns. The best thing you can do? Let it go.
Accept the imperfections, as they are a part of life and find a unique beauty in them. You can also get yourself some books from Brene Brown like “The Gifts of Imperfections” and “Dare to Lead”. These would make a good read. Besides, if you strive to excellence instead of perfection you’ll find much more joy in your day.
Technology has wonderful benefits and I use it almost every day. Therefore, I would never argue against the reasonable use of it. However, that being said, it is becoming obvious that we are developing an unhealthy attachment to it. We increasingly miss out on important moments of our lives as we pass hours and hours with our noses buried in our devices.
But life is still about that eye-to-eye contact. Yes, there are valuable resources online, which help us grow and evolve. I have been enriched by the online connections I have made and the friendships I have created. But no matter how much I interact with others through technology, there is something unique and amazing about interacting face-to-face.
The experience of looking another person in the eye, having the handshake, giving them a hug, changes everything, and each time this happens, I am reminded that life’s most fulfilling relationships are the ones in front of me. Spending too much time looking at the screen makes me only miss out those amazing moments of live interaction. So, if you look like a flamingo already (or have any neck pain and headaches), it’s time to take a break.
- Choose to start your day elsewhere. Don’t grab your mobile first thing in the morning. Better use that time to stretch, say “Good morning” to your partner, make some breakfast, take a nice shower and freshen up.
- Manage the time-wasters. There are a bunch of helpful apps that can manage your time online. For instance, Freedom is an app that will disable your entire Internet connection for a period of time set by you. Selfcontrol will block access to specified websites (for example Facebook, Gmail, Pinterest, your news website or blog) for a period of time but still, have access to the rest of the web. Social media detox can be very refreshing for a while and can free up more time for the real things that you want to do.
- Switch off – A simple trick that can help you have more quality time with your loved ones is to restrict phone calls and messages on weekends or during off-hours. You can use an app like Offtime for that, which can manage the mode automatically, so you don’t have to constantly bother about it.
8.Connect with others.
In today’s world, there is a bigger emphasis on running around and getting things done than on making time to connect with others. However, this is equally important because, after all, we are social creatures and need some live communication.
You will be amazed how making time for a night with your partner, a lunch or activity with a friend, or a surprise visit to your parents can boost the quality of your relationships and your overall satisfaction. Therefore, don’t be lazy to schedule a coffee with a friend, ask someone out for a walk, drop by your neighbor’s house and bring some cookies, or invite people over and have game nights. Communicate consciously and actively seek interaction and you will soon see the benefits of your genuine communication.