Last updated: November 21, 2023
Healthy habits to start now, to build a better future for yourself. You can make simple, gradual changes to your life that build on themselves to make the next ones even easier. I’ve done it and so can you.
How do you start a healthy habit? In general, I start small. I connect it to a healthy habit I already have and I set reminders for myself along the way.
I’ve spent the last several years making small changes in my daily life that ultimately lead to personal growth and development for me, to a healthier lifestyle and really, to happiness. To peace of mind. It’s a work in progress, as life should be.
Here are a few healthy habits worth adopting.
Healthy Habits to Start Now
There are dozens of easy habits you can develop to make your lifestyle a healthier one, to improve every aspect of your life. Many of them are good habits that can replace unhealthy habits that you already have, if you let them. Others involve a better way of approaching everyday activities.
They fall into four general categories – fitness, nutrition, sleep, and mindset.
Make physical activity a habit now or even better, a lifelong hobby – for energy, coordination and confidence out in the world.
Benefits of Physical Activity
- Improves mental health
- Helps to establish and maintain a healthy weight
- Have more energy
- Helps you sleep better
- Reduces the odds of injury
- Helps you recover from injury
- Reduces risk for all age-associated diseases such as cancer, heart disease, dementia
What are some healthy habits for fitness?
- Don’t stay seated for more than 60 minutes at a time. Set a timer and listen to it.
- Take the stairs. If you see an elevator, there are also stairs. Find them.
- Park your car further from the entrance.
- Go for a walk after dinner every day.
- If you’re able to walk to your destination, do so.
- Set up your exercise machine in front of your tv and use it every time the tv is on.
- Switch to a standing desk.
- Don’t sit down for your phone calls. Walk, pace, move.
- Use an exercise ball chair.
- Exercise during commercials.
- Clean a room thoroughly every day. Declutter, dust, wash, vacuum.
- Set a regular walking date with a friend.
- Schedule time into your day and week for a regular exercise class.
- Bring lightweight, inexpensive workout travel gear with you when you travel.
- Walk a dog. If you don’t have one, your neighbor probably does.
How to get started
Pick one at a time. Set realistic goals and expectations, based on your current lifestyle. Start small if you need to, and connect it to a healthy habit you already have.
Put up sticky notes to remind yourself, start an activity journal, get an activity monitor like FitBit, or set an alarm clock to remind yourself.
Easy right? The overall goal is to get in the habit of doing something every day. Anyone, at any age, can do this.
“People do not decide their futures. They decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.”F.M.Alexander
Proper nutrition isn’t just about what you eat. It’s about when you eat, how you eat, and what you don’t eat.
Benefits of Healthy Eating
- Feel younger
- Look younger
- Have more energy
- Reduce risk of heart disease, obesity and cancer
- Reduces arthritis & illness
- Enhances recovery from illness
- Feel happier with yourself
- Helps to obtain and maintain a healthier weight
What are some healthy eating habits?
- Include a fruit or vegetable with every meal.
- Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning, before anything else.
- Eat as many colors of the rainbow as you can.
- Practice mindful eating.
- Drink a glass of water before any other beverage of your choice.
- Replace dessert with fruit.
- Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables.
- Have salad for lunch, regularly.
- Sit down at the dinner table together.
- Start looking at labels before buying.
- Stop eating before you’re overly full.
- Plan meals ahead of time.
- Look at the restaurant menu before going and decide what you’ll eat.
- Cook at home more often.
- Stop eating anything with trans-fat.
- Avoid eating anything with large amounts of added sugar, HFCS, preservatives or dyes.
- Reduce the time you eat in front of the television.
- Steer away from fad diets.
- Give yourself the grace to not clean your plate.
- Eat only you’re actually hungry.
- Avoid skipping meals.
- Make Starbucks a weekend treat instead of every day.
- Drink less, or no, alcohol.
How to start healthy eating habits
All of these are good health habits to have. Start slow, one simple shift towards longevity at a time. Ask a friend or family member to hold you accountable or keep a food journal. Set your priority at the beginning of each day and reconnect in the evening.
When you feel your one choice has become a habit you can easily live with, pick the next one and do the same.
Your body requires sleep to recharge, rebuild and rebalance itself after a day of activity. When you sleep, a variety of hormones become more balanced, including the ones that influence appetite. Including the hormones associated with stress and heart disease.
Benefits of Healthy Sleep Habits
- You’re less irritable and moody
- It’s easier to develop a healthy eating pattern
- Have fewer issues with weight control
- You get sick less often and recover faster when you do
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- You’re more productive
- Less stressed by every day life
- Lower blood pressure
- More energy and better memory
- You’re happier
What are 10 healthy habits to start for sleep?
- Go to bed roughly at the same time each night.
- Avoid taking naps during the day.
- Get regular exercise each day.
- Avoid caffeinated drinks in the afternoon or evening.
- Drink alcohol in moderation, or even better, not at all.
- Avoid snacks right before bed.
- Keep a notepad by your bed so you can write down any thoughts you don’t want to forget.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Practice gratitude.
- Develop a bedtime ritual.
How to Get Started
Start small. Make a record of your sleep habits so that you know what they’re really like.
Record such things as what you did within three hours of bedtime, when you went to bed, approximately when you fell asleep, how often did you wake up, how long did you stay awake during the night, what were the thoughts keeping you awake.
Take note of how well you slept and how that was connected to the things you did the night before. Look at your notes and identify what you might do differently based on the healthy habits listed above.
Choose one of those to start with. Pick a single habit and try it for a few weeks before deciding if it will work for you. If it helps in the slightest, keep it and add another.
All of these are good habits to develop. Make sleep a priority. The sooner you do, the happier and healthier you will be. Seek help from your physician if you must.
Mindset incorporates everything from your mood upon waking to the way you handle stress. From your perspective of yourself to the way you think of and interact with others.
No one has the best attitude all the time, but being able to fall easily back into a healthy one will lead to greater happiness, now and as you explore the world around you.
Benefits of a healthy mindset
- You feel less stressed
- Less depression
- You’re more productive
- You’re less bothered by other people’s actions
- Lowered risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced illness
- Greater creativity
- Improved relationships with others
- More enjoyable to be around
- Improved overall happiness
What are some habits for a healthier mindset?
- Make time for yourself every day.
- Reduce screen time.
- Stop complaining.
- Leave work at work.
- Step outside of your comfort zone on a regular basis.
- Avoid drama as much as possible.
- Avoid gossip as much as possible.
- Surround yourself with positive people.
- Practice meditation.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Practice gratitude.
- Reflect often.
- Reduce the amount of time you spend comparing yourself to others.
- Volunteer regularly.
- Pick up a creative hobby (you don’t have to be good at it, ever).
- Practice every day acts of kindness.
- Treat everyone with courtesy.
- Spend time outside.
- Play games (board games, card games, etc).
- Have a pet.
- Listen to music.
- Eat healthy.
- Learn something new every day.
- Talk about your feelings with someone you trust.
- Ask yourself every day, “What am I looking forward to?”
- Spend at least an hour every day without screens of any sort.
- Ask yourself every day, “What is MY why?”
- Connect with someone in some way, big or small.
How to Get Started
Pick the one you feel might be easiest for you. Focus on it and the joy it brings to your life when you’re successful with it. Write down the positive outcomes.
Set reminders throughout your life, in the form of sticky notes, emails you send to yourself or alarm clocks. Write it on your List To Do for each day, keep a journal or have an accountability partner.
Any and all of these will help you to think positive on a more regular basis. Include as many as you can, one at a time, for a healthier and happier life.
How Long Does it Take to Start a Healthy Habit?
It takes just a minute to get started with most habits and you start by making the commitment to carry it out. Often that’s the hardest part.
Then you make a plan for how you’ll go about it, being as realistic as possible. The plan can take several minutes or a few hours at most to develop, depending on how detailed it is.
Establishing your habit, or following your plan, can take a month or so of effort and after that, it starts to feel normal. Once you’ve mastered one, you know how to build healthy habits and can apply the same process to any of the rest of them.
Healthy Habits, FAQs
If you want to live longer you should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, eating processed foods, red meat and fast food.
To start a healthy habit, set a specific goal, make a plan, and start small. Gradually incorporate the habit into your routine, track your progress, and reward yourself for milestones achieved. Stay consistent, find accountability, and be patient with yourself as you work towards establishing a long-lasting healthy habit.
Some of the healthiest daily habits include regular exercise, consuming a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, managing stress effectively, practicing good hygiene, maintaining social connections, and prioritizing self-care for mental and emotional well-being.
Pick one healthy change to your lifestyle and keep working toward it until it becomes easy, until it becomes a habit. Then pick another.
Wrap-up: Good Habits to Start in 2023
You need only pick one to get going, to move forward every day. Remember that the choices you make every day will influence more than just that hour or day. Your choices affect your every day and your future. They are the biggest influencers for a long, happy and healthy life.