You’re tired, busy and definitely don’t want to follow yet another “to-do-list” as you have no time at all. But guess what? All those successful and healthy people are also busy as hell but they manage to implement some healthy habits that sustain their happiness, health and wealth. Also, they don’t only try to sustain it, they try to improve it. So here’s a cheat sheet – copy them. They don’t take forever to implement and picking up these simple eating, exercise, and lifestyle habits can change your life.
1. Setting Goals
Healthy people plan their time. They know that some deviations from the initial plan are OK (we don’t want to stress and get frustrated, right?) but setting goals and following them step by step is crucial. Note a few small, achievable objects for a week, month, six months and a year to begin with: fx. finish reading that book til the next Sunday, start exercising in April, run a marathon by July and learn Spanish to be able to communicate in basic language for your next trip in November. Setting up a certain deadline (fx. no refined sugar for a month/ bi-weekly language classes for 3 months / more exercise for one month) along with an objective (fx. losing 5 kgs / being able to swim) will make you more focused and determined!
2. Taking Care Of Your Nutrition
Undoubtedly, when it comes to physical health nutrition and sports are in the ‘must-do’ list. Healthy people aren’t just born that way – they make the choice to live a healthy lifestyle one day at a time, one meal at a time. It doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy a glass of wine from time to time or snack on chips on a Friday evening – it rather means balancing your diet and choosing healthy, nourishing meals most of the time. Food selection (i.e. selection of a healthy meal over junk food) is important, but controlling portion sizes is even more important – it will improve your digestion and control your waistline. And I guess most of us could do with some reduction in this area…
Living in a digital age when our computers, phones and notepads are full of notifications and news and our diaries are full of planned meetings it’s important to set up at least an hour few times a week to “cleanse” your mind from all that craziness and dedicate it for some physical activity. Physical activity improves mood and works as a fantastic “thought detox”. If you’re wondering what are the benefits of sport – there are plenty! Dedicating some time for a few days a week at the gym and following a meal plan does wonders. If you’re a newbie and have just started getting a bit more interested in your health (both mental and physical) try experimenting with your diet and mental focus a bit: try giving up refined sugar and focus on positive thinking at least for a week.
4. Expressing Gratitude
Appreciating little things make us happier. Showing and recognizing how grateful you are for a number of things in your life can actually reduce depression and increase your immunity. Don’t only focus on the whole but rather try noticing small things. Even more to that – you can start writing a “gratitude diary”, noting down 1-3 positive things daily. Good emotions and increased self-confidence guaranteed!
5. Having “Me” Time
We all get dragged into routine – work, home, cleaning, making food, dish washing, bed… It’s important to follow a plan and get used to that but what’s even more important is breaking that plan from time to time to fully dedicate at least half an hour for yourself and nobody else. Spend at least 30 minutes a week (or bi-weekly) doing something you enjoy – reading a book, going for a long walk or simply sipping some aromatic tea while trying to “empty” your mind. Give yourself a break, you deserve it.
6. Being Adventurous
Have you ever seen a “Yes Man” with Jim Carrie? If not, then you totally should. It will make you think and re-consider why saying “no” to most of the thing in your life is simply unhealthy. Healthy people seek for new experiences, fresh ideas and discoveries. They know that quietly sitting in your comfort zone does not bring changes and improvements, stepping out of your comfort zone does. Many of us feel comfortable when we do things we know and are good at BUT doing something new and stepping out of your comfort zone brings joy, new experiences and that (sometimes) even gives a crazy addictive rush of adrenaline. Saying “yes” to new things means a different thing to different people and it totally depends on you. Whenever you say “no” you miss an opportunity to discover something new, to try something you haven’t tried before and to learn and grow. Next time when somebody suggests something crazy and your comfort zone kicks in with “hell no” try giving it a chance – after all, we live once, right?
7. Seeking Engaging Company
It is no doubt that communication plays a vital role in human life – it does not only help to facilitate the process of sharing knowledge and information, but also helps people to develop relationships with others. Humans are social animals and social life is one of the most important influences on our mental health. Without engaging, positive and durable relationships we feel lonely and not appreciated. To be your best surround yourself with socially engaging, motivating people that encourage, motivate and challenge you both mentally and physically.
Being able to see the funny, humoristic side of yourself and others (yourself first!) makes life simply easier to live and also makes you look happier and friendlier. Positive people who are not afraid to laugh are usually the ones liked most, as they are able to see the “happy” side of any situation and are not afraid to look or be perceived as careless or silly. A good sense of humor won’t cure all ailments, but data is mounting about the positive aspects laughter can do: it soothes tension and stimulates many organs (enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air & stimulates your heart). Laughter is also a powerful stress-relief medicine.
9. Sleeping Well
Don’t underestimate the power of a good sleep and naps. Sleeping around 7-8 hours is optimal for a grown up and that’s the amount of sleep you should always be getting. Sleeping plays an important role in your physical health – sleep is a “body recovery time” after a long day and sleeping is involved in repair of your heart and blood vessels. Aim at sleeping at least 6 hours every night.
You don’t need millions to live a happy, fulfilling life but you do need an extra coin to set aside cause… you can never know what might happen tomorrow. Young Chinese are a good example of how to save an extra penny even when it seems close to impossible. Always try to save a bit (even 5 or 10 euros) from your salary – you can always skip buying a candy or soda and rather put that coin into your savings account. Control your impulse spending and always re-ask yourself whether this item is something you really need.