Why do your habits matter? The things you do over and over again form your life. The importance of habits might be more than it seems. So habits are an important part of the wellness wheel.
It is important to develop good habits for your fitness journey. It helps you stay motivated and feel good about yourself. It helps you keep moving forward in a positive direction and gives you something to look forward to. Bad habits are hard to break and they hold you back. They cause difficulty in your life and sometimes those around us as well.
What is a habit? It’s an action you perform over and over again regularly. It may be daily or hourly, but something you habitually do, almost without thinking. It’s routine.
The great thing about habits is you have the power to change them. I struggle with being messy and overeating. But I can change those things if I put enough work into them. I just remind myself every evening to tidy up before I leave work.
My wife is a great example of this. She has routines for all of our household chores. There are things we do weekly and things we do daily. I always know what my parts are and what she needs to run her home daycare smoothly with my support.
Almost every night before bed, I unload the dishwasher and put away all the clean dishes. This helps her to start her morning running without having to find clean dishes to make the kids some breakfast.
There are good habits and bad habits. Both of them need attention in your life. There are things like unloading the dishwasher every night that make life easier. And there are things like drinking too much that make life harder. Let’s start by looking at bad habits and how we can deal with them.
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List of bad habits
Bad habits can include:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Abusing prescription drugs
- Taking illegal drugs
- Drinking too much soda
- Focusing on negative things
- Not getting enough sleep
- Sleeping too much
- Isolating yourself
- Spending too much time watching tv or on the internet
- Eating only junk food or sugar
- Being sedentary
- Being late
- Not keeping your word
- Using poor hygiene
- Texting and driving
- Being overstressed by overscheduling or overthinking
- Skipping breakfast
Addiction vs habit
Addiction is when you have to have something, bad habits are when you indulge in them too much. So of course, we have to eat, but when we overeat every day instead of practicing moderation it’s not good for us. If we can’t stop overeating when we try, we may have an addiction.
If we have to have a drink of alcohol every day or every time we get upset, and we can’t leave it alone, we may be addicted. If we drink too much on occasion, but when we think about it, we don’t do that, we have a bad habit. Addiction is when the substance controls us and we can’t control ourselves at all.
A habit with illegal drugs, prescription drugs or an alcohol habit may not be an addiction, but it’s not good for us to partake. Taking illegal drugs can not only harm your mind and body, but also your reputation, employment, relationships, and more.
Taking too many prescription drugs can be just as bad for our lives as illegal drugs. Make sure if you have a prescription, to follow it and get off of it as soon as your body and doctor agree it’s the right time.
And with alcohol, it’s not unhealthy in itself, there are actually benefits from drinking alcohol. But if you drink so much that it affects your budget, sleep habits, relationships, and work, you’re drinking too much. One or two drinks in a day does have health benefits, but having to drink them every day is crossing over the line for optimal health.
How to break a drinking habit
Take a serious look at your drinking habits and be honest with yourself. If you are partaking too much, see what you can do to scale back. Get an accountability partner, seek some counseling, set goals for cutting back, and work towards being free from having to have a drink. You can do it and you’re worth it.
The same is true for soda, energy drinks, even tea, and coffee. If you can’t live without it, it might be time to reevaluate if it’s good for you.
Screens can be a big time suck and the time you spend on Facebook or watching tv isn’t productive or conducive to a healthy lifestyle, so make sure you pay attention to how much time you spend there. Some is fine, that as a lifestyle isn’t great.
How to break bad eating habits
Overeating is a hard habit to break. If you are an alcoholic, you can avoid drinking once you conquer your addiction, but you have to eat, so conquering the addiction of overeating is a little trickier. You can do it for sure. Remember to pay attention to proper portions. Read your labels on your food and find out what’s a reasonable amount to be eating. Then take steps to get yourself closer to those portions.
In the same sense, you can’t choose only fried junk food and sweets. Those things sure taste good, but they don’t do any good to your body so they should be limited to once a week or even less.
Change your eating habits one actionable baby step at a time. If you throw out all the junk food and buy only broccoli, you won’t stick to it very long if you don’t like broccoli, or even if you do.
Start by adding a piece of fruit to your diet each day for a week, then add a vegetable a day, then add another and another. Once you are eating more healthy choices, then try to reduce your junk intake. Start by saying no to fast food of any kind. There is nothing good there.
If you really need something fried or sweet, make it yourself, that will help a lot, because you won’t want to go to all the trouble. Even getting junk food at a restaurant is better than fast food. Because they tend to have a little better-quality food at a restaurant that has some nutrients.
Once you get used to these habits, then try to scale back the sweets and fried junk even more. And go from there. Eventually, try to limit yourself to one junk treat a week. Remember, if you are a chocoholic, chocolate is actually good for you. So, try to just get plain chocolate or chocolate with nuts, skip the caramel, and other added junk.
Next, try to eat darker chocolate, so you’ll avoid even more sugar. And work your way to the darkest chocolate you can stand. This is a great way to still have that boost from the chocolate with a lot less sugar. Baby steps and little changes add up to big lifestyle changes and doing them slowly helps you stick to them for a lifetime.
Being late to everything or not keeping your word and showing up at all is a great way to lose credibility at work, in your friendships, and more. If you say you are going to do something, you need to follow through. This will give you more opportunities in the future for good things.
All of these unhealthy lifestyle habits are an enemy to getting you back to wellness. So, work on what you think are the most damaging ones, and go from there.
My wife suffers from crippling anxiety. She struggles every day. And she uses sweets to comfort herself too much. She is working on it and finding healthier choices so her health will improve. But she has to work really hard at it.
If you are anxious, you may use food, shopping, sleeping, drinking or other vices to cope. Try to resist the urge to do that because you are worth more than those bad habits and you deserve to treat yourself well.
You may need to seek counseling or medication to help you deal with your anxiety. If you do, that’s perfectly okay. There is nothing wrong with seeking medical help with your health.
Try to get good rest, don’t put your self-care on the back burner, don’t use stimulant drugs to cope, don’t let your mind wander in negative thinking, and don’t just give up and succumb to inactivity. Reach out for help, talk to a trusted friend or get a counselor to help you conquer your struggles. You’ll be glad you did.
21 days to break a habit
They say it takes 21 days to break a habit. I think that’s mostly true. If you are addicted to caffeine, 3 or 4 days and the physical effects are mostly gone. Within a week, they are completely gone. But it takes more time not to want that boost every day. So, 21 days to break a habit seems pretty reasonable.
If you make a goal to break some of your bad habits, try to do it for 21 days, then see how you feel at the end. You might need to go for 21 more days, or you might be set for life. Years ago, I had a 2 liter of dr. pepper a day habit. When I decided to break it for the 10th time in my life, I really went for it and did it, I told myself I could do it for 21 days.
When I made it, I couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt and I’ve never had another drink of dr. pepper. It’s been about 20 years. Once in a while, I have a cherry limeade for a treat, but other than that, I leave soda alone and drink water. I think the difference is just taking a small step. Just 21 days.
If I did it, it all my junk food weakness, you for sure can do it! I believe in you!
List of good habits
Good habits are just as important as overcoming bad ones. There are so many habits that can make your life better in every way. Good habits include:
- Getting enough sleep
- Drinking plenty of water
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables
- Limiting screen time
- Exercising daily
- Working on your mental health
- Prayer or meditation
- Taking walks in nature
- Cleaning and organizing your space
- Working on personal goals
- Planning your day
- Saving back money
- Getting to work early
- Taking breaks
- Remembering to breathe
- Finding joy in everyday
- Reading daily
- Being grateful
- Doing acts of kindness
- Spending time with people you love
- Setting fitness goals, short term and long term.
Healthy exercise habits
Good regular workout and healthy exercise habits will make the difference between success and failure for overall wellness. I like to work out on my lunch break. I make it a priority to do the workout so other things like paperwork, errands, and other distractions don’t take my time for myself away.
Since I work in a fitness center, it’s an easy commute to the equipment I like to use. I love lifting weights, and it’s a blessing to have free weights and machine weights where I work. It would be expensive to get all that for a home gym and it would take up a lot of room that we don’t have in our small home.
I’m lucky that I have access to that. If you don’t, there are tons of other ways you can build healthy exercise habits. Walking is one of the healthiest exercises you can do. So, lace up some good walking shoes, and walk around the blocks at your job. No equipment needed.
Remember, to build a healthy habit, it takes 21 days. So set your goals to do something like 20 minutes a day for 21 days at first. If that’s too much for your fitness level, set your goal for 5 minutes of vigorous movement a day for 21 days. It doesn’t matter where you start, it matters that you do it. If you work out semi-regularly, you might start moving from an hour 3 days a week to an hour 5 days a week.
What matters is you set a goal to make a habit that improves what you’re doing now. And stick with it because you are worth it!
Good habits for better health and energy
Getting enough sleep affects all areas of your life, from health and energy to your personal and professional life. Sleep is vital for success. So, make sure you make sleep a priority. The best amount of sleep is different for different people, but it needs to be consistent times that you go to bed and wake up for optimal health.
Make sure you are drinking at least 6 glasses of water a day. Make sure you get them in before you have any other kind of drink too. That way you make the water a priority. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, in a rainbow of colors will drastically improve your wellness.
Stretching, taking walks in nature, taking breaks, deep cleansing breathing, are also habits that need to be formed in order to have optimal health and energy.
Good habits to improve your career
Keeping your space clean and organized at work, especially before you go home at night will help make your days run more smoothly. Planning out your day will make a big difference as well. Don’t just bumble through the day but be purposeful in your actions.
Getting to work early will set your day on the right path every time. Just 5 minutes early is enough to make a significant difference. If you have things to prep such as opening and turning on all the lights, etc., 15 minutes or 20 might be better. The other healthy habits listed will all contribute to improving your business life as well.
Good habits to improve the quality of your personal life
Limiting screen time so you have time to be productive on your personal goals will go a long way in making your life more fulfilling. Spending time with the ones you love is more meaningful without media interrupting your connections.
Keeping a check on your mental health and finding ways to improve it such as reading self-help books, seeking out counseling, finding joy in every day, being grateful, and prayer or meditation. These are non-negotiable for reaching total wellness. Your mental health is directly linked to your physical health, you can’t have one without the other.
Working on your personal goals in all the areas of the wellness wheel is important too. Saving money for the future makes every part of life easier. And don’t forget to read something every day. This is how we learn. And always learning is important to future improvements.
You are worth all of these healthy habits. So, spend some time planning some new habits out this year and work toward forming them. I believe in you and know you can make a big difference in your life.
Here’s a dad joke for you.
Dad, did you get a haircut?
No, I got them all cut. Ha ha ha ha.