Would you like to improve the quality of your life, live every day purposefully, feel motivated and productive, and accomplish your dreams? Then you need good habits.
Your habits can help you get to where you want to go. They can also destroy all of your well-intentioned actions and motivations. Although people often blame external circumstances for their troubles, a fulfilling life starts from within.
We are what we repeatedly do. What kind of person do you want to be?
The little actions below can make big waves in your life if you do them consistently. Here is a good habits list to strive for so that you can move powerfully down your path and realize the success that you want in every area of your life.
1. Set Goals
Setting goals isn’t just something that you do for your boss at work. It’s a practice that can help you achieve everything that you want in life.
Some of the benefits of setting goals include:
- Maintaining direction in life
- Prioritizing easily
- Making clear decisions
- Gaining control over your future
- Staying motivated
- Achieving personal satisfaction
- Feeling purposeful
If you’re not used to setting goals, though, you might not do it often enough. Don’t wait to set goals for your big dreams; do it every day.
You can make a list of your primary objectives. Then, whittle those down into smaller action steps until you have daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.
How can you make this a habit? Look at your list of goals every day. Some days, you might not do anything other than check something off of a daily to-do list. Other days, you might decide to rework something so that it serves you better.
When you’re in the habit of setting and assessing your goals, a day without looking at your objectives might make you feel like something is missing. This is a great way to avoid getting stuck in a rut and maintain momentum even when you’re not feeling it.
2. Take One Inspired Action Every Day
You can do everything that you want; you just can’t do it all at once. Have you ever been so excited about accomplishing your goals that you ran headfirst until you hit a wall? Burnout can happen when you try to take on too much.
Instead of sprinting to the finish line and spending a month recovering, what if you could accomplish all of your goals at a leisurely pace? That’s what is possible when you take one inspired action every day.
Of course, you can’t do this if you don’t have a list of goals. You can certainly stay busy, but the work that you do might not be aligned with your objectives.
The action that you take should help you move closer to one of your goals. The key here is momentum and consistency. You don’t have to do anything huge. Even the tiniest baby step is progress.
3. Be a Planner
When people who aren’t necessarily type-A think about planning, they may get anxious. Not everyone thrives on a rigorous schedule, right?
You don’t have to be obsessive to be a planner. At the very least, planning ahead allows you to gain awareness of your time, obligations, responsibilities, and desires. At best, it helps you organize your time so that you use it wisely. When you plan your day, you can also predict what comes next, closing the door to uncertainty.
One myth about planning is that you have to control your day. You can’t plan everything, and life has a mind of its own sometimes. You have to be flexible.
You’ll be able to harness your spontaneity when you have a time and place for everything. Planning allows you to accomplish tasks more efficiently, freeing up your time to be more unstructured.
At a minimum, write down an intention for your day. This isn’t necessarily a goal. It’s more akin to the way that you want to be than what you would like to do. Writing an intention encourages you to gear your actions toward that way of being. If your intention aligns with your goals, then you’ll stay on the right track.
4. Schedule Appointments
Many people confuse planning and scheduling. Planning has to do with aligning your goals with your daily to-dos. When we talk about scheduling, we mean recording the obligations that you commit to.
Although there are many strategies for doing this effectively, automating it is probably the easiest. Think about it this way.
You should spend much more time planning than scheduling. Scheduling simply involves sticking a commitment into a time slot. Planning is what you do to make sure that your daily tasks match up with your greater dreams and goals.
If you don’t schedule certain events, like gatherings with friends, birthday parties, or doctor’s appointments, you might end up missing them. You can also walk around trying to remember this information. If you do that, though, your mind will feel cluttered.
Clear your brain space by getting into the habit of entering appointments and similar events into an online calendar that you can access from your phone. When you enter the appointment, set two reminders that make sense for you.
You won’t have to think about the appointment until the reminder goes off. If you have set a doctor’s appointment for two months from now, you might want one reminder a week before and another two hours before that event. On the other hand, if you have a birthday party to attend, you might want to set a reminder that will spur you to buy the present and another one the day before the event so that you can choose your outfit.
The reminders are the tools that will prevent you from needing to retain the information in your mind. You can see your appointments if you use the same online calendar to schedule your daily to-dos. However, you don’t need to worry about them until you get the reminder.
5. Visualize Your Goals
Visualization is an excellent technique for achieving goals. It can also help you take on positive habits and get rid of negative ones.
Daydreaming and using your imagination is essential to your development. Your imagination activates the part of your psyche that isn’t always at the forefront. By tapping into your imagination, you can uncover subconscious desires and limitations so that you can achieve what you want and navigate obstacles.
Visualization is powerful. Have you ever woken up crying from a dream? That illustrates how meaningful visualization can be. If your imagination can evoke real emotions, why shouldn’t you use it to build your self-confidence, boost your motivation, and encourage yourself to take action?
A visualization practice can be as easy as picturing yourself accomplishing tasks, crossing things off on your to-do list and finding the success that you want. Your visualization is the story that you can use to create the life you want.
You can’t just imagine yourself losing weight and experience success if you sit on the couch eating pizza and soft drinks, though. If you have trouble connecting a big vision to your reality, imagine that you’re taking the steps that you need to achieve it. If you’ve written down your goals, this should be easy.
The more you picture yourself succeeding, the more likely you’ll be to keep going after what you want.
6. Get Active
Getting active involves getting regular exercise and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle. The Mayo Clinic indicates that adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. Many people find that they keep up an exercise regimen when they do it consistently.
Finding the motivation to exercise regularly can involve taking the steps that we’ve already listed in this article. For example, set exercise goals. Perhaps you’d like to work up to running for 30 minutes at a time within two months.
Every day, take action toward your goal. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to run. You might find that stretching or doing weight training that supports your activity of choice keeps your momentum high.
You might have to plan out your exercise habit until it becomes as regular as brushing your teeth. Slot some time into your schedule for exercising as well as the transitions before and after. Put your clothes out the night before so that you can head out the door quickly in the morning.
Use visualization to imagine yourself putting on your running clothes and shoes, putting on your headphones, selecting your music, and traveling along your route. Imagine how good it feels when you finish and check exercise off of your to-do list for the day.
Maybe running isn’t your thing, though. If that’s the case, choose an activity that you love. Pick something that you won’t mind doing consistently. Some ideas include:
- Playing Frisbee
- Hula hooping
You hear a lot about meditation these days. One reason for that is that many highly successful people do it as part of their daily living practices. Another reason is that researchers are discovering the proven benefits of meditation, including:
- Stress management – When you respond to stressful situations with peace and calm, you produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter that improves your mood and helps you deal with stress better in the long run.
- Brain activation – Meditation stimulates regions of the brain that are responsible for involuntary issues such as muscle tension and headaches.
- Relaxation – When you relax fully, you change your body chemistry, bringing balance to the body and mind amid the distractions of daily life.
- Live in the present – Meditating allows you to be the observer of the present moment, which means that you won’t become dragged down by the past or wrapped up in anxiety about the future.
- Self-healing – When you meditate, your blood pressure relaxes, and you produce brain waves that help heal you.
- Curing cravings – If you’re addicted to a substance or just can’t stop thinking about those donuts in the snack room, meditating can help you be aware of your urges without judging them, potentially eliminating them.
How long should you meditate for? One myth about meditation is that you have to do it for a long time to see effects. You can start for as little as one minute.
As you develop patience and discipline, you may find that you would like to meditate for a longer period. However, doing so may just not work for your schedule.
If you want to make meditation a habit, think realistically about how much time you have for it. Then, commit to practicing for that amount of time every day. Even one minute is 100 percent more than not meditating at all.
Reading is an excellent habit to develop. Here are some of the reasons that reading is good for you:
- It builds character – Reading improves self-confidence and boosts your social skills.
- It gives you knowledge – Books expose you to topics that you might not come across in your day-to-day life.
- It enhances your language skills – You come across new vocabulary and ways of communicating when you read.
- It helps you stay calm – If you have ever lost yourself in a book, you may already know that reading can be an instant stress reliever.
- It prevents boredom – Reading gives you something to do no matter where you are.
- It can help you sleep – The tranquility that reading induces can relax you so much that you fall asleep.
It’s easy to find a way to read even if you feel like you don’t have time. Try listening to audio recordings while you exercise or drive. Download books to your phone, and read them during your breaks at work.
Once again, consistency is essential if you want to make reading a habit. Perhaps you told yourself that you would read one chapter every night, but you’re exhausted. Read two pages just so that you keep your motivation high.
You might even consider learning how to speed read if reading is a habit that you’d like to develop further. If you do, maintaining your habit will be easier because you’ll be able to get through more text in less time.
9. Be On Time
Punctuality is a useful habit to get into. If you’re always running late for things, you don’t give yourself enough time to let your brain catch up with your activity. You’re probably busy and don’t have a great deal of time to provide yourself with the space that you need.
Remember that arriving somewhere early doesn’t really eat away at the time that you spend doing other things if you plan accordingly. (Go back to step 3 if you don’t know what we mean by that).
Establish better habits regarding your time by getting back to your planning and scheduling. When you’re dealing with an event that has a distinct start time, schedule in some preparation and transition time.
Use the preparation time to gather documents, find your keys, grab a sweater, or do anything else that’s vital to the event. The transition time takes travel and arrival time into account.
When you get to the event, you’ll have time to gather your thoughts and get to where you need to be without rushing. Your mind will have time to meet your body, and you’ll feel more productive and peaceful.
Getting to work on time is an important habit to establish. When you do this, you can meditate before everyone else enters, organize your workstation, and prioritize your plans for the day.
10. Take Breaks
No matter how busy you are, you won’t perform well if you plug along without taking breaks. Looking up from the computer for just 15 seconds every 10 minutes can diminish fatigue by 50 percent. If you deal with discomfort in your hands or wrists from typing, a 5-minute break every hour can eradicate your pain.
Taking breaks is vital for maintaining your productivity. Breaks are more effective when you take them before you really need them. If you push yourself to the limit, you end up crashing instead of taking constructive time off.
Even though most people say that they wish they had more free time, they may not give themselves breaks. You can establish a habit of taking time to yourself by:
- Setting an alarm that goes off once an hour and taking a 5-minute break
- Practicing the Pomodoro Technique, which involves working for specific increments with a pause in between
- Scheduling breaks when you’re planning your day
- Doing something enjoyable during a break, like meditating, going outside or chatting with friends
11. Reward Yourself
In a society that prizes productivity, we tend to push toward accomplishments. It’s easy to forget to reward yourself. Celebrating your wins isn’t selfish—it actually reinforces positive behavior.
Success breeds success. If you reward yourself for doing something great, you’ll likely boost your confidence and want to do it again.
You don’t have to reward yourself for huge accomplishments either. Simply patting yourself on the back for keeping up with your daily habits or putting your feet up after crossing off all of your to-dos can be enough to keep you coming back for more.
One suggestion for creating a reward system is to give yourself points for positive habits. You don’t have to do this for all of the behaviors that you’re trying to implement. Choose a few of the most important ones, such as hitting the gym and meditating. Give yourself a certain number of points when you engage in one of these activities.
Then, choose a few of your favorite activities that aren’t necessarily productive. These can be your rewards. You might choose Chinese takeout and a night of binging on Netflix. When you’ve collected enough habit points, redeem them for one of your rewards.
Doing this allows you to indulge without feeling deprived. However, you’ll end up building good habits as you limit your negative ones.
Most people think that they’re supposed to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. While that’s easy to remember, the ideal amount is different for everyone. Some experts recommend drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water daily. If you weigh 150 pounds, you would consume 75 ounces of water.
Your hydration needs depend on how much you’re sweating and how much water-rich food you’re consuming. You’ll have to adjust your water intake if you’re taking diuretic medication or drink alcohol.
In general, though, you should focus on drinking water consistently throughout the day. If your body is used to taking in 40 ounces of water each day, gulping down an extra 20 ounces after dinner might not do much to help you. Your body won’t know what to do with it, and it will pass through you as waste.
People who are trying to increase their water intake should be consistent with the amount and frequency that they drink. Try sipping on a marked water bottle throughout the day, or fill up a cup at the beginning of every hour while you’re sitting at your desk.
Staying properly hydrated can improve your physical and mental health. It can even give you more energy. If you consume water regularly throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to have to make urgent bathroom trips too.
13. Get Good Sleep
Sleep is so important for every aspect of your health. It’s easy to tell yourself that you need to stay up to get things done, but your energy and productivity may suffer for it.
Experiment to determine how much sleep is ideal for you. While some people do well on only six hours, most people need seven to nine hours of shuteye to function optimally.
You can develop good sleep habits by:
- Following a consistent bedtime routine
- Avoiding using your bedroom for activities other than sleep
- Staying away from screens before bed
- Taking measures to deal with stress and worry so that you don’t bring it to bed with you
- Avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sugar, heavy meals or too much water before bedtime
Good Financial Habits List
Are you the kind of person who lives from paycheck to paycheck? Do you get anxious every time you swipe your debit card because you worry that you won’t have enough money in your bank account to cover it?
Financial awareness is a habit. You don’t have to save money every day, but you should practice some habits that can help you find financial freedom.
1. Pay Yourself First
Whenever you receive a payment, put a portion of it into savings. A good rule of thumb is to save 20 percent of your income. That’s not always feasible, though. Consistency is one of the keys to developing habits. It’s more important to practice saving your income than it is to put aside a large amount of money.
Consider having your savings deducted automatically. That way, you won’t be tempted to spend it when you get paid.
2. Put Aside Fun Money
Most people spend money on non-essential items, whether they plan to or not. If you plan it, you’ll likely feel better about your ability to save and be responsible with your income.
Take some time to calculate a budget. You’ll need to know your income and expenses. If your income exceeds your expenses, you can determine how much of it to use for entertainment, clothes shopping and other enjoyable activities.
If your income doesn’t exceed your expenses, you’ll need to recalculate your budget or determine how you can make more money.
3. Schedule Your Bill Payments
You should pay your bills ahead of time. Automating them can be helpful. However, different companies could deduct funds from your bank account at various intervals throughout the month. Keeping track of this schedule can be challenging.
Instead, devote one or two days a month to pay all of your bills. Some may be paid well ahead of time. That’s ok; you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you won’t pay anything late.
4. Track Your Spending in Real Time
Do you wait until tax time to calculate all of your actual expenses? Getting in the habit of recording this daily can prevent you from spending long chunks of time on tedious data entry.
Keep all of your receipts in a central location. At the end of every day, record your income and expenses. There are several apps that you can use to take care of your budget. Some of them monitor your spending and calculate this automatically. If you balance your checkbook, do it regularly too.
5. Save for Specific Goals
If you have been following the steps in this article, you’ve been setting goals. Now, you can incorporate them into your positive financial habits. Setting aside money for specific objectives can be more exciting than saving randomly for a rainy day.
Some ideas for goal-oriented savings include socking away money for:
- An emergency fund
- A vacation
- A home improvement project
- A new car or repairs
- Your children’s education
There may be other habits that you want to instill to create a fulfilling life. Remember to start small and take on habit change in small chunks. It’s better to be consistent than to make grand changes at once. When you do something every day, it’s more likely to become part of your life.