According to psychologists, while it can take approximately 21 days to create a new habit, it can take far longer to break an existing habit. In fact, research suggests that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days!
However, the good news is that once you have formed a healthy habit, it can start to feel less like a chore and something which you just do as part of your daily routine.
Healthy habits will help to improve your energy levels, reduce your waistline and lower your risk of health problems.
Improving your health will also positively impact your career as healthy employees are generally more productive, happy and take less sick days.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled our top 33 habits which if adopted, could drastically improve your life and career!
Cycle to work. Ask your employer about the government funded Cycle to Work scheme! Between 2015 and 2019, roughly 4% of commuters were cyclists. As well as your own personal benefits, cycling helps to lower congestion and improve air quality in the community.
Do the housework. Taking good care of your home and garden is a great way to burn calories and to develop muscles in your arms, back and legs!
Get walking! In general, you should aim for 10,000 steps a day. If your job involves standing or walking, this should be relatively easy to achieve. If you’re based in an office, a step tracking device (e.g. Fitbit) will help you to keep on top of it. Going for a walk during lunch or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can help to keep your numbers up!
Walk your dog. Different dog breeds will require a different amount of exercise but as a general rule of thumb, a minimum of 30 minutes exercise a day is needed.
Plan your meals in advance. It will help you to avoid making bad food decisions if you are tired or stressed with work.
Choose foods which contain natural, not artificial ingredients. You should be looking for fresh whole fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, beans - generally, anything which has been provided for us by nature!
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep plays an extremely important role in maintaining your general wellbeing and you should aim for 7 - 9 hours sleep a night.
Don’t get too hung up on what the scales say. How your clothes fit and how you feel when you look in the mirror is a much better indicator for if you should be hitting the gym.
Chew your food properly before swallowing to avoid getting indigestion. Not chewing your food properly can also cause constipation and bloating.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids but try to avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks. You should be aiming to drink 6 to 8 glasses each day.
Avoid food shopping when you are hungry and stick to the items which you have on your shopping list.
Keep up to date with your doctor and dentist check ups. It is better to catch a health problem sooner rather than later. You will usually be contacted by your surgery/hospital/dentist if you are due for a check up.
If you spot anything suspicious with/on your body, book an appointment with your GP immediately. Never feel like you are wasting their time. Serious medical conditions will only get worse with time so it is better to get a diagnosis as soon as possible.
Don’t skip the carbs as they give your body the energy it needs to function properly. Choose complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes because they take longer for your body to break down; as a result, you will get a steady supply of energy.
Cut down on the amount of caffeine which you consume. While most of us enjoy our morning cuppa, too much caffeine can cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, nausea and increased heart rate.
Quit smoking. As well as being a very expensive habit, smoking can cause cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes before bed. Gaming devices and smartphones are designed to stimulate and entertain us; however, when we’re about to sleep, this is the last thing which our brains need!
Write down one thing which you are grateful for everyday. By focusing on the positives, it will help you to realise that there is some good in every day.
Take a break - or detox - from social media! Excessive social media use can increase feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. If social media continues to have a negative impact on your life, consider removing yourself permanently.
Preparing your own meals may be more time consuming but it enables you to control the calories and portion control of the meal. Eating out and takeaways are one of life’s little pleasures but it can be hard to keep track of what you are eating.
Listen to your body. Healthy people recognise the signals which their bodies are telling them, whether they’re hungry, dehydrated, tired, or if they have overdone it at the gym. By recognising the signs, you can provide your body with what it needs.
If you work from a desk, pay attention to your posture. Make sure your chair fully supports your back and your screen is set to eye level to avoid you sitting awkwardly.
To avoid overeating, eat from portion controlled containers. When eating any meal, if you start to feel full, stop eating! Overeating will cause your stomach to expand, thus leaving you feeling tired, sluggish and drowsy.
Keep a food diary to keep track of what you are eating. You might spot trends for when you are likely to eat badly. By recognising the cause, you can take steps to address the problem. For example, if you tend to order takeaways on days when you work late, you could batch cook and freeze healthy meals in advance so you always have something easy and quick to hand.
Laugh a lot! They say that laughter is the best medicine for a reason; when we laugh, it strengthens our immune system, boosts our mood, diminishes pain and protects us from the damaging effects of stress.
Spend time with animals. Whether it’s a cuddle with your pooch or a horse ride, connecting with animals has proven health benefits. As well as the increased opportunity to get outside and exercise (which decreases blood pressure and cholesterol levels), having a pet can decrease loneliness and depression.
Do things which you love. Whether it’s reading, painting or running a marathon, spending time doing the things which you love is important for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Life can be busy so having at least 10 minutes for yourself every day is something which you can look forward to.
Get your 5 a day in! The NHS website recommends that you should have at least 5 portions (80g) of fruit and vegetables every day.
Use a foam roller after exercising. It massages the connective tissue surrounding your muscles, bones, and tendons to help them recover after a workout. Using a foam roller can help you to reduce injuries and improve flexibility, function and performance.
Hit the sauna. A sauna is a great way of helping your body to recover through improving blood flow, helping to eliminate toxins, and relaxing the muscular and nervous systems.
Watch what you drink! You might not give much thought to your morning Starbucks, a can of coke in the afternoon and a cheeky glass of wine during dinner but they all contain calories. A Starbucks Caffè Latte contains 220 calories, a can of coke contains 140 calories and on average, a glass of wine will contain 120 calories! Avoiding these will help you to lose weight.
Make positive food choices. When choosing what to eat, try and pick the healthier options. Choose greek yoghurt instead of regular yoghurt, choose brown rice over white rice, and choose sweet potato over white potatoes.
Try to avoid bad habits. Whether it’s smoking when you’re on a night out or overindulging on chocolate when you’re feeling emotional, it’s important to recognise what is triggering these bad habits. By recognising the trigger, you can take steps to avoiding it.
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