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Are you ready and willing to change your life? Start with these small habits, and you will be on your way to living a happier, longer, and more fulfilling and successful life.
These twelve habits have been scientifically proven to change your life. Many of these work together and can be implemented with each other, but you can start with just one at a time.
Focus on one habit a month, and you will have these 12 habits in a year. In one year, your life can dramatically change with these simple yet powerful habits.
Read on to find out why and how.
1. Scheduling a one-on-one with yourself
In a fascinating study, researchers found that giving advice is more motivating than receiving advice from experts. This was studied in multiple different areas including motivation to lose weight, save money, search for a job, and manage emotions. Why not try giving that advice to yourself? Scheduling a one-on-one with yourself can help you see where you’re at, where you need to go, and assess your progress and growth.
Journaling has a growing list of benefits. It’s good for both your mental and physical health. It has therapeutic effects and can reduce anxiety and depression. Journaling helps you release and organize your emotions and thoughts to bring you greater clarity and freedom. Journaling also helps you remember what you learn and improves your communication skills. This habit can be implemented with many other habits in this list which makes it all the more powerful and life-changing.
Learning is a powerful habit. It’s probably the most important and powerful habit on this list since it helps you do everything on this list. The most successful and smartest people in the world are constant and deliberate learners. Most people spend most of their time “working” and getting things done. Few people set aside time for advancement, mastery, reading, taking classes, and learning
Learning not only allows you to advance, but it also allows you to stay up to date. If you want to achieve or get better at anything in life, learning is a requirement. Learning helps you avoid mistakes, succeed quicker and stronger, adapt to change better, understand people and things better. Learning is not just about what we know; it’s about what we do.
All of our behaviors, everything we do is learned. Even our thought patterns are learned. Learning gives us the potential to change our behaviors by unlearning the behaviors and mindset we want to eliminate, and learning the behaviors and mindset we want to obtain. We also are able to do those things by learning to do them and how to do them.
Having a learning habit will change your life.
A great resource for learning is the platform SkillShare. This is what I used to learn different types of skills and knowledge including marketing, productivity, web coding, video production, and much more. You can get a free 30-day trial with my link!
Reading is a powerful tool that helps you learn better and faster. It also helps you build empathy and allows you to connect with and understand people better. People that have experiences, thoughts, and worldviews far different than your own. Reading also helps keep your brain sharp. It’s a better exercise for your brain than playing brain games.
A reading habit should be focused on deep reading which is the opposite of skimming the web. It involves being heavily immersed in reading material. Though it doesn’t necessarily require books, reading books is a better and more powerful way to have a reading habit. Reading short, light blog posts will help you learn key points, but you could miss out on the greater depth, insight, and meaning.
Gratitude is healthy optimism and positivity. I talk about why positive thinking can be a bad thing here: Bad Advice You Should Stop Following (And Better Advice Instead). Practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to improve both your physical and mental health and make you happier. It literally rewires your brain.
Gratitude also improves relationships and opens the door to new relationships. People want to be around people who are grateful over people who complain and criticize often. It raises empathy and reduces aggression. The growing list of benefits also includes better sleep, increased self-esteem and mental strength, decreased pain levels, and reduced stress.
6. Having a routine
Having a routine gives you direction and gives your day purpose. It also allows for easier integration of habits in your life. Routines allow you to get things done and be more productive and organized with your day. It takes some guesswork and decision making out of your day. Making decisions uses up mental energy. The fewer decisions you have to make throughout the day, the better your mental focus, energy, and creativity when it comes to things like work which involve making important decisions.
Meditation is no longer a new-age, hippie trend. Science has proven that daily meditation can create significant improvements in your life and yourself. Most people assume that the benefits of meditation take time to show up. However, that’s been proven to not be true. One of the remarkable things about meditation is that studies show that benefits can show up in as little as four days! One study found that participants meditating for 20 minutes a day not only experienced increased mood but showed improved critical cognitive skills after only four days.
Starting a meditation habit can seem boring and time-wasting for some us, especially with our busy lives. We’re so used to something having or calling our attention, whether it’s work, social media, kids, or entertainment. That’s why it’s important to start small with just a few minutes a day. It can also be useful to do a visual or guided meditation. Here’s a link to my personal favorite (free) guided meditation.
Many of us don’t think of kindness as a habit, but it is. We’re usually only kind out of convenience. It’s rarely ever a conscious daily effort or habit. We happen to think about it, or someone is kind to us first. Kindness is a win-win. It improves relationships by making those around you happier, and it makes you happier as well. You’ll have enhanced self-image and self-esteem because you’ll see yourself as a better person. To have a kindness habit, start with doing just one kind thing a day. Soon, being kind will be a natural part of your lifestyle and who you are. You will see tremendous improvements in the quality of your life.
9. Delaying gratification
In this day and age, delaying gratification becomes harder with everything at our fingertips. We can reach anyone in seconds. A wealth of information for pretty much anything is available with a quick search. We can have someone make us food and deliver it fresh from the restaurant with the touch of a few buttons.
Delaying gratification is having self-discipline and self-control. Delaying gratification is a habit and a skill. Motivation comes and goes. You shouldn’t rely on it. That’s why it’s essential to have a habit of delaying gratification. This habit will make you more productive, efficient, and happier and more successful in the long run.
10. Do one thing that scares you everyday
Doing one thing every day that scares you will make you bolder, braver, and more successful. Doing just one small thing a day can gradually push you out of your comfort zone. If we do too many things or things that are too scary too soon, we’re more likely to want to retreat back to safety and comfort than by doing it gradually. This will more effectively help you overcome your fears.
You also gain experience, and it opens doors to new opportunities. This will help both your professional and personal life. You get to meet new people, learn new things, go to new places, do things you’ve never done before. You’ll also learn the skill of risk-taking. Doing things that scare you also help you delay gratification. Doing one thing a day that scares you will make you become a new person and will change your life. Thirty days will make a huge difference. Now imagine what a year (365 days) or many years can do.
11. Plan out your day and write lists
When you plan out your day, you’re more likely to accomplish what you plan out. Just like a routine, it also gives you a sense of purpose and direction rather than just aimlessly going about your day. You also don’t fall into the trap of forgetting things when you plan and write things out.
Writing lists can help improve your focus and increase productivity. It’s also good for your brain and reduces stress and anxiety as well. Planning your day and writing lists will give you clarity and help organize your thoughts and tasks.
To start, write out your goals every morning and then a to-do list of what you’re going to do to get closer to those goals. You can implement this habit into your journaling.
There have been countless studies on the benefits of exercise. They go beyond being physically healthy and fit and living a longer life. Numerous studies have found that exercise makes you happier. Exercise also lowers the risk of depression, regardless of age or gender. Just one hour a week can prevent depression. Exercise also helps reduce symptoms of depression.
Team sports, cycling, and aerobic exercise are shown to have the greatest benefits out of all types of exercise. One study found that people who participated in those types of sports had the least amount of “bad” mental health days than people who participated in other forms of exercise.
The habit of exercise may seem daunting or time-consuming. but you can just start with a light walk during the day (I include walking and its benefits in this list article: ) or participating in exercise an hour a week can have life-changing benefits.
As pointed out and you can probably see, many of these habits work together and can be implemented together. Learning can be implemented with reading. Doing one thing that scares you can be implemented with delaying gratification. Delaying gratification can be implemented with the habit of exercise. Journaling can be implemented with the one-on-one, learning, having a routine, planning out your day with lists, and gratitude. Gratitude can be implemented with kindness. Having a routine can be implemented with meditation as well as the rest of the others on this list.
How are you going to change your life? What habit are you looking to implement into your life?