Do you start your year off with good intentions, making all kinds of resolutions only to find you give up on them after a few weeks? Well, you’re not alone! We’ve all been there. Here are 12 habits to improve your life that you need to adopt today.
Article first published March 2021. Updated August 2022.
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Resolutions don’t work…
Resolutions don’t work because they don’t come with a plan telling us how to achieve them. If you want to improve your life you need to set habits, NOT resolutions. Habits that you can practice day-in, day-out, that over time take you to where you want to be. But exactly what habits should you be setting?
What are the best habits to start with and which will help you to become the best version of yourself? Whilst everyone has their own definition of what the best version of themselves is, here are 12 habits that I thoroughly recommend trying. Trust me when I say I’ve tried a few over the years and these are the ones that have produced the best results. If you want to make a change for the better and dramatically improve your life, these are a great place to start!
12 habits to improve your life…
HABIT #1: Get up early
The first habit that’ll improve your life is getting up early. And there are SO many benefits to doing it. For starters, you have time to think about and prepare for the day ahead. Get up early enough and you might even have time to read, meditate or journal over a leisurely cup of coffee too! Although I’m more of a night owl, I’ve been getting up between 5.30am and 6am for the last couple of years now and it makes SUCH a difference.
That little bit of time to myself leaves me feeling calm, collected and ready to take on my day. If getting up early doesn’t come naturally to you, try setting your alarm 10 minutes earlier each day until you get to your ideal time. Putting your phone/alarm on the other side of the room really helps too!
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HABIT #2: Stay hydrated
We only need to lose around 2% of our body’s water content to start feeling the effects of dehydration. If we don’t keep our fluid levels up headaches creep in, we feel sluggish and we start to find it hard to concentrate. I used to be really bad at hitting my water quota for the day but during my chemotherapy I had to drink 2-3 litres a day to flush the toxins from my body. It became a habit that’s stayed with me.
When I’m hydrated I feel more alive. I’m clearer-headed, I snack less and I sleep better. Whatever your water quota is, aim to bring more of it into your day. Create a chart, or download an app to track your progress. If you find it a struggle, try carrying a water bottle around with you – that’s how I do it!
HABIT #3: Go for a walk every day
There’s nothing quite like a bit of fresh air and exercise to blow away the cobwebs. And the best way to do it is by going for a walk. Not only does taking a wander keep you fit and healthy, it’s also free! There are so many other benefits too. A good walk gets the blood pumping and afterwards, you feel refreshed and invigorated. It gives you a break from the daily grind and you get to pound your stresses out on the streets. It’s a great time to catch up on your reading and listen to audiobooks or podcasts too.
One of the things I love most about going for a daily walk is I get to stretch my mind as well as my legs. Some of my best ideas come to me when I’m out walking! Add a walk to your daily routine by taking a detour after dropping the kids off at school. If you work during the day, try squeezing a walk into your lunch break instead.
HABIT #4: Plan your meals in advance
The fourth habit that’ll improve your life is planning your meals in advance. Do this and you’ll save yourself from stress and hassle you don’t need after a hard day’s work. Kind to the waistline AND the wallet, you’ll spend less on groceries because you’ll have already bought everything you need. You’ll be less likely to order in and you’re more likely to eat healthier because you’ve had time to think about it.
Make a list of a few of your favourite meals that are quick and easy to make. Stock your pantry with the essentials, write out your meal plan and shopping list on a Sunday evening and go food shopping at the beginning of the week. Do this and there’ll be no more staring into the cupboards at 5pm wondering what you’re going to make!
HABIT #5: Adopt a proper bedtime
Having a set bedtime helps you to switch off and get a decent night’s sleep. That’s why our parents used to send us to bed at the same time every night! As an adult, there’s always one more episode of Netflix to watch or 10 more minutes of Facebook to be had. And so our habit of going to bed the same time each night disappears.
Unless we’re intentional about it, maintaining a proper bedtime isn’t easy. Pick a time that works for you and try going to bed at that time every night for a month. Very soon you’ll start to notice your body winding down as bedtime approaches. Getting to sleep will become easier again too because you’ll have programmed your mind to recognise it’s time for bed. And if you struggle to settle come bedtime, here are nine easy tricks to calm your mind so that you can close those eyes and get some sleep!
HABIT #6: Plan your week ahead the Sunday before
Do you spend your weeks rushing around trying to get everything done? Are you constantly trying to remember everything you need to do each week but don’t really know what your priorities are? Planning your week ahead the Sunday before takes away all those stresses! Just 30 minutes with your diary is all you need to figure out what you have coming up and make a plan.
What are your commitments – what do you need to organise and do? What will you eat for the week? Make a list of all your priorities and a hit list of your top tasks for each day. You’ll head into the week knowing exactly what’s going on and that Monday morning feeling will be a thing of the past.
HABIT #7: Make your own wellbeing a priority
We can’t expect our phones to continue working unless we recharge them. Nor can we expect our cars to keep going unless we refuel them. The same goes for us too. We can’t expect to function at our best unless we’ve given ourselves time to relax and recharge. And that brings me onto the seventh, and probably most effective way to dramatically improve your life – make your own wellbeing a priority.
We can’t pour from an empty cup, so allow time for you and DON’T feel guilty about it! Make a list of all the things that make you happy and help you to unwind and relax. Try to incorporate at least one of them into your day. If you struggle to make time for yourself every day, aim for 2-3 times a week and build up from there.
- Related: How to Take Better Care of Yourself
Want to know what the other habits that’ll improve your life are?
Have you liked the habits I’ve shared so far? Has this made you eager to start making changes to improve your life? I hope so! And if you want to know what the remaining five habits to improve your life are, head on over to part two where I reveal all! Here’s the first seven again:
- Get up early.
- Stay hydrated.
- Go for a walk – every single day.
- Plan your meals in advance.
- Adopt a proper bedtime.
- Plan your week ahead the Sunday before.
- Make your own wellbeing a priority.
That’s it for this post! Which habits to improve your life will you choose to adopt first? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time…
Did you like this post? You’ll LOVE these too!
- Dramatically improve your life with these 12 easy to adopt habits (part two)
- Why you should be setting habits NOT resolutions
- Three questions to ask yourself BEFORE making changes to your life
About the Author
Hey there! In case we haven’t met, I’m Sarah. A wife, mum, fur mama, certified master life coach and goal success coach, founder of a Simple and Contented Life and your mentor for making a change for the better.
Incredibly passionate about helping mums declutter and simplify their lives so that they feel more organised and have more time for their families AND themselves, I‘m here to help you become the person you want to be and create the life YOU want live.
A cross between Hermione Granger and Monica Geller, I’m also an introvert and a HUGE bookworm. I love cocktails, hazelnut lattes, true crime and all things pretty stationery, especially notebooks and planners!
When I’m not helping my coaching clients and Club members create a life they LOVE, you’ll find me in my office designing new printables for this Store, hanging out with my youngest in Starbucks or attempting to walk my somewhat lazy Frenchie pup, Arthur!
I’m absolutely thrilled you’re here…I know that you have the power to become your BEST self and live your BEST life, and together, we can make it happen! 💛
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