You hear the word “healthy”, and your mind goes to keto, paleo, and vegan diets. You start to think if eating salads and drinking eight glasses of water is the sum of everything healthy. Health is about more than food. And habits are not all ‘bad’. We are made up of good and bad habits. Some we live out consciously. Other habits are so ingrained in us, they’re part of who we are. Biting your nails when you’re nervous. Brushing your teeth before washing your face. Praying before your feet hit the ground in the morning. Not all habits are created equal. Keep reading to learn the healthy habits you need for success this year.

What are habits?

Here’s the thing about healthy habits. They are learned and formed in the same way as unhealthy habits – through practice. Healthy habits are the different things you do every day, or that have a positive impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. Habits are the repetitive behaviours you do, often without thinking, that make up a part of your life. The other great thing about habits is that because they are learned, you can train yourself to develop good habits, and break bad habits.

Types of habits

Generally, we categorise habits as being good or bad. We can group habits into mental, physical, or emotional categories.

  • Mental: intellectual habits have to do without cerebral capacities. This related to how we reason, logic, how observant and perceptive we are and how we make decisions (or taking time to consider all options and consequences)
  • Physical: these are also known as motor habits and are associated with our bodies and muscular activities.
  • Emotional: these habits have to do with our character and look at our countenance, how trusting we are, helpful, time management, and tidiness are some examples.

In different settings, these habits are more pronounced. In other situations, we have to work hard at living out the good habits, when everything in you leans toward doing the opposite. Once you recognise your strengths in each type of habit, you position yourself to strengthen them where they serve you.

Why forming healthy habits is important

At the start of each new year, we write our goals for the year ahead. Intertwined in these goals are the daily habits that will lay the foundation for change and success. Because habits are often instinctive and happen automatically, they reduce the brain power needed to make certain decisions.

When you form healthy habits, you enjoy a healthier longer life and one without the unwanted and often debilitating health issues that come with an unhealthy lifestyle.

  • Good habits increase your quality of life
  • Habits help us perform efficiently.
  • You are rewarded with a healthy sense of pride and achievement for accomplishing something
  • Creating habits help reduce stress and anxiety
  • Healthy habits provide you with structure and order, helping you develop a sense of control and daily task management.

Healthy habits for success

A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology said that it takes roughly about 18 to 254 days to form a new habit. This study went on to say that it will take an average of 66 days before the new behaviour becomes automatic.

  • Master the art of self-discipline. You won’t always feel motivated or in the mood to do something. This is where self-discipline comes in handy. Train your mind to be strong to push through when the feelings are low because your mind stays on the end goal.
  • Remove distractions. Make use of apps that switch off your social media between certain hours or limit how much time you spend on social media daily. Download (and then use) apps like BreakFree (Android and iOS), Moment, Social Fever, and StayFree to name a few that are aimed at monitoring your phone usage habits and turning off your notifications. You’d be surprised how that notification ping can trigger a trip down the social media rabbit hole.
  • Do one hard/small thing every day. Deciding you don’t want to be late or in a rush to the office every day and be the first one in can seem challenging when you think of the morning rush and traffic. One small thing can be getting into the habit of selecting your clothes the night before. Laying them out and making sure they’re ironed, fit and you have a matching tie or shirt will save you 15 minutes in the morning. 15 extra minutes every day adds up to hours of productivity and focus.
  • Take ownership of your life. It sounds harsh but the truth is, no one is coming to save you or hand you the dream bod or give you that coveted managerial position. Go out and take the bull by the horns if you will. Get out of the victim mentality of “if only…then”. Decide on the life you want, how badly you want it and take the necessary steps to get you there. Yes, the economy is unstable, and people make terrible choices that impact you, as far as it is in your control, take power of what you can.
  • Learn a new skill. The biggest investment you can make is in yourself. The return on investment is priceless because no one can ever take away what you have learned and acquired when it comes to skills. You have untapped potential within you and all you need to do is invest your time in learning and upskilling yourself. Learn a new language, listen to podcasts, read, sign up for free courses on Alison…learn.

Whether you’ve mastered your healthy habits or you’re still working through breaking the bad habits, you’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily.  At the end of the day, we are what we repeatedly do. And if we remain driven to succeed and pursue excellence, then what we do now will take us closer to our goals.


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