Build Healthy Habits Right Now with 10 Simple Tips

Mental Health

What does it take to get healthy? How can you gain control over your health once and for all? Is there a secret to a healthier, happier, and more balanced life? Some healthy habits can help us improve ourselves today. Once you identify what those habits are and recognize what you need to focus on, then you will create a healthy and robust foundation.

Healthier habits don’t just form overnight, and perhaps we all need that reminder sometimes. Creating healthy habits for life requires a multi-faceted approach that involves many aspects of your health and well-being. You need all these details to work together in harmony to be your best.

Consider your starting point and then think about where you want to be. These healthy habits will pave the way for you and ensure that you will be the best version of yourself. It is a very exciting process when it all comes together — and you will see that when you put it all into action.

Write Down Your Motivations

woman writing in a journal

Everyone has reasons to develop healthier habits or adopt a healthier lifestyle. Understanding your motivation for creating healthy habits for life will help you through this transition period. The more in-touch you are with why you are making a change, the more you will stay committed. Think of what made want to create a useful and powerful change and then use that to help you when you need reminders. Here are some things you can do to stay motivated:

  • Write down all the reasons you are making a shift into wellness habits.
  • Make a list of how you feel right now so you can reflect on those emotions in times of fatigue or disappointment.
  • Create a list of five small goals you can reach within a specific time frame.

You may want to lose weight, get healthier, reach a particular goal, or change something significant in your life. Maybe you want to feel more balanced in your daily routine. You may wish to combat a mental health condition, become a happier person, or have more stamina to make it through your day. Something is driving you to make powerful changes, and that is your motivation. It will help you when you feel challenged, and it will serve as a constant reminder of what you are trying to improve in your life.

Commit to One Healthy Habit at a Time

two women linking arms in a standing yoga pose

Any habit, good or bad, takes time to build — about three weeks, to be exact. This means you have to put in the work and be realistic. Don’t expect a significant change to happen overnight. This is not an easy lesson to learn, but it’s crucial if you hope to stick with it and make progress. The more you keep a positive attitude and maintain realistic expectations, the more it will do for you.

Start by committing to one habit you want to change. This could be a healthy eating habit, a sleep habit, or a fitness habit. Whatever it is, stick to it. Trying to change too many things at once can overwhelm you and can lead to failure and disappointment.

Small habit changes might include:

  • Skipping a sweet treat for breakfast (and opting for something healthy and hardy)
  • Walking to the post office instead of driving
  • Drinking one extra glass of water a day
  • Eating dinner at the table instead of in front of the television

Give everything time to come together. Dedicate yourself to one goal at a time. Be patient but remain diligent and focused. Never lose sight of why you are doing this or what it will take for you to reach your goal. Your effort will pay off — and though it may not be tomorrow, if you stick with it, you will get to where you want to be.

Create a Positive Mindset Towards Healthy Lifestyle Habits

woman with raised arms back-lit by the sun

This is essential to your wellbeing, and it can help you in many ways. Create a positive mindset, for it will help you be your best. Don’t look at healthy living as a chore. Don’t view it as something that works against you or is hard to maintain. Healthy habits will support your best life in the long run.

You may put in the work, but it will not be useful if you don’t feel nurtured and engaged. Believe in what you are doing and stay positive about it. Change the way you talk to yourself and practice positive self-talk.[1]

For instance, instead of saying you can never stick to instead of saying, “I always fail at eating healthy foods,” acknowledge the progress you have made. Likewise, instead of saying “I can’t have ice cream,” or “I shouldn’t eat this extra slice of pizza,” fill your plate with more of the things that fuel your body, like green veggies and lean meats. When you are full of the healthy stuff, it’s doubtful you will want to indulge further in bad eating habits.

Remember that healthy lifestyle habits do not require perfection every day. Adopting healthy habits is about the daily, weekly, and monthly trends. Life is more enjoyable when you feel good about what you are doing and when you have a positive mindset to support you every step of the way!

Give Your Kitchen a Makeover

kitchen cabinet filled with assorted plates

You might have to change not only what you’re eating, but how you’re eating it. Look at your kitchen and search for areas for improvement. This will help pave the way for healthier eating habits. Here are some ways you can get started:

  • Stock your kitchen with lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and loads of fruits and veggies. Get rid of the processed foods, sugary treats, junk food, and foods you eat out of convenience. Focus on nutrient-rich foods that will help you reach your overall goals. The right food will fuel your body and contribute to better physical and mental health.
  • Use orange oil in your kitchen for its immune-boosting benefits. Orange oil can ease anxiety,[2] improve your circulation, and even prevent wrinkles. Use it as an essential oil or find cleaning products that use orange oil.
  • Get smaller plates and bowls. Using smaller dishes will help you control your meal portions.
  • Think about painting your kitchen. Color therapy can change your mood and even suppress your appetite. Painting your kitchen blue could help you conquer your cravings. If painting an entire room isn’t an option, think about adding a splash of blue using a blue tablecloth, blue plates, or even blue appliances. If you’re trying to increase metabolism, ditch the blue and opt for a red hue instead.[3]

Prepare Your Meals and Eat More Often

two meal prep containers filled with chicken and salad

Nutrition has many facets. It’s not just about what you eat — how you eat matters too. That means you have to change it up from the three large meals a day you may be used to. It also means you should not deprive yourself, skip meals, or focus on trends that promote unhealthy ways of eating.

Prepare your meals in advance. Making your food ahead of time requires effort, but it ensures that you always have what you need to make healthy decisions. Create a list, seek healthy recipes, and prepare your meals and snacks for the week ahead. Time and preparation will help you build healthy habits for life.

Aim to eat every three to four hours throughout the day and eat smaller meals each time. Your meal prep will arm you with all the right foods at the ready. Now it’s all about portion control and combining food groups. Never let yourself get too hungry – you are much less likely to overeat when your body has the fuel it needs. This will change the way you view eating and make sure you get what you need in a day. Start creating healthy eating habits by:

  • Having healthy snacks ready to go for those sudden cravings.
  • Removing distractions and focusing on your food only — no watching TV or looking at your phone while you eat.
  • Using smaller plates to trick your mind into thinking you are eating more.
  • Keeping a detailed food journal. Harvard Medical School recommends keeping one to help you chart your progress and zero in on your own trending wellness habits[4]

Create a Personalized Fitness Routine

woman in blue workout gear doing pushups

Yes, you need to move your body! First, change the way you view fitness. Fitness is not a chore, but rather a way of taking better care of yourself. This is your opportunity to give your body the activity it wants and needs. So, once you can see that exercise does great things for you, commit to a routine that works for you.

Hitting the gym is not the only way to get fit. You can do things that don’t feel like a “fitness routine.” Take part in activities you naturally enjoy like:

  • Hiking
  • Dancing
  • Skiing
  • Swimming
  • Playing sports

Mixing in cardio plus strength training is essential. This will help you shed fat, build muscle, get your heart rate up, rev up your metabolism, and help shape and tone your body. Regular exercise can also help you work through or even prevent certain health conditions. Consider your current state and work your way up — but challenge yourself too.

The exercise you do now will help you in the long term as well by avoiding injuries and preventing certain health conditions. Exercise is a privilege, and if you do it every day, you can look and feel your best. You will learn to love it if you focus on activities that interest you and challenge you at the same time. Now might be a good time to take that salsa dancing class you’ve been thinking about!

Take Time Out for Yourself

woman in bed holding a book of poetry

Healthy lifestyle habits start with self-care. Maybe you feel as though you don’t have time for this. However, you don’t have time NOT to do this. Your mental, emotional, and even physical wellbeing depends upon it. Invest in your wellbeing and take time for yourself. To create healthy habits, you need time to relax and focus on something positive you enjoy.

This may be your little reward to yourself each week, and it can be something simple. Take an hour to read a book, get a massage, have dinner with a friend, or just relax and watch a favorite TV show. Think of what allows you to relax and take time away from your otherwise busy schedule. To feel more balanced, take time to do something that makes you happy and allows for true overall wellness.

Get a Good Night’s Rest with Healthy Sleep Habits

vase of white flowers next to a bed with white linens

Healthy sleep habits contribute to healthy lifestyle habits. Sleeps gives you an opportunity to reset and recharge. Though you may have a million other things to do, sleep needs to rank high on your list of priorities. This is the time your body needs and craves rest to get ready for the next day. You put your body through a lot each day, and the sleep you give it helps your focus, productivity, and stamina to power through another day.

Lack of proper sleep can cause mental and physical problems, not to mention exhaustion.[5] When you cultivate healthy sleep habits, you’ll benefit from improvements in your energy, mood, stress levels, intellectual functioning, and your overall wellbeing.[6] Try these tips to help you improve your sleep habits:

  • Move more during the day to help you sleep better
  • Set the bedroom temperature to a chilly 63°F to 70°F
  • Get sunshine during the day to help balance your biological clock
  • Make sure you have the right mattress
  • Cut off your caffeine intake around 2pm
  • Maintain a routine sleep schedule[7]

Sleep is when you rebuild cells and when your body recovers from stress and injury. Learn to look at it as a way of taking care of yourself rather than viewing it as a luxury. Set aside enough time to get a good restful night of sleep every single night. Put aside distractions before bedtime and set the right environment for you to drift off to sleep and stay that way.

Healthy sleep habits are part of your overall health and well-being — if you change your view of rest and make it a priority, you can be your best and avoid sleep deprivation and related health problems.

Find Effective Ways of Managing Your Stress

woman in a bikini sitting on the beach

Stress management is an essential part of sustaining healthy lifestyle habits. If you’re doing everything else right but giving in to stress, it can affect your health. Stress will always be an inevitable part of life, but it’s all in how you manage it. The more you can stay ahead of it and work through it, the healthier you will be.

Managing stress looks different for everyone. Some use deep breathing or perhaps visualizing something positive. Others may find it helpful to go for a run or visit friends. It may be about meditation or learning to reset when you experience something stressful.

Identify your triggers for stressful situations and do your best to minimize them. Though you can’t avoid everything that stresses you out, you can manage how much it affects you. Have tactics to turn to in time of need and ensure that stress never overtakes your life.

Some ways to manage stress are:

  • Checking out of social media
  • Meditating or taking time to relax
  • Exercising more regularly
  • Putting your phone away before bed
  • Redirecting your negative thoughts[8]

Create Realistic Goals

jar of colored pens next to an open notebook

This may be the most critical part of the process. If you have no measure of how things are going, you will get nowhere. Set goals even if it seems like just another thing to do. Create measurable, specific, and attainable goals. Reaching goals in the short term will pave the way towards your longer-term goals.

Your daily routine of healthy habits should be sustainable. If you tell yourself you can never have cake or French fries again, that is all your brain (and your tummy) will think about. You can eat anything you want if your good eating habits continue most days.[9]

You must also check in on your progress often. Post your goals in a visible spot so you can check in on them often. When you reach one short-term goal, it’s time to set a new one. There is a path to reach your big-dream goals, whether it’s losing weight, managing a health condition, or just getting into better health overall. Whatever your goal is, be sure to set short-term checkpoints to help along the way. This is how you create healthy habits you can stick with now and for the rest of your life.

Live Well with Your New Healthy Habits

Healthy living doesn’t have to be a chore. Healthy living is enjoyable and contributes to your overall happiness and well-being. Remember, healthy habits take time to build, so practice patience, self-care, and kindness! Stay positive and focused. These tips can help make sure that you always take good care of yourself no matter what obstacles you might be facing.

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