Which 3 good personal habits will improve your life?

Introduction

Good personal habits and routines will have a very positive impact on your life. They will improve your productivity and motivation. You will also save time and have more energy. Finally, you will lose less decision-making power during the day. 

This will help you to remain clear-headed until bedtime. As a result, you will make fewer lazy decisions at the end of the day, such as endlessly scrolling on socials. Instead, you might start reading the book that’s been lying on your shelf for ages. And these are just some of the many benefits of good habits.

So how do you start and maintain these good personal habits? 

Here’s a guide to creating habits and below are the basics for good personal habits. 

Habit 1: Create good sleep habits

Your sleep habits might be the most influential ones you have. Sleep affects everything from your immune system to your mental and physical energy levels. Creating and practising good sleep habits will improve your life in many ways.

I don’t want to get into too much detail but I’ve always found it stupid that parties start at midnight and that cool people stay up late. Don’t be cool. Be productive. 

Not enough sleep and bad sleep quality are bad for your health. Wrong sleeping habits increase the risk of obesity and cardiovascular diseases. [1] Good sleeping habits, on the other hand, will dramatically boost your productivity and well-being.

So how do you create good personal sleep habits? Here are a few tips: [2]

  • Go to sleep and wake up at the same time – always. That means even during the weekend. 
  • Get enough sleep. For some people that’s just six hours, for others, it’s closer to nine. For me, it’s between 7 and 8 depending on the amount of physical activity I’ve done the day before.
  • Avoid bright lights, TV and other electronic devices half an hour before bedtime. Why not try an evening routine to wind down instead?
  • Don’t eat late at night. Let your digestive system rest to improve your sleep quality. As you get older, you may especially want to avoid citric foods. Trust me, and I haven’t even reached 30. 
  • Get out of bed as soon as you wake up. Start your day with these 3 simple morning habits.

Apply these rules to use your sleep effectively. These good personal habits will form the basis of everything else. You’ll have a steady routine, you’ll feel more energised in the morning, you’ll start to make better decisions, your memory will improve and you’ll process information faster and better. Do you still prefer that extra pint or FIFA game? You’ll probably lose anyway.

Good sleep habits are the foundation of all other positive habits. 

Habit 2: Schedule time for yourself

In a world which can drag us from professional commitments to social gatherings, carving out time for yourself can be difficult. However, sitting down and finding time to relax is of major importance to your personal well-being. You don’t necessarily have to sit down and do nothing, though. Lifting weights or doing some other form of exercise is also extremely beneficial.

So whether you use your downtime to reflect, do some yoga, journal or lift weights, the important thing is that your mind gets to wind down. This will recharge your batteries and refill your decision-making power. After some downtime, you’ll feel refreshed and more motivated. Slowing down is actually a productivity habit. Ironic, right?

Besides, many habits that allow your brain some time off will also benefit you in other ways. Taking time to meditate, will allow you to become more present and enjoy the small things in life. Thanks to journaling you’ll learn how to set better goals. Moreover, it’s a good way to practise gratitude as well. Yoga or exercise, finally, will improve your overall health. 

Or take this example from Loki: ‘I don’t enjoy working out because the pain in my muscles feels good. I enjoy working out because, for that hour, it’s just me vs me. Everyone else’s opinions are irrelevant. Any looming deadline becomes unimportant. It is time with myself, for myself to improve. This, however, all goes to shit if I start checking and replying to messages in between sets.’

When you schedule some time for yourself, don’t be afraid to be bored. We’ve all gotten really afraid of being bored and that is a shame. Learn to be bored again. Learn to let your mind wander. You will be surprised by the new ideas you come up with without ’trying’. And you might even start a conversation with yourself. Really. How long has it been since the last time you really had a conversation with yourself? Start making it a personal habit. Either by meditating or journaling.

Last but not least: no technology. I wanted to introduce the cliché with a cliché. Stowing away your phone and other distractions is so important. If you really want to start having good personal habits, you should avoid all triggers that will pull you back towards your old unproductive habits. 

Take time for yourself by ignoring the noise. Practise gratitude and reflection or move around to give your brain some rest. 

Habit 3: Learn something new every day

‘The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.’ — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Learning expands our horizons. Whether you make reading a daily habit or want to learn a new skill, you need to challenge your brain on a daily basis. Many of us might get stressed at work, but not really challenged. Find something in your free time that interests you but also requires some effort. Not surprisingly, this is also key to facilitate your flow, a state of high focus that triggers dopamine production.  

Tip: Use a habit tracker app to make sure you’re learning something every day.

Learning is the number one method against ageing. Even though you’re probably not thinking about this yet, some parts of the brain already start declining in our twenties! [3] Challenging your brain daily, limiting TV time and doing exercise will slow this down. As you’re reading this, you shouldn’t be too worried. You’re slightly challenging your brain and you’re (hopefully) not watching TV.

Especially learning a new language is said to slow down cognitive decline. Gracias a Dios ich spreche beaucoup de langues. In general, it’s just important to get out of your comfort zone. Studies have shown higher degrees of improved memory and cognitive skills after facing harder challenges. [4]

Reading is another brilliant way to keep learning. The best part about it is that you can do it at your own pace. Contrary to conversations or classes where you need to keep up with peers, you’ll have time to let ideas sink in. Use that time to reflect and come up with your own conclusions and solutions. 

If you want to maximise your learning, you should create your own reading comprehension strategy. You can also become more efficient at learning by boosting your reading speed and by actively turning ideas into action.

Challenge your brain daily to take care of your future self.

Conclusion:

Although it’s impossible to define a top 3 list of the best daily habits, we’ve tried to analyse which types of habits will have the most positive impact on your life and help you to be productive every single day. Good sleep, without a doubt, tops them all. Personal downtime is a close second to improve happiness, gratitude and even productivity. Learning closes the list. Challenging yourself keeps your brain young and activates dopamine production which gives you a natural high.

I hope you’ve found this good habits list useful. Give it a try and let us know how these daily habits sparked a positive change in your life. If you don’t agree that these three personal habits are some of the best habits to have, please let us know why. We’re always looking forward to your feedback!

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Written by Kjell

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Sources and further reading/watching about good personal habits:

  1. Mueller, Annie., Enovatotuts+ – https://business.tutsplus.com/tutorials/4-important-personal-habits-for-a-more-productive-life–cms-25181
  2. American Academy of Sleep Medicine – http://sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits 
  3. Braun, Michelle. Psychology Today — https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-brain/202002/when-does-brain-aging-start-the-answer-might-surprise-you
  4. Solan, Matthew. Harvard Health Publishing — https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/learning-new-skill-can-slow-cognitive-aging-201604279502

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