Whenever we talk about changing our life, we think about radical change like you see in movies. While, in reality, changing your life is all about small incremental changes, for the most part. And that’s because our lives are a result of things we do repeatedly over a period of time.
For example, if you keep eating junk food and not working out, your health is bound to suffer. You may end up gaining weight too. And wanting to be fit and healthy again is one thing, but you didn’t gain that weight overnight and you won’t lose it overnight as well.
And just like any other “change” in your life, it will require your to adopt the right habits and be consistent with them for a period of time. And it will take some time before you can actually see the changes.
You can say that there’s a downside to it, not seeing the results and continuing to do the work is tough. But I like to think that there’s so much beauty in it as well. There is a saying in Hindi “Karma karta chal, phal ki chinta mat kar” and it translates to “Keep doing the work and don’t worry about the fruit of your labour”.
And I think it’s beautiful because it means that if you’re putting in the efforts, the results(fruit) will eventually come to you and you need not worry about it.
And if you really think about it, it’s very empowering as well. Wanting to change is one thing. But we often don’t know how or it is overwhelming when you look at the big picture. But it is empowering to know that you can make small changes over a period of time to create the life of your dreams. And these small changes are habits.
- Waking up Earlier:
- Do Not Hit Snooze:
- Having water in the morning & throughout the day:
- Quitting/ Limiting sugar intake:
- Moving my body:
- Have more Home cooked meals:
- Meal Planning & Prepping:
- Setting up a proper work desk & posture:
- Taking frequent breaks from sitting:
- Gardening as a hobby:
- Breathing exercises:
- Spending time outside:
- Limiting phone time/screen usage:
- Limiting media consumption & being mindful:
- Cutting toxic habits & Toxic people from my life:
- Having routines in place:
- Adopting Minimalist mindset:
- Practicing Gratitude:
So, in this post, I am talking about 18 Daily habits I have adopted over the last couple of years that have made the biggest difference in my life. Use this list to get an idea and then start some good habits to see the changes yourself. So here we go:
Waking up Earlier:
Whenever I will talk about habits and changing/improving your life, waking up earlier than you used to, will always be number one thing I talk about. And that’s because it makes so much of a difference.
I am not saying that you need to wake up at 5 Am or even 6 AM. I am suggesting you wake up a little earlier than you usually do, to have more time in the mornings to get things done before you have to go to work.
Mornings are a great time to work on some habits and personal development goals as well. Because it is just easier to stick with habits in the mornings. Later during the day, life is so unpredictable and so is your schedule.
So, if you want to be consistent with something or build a new habit, it’s a great idea to include it in your morning routine. And before you say “But I find it so hard to wake up earlier” or “I feel really lazy in the mornings. Here is how to start waking up earlier and not feel lazy. These 17 tips have helped me immensely over the years and would help you too, even if you are a night owl.
Do Not Hit Snooze:
Even though I have never really had any issues with waking up early, I once got into the habit of snoozing my alarm at least thrice before getting out of bed. And while I slept early and got up early too, I felt so tired and lazy, even when I had had enough sleep.
That’s when I decided to stop snoozing my alarm and to get up as and when the alarm goes off. And it made the biggest difference.
When you snooze, you *think* you’re getting a little extra sleep, when in reality, you’re just starting off your day wrong and you’ll wake up feeling tired. Hitting snooze and going back to sleep will start another sleep cycle and you usually wake up 10-15 minutes later, without having completed the sleep cycle. And so you wake up feeling sleepy or like you have not had enough/proper sleep.
So if you have been waking up feeling super tired and lethargic as well, it is time to cut this bad habit of snoozing. Get an alarm that requires you to wake up and walk a few steps to turn it off. Or simply put your alarm clock far away from bed, so you have to physically get out of bed to turn it off.
Having water in the morning & throughout the day:
Staying hydrated is the easiest and the simplest thing you can do for your health. Our bodies are about 70% water and staying hydrated is so important to feel your best. When you drink water in the mornings, you break the fast that your body was on overnight and water is simply the best way to do so.
So make sure you are drinking at least 2 litres of water a day or more. It helps if you keep a water bottle with you at all times. And if you are really not in a habit of drinking water, then try setting reminders for every hour.
And when we talk about drinking water and staying hydrated, I of course mean plain water and not sodas or energy drinks which are loaded with sugars.
Quitting/ Limiting sugar intake:
Which, brings us to our next point. Do you ever feel highly energetic and then feel like you’re crashing and have zero energy after an hour? That’s your blood sugar levels fluctuating and you’re experiencing highs and lows.
When we consume foods/drinks that are high in added sugar, we create a spike in our blood sugar and then when it comes down, we feel low on energy and feel ourselves reaching for a quick snack (which is usually sugary, because that’s what we crave).
But if you want to feel productive and energetic throughout the day, it’s important to limit these spikes and you can easily do that by quitting or limiting your sugar intake.
You could also include more whole grains in your diet and have a balanced diet, that also helps. Eating whole grains and a protein rich diet helps you stay fuller for longer and the whole grains get digested over a period of time, no no quick energy spikes too, which is great.
And if you really feel like having something sweet, it’s best to either have fruits or practice portion control. Sodas and energy drinks are still a big no no.
Moving my body:
Moving my body and working out, almost every single day is one habit that I am really proud of. I have not always been this person. I mean, I have never really been a lazy person but I used to hate working out, mainly because I was approaching it wrong.
I was working out to lose weight because I hated the way I looked and how much weight I had gained. By changing my body image and working out as a form of self care instead of punishment has made me love workouts so much. I literally can’t go more than 3 days withouts working out.
And I don’t always do high intensity workouts. I like to listen to my body and select a workout depending upon how I am feeling that day. Some days I go for a really long walk, some days it’s cardio and some days yoga and breathing exercises.
The key is to move your body in any form or exercise that you like. Working out for at least 30 minutes a day is a great way to increase your blood circulation and regulates your sugar levels as well (which is big plus for me, because I have PCOS).
Have more Home cooked meals:
Having more home cooked meals is again one of those habits that I really love. Home cooked meals allow you to be more in control about what you’re eating and what ingredients you’re using to cook. you could also control your sodium intake, which is a huge plus.
Plus, it doesn’t take that long to cook a meal, once you get into the habit of meal planning and meal prepping over the weekends. If you have never tried either, I highly recommend you give it a shot. Meal prepping on Sundays will reduce your daily cooking time to almost half. (More on this in the next point)
Having home cooked meals means that you are eating healthier and also saving a lot of money.
I also suggest that you look up some recipes that get done super quickly and that your family loves too. You can find so much of them on Pinterest as well. And when you do find these recipes, save them in a recipe book form, so that you refer to them easily.
Meal Planning & Prepping:
Meal planning doesn’t mean you have to eat the same thing for lunch every day of the week. I usually don’t. But that doesn’t stop from meal prepping. There is still so much that you can do on the weekend which cuts the cooking time in half.
So I like doing the basic meal prep on the weekends and then cook my actual meals when I have to eat them. I love freshly cooked food and I am not a big fan of storing cooked food for days, so this works perfectly for me.
Meal prepping generally involves things like washing and chopping vegetables, peeling garlic etc, making dough for rotis, cooking rice, Having salads and dressings ready, having boiled chickpeas on hand and making chutneys etc.
So if you end up getting take outs or getting food delivered every other day, then you should definitely give it a go.
Meal planning is also great because then you don’t have to decide what to make 3 times a day, 7 days a week. It is such a life saver, especially if you have kids.
Setting up a proper work desk & posture:
This is super important if you work from home (ahem *Bed*) or from your couch. Even though it may feel comfortable, it is just not the best posture to be working in. And one habit that will make a big difference in your productivity as well is setting up a proper work desk and always working from it, like you would in an office set up. Or having 2-3 different set ups where you can work from whenever you need a change in your work setting.
And while you’re setting it all up, pay attention to your posture as well and select a desk/chair combo that allows you sit in a straight posture. Standing desks are a great option as well.
Taking frequent breaks from sitting:
Sitting for long periods of time is not good for your health in any way, But I know how easy it is to be consumed in work and forget about the time or forget about breaks. That’s why you need to make it a habit to be more intentional about taking breaks from sitting.
Even if it is just a 5 minute break, your body and back will thank you for it.
I also love working with POMODORO technique, which automatically asks you to take 5 minute breaks, every 25 minutes. It is such a great tool to increase productivity as well.
And you’d be surprised to see how much work you can get done in 25 minutes when you’re focussed. And these 5 minute breathers will help you concentrate better.
Gardening as a hobby:
I took up gardening as a hobby 3 years back and it is one decision I am really thankful for. Even though I only have a small balcony garden, it is still my sacred space.
Every day I spend about 20 minutes in my balcony garden tending to the plants and it is one habit I really love in my day.
You don’t have to necessarily take up gardening. The idea is to make time for a hobby that allows you to experience the slow life everyday. Any activity that requires you to be fully present and in the moment would do.
These activities help you be more mindful and serve as a form of meditation too. When you focus on one thing with zero distractions, it feels therapeutic as well.
Breathing exercises are something that seem like they don’t work, but they actually do. They make such a big difference, especially on days when you’re feeling low on energy and are feeling demotivated.
Your breath is such a simple and easy way to centre yourself and relieve anxiety as well. Because while you focus on breathing in and breathing out, you let go of the distractions of the outside world and focus within.
And it is so refreshing in this world full if distractions. I also like to think that I am breathing in positive energy and breathing out all the toxic energy and thoughts. It’s something that I heard when I was in grade 7, but tried following only recently and I wish I had started earlier.
Give it a go.
Spending time outside:
We spend most of our days inside, either working on our laptops or watching tv or maybe working out in the gym. But getting fresh air and spending time outside is so therapeutic. And it is one habit that you definitely should incorporate in your daily routine.
Either you sit outside in the morning with your cuppa, or take the workout outside. Either way, make it a habit to spend at least 30 minutes in nature. And on the weekends, try going for hikes/long walks in nature, whenever you can. IF you can’t go for a hike, try a park. Just get outside.
Limiting phone time/screen usage:
Social media is so prevalent in today’s life and has so much impact on our day to day as well. But every once in a while it is important to take a break from social media. That’s why I highly recommend a digital detox every month or so.
But you could also practice limiting your screen time on a daily basis. If you feel like you’re addicted to scrolling on your phone, keep your phone far away. Or set a screen limit/ usage limit for the apps that you use most often.
I also try limiting any screen usage, especially in the evenings and night time. And I think it makes so much for a difference with the sleep quality. Not using your phone at least 2 hours before going to bed, is such a good habit and helps you sleep a lot better.
So if you have been struggling with getting proper sleep as well, it’s time to cut screens from your evening/night routine.
Limiting media consumption & being mindful:
You can’t really quit media consumption, as it is everywhere. But you can control how much time you spend on it. And you can control what you’re consuming.
Being more intentional with the kind of content you consume is so important to have a healthy relationship with social media. Otherwise, social media will have you making unhealthy comparisons.
It is also so important to follow people who have a similar body type as you, if that’s something you struggle with. Similarly, if you feel like all the news is affecting your mental health, it is always good to take a break from that news and consume more feel good content.
I am all for staying on top of what’s going on in the world, but don’t let it consume you. Nothing is as important as your mental health.
Cutting toxic habits & Toxic people from my life:
We all have some toxic habits or patterns that sabotage our lives. It is important to first recognise and acknowledge these habits and then to take the steps to break bad habits.
Quitting bad habits is so important if you want to change. You can’t expect to have a different life if you continue with the same habits and patters.
Same goes for cutting toxic people out of your life. There will always be people around you who will try to bring you down, let go of them. “Friends” who are always pushing you to drink (even when you don’t), who insist to hang out (even when you’ve mentioned that you’re busy), who do not appreciate that you’ve changed as a person. You certainly do not need such people in your life. You need people who encourage you to be better and who motivate you and cheer you on, as you go through phases of life.
Having routines in place:
If you have read any other blogs here, you know I rave about routines. Yes, I am that girl. I love routines and thrive when I have routines in place. And if you have never tried making routines, I urge you to give it a go.
Making routines and sticking to them is such an easy way to be more intentional about your habits and makes it easy to stay consistent as well. It is easier to stick to a new habit when it is a part of your routine.
I have a Morning routine, night routine, Sunday reset routine, Self care routine and cleaning routines as well. These routines help me keep my life in order and also maintain a clean and clutter free home, which is something that I appreciate so so much.
Making routines doesn’t have to be difficult too. You can start by making very simple routines that take you not more than 30 minutes to do. And then when you’re comfortable with it, you can add any new habits to it that you want to start doing.
Adopting Minimalist mindset:
Adopting a Minimalist mindset and starting a minimalist lifestyle is one of the best changes I made to my life, I am sure of that. Being a minimalist allows you to focus on the things in your lfie that actually matter.
Decluttering allows you to get rid of “Stuff” and make space for things that genuinely bring you joy.
At one point during my corporate career, I used to be super stressed and got into the habit of online shopping.
I bought things *just because* I thought they looked cute or that I needed them. Only to never use them more than once. And it was such a waste of money and ended up in so much clutter as well.
When we had to move houses and cities and pack up our entire life in boxes, it hit me that I probably have too much stuff and a toxic habit as well. That’s when I decided that we need to declutter BEFORE me move.
I didn’t want to carry any clutter into the next chapter of our lives. So we went Marie Kondo on our entire house. Took almost a week but was so worth it.
Now, of course you don’t have to move houses to give it a try. If you have been wanting to try Minimalism, here is how you can start in 8 Simple steps.
It is one of those habits that I had heard everyone talk about and how life changing it is. And even though I *understood* the whole idea behind it, I was skeptical that it will make any REAL DIFFERENCE in my life other than just being another thing that I have to do.
But I like challenges, especially the ones that claim that the end result will be transformational. So I decided to give it a shot for a month, like I generally do when trying to adopt new habits. And started including it in my morning/night routine. It was not set in stone, but I made time for it.
And slowly I noticed that my perspective on things was changing. I had a more positive outlook and appreciated things/people in my life that I already had.
I was more at peace with the place where I was in life. And the constant urge to change something, disappeared. It is not something you notice on a daily basis but when you look back and do a weekly/monthly review, you see the change.
Practicing gratitude made me a better person too. Because I appreciated things more and focus on the good in my life, I made sure to convey it to people in my life I was thankful for. And it improved and strengthened the relationships as well.
And I firmly believe that your thoughts become your reality. So when you are looking at things and focussing on the good things, they magnify.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you need to try it at least once, religiously. Be consistent with it, even if it feels silly in the beginning. Everyday, write 3 things you are grateful for. And see how your mindset and your perspective shifts and how your life changes with it.
That’s it for this post. These are the 18 Habits that have made the biggest difference in my life. I hope this post gives you some ideas and inspires you to make some changes and adopt new habits. See you in the next one! 🙂