They say bad habits are hard to break, but maybe not if you replace them with good habits that reward you with good health and financial rewards. The following habits range from daily routines to activities that will keep you mentally and physically fit to ways you can keep more money in the bank. Read these suggestions for everyday habits and see if they can pay off for your well-being and your wallet.
In the Morning
Start your day the right way with these great habits that will promote health and less stress.
- Wake early. Give yourself time to shake the sleep from your head as well as provide a little extra time to do the things that are important. Read the news, email friends, or take care of other personal business without feeling rushed or guilty.
- Don’t snooze. Snoozing guarantees that you will not be getting quality sleep during those last few minutes or hours of the morning. Make a change for a better start to your morning and skip the snooze.
- Get a pleasant alarm. Instead of waking up startled, try an alarm that wakes you up gently such as the Zen alarm clock and start your morning off peacefully.
- Just sleep enough. Whether you need six hours or nine, find out how much sleep you really need and stick with it.
- Eat breakfast. Not only will morning fuel from breakfast get your body going, you will eat less at lunch too.
- Slow down. Give yourself time to do what has to be done in the morning rather than frantically rushing around to get everything done in time to leave the house.
In the Evening
Evening routines set the stage for a calm before bed and eliminate some of the stress of a hurried morning. Use these suggestions for less stress in your life.
- Go to bed at the same time. A consistent bedtime schedule will ensure you get necessary sleep and you will wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and ready for your day.
- Lay out clothes. Make sure everything is ironed and ready to go for the next morning so you aren’t rushing around or trying to select something to wear while half asleep.
- Pack lunches. Prepare lunches for yourself and anyone else in the family the night before using a lunch-packing system like the Japanese bento box or Laptop Lunches.
- Straighten up. Clean up the clutter that gets left behind each day to avoid having a bigger mess to clean later down the road.
- Wash dishes. Take care of this task in the evening so you will have a kitchen clean ready for breakfast the next morning.
- Shower. Not only will a shower save you time in the morning, but washing off the dirt, pollen, and toxins from the day leaves you cleaner, and you may even get a better night’s sleep.
- Relax. Take some time to do something you enjoy such as read a magazine, watch a little TV, or talk with a friend on the phone.
- Get a good night’s rest. Just before bed, it’s best to avoid caffeine and alcohol, leave your worries behind you, and sip some chamomile tea to ensure you get a great night’s sleep.
- Be ready to go. Put bags, keys, backpacks, and whatever else you need to take with you in the morning in the same place each evening so you will not spend wasted time and stress looking for them in the morning.
For Your Body
From exercise to better nutrition to eliminating bad habits, these suggestions are all great habits to keep your body in the best health possible.
- Exercise. Do something every day, whether it is a walk around the block or a trip to the gym, to get your body moving.
- Drink water. Keeping hydrated with fresh, clean water is one of the healthiest habits you can create.
- Go natural. Select only the best foods for your body. Don’t depend on prepackaged foods, instead, take the time to learn how and why you should eat naturally.
- Organic. Eating organic food eliminates chemicals from your diet and the food tastes better. Read the Organic Guide for news, recipes, and ideas for going organic.
- Less fast food. Reducing the saturated fats and poor quality of fast food is a great habit to keep your body healthy.
- Eliminate white sugar. Refined "table" sugar creates unhealthy fluctuations in blood-sugar levels, which results in many health problems, including cardiovascular and cholesterol issues, so use natural sweeteners such as honey, cane sugar, or agave instead.
- Floss. Dental health is incredibly important. Infections that develop in your gums can quickly spread to other parts of your body.
- Green tea. Full of antioxidants, green tea is an excellent drink to have every day and a great substitute for sodas.
- Yoga. Whether you attend a class or just do a few poses at home, take some time to practice a bit of yoga every day to keep your body and your mind in shape.
- Eat balanced. Get a balance of several fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins in your diet rather than relying on just one or two staples.
- Vitamins. Get in the habit of taking a good-quality multivitamin every day to ensure you are giving your body all that it needs to function well.
- Check-ups. Visit your doctor at least once a year to ensure you are staying healthy. Preventative healthcare is less expensive and better for you.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Visit your dentist and get your teeth cleaned twice a year to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Constantly losing and gaining large amounts of weight is not good for your body, so keep your weight at a healthy place.
- No smoking. Stop smoking right now. Your body and your wallet will benefit from this habit.
- Limit alcohol. Alcohol in moderation is not only better for your body, but will help your budget too.
- Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen and a hat when you are outside all year round to protect your skin from damaging rays.
- Posture. Start standing and sitting up straight for a healthier and more attractive posture.
For Your Mind
The connection between mental health and physical health is well-documented. Follow these suggestions for great habits to help keep your mind healthy.
- Meditate. Daily meditation, even for just five minutes, can greatly reduce your stress level by helping start your day centered and free from worry.
- Take a bath. Soaking in a warm tub surrounded by quiet and calm can work wonders on the stress from the day.
- Be grateful. Take the time to reflect on the wonderful people and things in your life. Being grateful positively affects physical health.
- Forgive. Learn to let go of anger and grudges so you can focus on more positive things in life.
- Thank the universe. No matter how you thank the universe, be it through prayer or simply acknowledging the beauty of the natural world, take a moment to acknowledge your appreciation every day.
- Be adventurous. Open your mind to new experiences. Don’t shy away from something just because it is unknown, instead, embrace the opportunity to try something new.
- Keep in touch with emotions. Identify your emotions and accept them for what they are rather than pretending they don’t exist to stay healthy mentally.
- Think positively. Positive thinking puts you in the right frame of mind to accomplish your goals, help you appreciate what you have, and generally keep you happy and healthy.
- Smile. Smile and laugh often to help you feel better as well as those around you.
- Confidence. Even if you are trying something new, remain confident and you may be surprised to learn how good it makes you feel.
- Flexibility. Learn to be flexible even when faced with something you may feel uncomfortable about trying. An open mind not only teaches you something new, it goes a long way to helping you stay happy, too.
Staying on Task and Being Productive
As they say, time is money. Improve your productivity with these tips to help increase you financial well-being.
- Write goals. Thinking about both long and short term goals each day keeps them in focus and keeps you on track to achieve them.
- Make a to-do list. Each morning, write down the tasks you need to accomplish that day. Having them concretely written in front of you will free your mind from having to remember each one and will clearly identify exactly what needs to be done.
- Stop procrastinating. Putting things off until the last minute raises stress levels and almost ensures you won’t do as good a job as you could have if you had done it ahead of time.
- File. Immediately file any important papers or bills when you are finished with them and recycle what you don’t need to keep in order to reduce clutter.
- Plan ahead. Make a plan for how and when you will get everything done each day to eliminate any unnecessary stress.
- Just do it. Get in the habit of acting rather than spending wasted time thinking about doing something.
- Get rid of unnecessary tasks. Cross things off your to-do list that don’t absolutely need to be accomplished, and don’t take on any new tasks that are unnecessary, either.
- Balance. Find a balance between work time and free time to ensure you don’t neglect either one.
- Prioritize. Get accustomed to prioritizing your day so that you can focus on more important projects first.
- Find solutions. If you discover a problem, don’t just complain about it–offer a solution instead. This proactive approach will ensure you get more done and reduces stress too.
- Discipline. Getting in the habit of using self-discipline so you can accomplish what you need to and have plenty of time left to do the things you want to do.
Isolation is not a healthy place. Stay connected with the world around you to ensure mental and physical health with these suggestions.
- Read the news. No matter if you interest lies in local news, national news, or international news, stay on top of what is happening in the world around you.
- Talk with friends. Whether you send an email, text message, or meet them face-to-face, don’t forget the importance of staying in touch with those closest to you.
- Family time. Spend time with your family every day. Have dinner together, play games or exercise, or just sit down and talk.
- Volunteer. Volunteering can be a great way to meet people, stay social, and make a difference in the world.
- Get a dog. Not only will having a dog keep you company and provide great health benefits, but taking your dog out for walks, to local parks, and around town opens up opportunities for you to stay connected with the community.
- Develop new friendships. Creating new friendships throughout your life keeps you connected to the world, happier, and enriches your life.
- Choose wisely. Pick who will be your friends based on common interests and if you truly enjoy being around them and don’t waste your valuable time on people who use you or do not have intentions of developing a friendship.
- Communicate. Learn to express yourself clearly and concisely to others and you will eliminate confusion and the stress that can come along with it.
- Don’t avoid conflict. Learn diplomacy rather than avoiding conflict at any cost. This merely pushes the problem to the back instead of allowing the conflict to become resolved.
Keeping Your Brain Sharp
Habits that keep your mental edge will help prevent dementia and other aging issues later in life. Start now whether you are 20 or 55 to keep your brain healthy.
- Read. Whether you are keeping up the news online, sitting down with a good book, or checking out the latest gossip magazine, do some reading each day.
- Journal. Write down your thoughts, create a poem, or find some other way to express yourself in a personal journal.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle. Working jigsaw puzzles exercises spatial recognition, analytical processes, eye-hand coordination and more.
- Crosswords. The benefits of working crossword puzzles are many and even help keep dementia at bay as you age.
- Word puzzles. Solve brainteasers such as anagrams, logic problems, rebuses any time you have a few extra minutes to keep your mind sharp.
- Video games. No longer considered solely a waste of time, video games have been found to help keep the brain in top form. Some video game playing can even help fight Alzheimer’s.
- Hobbies. Start a new hobby or take up an old, forgotten one to get your creative juices flowing and keep your brain working.
- Scrabble. Play Scrabble with friends to help keep your brain in shape and connect with others or play online when you can’t get together.
- Switch hands. Try using your less dominant hand for simple tasks like eating or writing to stimulate your brain.
- Chess. Learn how to play chess, or find a chess partner if already know how, so you can take advantage of this renowned form of brain exercise.
- Fish oil. Fish oil is widely known for its incredible benefits for your brain. Choose a high-quality fish oil will ensure the best results and eliminate any "fishy" taste from the supplement.
Being safe not only reduces your risk for serious injury, it will also save you money by avoiding any other problems risky behavior can often cause.
- Seatbelts. Always wear a seatbelt when you are in a car–front or back seat–to reduce your chances of sustaining a serious injury.
- Driving. Practice safe driving habits by becoming a defensive driver and reduce your chances of getting in an accident.
- Sports helmets. Protect your head when participating in activities such as bicycling, skiing, or rollerblading by wearing an appropriate safety helmet.
- Safe sex. Use condoms every time you have sex to make sure you guard against pregnancy, HIV, and other STD’s.
- No drinking and driving. Don’t let this combination ever become a habit for you by never getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking.
- Smoke detectors. Install smoke detectors in each bedroom and in main living areas, then get in the habit of changing the batteries twice a year.
- Lock it up. Locking doors and windows when you leave your home or when you are sleeping at night is a great safety habit to do every day.
For the Environment
Good habits that help the environment can also help you stay healthy and are easy on your wallet. Follow these tips to do good for all three.
- Recycle. Take advantage of your city’s recycling program if they have one. If not, collect your cans, bottles, and other recyclables and take them to a recycling center. You can even sell some of those items to add to your savings.
- Reduce. Reduce the amount of trash by making simple changes. For example, buying in bulk uses less packaging, thereby producing less waste, and even costs less money for you. Read this for other ways you can reduce as well.
- Reuse. Before you throw anything away, stop and think about how you might be able to reuse it. This habit not only saves the environment, it can save you money as well.
- Simplify. Thinking twice before making purchases serves two purposes–save money and save the Earth. Take stock in your purchasing decisions and reconsider unnecessary buying.
- Support sustainability. Think about the choices you make in decisions from the type of groceries you buy to the type of flooring you put in your home. Try to purchase items that do not rob the Earth of resources, but uphold sustainability instead.
- Compost. Don’t toss your compostable materials in the trash. Instead of taking up valuable landfill, throw them in a backyard compost pile. Not only will you be helping the environment, you’ll really save money on yard maintenance when the compost is ready.
- Go local. Make as many purchases as you can from local businesses. You reduce the amount of fuel used for transportation and support small businesses as well. Food from farmer’s markets is an excellent way to save money, eat more nutritiously, and buy locally.
For Your Wallet
Get into these good habits to ensure the best financial health possible.
- Save a little. Put back a little money every day. Even if it is only a quarter one day and five dollars the next, you will find that your savings add up over time.
- Save for the future. Arrange to take a set amount from each paycheck you receive and keep this money in a fund for your future. Whether you are saving for retirement, your children’s college fund, or a trip around the world, you will be saving without noticing the sacrifice.
- Spend wisely. Learn how to spend your money wisely and lead a frugal lifestyle for a healthy financial habit.
- Credit. Learn to live within your means and don’t depend on credit for daily spending.
- Set goals. Keep specific long term financial goals you can work toward such as saving for a car or house and have a detailed plan for obtaining your goals.
- Resist the urge. Curb impulse spending and you will be surprised to discover how much extra money you have.
- Budget. Get in the habit of setting a budget and living by it. There are several free online tools to help.
- Pay bills on time. Whether you set up auto pay with your bank or use your own system, make sure you get in the habit of paying all your bills on time each month.
- Track spending. Track where you spend your money so you know where your money goes each month. You can also discover unhealthy spending habits this way.
- Talk about it. If you are sharing finances with your parents, a partner, or a spouse, get in the habit of talking about finances to make sure you are both approaching spending and saving the same way and working toward the same goals.
- Build in rewards. Reward yourself for good financial habits by building special treats into your budget.