5 Simple Habits for Lifelong Health and Wellness

5 Simple Habits for Lifelong Health and Wellness

Habits are powerful. They are behaviours and actions that are done regularly, often multiple times a day. They become so ingrained in our psyche that we perform them without effort and they can easily become involuntary.

Habits are often considered a bad thing by default, but they come in both good and bad varieties. When bad habits become involuntary, like any kind of substance addiction, it can be catastrophic and ruin lives. But there are plenty of good habits that you can form that will increase your long term happiness, improve your health and change your life for the better.

The challenge of good habits is that they are difficult to form at first because they can be a departure from a bad habit that brings us pleasure and escape. For example, replacing a glass of wine every day after work with a 5km run. The wine requires no effort. It helps you relax and feel good after a stressful day. All you have to do is pour a glass, sit down and drink.

Wine is an easy fix for stress, but it's not good for you long term.

The run is hard and sweaty and doesn’t give you the same immediate pleasure that the glass of pinot grigio does. But if you push through the discomfort and stick with it, you will eventually feel your body become stronger. You will have more energy and you will feel fitter and healthier than ever before. When you stop, you will feel sluggish and less like your improved self. You will start to associate your run with really good things, like a fantastic body and a better life. Eventually, you won’t want a glass of wine to get in the way of your run. Just like that, you’ve replaced a bad habit with a good one. Check out our Beginner Running Plan for Non-Runners if you would like to try forming a new healthy habit!

Running to relieve stress is a good habit that will bring lifelong health and wellness.

You must be patient and consistent if you want it to work though. It’s a process that can take months, but your reward is better health and wellness every day with very little effort.

Start harnessing the power of good habits in your life. Here are 5 good habits to form for better health and wellness.

Subtly Trick Yourself Into Exercising Every Day

Walk or bike to work to get your 30 minutes of exercise per day to improve your longterm health and wellness.

Regularly exercise can massively enhance your life. It keeps your body healthy and toned, it regenerates cells, keeps weight in check, fights disease, increases energy, and keeps you happy and feeling good overall. Not moving your body every day can lead to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and depression. Not to mention that it makes even simple things like walking up a flight of stairs or lifting boxes awkward and hard.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for 30 minutes of exercise each day. A lot of people find this difficult because it can be taken to mean 30 minutes at the gym or 30 minutes doing a specific workout session. It’s incredibly easy to bail out of this because “life” and “I’m too busy.” But the benefits of moving your body every day are just too good to miss out on.

The key is to trick yourself into exercising. 30 minutes is not actually a long time. It’s easy to fit that in every day if you’re clever about it and combine it with something you have to do anyway. Try walking or biking to and from work. You have to get to work somehow. Why sit in a car? That’s wasted time and it’s not good for your body and mind. Choose to walk or bike instead. By doing so, you’ve simultaneously improved your health, mental wellness and ticked off your daily workout.

Have a Purpose

Participate in groups or causes that you feel strongly about to enhance health and wellness in your life.

What do you feel strongly about? Is there a cause you are passionate about, like the environment or women’s rights? A sport or activity that you want to see thrive in your community? Even if you don’t think you have a passion for a cause, I invite you to think about it a bit more deeply. It can be anything you feel strongly about. There is likely a club or group out there that supports what you believe in. Join the club, go to meetings, volunteer your time and participate in events. Doing this will give you a strong sense of purpose, which is vital to a healthy and full life. You will meet lots of interesting like-minded people that could become your lifelong friends. The mental health benefits of feeling that you are contributing to something you care about with like-minded people are endless. 

Learn to Listen to Your Hunger

Improve your health and wellness by listening to your body and natural hunger signals more.

I used to have a very bad habit of eating based on the time of day or how I was feeling. This lead to overeating and completely losing touch with the natural hunger signals of my own body. I struggled a lot with fluctuating weight at that time. If you struggle with this too, make a habit of tuning into your body and listening to when it sends you actual hunger signals. I promise your body will not let you starve. You will get the right signals at the right time.

The transition can be very strange if you have been eating based primarily on emotions or an arbitrary schedule. If you have never allowed yourself to feel hungry, it can be very uncomfortable waiting for the signal, and it can feel like you’re ravenous when it finally arrives. It’s a bit of a process that takes time and experimentation, but your body will get into a healthy rhythm when you start to listen and respond accordingly. You are essentially retraining your brain to go from eating mindlessly to reconnecting with your body. I’ve never had an issue with fluctuating weight since I formed this healthy habit.    

Replace alcohol with a healthy habit at least some of the time

Replace alcohol with a healthy habit some of the time to improve long term wellness in your life.

Trust me, I love a glass of wine. I love the taste, the ritual of relaxing and sipping with my friends. I get a lot of joy from drinking a glass of wine, but surprise surprise, alcohol is not good for you. The belief that a glass of wine or beer every day is good for you has been pervasive for most of my life. This myth has now been completely debunked by a huge global study that spanned from 1990 to 2016. The study found that no amount of alcohol is good for you. From my own experience, I used to drink a glass of red wine every day after work, and I was told that this was ok and even healthy. The truth is that I could feel in my body that it wasn’t good for me. It messed up my digestion, I never sleep well, I felt like a dehydrated raisin all of the time. The cumulative result is that I didn’t feel motivated to do things that would be much healthier for me, like exercise.

Now I’m not suggesting you stop drinking entirely unless you want to of course. I don’t think total deprivation is realistic for most people. I stopped drinking every day and only drink a couple of evenings a week. I feel much better for it, but I also don’t feel deprived of something that brings me a lot of pleasure. Win-win!

I found the easiest way to go about this was to replace my glass of wine with an activity. I started mountain biking and rock climbing. I got the same stress-relieving effects and to have fun with my friends. By the time I got home, I had no desire at all to drink anything but water. The result? My health and fitness went through the roof.

Smoking. Just Don’t.

I can’t believe smoking is still a thing honestly. I mean really?? Who smokes anymore. If you don’t smoke, good for you! Don’t start. And please don’t do the so-called “casual smoking” thing where you “only” smoke when you’re drinking or partying. You don’t look cool. I’ve seen so many friends go from casual party smoking to a full-on daily habit. Enter stroke, countless horrific cancers, cataracts, heart disease, and medical bills for days.

If you do smoke, I’m so sorry. It’s a habit that sinks its claws in deep, but the fight to break the habit is worth it. The act of not smoking, having zero tolerance for smoking and staying away from it is a healthy habit in itself.

That wraps up my 5 habits for exceptional lifelong health and wellness. Once you do the consistent work of forming these habits, keeping them up for the rest of your life will be easy, and you will reap the rewards of exceptional health and wellness. Enjoy!

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