This article is intended for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to diagnose or replace evaluation by a medical professional. I am not a registered dietician. Please consult a nutritionist or registered dietician if you are looking to make any changes to your current diet, lifestyle, or treatment plan.
Living healthy will require a lot of delayed gratification. You’re rarely going to feel good in the moment of being healthy – eating a salad over a cupcake or running several miles versus binge-watching Netflix. But it all has to get done, so we can feel better, be happier, and have the energy to do what we actually want to do in this lifetime.
That’s why I break it down into 65 tips on what you can do, starting today, to be healthier for yourself and your loved ones. 65 tips may seem like a lot, but they are a combination of large and small actions, that require the physical body or the mind to be active. You can try employing all of these tips, or choose 1-3 tips to start with. It’s all up to you.
Why Living a Healthy Lifestyle is Important
Have you ever felt chronically tired and stressed? Have you ever had recurring lower back pain? Did your doctor tell you he’s prescribing you more medication because of some new ailment he found from your lab tests?
Where is the stopping point for these terrible experiences and do they ever subside or go away? That’s why living a healthy lifestyle is important. It’s normal for humans to experience ailments, especially in older age. But to experience a myriad of ailments on a chronic, indefinite basis throughout our lives is not normal, and it sadly affects our long-term well-being.
By making daily choices on how we treat our mind and body, we can change how we feel and experience the world. It may sound cliché, but it’s true. We are an embodiment of our decisions and habits. So, why don’t we start making good ones?
65 Tips to Live a Healthier Lifestyle
1. Fill Half Your Plate with Fruits and Vegetables
According to the USDA and their MyPlate program, filling half your plate with a mixture of fruits and vegetables is a great daily habit to increase your micronutrient intake, and get proper nutrition. Plus, keeping your plate half full of produce will help you stay consistent in achieving proper daily intakes of fiber, carbs, and other nutrients, encouraging a balanced diet.
By adding nutrient-dense, low-calorie whole foods to the majority of your plate, you can ensure you are taking action to stay within your daily calorie limit. For a healthy adult, the average calorie intake is 2,000 calories. However, it all depends on your weight, age, activity level, and much more. I would consult a registered dietician if you’re curious about your individual caloric needs.
2. Increase Plant Variety in Your Diet
Increasing plant variety in your diet can help increase your mind and body’s well-being and health, by giving it a variety of nutrients it needs to carry out core functions of the body.1
One study conducted in 2019, found an association between increased plant variety in one’s diet with decreased risk of cognitive decline.2 According to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, you should focus on increasing plant variety consumption and aim for 30 varieties a week as a broad goal. Her statement comes from research on the gut microbiome, which researches our gut, its microbial life, and how it contributes to human health.
3. Minimize Consumption of Processed Food
If you’ve heard of Michael Pollan, he is a famous American author and journalist, who has written many health books. He is known for saying, “Don’t eat anything that is incapable of rotting.” – Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. That’s a pretty loaded statement, but it stands on a body of research that suggests processed foods and the extra calories they contain may negatively affect your health.3 Processed foods may also promote lifestyle related illnesses, like obesity, cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer, and many more. 4
Much more research needs to be done on whether the chemicals and preservatives found in processed foods contribute to premature illnesses in humans at all. However, healthy eating through minimizing processed foods is a small way to live a healthier lifestyle, especially if you are just starting to change your health habits.
4. Stay Regular
I hope you don’t need me to spell this one out. Staying regular can help ensure you are staying physically healthy. When you’re not regular, it can cause extreme discomfort, negatively affect how you experience or move about your day, and may be indicative of something else going on in your body.
Staying regular can look different for everyone. Some people’s norm is going twice a day while for others going twice a week is normal. However, monitoring when your normal starts to change is important. Additionally, staying regular can be indicative of a healthy diet, and that you’re eating the right amount of fiber, drinking enough water, and exercising enough – which are all factors in good digestion.
5. Eat Enough Fiber Every Day
According to Mayo Clinic, adult women should get 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day, and men should get anywhere between 30 to 38 grams.5 Fiber is extremely important for a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle because it can help you stay regular, feel fuller longer, and prevent weight gain.
It can also help feed the bacteria in your microbiome which has been linked to increased feelings of well-being and improved health. 6
6. Be in a Consistent Calorie Deficit
Research has linked excess calorie consumption to increased risk of obesity and early onset disease. Thus, staying within your daily calorie needs or below them could ensure you keep a healthy lifestyle and lifespan.7 Plus, it can be great for weight loss and help you maintain a healthy weight.
You can implement tips and daily habits to keep you from going over your calorie intake. You can use calorie tracking apps, like MyFitnessPal, or you can focus on eating more whole foods regularly. Whole foods tend to be higher in fiber and lower in calories. They keep you fuller longer without the extra calories. Plus, eating certain vegetables low in starch, like berries, squash and broccoli can minimize the calorie density of your foods.
7. Avoid Refined Carbs
Refined carbs, or simple carbohydrates, are sugars and carbs that have been stripped of their bran, fiber, and nutrients. Examples of simple carbs include white rice, white bread, pastries, and candies. Complex carbohydrates are the opposite. They are carbs that have retained their fiber or natural grains. Examples include whole wheat bread, brown rice, and ancient grains.
In order to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to minimize your consumption of simple carbs and increase your consumption of complex carbs. Simple carbs metabolize faster in the body, spike your blood sugar faster because of their higher glycemic index, and therefore make you feel hungry sooner after you eat them.8 Plus, they lack other nutrients complex carbs have, like fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, potassium, and selenium. Combined with their superior nutritional profile, complex carbs can even help fight against diseases, including cancer.9
8. Minimize Sugar Intake
We all know sugar is bad for you, but do you know exactly how bad it is? Minimizing sugar is one of the ways to live a healthier lifestyle. Refined sugars lack nutritional content and can be an addicting substance.10
According to recent studies, it’s recommended to limit your sugar consumption to about 10% of your total caloric intake.11 It’s even better if you consume sugar in naturally occurring forms, like fruit and natural sweeteners.
9. Get Plenty of Iron, Vitamin D, and B Vitamins
Iron, vitamin D, and B vitamins can all contribute to feeling more energized and happy. They are essential nutrients you should get regularly in order to avoid symptoms like fatigue and decreased bone health. In particular, iron helps in growth and development.12
According to research published in the National Institutes of Health database, roughly 42% of people in the United States are deficient in vitamin D.13 It’s important to be mindful of whether you’re getting enough of these vitamins, because they contribute to feelings of well-being, while being one of the most common vitamins people experience deficiencies in, especially vitamin D.14
Ways you can get enough of these vitamins is by taking supplements. More natural ways of getting the vitamins are to include foods or practices in your daily or weekly routine. Since vitamin D is found in very few foods, it’s recommended to either eat fortified foods or take vitamin D supplements. You can also sit in the sun for approximately 10 minutes a day, or once every one or two weeks, depending on the climate you live in. However, just be careful about how much sun exposure you get, and try to minimize it so as to reduce your risk of cancer.15
You can get rich sources of iron from animal products, including red meat, poultry, and seafood. Plant-based sources include beans, dark leafy greens, dried fruit, nuts, and fortified grains and cereals.16 You can get vitamin B from similar sources and dairy products.
10. Minimize Your Saturated Fat Intake
Consuming saturated fats in your diet can increase your “bad’ cholesterol or LDL levels. LDL cholesterol often collects in the walls of your blood vessels, increasing your chances of cardiovascular issues.17 It’s recommended by the American Heart Association that the average person should consume no more than 5-6% of their daily calorie intake in saturated fat.
However, there are actually two types of cholesterol that have different effects on the body. Although LDL is bad for you and should be avoided or minimized, HDL cholesterol is really good for you. In healthy amounts, good cholesterol acts in your body to get rid of bad cholesterol. Foods with HDL include fatty fish like salmon, olive oil, whole grains, legumes, and high-fiber fruit. Additionally, minimizing saturated fats can be effective in weight management.
11. Practice Intuitive Eating or Try Fasting
Due to the nature of these types of diets, you have to pick one or the other. The principles and practices of each type of diet directly conflict with the other. However, picking either one may be a good idea to maintain a healthy lifestyle, depending on your needs and habits.
Fasting involves restricting yourself and your diet in a number of ways. You could be fasting from animal products for a period of time, only eating in certain time windows (called intermittent fasting), or fasting from food altogether.
Intuitive eating requires you to listen and respond to how your body is feeling in relation to food, and to respond accordingly. Its main premise is to eat when you feel hungry and stop when you feel full. This type of diet also encourages people to eat what they are craving rather than saying no to it. It’s a great strategy to help people who struggle in their relationship with food approach eating in a healthier way. As you may see now, fasting may hinder your ability to actively and successfully practice intuitive eating. However, depending on which approach you choose, they can have different benefits.
12. Floss Your Teeth Daily and Don’t Forget to Use Mouthwash
It’s important to incorporate daily at-home hygiene practices besides brushing your teeth. Flossing once a day and using mouthwash regularly can help fight against your risk of developing mouth-related diseases like gingivitis.18
If you don’t like regular floss, I recommend using flossers or a Waterpik, which can help you fight plaque in hard-to-reach places. I personally use a Waterpik for my lower front gums, because I have a built-in retainer that makes it hard to use regular floss.
13. Use a Tongue Scraper
How could this possibly be important? Well, similar to flossing, tongue scraping can get rid of a ton of bacteria sitting and growing on your tongue. It can help with bad breath, prevent you from ingesting more harmful bacteria, and prevent bacteria from sitting in your mouth cavity.
This is one of my favorite tongue scrapers to use.
14. Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Drinking alcohol in moderation is one of the many ways to live a healthier lifestyle. If you drink too much, it can lead to long-term health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, various cancers, weakening of the immune system, learning and memory problems, and much more.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should drink no more than two glasses of alcohol per day, while women should drink no more than one glass.19 It’s okay to go out with friends and family to have a drink every once in a while, but getting in the habit of drinking too much can cause detriment to your health.
15. Drink Plenty of Water
Water has many roles in the body and it’s essential for maintaining optimal health. For generally healthy people, Harvard Medical School recommends drinking about 4-6 cups of water a day. However, keep in mind that doesn’t include people who are taking medications or have certain health conditions. When considering these factors, it’s really individualized and there’s no set recommended amount. However, it’s always recommended to consult your doctor or seek medical advice if you have questions about how much you should be drinking.
Drinking enough water has a number of functions and benefits, including carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells, improving your digestion, flushing bacteria from your bladder, regulating body temperature, cushioning joints, and much more.20 If you’re trying to drink more water, I recommend carrying a water bottle around everywhere you go. This way, water is easily accessible to stay hydrated.
16. Stay Away from Sugary Drinks
This tip goes hand-in-hand with minimizing your consumption of refined carbs. Sugary drinks tend to have a ton of sugar packed into them. A single serving of Coca-Cola pop can have as much as 65 grams of added sugar. Even a healthy-looking Naked smoothie can have as much as 53 grams of sugar. When you know that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommend no more than 10% of your daily calories go to sugar, and when sugar is one of the leading causes of obesity in America, you can see why you should be limiting sugar intake where it counts.
Not only does the sugar in those drinks metabolize faster due to the sugar’s molecular structure and higher glycemic index, but sugary drinks also hold less volume per calorie. What does this mean? When you drink sugary drinks, you won’t stay full nearly as long, because the calories you’re consuming are in the form of a liquid vs. a solid. Therefore, there’s less fiber and protein in what you’re consuming. It’s going to take less time for your body to digest it, making you feel hungry again sooner.
17. Consume Omega-3s Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are fats consumed in foods like fish. The American Heart Association recommends people eat fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring, sardines, or lake trout (any fatty, coldwater fish) in order to get their daily needs. People who don’t like fish can look to supplements to get their needs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely healthy fats that help in preventing and managing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing the chance of heart attack and stroke, and many more heart-related benefits.21 There are three types of Omega-3 fatty acids, including eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (APA). EPA and DHA are found in fish, and APA is found in plants like flaxseed.
18. Meal Plan and Prep
Meal planning and prepping your food for the week can be a very effective way of staying on track and eating healthy consistently throughout the week. Through planning, you’ll have better control over the portion size, nutrient profile, and calories of your meals. It’ll be harder to make impulse buys or cave when your work brings out donuts in the breakroom.
When you have healthy food readily available, you’re less likely to jump to the unhealthy choice. I know in my experience, if I don’t have food meal prepped, 90% I’ll walk into my kitchen ravenous (which is most of the time), and grab the easiest and fastest thing to prepare, regardless of how healthy it is. By meal prepping, I’ve been able to run to the kitchen, and grab something out of the fridge in seconds while keeping my eating habits in check.
19. Keep Your Kitchen Stocked with Healthy Options
Similar to meal prepping, stocking your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks and meal options will help you live a healthier lifestyle. If you have chips and chocolate in your pantry, you’re more likely to grab those when you’re hungry, vs. your meal-prepped carrot sticks and hummus. Don’t give yourself the option of choosing between a salty, processed snack and fresh produce. You’ll pick the former every time.
Snack options you can keep in your pantry include nuts, dried fruit, seaweed snacks, kale chips, homemade granola bars, tangerines, cherry tomatoes, and more. Other snacks include vegetables and hummus, kimchi, pickles, fresh berries, smoothies, and cheese cubes.
20. Drink Fruit-Infused Water
Although there are no special health benefits related to this healthy living tip, it can help you stay hydrated. If you don’t like the taste of plain water, then infusing it with your favorite fruits could encourage you to increase your water intake. Plus, you can get the benefit of extra nutrients.
It’s all about what tips and tricks you can add or change about your day to increase your healthy habits. Your habits, big or small, are what contribute to your overall health.
21. Avoid Restrictive Diets
This is definitely more of an opinion-based suggestion, but the reason I am putting this healthy living tip in this article is because I’ve seen too often people going down the rabbit hole with restrictive diets. Restrictive diets can be a slippery slope and encourage bad eating habits and a poor relationship with food. I generally don’t condone restrictive diets, unless it’s very temporary or recommended by a doctor.
It’s okay to eat keto, vegan, or paleo meals throughout your week, but permanently cutting out certain food groups may increase your risk of insufficient nutrient intake. However, you should consider adopting one of these diets if it’s recommended by your doctor.
22. Make the First Meal You Eat Healthy
Whether you’re eating breakfast at 9 AM or 12 PM, it’s important to eat healthy for your first meal of the day. The reason breakfast has the name that it does is because it’s the combination of two words – break fast. Every day you’re eating breakfast, you’re breaking the fast you’ve held all night.
What you eat will depend on how you feel for most of the day, and the energy levels you’ll have. It’s important to start your day with MyPlate’s dietary recommendations discussed above, where you’re filling up half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and then getting your needed whole grains and protein.
23. Reduce Red Meat Intake
Everything in moderation. Red meat intake is no different. In order to stay healthy over your entire life, it’s important to limit your red meat consumption and practice moderation. If you can cut it out altogether, even better. However, in this day and age, that’s pretty hard, and probably not necessary.
Increased red meat consumption has been associated with an increased risk of developing cancer.22 Red meat consumption has also been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease risk as well.23 One study even showed that all meat consumption (except fish) led to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore, it may be beneficial to keep as close to a plant-based or Mediterranean diet as possible.24
24. Use Herbs and Spices
Using herbs and spices in your food will not only increase the nutrient level of your meals but increase the flavor. Instead of adding extra salt, sugar, or fat to your meals, replace them with fresh herbs or spices. You’ll get lots more flavor to your meals, more variety, fewer calories, and more nutrients.
25. Eat 5 Vegan or Plant-Based Meals a Week
Fasting from animal products and focusing your diet on predominate plants has been shown to reap amazing health benefits in people, including reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes.25
Although it’s not always right for everyone to adopt a diet like the vegan diet, it’s extremely beneficial to adopt plant-based eating. You don’t need to cut meat out entirely, but it could drastically improve your health if you replace many of your meat-heavy meals with vegan or plant-based meals, and approach your meat intake with moderation.
26. Strength Train at Least Twice a Week
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends strength training at least twice a week to experience the benefits. Not only can strength training increase your muscle mass, and therefore your metabolic rate (how many calories you can burn at rest), but it has a multitude of mental health benefits. Research has shown an association between strength training and decreased rates of depression, anxiety, back pain, osteoarthritis, fatigue, dementia, and fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to improve cognition in older adults and self-esteem.26
27. Get at Least 150 Minutes of Aerobic Activity Every Week
Also recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services, they suggest getting at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity, or 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity. It’s best if this minimum allotment is spread throughout the week. High-intensity aerobic activity includes activities such as dancing, running, or heavy yard work. Whereas low-intensity or moderate physical activity includes bike riding, swimming, and walking.
Regular aerobic activity can strengthen your heart and keep your arteries clear. It can also reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer.27
28. Maximize Your NEAT
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. Maximizing your NEAT is important if you want to lose weight or stay healthy. In order to lose weight, it’s important to be in a calorie deficit. In order to get there, you either need to burn more calories, consume fewer calories, or both. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy your body burns while doing non-exercise activity. For example, any activity outside of the gym. This could include walking to the bathroom, tapping your foot, doing chores or yardwork, walking to the store, etc.
29. Get Regular Checkups
Getting regular check-ups, whether it’s once a year or once every six months can be very important for preventive care. Prioritizing regular check-ups can help you detect potentially life-threatening illnesses early on, limit your risk of complications due to close monitoring, prevent higher healthcare costs due to the preventive aspect, and much more.
I know it can be scary and intimidating to get regular check-ups, but establishing a relationship with a primary care doctor can set you up to detect any abnormal health occurrences and keep your body and health in check.
30. Reduce the Amount of Time You Sit
If you’ve ever checked out the scientific literature and the health effects of extended periods of sitting, it can be quite unsettling. Extended periods of sitting can increase discomfort and cognitive function.28 Additionally, it can increase your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity due to the lack of movement and activity experienced during long periods of sitting.29
31. Use a Fitbit or Pedometer
Fitbits and pedometers are nifty devices that can help you track certain health metrics and goals you set for the week, month, or year. They are famously known for tracking your steps, which can help you in determining how you should change or keep your current activity habits. You should aim for an average of 10,000 steps a day to get optimal exercise and movement.
You can set goals and track other metrics like tracking your sleep cycles, daily calorie intake, heart rate, resting heart rate, and breathing rate. Apple watches can also act as a pedometer.
32. Take the Stairs
Taking the stairs is an easy practice to get more exercise in throughout your day. If you’re going to work or the mall, opt for the stairs instead of taking the elevator. Not only will it count towards your daily steps, but the incline can give you an elevated heart rate when you’re done climbing the stairs.
33. Don’t Smoke
This one has been tried and tested. It’s old news that smoking is extremely unhealthy. However, I’m listing this healthy living tip for those still in denial about its health effects. In many studies, including this one, long-term smoking had a strong positive association with the occurrence of lung cancer, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and increased mortality rate.
34. Meditate or Pray Daily
By praying or meditating daily or weekly, you can achieve higher levels of internal peace and contentment. It can also calm your nervous system and make you less reactive to negative emotions, like anger.30
One study found that by experimenting with meditation with female inmates over a 7-week period, the experimental group experienced fewer sleeping difficulties, had less of a desire to be violent with others, were more hopeful about the future, and experienced less guilt and anxiety.31
35. Minimize Stress
Finding strategies to minimize stress in your life can help you reap many physical and mental benefits. When you experience chronic stress, it can have a huge impact to your daily life, including difficulties sleeping and concentrating, weight gain, fatigue, high blood pressure, weak immune system, and many other symptoms.
Long-term chronic stress can contribute to mid-life or late-life mental difficulties, including burnout, depression, PTSD, and panic attacks.32 It can also increase your risk of vascular disease, including atherosclerosis.33
You can reduce stress by developing healthy habits as a response to it. If you’re feeling stressed out, take 10-30 minutes to work out or take a walk. Another practice to combat stress is to self-reflect at the end of every day to notice what you accomplished (rather than what you didn’t get done). You can also try prayer or meditation, and daily gratitude. You might want to consider talking with a licensed therapist about stress management if you’re having a hard time employing different strategies yourself.
36. Have Peace of Mind
Again, this is one of the ways to live a healthier lifestyle, but how is it achieved? Having peace of mind is all a mental game. It’ll take a combination of individual and community efforts.
Individual ways you can get closer to peace of mind include meditation or prayer. You can also practice daily gratitude and journaling. This will allow you to focus on the positives in your life, rather than the stressful negatives. Additionally, having peace of mind might look like reducing your level of time commitments, building a strong support system, or seeking professional help.
37. Build Strong and High-Quality Relationships
Sometimes, the importance of building strong and high-quality relationships can be downplayed by society, especially when our society is highly individualistic, and focuses on one’s own ability to achieve happiness and success. But let’s be honest, others’ roles in our lives have a huge impact on us, and it’s important we foster these relationships.
Human connection is important to reduce risks of depression, low self-esteem, and confidence. Overall, by building quality relationships where we give and take, we can be reassured that somebody has our back and deeply cares for us. Feeling like you have one or more people you can rely on for help and love, as they rely on you, can give you a sense of purpose, happiness, and security.
38. Have a Strong Support Network
Having a strong support network goes hand in hand with building strong and high-quality relationships. When you have a community of people you can feel supported and loved by, it can maintain our connectedness and well-being. According to a research study published by Queen’s University, 27% of participants reported experiencing loneliness.
How do you go about starting and building a community? The first step could be looking at your interests. Find a club, organization, or community involved in the activity of interest. For example, if you love reading, join a book club where you meet once a week. Once you join the book club, start building some of those relationships outside of the book club. You can do so by inviting people you like to lunch, offering favors, or just getting to know them. If you have a religious affiliation, joining a church community could be another amazing way to connect with others.
Support networks are not only beneficial during the good times, but people in your support network can help you when you’re struggling through certain life events.
39. Laugh a Lot
Laughing regularly can reduce your risk of depression, improve your overall self-esteem and mental health, promote bonding with others, and ease stress and anxiety. It’s also been found in some studies to boost the immune system.34 It can help you stay positive and look on the brighter side of life.
40. Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep a Night
Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night can do wonders for your mental and physical health. It’s one of the many ways to live a healthier lifestyle. It can reduce feelings of stress, stabilize your metabolism and hunger levels, and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes in the long term. Getting enough sleep also helps maintain a healthy immune system and prevents you from getting sick, improves your mood, and increases focus and productivity. Really, I just listed some of the benefits, but that’s not all of them. Plus, some studies have shown it can increase your lifespan if you are sleeping a healthy amount every night for the majority of your life.
If you want to learn more about the science of sleep, I recommend reading “Why You Sleep”, by Dr. Matthew Walker.
41. Maintain the Same Sleep Schedule
Keeping the same sleep schedule is just as important as getting enough of it. Because your body is run by a circadian rhythm or biological clock, it’s important to go to bed and wake up at the same time. That’s because your circadian rhythms essentially run your body’s day and night processes. Not staying on a consistent sleep schedule can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and can reduce your feelings of energy, productivity, and well-being.
Long-term effects can be similar to sleep deprivation, and increase your risk for fatigue, low productivity, stress, anxiety, and lifestyle-related diseases.
42. Set Up Reward Systems for Good Behavior
At the end of the day, we’re human, and we need something to reward us for the self-discipline we enact every day. Setting up little rewards for yourself for eating healthy, working out, and practicing mindfulness can help you keep these healthy habits for the long term. You may allow yourself ice cream once or twice a week or reward yourself with a Netflix show after a workout.
Giving rewards to yourself can prevent stunted progress, feelings of burnout or fatigue, or binges. It can encourage us to keep a habit, and not get bogged down if we screw up every once in a while.
43. Find Your Purpose
This tip is probably one of the pieces of advice I’m most passionate about. It’s so important to find your purpose in society in order to live a happy and fulfilled life. Although it’s not always easy for everyone to look for and discover their passion, life’s calling, or purpose, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
When you spend your time doing something you’re passionate about it, you tend to be better at it, want to devote more time to it, and have a greater impact on others. If we are doing something we’re not passionate about, it can increase our likelihood of anxiety, depression, resentment, and dread. Trust me, I’ve felt this before! If we are spending so much of our time working or doing something we don’t like, we might as well identify what it is we like doing. So, we can devote our time and work to it.
How can you find your purpose? First, devote some time out of the day to finding it. Spend time reading books or watching shows that help you explore different topics and interests. Spend time trying out new hobbies. Could these hobbies turn into a career or full-time job? Is that hobby an in-demand skill in the job market? Don’t be afraid to spend a little money if it means figuring out what you like doing.
44. Develop a Positive Mindset
Developing a habit of positive thinking can have a range of benefits including lower rates of depression, reduced stress, greater well-being, better cardiovascular health, greater resistance to illnesses, and more.35
However, what does having a positive mindset look like throughout the day? It looks like reducing your judgment of others and giving people the benefit of the doubt if they upset you. It looks like appreciating the small moments that not everyone gets the privilege to experience. For example, whether that’s going to the grocery store or visiting a loved one. Having a positive mindset encourages looking at what you have, not what you don’t have. Lastly, in order to have a positive mindset, it helps to look at what you’ve accomplished in your day or life versus what you haven’t accomplished.
45. Express Daily Gratitude
Expressing daily gratitude is the next way to live a healthier lifestyle. Expressing gratitude daily or weekly can give you all of the same benefits as discussed above, including increased well-being, increased self-esteem, reduced stress, and better health.
Expressing the good things you have in life regularly will help you feel more content, secure, and satisfied with where you’re at in life. Express gratitude to yourself or others verbally or in writing. One way I practice gratitude is by telling my loved ones how much I love them, and the qualities I love about them too. I thank them for being in my life and for the qualities they contribute to our relationship.
You can also keep a gratitude journal. Every morning or evening, write a list of 10 things you’re most grateful for that day. It can be as small as having your favorite bowl of cereal or as large as having a certain family member still in your life.
46. Avoid Blue Light Exposure
Blue light is the light that is emitted from electronic screens, like our smartphones and computers. It has a wavelength of 400-600 nm and is considered high-energy light. Extended and regular exposure to blue light can cause eye strain and irritation, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and blurry vision.36
However, the symptoms don’t stop there. More serious effects of blue light exposure can cause damage to retinal cells and therefore cause vision problems. It can also contribute to cataracts, eye cancer, and growths on the clear covering over the white part of your eye.37
Now, this sounds pretty scary, but there are actual ways to combat your exposure while still allowing yourself to look at devices. The first thing you can do is buy blue light glasses. These glasses help block a certain percentage of blue light from your eyes, and therefore effectively reduce long-term exposure.
Another thing you can do is buy blue-light filters for your devices. These filters prevent the blue light from hitting your eyes without affecting the visibility of your screen. If you don’t want to spend money, you can employ the 20-20-20 rule. In this rule, you take a 20-second break to look at something 20 feet away, every 20 minutes. Read that again, slowly.
47. Minimize Phone Usage in the Evenings and Mornings
Minimize phone usage in the evenings and mornings to increase feelings of well-being, reduce stress, increase focus throughout the day, and sleep better at night.
When you unplug in the morning, you can focus on a daily routine full of healthy habits, like journaling. At night, you can spend time reading your favorite book or connecting with loved ones.
48. Invest in Your Hobbies and Interests
Even if you have your purpose and life’s work cut out for you, it doesn’t hurt to find hobbies and side interests to fuel your free time. This healthy living tip greatly plays into work-life balance. It can actually provide a healthy outlet to unplug from work, and either advance a skill, spend time with friends or family or help you to mentally or physically recharge.
49. Build Good Habits
You are your habits. By developing healthy habits in different areas of your life, you’ll be able to optimize and maximize your health and well-being. For example, you don’t just eat one healthy meal. Instead, you become a person who eats healthily. You create habits that will ultimately help you become whom you want to be. Are you a person who worked out once, or are you athletic and who exercises weekly?
If you want to learn more about habits, I highly recommend reading James Clear’s book, “Atomic Habits”, where he dives into the neuroscience and approach to building habits as a form of achieving your goals. One of my favorite take-home messages from this book is that your goals and end result don’t matter nearly as much as the habits you set for yourself every day – as it’s the habits that will be the system you create in order to achieve your goals.
50. Don’t Aim for Perfection
Don’t aim for perfection. When you’re obsessed with perfection, not only will you always be dissatisfied with your results, but you’ll consistently spend more time on the unnecessary parts of your work. You’ll end up with stunted progress, and may even find yourself in analysis paralysis. Analysis paralysis means you delay starting a new project, task, or goal before you learn everything about it, in fear that you will make mistakes upon execution. If you have this attitude, you’ll not only delay your start time for new projects and goals, but you’ll stunt your progress as well.
Even when it comes to diet, exercise, and healthy habits more specifically, don’t let perfection control you. If you have been eating healthy for a whole week, and then eat an entire pint of ice cream unexpectedly, don’t quit your diet. Just continue to eat healthy the next day, as if nothing happened. Don’t let the mistake spiral you out of control, or discourage you from the progress you’ve already made.
51. Love Yourself
In the famous book, “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”, by Kamal Ravikant, Kamal goes over the simple process of how to love yourself. Telling his life story of failing as a start-up CEO, he started implementing this practice when he was at rock bottom. He would start by telling himself everyday “I love myself”, whether he believed it or not. Along with the daily phrase, he would incorporate it into his 7 minutes of daily meditation. He would repeat as he breathed in and out, “I love myself”. He would end his daily practice with a question, “If I love myself truly and deeply, would I let myself experience this?”
Loving yourself can be so immensely difficult. We are comfortable with the thought of loving others, but when it comes to ourselves, we give a hard pass. Somehow, we are not worthy of the same time, attention, and grace. However, when you push beyond your comfort zone and try to love and prioritize yourself, you may start seeing some remarkable changes in your life.
52. Use the 5-Second Rule
The 5-second rule was created by Mel Robbins to encourage people to take action on the ideas they have. Mel starts by explaining how people say they’re fine about their reality, even though they’re not. They never take action to change their situation because they lack confidence and motivation. All of this “delay” is the culprit to an unhappy life where you keep wishing you had this or did that. In her famous Ted talk, Mel Robbins explains that the brain is split up into two behavioral modes. These modes explain why we are so hesitant to act on most of our ideas that would change our lives for the better. One of these behavioral modes is our desire and comfortability with routine. The other behavioral mode of our brains is the “screech and stop” mode when something seems scary or unfamiliar. When something causes us to stop running on autopilot (routine mode), and we enter the “stop and screech” mode, we don’t pursue the action that made us stop. That action is usually the thing we want, but are too uncomfortable to get.
Thus, whenever we have an idea to do something new, whether it’s to start a non-profit, find love, or get a new job, our brains hit the brakes. We start to shrink and question whether we are good enough to do it – whether we can do it. Mel Robbins suggests that instead of stopping and sitting back to continue saying to ourselves, “we’re fine”, and perpetuating a reality we hate, we give ourselves no more than 5 seconds to mull over the idea. In those 5 seconds, she recommends marrying your idea to an action. This way, you can physically commit to your idea, and either begin or complete it.
For example, if you have an idea and the urge to talk to the speaker of an interesting seminar you attended, don’t sit and think about it when the seminar is over. The second you get the idea, get out of your seat and go talk to that person. Don’t think too much about it. Your life will be different once you do.
53. Learn Something New Everyday
Most people I’ve met truly enjoy learning something new. Whether it’s every day or once a month, they feel better and more confident when they do. That is the first and simplest reason you should prioritize this habit. By learning something new regularly, you’ll not only know more, but you’ll experience other benefits like improved memory over time, better critical thinking skills, and the ability to analyze and understand the world around you.
Learning every day is one of the habits you can start that helps fight against later-in-life dementia.38 One way you can start implementing this habit is by picking a time each day to read a book or article about something you’re interested in. You can do it in the morning while you’re having your cup of coffee, or right before bed.
54. Maintain a Clean Environment
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work or help everyone. However, for most people, clean environments can work wonders for our mental health. Plus, keeping a clean environment is a good way to build discipline and form healthy habits.
Keeping a clean environment around us can help us feel less stressed, happier, and more focused. When we are in a messy environment, it’s usually a direct reflection of what’s going on in our minds. If our rooms are extremely messy, then it’s likely our minds are disorganized too.
Keep a clean environment by setting up a time each day or week to clean a certain area of your home. You could make your bed every day or clean your room once a week. Another tip is to make sure everything you own has a home. If you designate a place for every item you own, it’s going to be easier to clean it up and put it away.
Instead of spending a whole afternoon cleaning a room, you can also develop the habit of doing one small cleaning act once or multiple times a day. Usually, when I’m leaving my room to go downstairs, I’ll ask myself if there are any cups, pieces of trash, or dirty laundry I could take on my way down. 9/10, there usually is.
55. Perform Random Acts of Kindness
Performing random acts of kindness can help you develop healthy and selfless connections with others. If you get into this habit, it can also improve your empathy toward others, decrease stress, increase happiness, release feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and oxytocin, and inspire kindness in others.
Show a random act of kindness by opening the door for someone, letting a stranger cut in line, giving a stranger a small gift, or doing a random favor for a friend.
56. Lower Your Expectations
In my life, I have found that when I’ve had low expectations or no expectations of a person, situation, or event, I end up being a lot happier and less disappointed. Having low to no expectations of others can actually make you happier, lead you to be more open-minded, and therefore foster more meaningful relationships, connections, and external experiences.
Going through life with new approaches in attitude can be one of the most refreshing mental-based habits to live a healthier lifestyle.
57. Have an Open Mind
It’s hard to have an open mind, but when you do, it can open you up to a lot of new ideas, paradigm shifts, and new experiences.
Think of it this way. If you’re inclined to judge others or have a fixed mindset, the person it’s going to affect the most is you. You’ll end up more upset, tense, and potentially resentful. You’ll probably end up in more fights, broken relationships, and missed opportunities. You won’t grow as a person as quickly either.
In college, I learned about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. People with fixed mindsets don’t like accepting new ideas or experiences especially if it challenges their current identity or philosophies. People with growth mindsets seek that stuff out and allow it to change them for the better. So, when you’re trying to have a more open mind, try to ask yourself when confronted with a very different idea, person, or event, “could this honestly change me for the better in a way I’m not currently seeing – whether it will help me now or in the future?”
58. Journal Daily
Journaling daily, or even weekly, can have transformative effects on your mental health and character growth. When we force ourselves to sit down and self-reflect on our days, it can help us come to realizations, conclusions, and closure we weren’t expecting.
Journaling can be a great way to vent, let out your emotions, process events and news, and articulate your feelings. You can start journaling by just documenting what you experience in your day. Just let your pen write on the page, and see where it takes you. Before long, you could be digging up some demons you didn’t know you were hiding.
59. Accept Help When You Need It
Accepting help can be hard because when you do, you often feel like you’re admitting to weakness and surrendering. But I want to tell you it’s not that way! Accepting help could be the step you need to take in order to achieve the next steps in your life.
Accepting help can look like having a friend do grocery shopping for you, your parents lending you money when you lose a job, or going to therapy to get professional. It’s important to realize that we thrive on interdependence, not independence. When we rely on others in times of need, we can overcome our struggles faster and more effectively.
60. Plan Your Day
Planning your day the night before can make you more productive, efficient, and effective at the tasks and goals you set for yourself. You can use a planner or just the notes app on your phone, to plan out all the tasks you want to get done the next day. It can be as detailed as planning hour by hour, or as loose as brain-dumping a list of tasks and errands you want to work on.
61. Strive for Progress, Not Perfection
This is similar to the tip discussed above, where I talk about not aiming for perfection. But for this healthy living tip, I suggest you focus on your progress. You could be working on a new project, business model, or relationship. Don’t compare yourself to others and aim for the perfect result. I’ll bet you, you’ll never get it. Rather, focus on how much you’re learning, what progress has been made since the beginning, and how far you’ve come.
62. Start Investing in Your 20s
There is such a thing as financial well-being, and this will help you achieve it. I’ve heard too many stories from family and friends telling me to invest now. They’re in their 60s wanting to retire. They can’t because they didn’t prioritize investing when they were young. Now, they’re trying to warn me, so I don’t become like them. Not only is it a good pre-cautionary step to start investing early, but by starting younger, you’ll have more time to compound your return. Therefore, you’ll get a higher return on the money you originally invested.
Great resources to learn more about investing are Investopedia, Motley Fool, and Yahoo Finance.
63. Start Cooking More
By cooking more, you’ll be able to better control what goes into your food. When you buy processed or restaurant food, the manufacturers or restaurant cooks put a lot of fat, sugar, and salt into the food to make it taste better. Unless you’re going to a restaurant that advertises extraordinarily clean food, that’s going to be the reality in most places.
By adopting a few simple cooking skills, you’ll be able to turn the healthy ingredients you buy at the grocery store into delicious meals that taste just as good as the restaurants, but without all the bad stuff in them. If you want to learn new cooking skills, from beginner to advance, you should check out my blog series, Kitchen Basics.
64. Share Meals With the People You Love
What is your favorite activity when you’re hanging out with friends? It’s probably grabbing a bite to eat with them. Sharing food with other people is a fun experience that bonds us together. Sharing meals creates long-lasting memories and strengthen our relationships.
However, that’s not the only benefit. Sharing meals has a physiological effect too. When we sit down at the dinner table with our family and eat dinner together, we end up eating more slowly. That’s because we aren’t scarfing our food down in front of our computers or smartphones. But we are stopping to talk, then eat, then talk, then eat. When we’re talking and listening to our family over the course of the meal, the slowed pace of eating also helps us digest the food more easily. It allows us to feel full more quickly. Thus, when we eat with our people, we tend to eat less overall.
65. Practice the 5-Minute Rule
The 5-minute rule was invented by Hal Elrod, the author of “The Miracle Morning”. When Hal was young, he got hit by a drunk driver and was put into a coma. He had broken 11 bones and was told by the doctor he would never walk again. He would be wheelchair-bound. Now, many years later, he can walk, and has run ultra-marathons. Hal gives credit to the 5-minute rule.
When something bad happens to you, allow yourself to feel all of the emotions about it – to really feel angry or hurt or upset. But only for five minutes. After five minutes, if you can’t change it, you accept it and move on.
As you can see, there are so many methods you can employ in your everyday life that will help you live a healthier lifestyle. Health doesn’t just boil down to what you eat, it’s much more holistic than that. True health is exemplified through your dietary, physical, and mental choices.
In order to be healthier, it doesn’t mean you have to employ all of these 65 tips today. I would even recommend trying out one, two, or three tips over the course of the next month, and see how you feel afterward. As mentioned above, being healthy isn’t about being perfect. It’s all about taking those baby steps every day to become a better version of your current self. Even if you mess up on a healthy habit, it doesn’t mean it’s over for you. Get back up the next day and try again.
I think that’s another problem people encounter when they try to live a healthier lifestyle. They let one screw-up determine their results. However, what you have to realize, is that your goals are surprisingly not about the end result (however nice the end goal is). It’s mostly about the journey. Are you enjoying the journey? Are you learning from the journey? Are you feeling fulfilled by pursuing the journey? These are all questions to ask and evaluate instead. When you change your mindset to focus on these health aspects, you will be successful at it.
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