10 small habit changes for 2017 that will accelerate your health and happiness

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For about 50% of all people, each year starts with an attempt to make new years resolution that usually fail after 30 days.

Every year we want to live more healthy, do more sports, make more money or take more risks. Yet, most of us fall into old habits not long after.

How come we suck so badly at keeping our own promises?

Tony Robbins says:

“In order to make profound changes to you life, you need either inspiration or desperation.”

I guess, we don’t feel enough pain to stick to our new years resolution.
We aim too high and want to achieve too much at once. Losing weight by eating less, or going to the gym 3 times a week from on day to the other.

It’s just not gonna work. And no one cares anyway if we give up. No one holds us accountable. After a while we fall back into our old behavior and wonder why we don’t get ahead.

Sometimes we just need to take things more slowly, start with small things that actually stick.

I believe that working out for 3 min every day will have more impact in the long run than working out 3 times a week and then giving up after 30 days because of frustration.

In this article I just want to share ideas that you can take and try to apply to your life to create a better version of yourself.

I applied some of the techniques myself last year (My Morning Routine) but I found out that it’s not gonna work if you do too many things at once.

Start with one thing, make it stick and move to the next one.
To make habits persistant, keep the following mechanism in mind:

    1. A new habit needs a trigger (hook a new habit to an old one)
    2. A new habit needs routine (neural networks need to be created and that needs repetition)
    3. A new habit needs a reward (a positive reinforcement)

Drink a glass of water every morning

Take care of yourself. Your body dehydrates very quickly especially during 8 hours of sleep. Drinking a glass of water right after waking up will get your metabolism going. You can prepare the water the night before. Recommendation: put fresh lemon or mint in it.

Put your alarm clock away

Snoozers are losers. If you put your alarm clock at the other side of the room, you have to get up to turn it off. If you drink a glass of water on the way, its even better. Many use their smartphones as alarm clock and getting up will prevent you from checking facebook right away.

Read 10 minutes a day

The average reading speed for an adult is around 250 – 300 words per minute. A page in a book has on average 300 words. So basically you can finish 10 pages in one session. If you read 10 minutes every day, you could finish a 300 page book in 30 days. If you keep it up for a year, you can finish at least 12 books. That’s quite a bit of knowledge you gain.

Do 10 push-ups every day

Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? Yet, doing it every day can be quite a challenge.
Do the exercise before going to bed or when waking up. It doesn’t take a lot of time. By the end of the year you’ve done 3600 push-ups. I’m sure that’s more than you have ever done in your entire life.

Go for a morning run

It doesn’t need to be long. Only for 10 min, or 2.5 km. Or just around the block. The point is that you get out, get some fresh air and move. You can track your progress with the free nike running app.

Keep a journal

Putting your thoughts on paper will help to organize the information in your brain. You can combine this exercise with your morning coffee.
Most importantly: No one will ever read it so don’t worry about what to write. Write about whatever comes to your mind.

Write down 3 things you are grateful for

You can make this part of your journal. In general just think about the things in your life that you are thankful for. We tend to complain a lot every day and this exercise will train your mind to stay more positive. Thinking about it will also make you realize how lucky you are.

Meditate for 5 minutes every day

Meditation is proven to help reducing stress and finding focus. Breath in and out slowly and perform a body scan. Focus on yourself and try to not think about work. The headspace app might be helpful for the start. If 5 min are not enough, meditate for 10, 15 or 20 min. And if you cannot take 5 min a day to sit still, then there is definitely something wrong with your daily routine.

Avoid news

Most of the news will not add any value to your life anyway. And the most important things you need to know, you will find out when people are talking about it. You can spend your time more wisely on other things (e.g listening to podcasts)

Exercise your mind

Our brain works like a muscle. In order to stay mentally fit, we need to exercise it. You can use apps such as Elevate, Luminosity or Peak to do small brain exercises every day. 5-10 min a day will make a huge difference long term.Again, you don’t have to apply all of them at once.

Most people fail with new years resolution because they want to make big changes as quick as possible and force new habits to become part of their lives instantly. That’s not working.

Make small changes at a time and let new habits integrate naturally into your life.

Hook new ones to existing ones. For example: I love to combine journaling or brain exercises with my morning coffee.

Find out what your current daily routine is and think about where you can hook new habits to existing ones.

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Hi, I'm Ninh

I’m a UX Designer, Online Entrepreneur and World Citizen.
I currently travel around the world, build lifestyle businesses and help others to hack their creativity, personal growth and entrepreneurial mindset.