In today’s fast-paced world we are more connected, more switched-on, and more (frankly) overwhelmed by everything coming at us. Sometimes it’s hard not only to find time for our healthy habits but even to know what the best advice and tips actually are to truly keep us on track to being our “best self.” We at Wisdom Times understand that and are here to help.
10 healthy habits for busy people
We have created our top-10 list of healthy habits for your self-betterment and have even divided them up into categories. You’ll find items for health, spiritual growth, personal growth, even your career and family life. We tried to cover every area.
Not only are these 10 habits valid (and therefore workable) ideas, some of them are even linked to other articles on the site where you can find more information about the ones that most interest you. Good luck, and here’s to a better you!
1. Get more sleep
To get the ball rolling, let’s begin with your sleep patterns. This is without a doubt the most powerful of all our healthy habits. You can’t function without proper sleep. Don’t believe me? Did you know that no matter which bodily need you are trying to serve (be it hunger or thirst or desire or what-have-you), if your body needs sleep badly enough it will literally override all the others and you will collapse on the ground where you stood and immediately fall asleep? Did you know that? Even if you were actively being attacked! I personally know at least one Navy SEAL who slept while being shot at! Now, to be fair to him, he actively made the choice to go to sleep—but still! It shows you that the body needs what the body needs.
So then, our healthy habit number one is to look after your sleep patterns. Sometimes, though, in our internet-connected world, our devices get in the way. What can you do about that?
Ideally, you would switch them off 2 hours before bed. If you find that to be impossible, let me suggest you use a blue-blocker, because there is a theory that says the blue light of our screens is a melatonin blocker.
That means it keeps us from feeling sleepy. One way to solve that is with an app. You can use f.lux or RedShift for your computers. iPhones have it automatically if you swipe up from the bottom and on Android you can use an app called Twilight (not the movie twilight—that will ruin anybody’s sleep).
By using something to block the light you are at least allowing your body to naturally relax the way nature intended. Another way to do it, is to use glasses that block out that light. They are for sale on Amazon and Mark’s Daily Apple.
Book yourself 8 full hours of sleep if you can, and chip away at it from there only if you need to. Make 8 your base. You can fall back to 6 or 7 in a crunch, but the goal is to keep you away from the bargaining table. Embrace your sleep! You’ll be glad you did.
Second only to sleep is your health (and that’s a close contest anyway) coming in at number 2 on our list of healthy habits. There are a couple of areas we will look at for health in these tips, exercise being just one of them. Later on, we’ll pick up diet, sunlight, meditation—the works.
So yes, everyone knows they should go to the gym. Nothing new there. But for those of us that simply can’t seem to get there, we do have some suggestions for you.
Many of us work in front of the computer today, so for exercise tips I want to get you moving as often as I can while not disrupting your workflow. There are 6 healthy habits off the top of my head that can get you into the swing of things to exercise when you think you can’t. Seven, if you count the age-old adage of taking the stairs!
Migrate yourself to a standing desk if you can.
It worked for Hemingway! If your boss can’t afford to buy you one simply get an external keyboard and prop the monitor up higher. In case you didn’t get the memo: Sitting is the new smoking. A standing desk gets the blood flowing.
Also, here’s a cool tip for those of you who work from home. Place river rocks in a box and stand on them in your bare feet. It’s great for circulation and proprioception (that’s a fancy term for your body using muscles to keep you stable). In the winter, you can heat those rocks in a crock pot (or maybe a microwave though I didn’t test that one) to warm yourself from the feet, up. It’s called thermal regulation and it is the main reason natives were so well-adapted to the highs and lows of nature temperatures (the bare feet, not the crock pot).
If the desk is out, you can still get some proprioception action with a giant ball!
(How many times do you get to say that sentence?) The idea is that you sit on one of those giant yoga/exercise balls and that will improve your posture as well as tightening your core. Plus, it’s more fun to dance on when your favorite jam comes over the radio.
If for some reason your boss won’t allow either of those things, simply move around as much as you can. One way is to use the Pomodoro technique and this will help you in many ways.
In a nutshell, you take a break every 20 minutes. During the 20 you work on just one task.
After the 20 (in your break time) you walk around and stretch for a few minutes. It also eases the strain on your eyes because you go from focusing up close to things far away (and not on a glare-filled screen, for that matter).
The time you spend walking around not only refreshes your body it refreshes your mind as well because it allows your subconscious to take over on a task while you are strolling and sometimes that’s all you need for a breakthrough. It’s also physically healthier, obviously.
- If for some reason taking a break is also out of the question (and no it doesn’t mean you should quit your job), then you can still do exercises right at your desk while you are working—even if you are sitting down in a boring chair and not a bouncy ball.
These would be things like isometric exercises, posture-strengtheners, and chair yoga. They work like this. Sit up straight. Bring your shoulders back. Drop your shoulders and relax them (while still keeping them back). Tighten your core. Now relax your core. That’s one you can do and no one will even know.
- You can tighten your calves under your desk or use a half-wheel calf-flexing device. You can do toe raises while seated. You can do grip exercises while on the phone. You can practice belly breathing (that’s a HUGE ONE). No one has to know. It can be between you and your doctor.
- Now if for some reason this is ALL out of the question for you, you always have your TV time. If work is a no-go, do it at home when you are sitting in front of the TV. If your family thinks it is too distracting, do it during a commercial or head off to your room during a commercial just to handle it in private.
The point I am making is that healthy habits like this one can be done using only the time you have each day and it doesn’t have to cut into anything else you have going on. Get more fit on your own time! Once you have gone beyond the basics, take a walk around the block at lunchtime. Or go for a run or hit those stairs. All in good health, all in good time.
Still in the arena of your health, we have your diet coming in at number 3 on our list of healthy habits. There are some super simple rules here. Drink more water. It doesn’t matter how much water you drink now. Drink more. It’s good for you. If you drink a cold glass first thing in the morning you will lose weight (see: giant write-up in the 4-hour body by Tim Ferris) and you will also wake up with a clear, alert mind.
Second, cut out sugar. If you can completely avoid adding sugar to your drinks or food, you will have done wonderful things for your body, metabolically speaking. We have full articles on the site about this so I won’t delve too deeply here. I’ll just link you to them.
Third, eat mindfully. If you can eat more slowly—more consciously—it can actually improve your perception of the flavor (and who doesn’t want better-tasting food?).
Really take a moment to think about where the food came from. Imagine all the great benefits you receive from this one delicious bite.
And the next one, and the next one.
Finally, eat less. If you can leave a little on your plate each time, you will not only lose weight, you will also improve the digestion of the food that you do eat. Cutting back will give you beneficial lifestyle changes as well. I will cover what to eat in the next section.
4. Weekly cookups
On our list of healthy habits, number 4 is great because it is a time-saver, a money-saver, and it’s healthier. Here it is in a nutshell.
A weekly cookup is basically the idea that you can gather and prepare all your food in one session on the weekend of just a few hours, that you can then eat for the rest of the week!
Before I go into the specifics of it, imagine: if this were true . . . How great would this be for your life? You spend less, eat healthier and it takes you no time! That’s pretty cool.
Now for the details. There are 2 schools of thought on this. One is the frozen route and the other is the fresh-fruits-and-veggies-daily method. I’m a fan of both. Why? Because I can be realistic and realize that sometimes we can’t eat as if we all lived in an organic garden paradise. Still, we can have some of the benefits.
For the frozen method, there are MANY cookbooks out there that give you shopping guides and preparation instructions, so I won’t go into it here. Let me give you the short version: Make it all on day one of the weekend. Freeze it. Then have fresh-frozen dishes the rest of the week (because you take it out of the freezer and either cook it at that moment—or just microwave it if you cooked it prior. The cookbooks will guide you on which are better cooked and then frozen vs. just frozen raw.).
The meals are cooked and frozen or at the very least organized and separated prior and then frozen until you need them.
The fresh-fruits-and-veggies-daily method comes up A LOT in CrossFit circles. These are more often situations where the veggies are all chopped and tupperwared, and the items are all sequestered separately and then you “grab and go” on your way out the door.
Both ways save you time and money and improve your health. But let’s say for some reason you can’t implement either one. Now what? In this case, you can at least prepare a double batch of something when you are cooking dinner the night before and then you can have it for lunch the next day—all nice and fresh. It’s better than leftovers!
5. Pay yourself first in two ways
Next up, on our list of healthy habits we have a new twist on an old favorite. The best financial advice making the rounds has always been to pay yourself first. Strong advice! We a Wisdom Times agree. Did you know you can also do that with your time as well?
Start the first hour of your day working on your own project or book or startup. Then join the rat race afterward. Yes, You may have to get up early to pay yourself first, but the rewards are great. Also, getting up early doesn’t mean getting less sleep. Just go to bed an hour earlier. Problem solved!
What’s that, you say? You can’t afford a full hour each day to change your life? Well, do it by task then. Either give yourself 20 minutes (like perhaps you say you will write for just 20 minutes—or perhaps you will exercise). Whatever it is, go for it! It’s better than nothing and at the very least you will have made SOME progress. That’s better than none at all.
Better still, you will have a metric.
Pearson’s law states that whatever gets measured gets improved.
How does this apply to you? Easy. The obvious way is that if you weigh yourself each day then at least 20 minutes can get you closer to your target weight. That’s not bad, but I was thinking there is more to be gained in the work itself. For example, once you know you have 20 minutes, then just figure out how best to spend those 20 minutes. There are entire exercise routines that can be done in less time than that. Look up HIIT.
That covers paying yourself first with your time. I won’t go too deep into the money area of this tip, because we likely all know it, but I will say this: Do that part as well. Just like with the time tip, adding something to your savings account is better than not saving any. Take it out of your paycheck and put it away BEFORE you do anything else with it. And for those of you that do not know much about it, here are two different courses that we offer!
Yes, my friends. This one IS obvious. But seeing as how this is a list of healthy habits, I HAD TO add it to the list. So here’s what I can do for you. Let me add some tips in this area you HAVEN’T seen!
For those of you who just don’t have the time to read, I think I can offer you several ways to get this done. You can listen to an audiobook while you commute to work. I’ll bet you knew that one. Did you know, however, that you can double the speed at which the book is read back to you? It really makes a big impact on your consumption levels. Not only that, you’ll adjust to it so quickly that everything else will seem like a turtle’s pace.
You can also speed up a podcast. Podcasts are useful if you are trying to pick up a new skill or be more effective at work for example. Don’t overlook them. Also, if fiction is more your taste, audiobooks are not the only option. You can find old radio shows (serialized fiction) for free on the internet as well. And yes, you can speed that up, too. But maybe you shouldn’t.
Here’s another tip about reading that I bet you don’t know. If you are trying to learn a new language, then take a book (in your target language) to bed with you. If you fall asleep while reading it, you will learn that new language faster. It is a proven fact and has worked for celebs like Johnny Depp, Christina Aguilera, Penelope Cruz, Tobey Maguire, Jack Black, and even Christian Slater!
If audio books are not your thing, and you are still pressed for time, I can still get you done faster than usual! Check out this article we wrote on speed reading. Let’s see. What else can I do for you?
How about this? If you find that you are STILL too busy, then maybe I can find one MORE tip you may not have known. How about Book Summaries? You can simply read a summary of a book (instead of the entire book) and still improve your knowledge while you are on the go. Combine this with an audio version set on 2x normal and welcome to the future, you Speed Demon, you!
7. Journaling/writing each day
Here’s a good one, because it works on many levels. At the most basic, journaling helps you keep track of your thoughts and has helped people find peace. You can also use it to track your weight or exercise goals as well. Surprisingly, you might also find a boost in your self-esteem if you look back at your journal after a year to see how far you have come. And not just if you have made progress, either.
You might feel a boost just because you journaled for a year and saw that task all the way through to completion. It’s great for a list of healthy habits because, in reality, it’s writing. How do I mean that? You can make a career out of it.
Let’s say you weren’t journaling just to have a diary. Maybe you were using that time to write each day. Here is an entire article (or 2)on how you can turn that tiny bit of writing into a book you can market and sell. Not a bad habit, since it also makes you money! 🙂
If that worked for you (but you’d like something meatier), we also have an entire course you can take that will walk you through each and every step of freelance writing. You can do good and do well at the same time!
This is one of those healthy habits that always used to elude me. Until I really understood what it was. Believe it or not, I used to think meditation was done in a room on a mat, or on a cushion with white sheets billowing. Turns out: not so much.
Meditation only happens in one place. (Tweet this)
Because meditation is a thing that takes place inside us, the things outside us can really be anywhere. For example, some people find their mind still when they are engaged in their art. That can be anything from Krav Maga to Tai Chi to painting to rock and roll! Whatever allows you to find your peace: do that thing!
This can also be done at work. Part 2 of our series on Inner Peace shows you how. For more on meditation, we also offer a paid course that goes into SO MUCH MORE detail.
Here are the last two healthy habits…
9. Call your mom because family is important, and
10. Say I love you more often (both to yourself and to others).