For years I have tried to start habits and keep to them. Typically I would start strong, complete a few weeks, then as life would have it, something happened or I would become very busy and miss a day, then two and so on. At the end of 3 months, I would look back and realise I had only completed a full three weeks of habits. At the time I had not thought of tracking my habits. Had I known, it would have been so much easier.
The Time Came To Start Tracking My Habits
By the second half of 2022, I felt out of sorts. With no apparent direction, my fitness regime was non-existent and I was only journaling once or twice a week. Sometimes not even that. As I look back now it’s easy to see that I was lost with no idea of how to get back on track. I desperately wanted to lead a productive and joyful life. As much as I wanted to, I was obviously lacking motivation.
As luck would have it I randomly run into a friend who happens to be a qualified therapist. When I told her about my lack of motivation, and how I was aware of the tools needed to lead a fulfilled life, but just didn’t know how to remain consistent, she presented me with a great example of what keeping to a habit is like.
‘It’s like when you first start learning how to drive. In the beginning, you don’t know what you are doing, you need to keep reminding yourself of every step necessary to get from A to B. Check your mirror, clutch control, change gears, and hand brake……. After a while you are so used to the practice, it becomes natural. Creating self-help habits and adhering to them is the same thing.’
I went home determined to achieve some sort of self-care practice that would allow me to live my best life.
My Habit Tracker
I spent the next few days researching and reading all about self-care habits. The first thing I introduced was a morning routine. I read a book called The 5 am Club, by Robin Sharma (you can find my review here) and decided to give it a go. (Full disclosure though, I don’t always manage to wake up at 5 am, but I can honestly say I’m always up by 6 am). The next thing was creating a Habit Tracker that would work for me.
After looking at different formats online I designed my own and adapted it to my needs. I wasn’t looking for a way to track my cleaning habits (although I do have a cleaning schedule that has made my life easier) or my productivity habits (more on that for another post). I just wanted to ensure that I had the best possible start to my day, which would, in turn, I was certain, encourage a healthy continuation of my day.
My main objective was to improve my mental health. So far tracking my habits has been a game-changer. I am by no means where I want to be, but I can honestly say I’m much further along than where I was six months ago.
So let me tell you now about the changes I made.
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Tracking Those Habits That Changed My Life
1. Morning Water
Drinking water is the first thing I do when I wake up. The human body becomes dehydrated during the long hours of sleep. Not only that, drinking water first thing in the morning helps flush out the stomach and balance the lymphatic system, aiding us in building a robust immune system.
This is the one non-negotiable habit, that no matter what, takes place every single day. It is my time to quiet my mind and calm my soul. My moment to surrender to the present moment and to improve mindfulness. Meditation has vastly improved my mental health. It provides me with peace and helps me to let go of all that is out of my control whilst experiencing joy and self-love. The health benefits of meditation are many:
- Reduces stress
- Aids in managing depression
- Reduces and helps with anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure
- Enhances memory
- Increases self-awareness
- Strengthens immune system
- Improves memory
3. Positive Affirmations
I came across Positive Affirmations whilst reading Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life. In it, Louise teaches us how to live a positive and empowered life with the aid of positive statements and beliefs. Louise believed that your point of power is in the present moment, where you plant the mental seeds for creating new experiences.
Below I have included a list of benefits:
- Replaces negative thoughts with positive ones
- Increases awareness of thought patterns and feelings
- Increases our feelings of self-worth
4. Light Morning Stretches
The older I get the stiffer I feel as I jump out of bed (jump is an overstatement, most mornings I crawl out of bed, hello mid-forties). Stretching has always been a vital part of my fitness routine. I started working out in 2017, and stretching at the end of my workout was imperative to my recovery. Lately, though, I’ve been struggling with fitness, and definitely lacking motivation. Having said that, I have maintained a stretching routine in the mornings.
After my meditation, stretching my body provides me with a sense of calm and relaxation. It takes around 20 minutes of basic subtle stretches, nothing too rigorous.
5. Read a self-help book for 30 minutes.
It is no secret I have always been an avid reader. I find great joy in adding books to my TBR list (to be read). Whilst I normally give all my attention to one book, as of late I have two books on the go. During my morning routine, I make it a point to read a self-help book and give it a full 30 minutes. The rest of the day I will read whatever tickles my fancy.
Lately, I have developed a thirst for knowledge in the form of self-help books or as others like to call it, motivational books. The great thing about these books is that the information is laid out in such a way that it makes it easy to understand and incorporate new habits into everyday life. The tools and skills I have acquired during the last few months have allowed me to make better life choices.
Needless to say, this is one of my favourite habits. Thirty minutes of enlightening reading is what I have named this slot of time in my day.
Check out my favourite self-help books from 2022.
6. The Journaling Habit
For as long as I can remember journaling my thoughts and adventures has always been part of my day. As an adult, it became sort of a therapy. At times when reading back on past journal entries, it’s thrilling to see how far I have come and at times, what I have overcome.
There are plenty of journals available to purchase online, however, all you need is a simple notebook to get you started. Doesn’t necessarily need to be fancy. If you need help getting started, why not try some journal prompts? We have a great list to help you get started.
Incorporating journaling as part of a daily habit will benefit you in numerous ways. To start with, it’s a great way to enhance mindfulness and as a result, increase self-awareness. The habit of journaling will promote positive talk and self-love.
7. A good cup of herbal tea
I love myself a good old cup of tea, especially if accompanied by a great book. A few years ago though, I started suffering from digestive problems and decided to eliminate certain foods and introduce herbal teas to my daily diet.
I’m not going to lie; I’m not a lover of the flavours and I have to sweeten them with some raw honey. Having said that, I did find that it relieved my digestion problems.
Having a cup or two of herbal tea daily will strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation. Some studies suggest that herbal teas can reduce the chances of some cancers and heart conditions.
Some of my favourites are listed below:
- Ginger, lemon and honey tea
- Green Matcha Tea
- Chamomile Tea
- Mint Tea
8. 10,000 Daily Steps
This one is a hard habit for me. As a writer and a bookworm, I tend to spend many hours sedentary. Not only that, but I also happen to love the indoors. However, I do go out of my way (most days) to get my 10,000-step count done. A few years ago I invested in a Fitbit watch. A marvellous gadget that aids me in tracking a number of healthy habits. The number of steps I walk, my heart rate, sleeping patterns, burned calories and how many hours I have worked out.
We all know that 10,000 steps are the recommended amount of steps by health practitioners. Furthermore, research shows that walking lowers the risk of early death by 17%. Additionally, other benefits include improved circulation, strengthened heart, bones and muscles and aids in weight loss.
9. Vitamins and supplements
Whilst supplements shouldn’t replace the benefits of a healthy diet, it’s still a good idea to invest in a good multivitamin supplement. Most of the time our lives get so busy it isn’t always possible to obtain the nutrients we need from food alone.
After a few months of dealing with a cold that just wouldn’t go away, I decided to take a few supplement courses to boost my immune system. I’m not the best at taking pills. When I’m sick I will remember to take my medicine purely because I’m feeling poorly. The moment I feel better, I forget. It is, for this reason, I included a tab in my habit tracker for my vitamins. And, I am so glad I did, because every day when I go back to it, ticking off the habits I have managed to complete during the day, I find that I once again forgot to take my vitamins.
As a general rule, we go through life on an automatic drive. We live our days taking for granted the simplest of things. Recently I learned the art of practising gratitude every day. I give thanks for everything, the list is endless. Even going as far as giving thanks for the challenges life presents me with. I am thankful for all that it teaches me and for how they help me grow into a better me.
When I wake up, I give thanks. Thanks for the gift of another day, for my children, my husband and my family. I am grateful for my home, my job and the lovely human beings I get to talk to every day. The food that I eat, the weather, you name it, I’m grateful for it.
In my personal opinion, I believe that there is no space for misery in a grateful heart. Misery and gratefulness cannot co-exist. It’s impossible. You cannot be miserable and grateful at the same time. So to make sure that I am double grateful for every blessing in my life, I also keep a gratitude journal. I write in it every night. I write a list of five things I am grateful for at the end of the day. It’s brilliant. I will admit that on the bad days, it’s difficult to think of five things, but I soon learned that there is always, always something to be grateful for.
Gratitude is one of my favourite habits.
11. Skin Care
When it comes to removing my makeup and giving my skin a proper clean, I can be quite lazy. My routine used to consist of getting in the shower and washing my makeup off with face wash. That was it. Nowadays I make it a point to remove my makeup first. Below is a step-by-step guide to my routine.
- Apply some coconut oil to the face, rubbing it in generously.
- Wet two cotton pads and remove make-up
- Wash your face with a good face wash
- Pat it dry
- Apply serum
- Apply eye cream
- Three times a week I will massage my face with a Gua Sha
(Gua Sha benefits – Reduces puffiness and inflammation and helps relieve tension in the face)
Using coconut oil as a makeup remover works like a charm. I no longer spend a fortune on makeup removers.
12. Drink 1.5L Water
When the summer season is upon us, I have no problem drinking water. During the winter season though, that’s a different story. I have to keep reminding myself to hydrate.
There’s a plethora of benefits from drinking water, so I’ve listed below the ones that seem more beneficial in my opinion:
- Prevents Dehydration
- Aid Weight Loss
- Regulates Blood Pressure
- Boosts Energy
- Supports Kidney Health
- Aid Digestive Efficiency
Drinking water is so important. Even mild dehydration has severe effects on the human body. From tiredness to confusion, muscle cramping, fast heart rate and poor kidney function.
Drinking water is probably one of the most beneficial habits to keep on this list.
13. Lift Weights
Whilst I’m not a professional and in no position to offer fitness advice, I can, however, tell you how lifting weights twice a week has helped me feel healthier than ever.
For starters, I sleep better. Since I became a mother, my sleep patterns have been average at best. Because of strength training, I am definitely logging in more hours of sleep. And the obvious benefit for me? It helped me manage weight loss. Other benefits include:
- Boosts metabolism
- Lowers inflammation
- Improved posture
- Improved Bone Health
- Enhanced Brain Health
The best part for me is that I work out from the comfort of my home. I went ahead and invested in a few pairs of dumbbells and kettlebells, downloaded a fitness app and off I went. Sometimes I follow YouTube workouts and other times I follow the workout in the app.
Signing up for the gym is also a great idea. However, it isn’t for me. As a true introvert, I rather stay home, but I do recognize that at a gym the possibilities to get a great workout done are endless.
14. Write on a daily basis
This one is a must for me. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. There are so many stories locked away in the deepest corner of my mind. However, I never felt brave enough or good enough to put it on paper. Always comparing myself with others is definitely a bad habit. One I have been working hard on breaking.
All of the self-help books I have read say the same thing. If I want to be a writer, I need to write daily, religiously. The more I write the better I will get at it. As it stands I’m not sure if I am a better writer, but I do know for sure it is getting easier.
How Tracking These 14 Habits Have Changed My Everyday Life!
These are the 14 habits I stick to (or try very hard to) every day. Your list might be different, after all, we all have different needs. Has it changed my life? Yes, I can honestly say it has. My days are more productive just by waking up earlier every day. I have lost weight by keeping to the 10,000 step count daily and working out with weights twice a week. My mindset is in a much better place after incorporating meditation, journaling and self-care reading daily. The affirmations motivate me to stay positive and practising gratitude allows me to reflect on all the blessings in my life.
Could my habit tracker be better? Absolutely. There is always room for improvement.
Recently I read a book called ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. This a brilliant read to help you kick bad habits and incorporate new ones, that will ultimately improve your life. I highlighted the following text from the book and I wanted to share it with you;
‘The most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.’
Will You Incorporate Daily Habits Then?
Now that you have read about my daily habits, what habits do you wish to incorporate into your daily life? How will it improve your life? Will it help you become the person you want to become? How do you feel about tracking habits?
The best approach is to visualise the person you want to be or the life you want to lead, and then make a list of the changes you can make to make it happen. A great start would be to read James Clear’s book – Atomic Habits. I highly recommend it.
Maybe you already have daily habits that make your life easier. If so please leave us a comment and tell us all about it. We are open to suggestions and recommendations. If it’s going to improve our life then we are all ears.
And remember, the only thing holding you back is YOU!!
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