“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily.” -Mike Murdock
In our last article, we talked about how to make fitness a habit.
Though the benefits of making fitness a habit are astounding, it is not the only habit we should strive for.
Our wellness habits (or lack of) make or break us. Our bodies need a break from the day-to-day to recharge so we can come back to our work and life refreshed, focused, and ready to go.
The below 5 habits are simple yet powerful. With practice, they allow us to tackle the day with intent and stability. We’ll know exactly how we intend to spend the day — what we need to get done and what we want to do. We’ll also be mentally and emotionally resilient to whatever the day throws at us. We’ll remain calm during times of storm, yet remain physically energetic and mentally alert.
The best part is that these habits are easy! The only investment they require is a time commitment from yourself — which can be as little as 5 minutes per day. And if you invest this time, you’ll see a HUGE return on investment.
Let’s dive in!
Wellness vs. Fitness
First, let’s define wellness and fitness — how they’re similar and how they’re different.
I define wellness as a good state of mind. The state of mind that entails a good mindset, confidence, gratitude, and mindfulness. However, there is also a physical aspect of wellness as well.
Wellness means lots of energy and focus. There is also a strong lack of lethargy and stress.
Because fitness promotes nearly all of these qualities, I consider fitness to be a wellness habit. Everybody should do something to move their body daily. Period. The benefits are just too extraordinary to ignore.
If you want to know how to make fitness a permanent habit, check out our latest article: 7 Tips for Anyone to Make Fitness a Habit.
Here’s the reason we talk about fitness and wellness separately though: Fitness is too physical an activity.
The reason it still is great for wellness is that, after all, muscle movement is controlled by the brain — therefore fitness directly trains the brain (that’s right, not just your muscles). It also gets your brain to release some awesome neurotransmitters that make you feel great!
However, this article is concerned with wellness habits that are more mental activities than physical ones.
And because these habits are more mental than physical, they directly train your mental processes —what you think, why you think, and how you think.
Once you’re able to train these mental processes, you’re much more in control of your state of mind, how you’re feeling at any moment, and whether or not you let stress get to you.
With that said, here are the top 5 habits you should learn to practice daily at home before you tackle the day.
“Meditation is not a way of making your mind quiet. It is a way of entering into the quiet that is already there — buried under the 50,000 thoughts the average person thinks every day.” -Deepak Chopra
I’m a firm believer that meditation is the #1 habit that will change the game for everyone.
It’s one of those funny things that feels weird and woo-woo before you start, and you also feel like it’s total bullshit. I know that’s how I felt.
That is — until I tried it. Now I meditate every single morning. And when I don’t, it makes a noticeable difference to my day… in a bad way.
Though there are different types of meditation, I prefer beginners to start with mindfulness, which is also what I practice. Learning to become mindful is also a game-changing quality — there really is no other feeling compared to just sitting in silence, engaging with all the senses, and feeling the inner-peace of the present moment.
Aside from the way it makes you feel, meditation has some real results. It trains you to manage your thoughts and emotions, which is HUGE for me. Life can throw some crazy things at me, but when I start every morning with my meditation practice, I can handle anything that comes my way. It trains me to be creative and in control rather than being reactive to my environment and emotions.
Besides these awesome mental superpowers, meditation has some awesome physical benefits as well.
- Reduces stress
- Lowers blood pressure
- Slows heart rate
- Relaxes the body (and the monkey mind)
- Combats anxiety
- Physically changes the brain
But wait: It gets better.
At the level of genes, meditation does some amazing things.
Studies show that meditation hinders the expression of genes associated with stress and inflammation. It has also been shown to enhance the expression of genes associated with anti-aging and even higher states of consciousness. No joke — check out Sharon Begley’s citations of the actual studies.
That’s right — your DNA’s gene expression is not fixed. And by meditating today, you can reverse some of the bad things your DNA is doing and start maximizing your physical and mental potential.
"I journal because I don't know what I think until I read what I say." -Flannery O'Connor
Journaling is another one of those weird habits that makes you feel like a teenage girl writing down her life in her diary. Again, once you actually practice it, it’s not the case.
Journaling is another habit that I can feel make a difference in my everyday life. Whenever I skip journaling in the morning, I can feel my mind be a bit more boggled and I later notice that I go about my day with less intent towards my actual goals and priorities.
Just a few of the proven benefits of journaling include:
- Better handling of yourself and your emotions
- Helping you achieve your goals
- Acquiring more emotional intelligence
- Building self-confidence
- Making you a better communicator
- And more!
Check out more of these awesome proven benefits.
So how should you be journaling?
It’s totally up to your own preference. I prefer to use a combination of Tim Ferriss’ approach and Benjamin Hardy’s approach.
Tim Ferriss uses the 5-minute journal method, which includes jotting down anything that comes to mind to tame his monkey mind. I love this approach because it truly does clear the out thoughts that are bouncing around in your head — allowing you to focus and be more creative throughout the day.
Tim also jots down some things that he’s grateful for that day. I’ll talk more about this in my next point, but this has been associated with boosted levels of happiness.
Aside from using Tim’s method, I also pull some amazing methods from Benjamin Hardy’s recommended journaling tactics.
Ben’s method has a lot more to do with goal-setting and affirmations. What this does is get your mind clear on what long-term direction you want to be heading in throughout the day, enhancing your ability to make important decisions and take the right actions.
I highly recommend you read more about Benjamin Hardy’s journaling method.
There is much more than meets the eye with a journaling habit. It is incredibly powerful when used correctly on a daily basis.
3. Gratitude, Gratitude, Gratitude
“Some people grumble that roses have thorns. I am grateful that thorns have roses.” -Alphonse Karr
Hopefully, you’ve heard a thing or two about gratitude and how vital it is to happiness and overall success.
A gratitude practice has become increasingly popular among many experts and industry leaders over the last few years. And for good reason too. There is tons of science to back it up.
In a nutshell, gratitude has been proven to lead to:
- Better health habits, such as exercise and healthy eating
- Better sleep
- Eased depression
- Reduced toxic emotions
- Higher quality (and even quantity) of relationships
- Reduced aggression
- Increased sense of empathy and EQ
- Boost in self-esteem
- Increased mental strength and resilience
- Long-term happiness
- And more
It’s worth reiterating how gratitude may actually combat depression, boost long-term happiness, and improve sleep.
The reason gratitude is so powerful and leads to such amazing results is because of what it does to your brain. A gratitude habit trains your mind to focus on the good, rather than dwell on the bad.
Most people complain. Most people want more. Most people think about all the things that went wrong as they’re going to sleep, rather than focusing on what went great that day.
But people who practice gratitude have trained their minds to dismiss negative thoughts and memories while emphasizing positive ones. This is how this powerful habit may help with depression.
Most people depend on instant-gratification for their happiness. This is great for a short-term dopamine boost, which feels great in the moment — but quickly fades away.
People who practice gratitude train themselves to avoid instant-gratification by framing the mind to enjoy the long-term happiness of what they currently have.
But what’s this about gratitude leading to better sleep? That sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Well, not really. It’s actually quite simple.
When we complain or focus on the negative, we’re sending our body into stress. Stress and an active nervous system make it much harder to sleep, as I’m sure you’ve experienced at one time or another due to anxiety or overthinking while going to bed.
So when you eliminate the negative focus and thinking, you’re promoting a much more calm state of mind and nervous system. A relaxed nervous system leads to a relaxed body, which helps you doze off much faster and get some high quality sleep in.
It’s also worth noting that quality of sleep is linked with better mood, which may make it easier for you to continue your gratitude practice, resulting in a beneficial positive feedback loop.
Start practicing gratitude now.
When I practice gratitude, I knock out two birds with one stone by reciting what I’m grateful for both during meditation and in my journaling session.
I love counting my blessings while meditating because my mind is already in a very calm state, and gratitude adds a deep feeling of joy and bliss.
I also like physically writing down the things I’m grateful for because writing engages your brain more than just thinking about it. There is also a powerful psychological effect that writing down goals, affirmations, and gratitude has on our psyche.
“If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal, you have a wish.” -Steve Maraboli
Another thing I like to do is think of a few things I’m grateful for that happened that day as I’m nodding off to sleep. This further trains my brain to look for and focus on the good things rather than the bad, and it also is great to fall asleep in such a positive state.
However, the way that is most effective for you is the way that you will actually do consistently.
So play around with it. Have fun with it!
Oh, also check out this awesome article listing 31 benefits of gratitude to see how it really does impact all aspects of your life!
4. Get Outdoors Daily
"Take a walk outside - it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind." -Rasheed Ogunlaru
In a digital world, it’s easy to disconnect from the world we live in. That’s why it’s necessary to unplug and spend time in nature.
Spending time in nature is associated with:
- Being healthier
- Having more energy
- Being more creative
- Improved concentration
- Reduced anxiety and depression
- Greater satisfaction with work and life
The upsides are simply too great to not spend a few minutes outside each day.
This small tweak in your daily life will leave you feeling more refreshed, energetic, and at peace.
Besides, you need to get outside for a bit to get your vitamin D anyway (supplementing vitamin D is insufficient because you need the sun to activate it).
So take a short walk in the morning. Take a quick break outside while at work. Just do something to get outside to reap these benefits and feel connected to the world you live in.
Read more of these benefits: The Effects of Nature on Mental and Physical Health.
5. Learn Something New
“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” -Brian Tracy
This is my favorite habit of all time.
I absolutely love learning new things. Reading is my favorite form of learning, which is funny because I used to hate reading. But once I started reading on topics I enjoy and want to learn, my attitude towards this habit flipped around.
And reading isn’t my only form of learning. I also am an avid podcast listener. I listen to podcasts while I:
- Go on walks
- Do dishes
- Fold laundry
And, of course, when I’m in the mood for an easy how-to tutorial, what better than educational videos on YouTube?
The crazy thing is that I actually feel myself get smarter and more creative every day from this habit of daily learning (or lifelong learning, if you will).
And I’m not alone.
Lifelong learning has been linked to:
- Increased IQ
- Slower brain deterioration
- Enhanced cognition
- Better social engagement
- Better professional and economic health
And, obviously, an increased level of skill at the particular topic of interest.
As a business owner and wellness entrepreneur, I’m constantly learning about and refreshing myself on:
- Peak performance
- Health and wellness
- Human biology
I enjoy and educate myself on other topics too. Other things I learn about include neuroscience, psychology, and quantum physics. I’m fascinated with the nature of this world we call “reality” and our interpretation of it.
But that’s a whole different topic and rabbit hole to get into.
Anyway, the best part about this habit is that it’s so easy! Getting some new knowledge daily is a piece of cake these days.
You can read. And today, you can read just about anywhere. If you don’t have a physical copy of the book (or you don’t want one), you can read on a Kindle or even on your phone.
You can also listen to podcasts. Podcasts are great because you can listen to them while you do other things. Unlike reading a book where you have to focus solely on reading the words on the page.
And then there’s also videos. YouTube is a great platform for learning. From how-to videos to interviews to documentaries, there is a surplus of different options for learning.
What’re you waiting for?
If you don’t already have a habit of lifelong learning, you can get started today!
But what if you don’t know where to start?
If you’re reading this blog post, you’re likely into fitness and/or wellness. So dive more into those topics!
A great start is a book called Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. This book comes action-packed with tons of interesting research on how to maximize your brain power through exercise.
Or you can look for some podcasts on this topic! I love Found My Fitness, hosted by Dr. Rhonda Partrick, Ph.D.
Just a heads up though, she goes very deep into the biology of health and fitness. She really knows what she’s talking about though, and it’s incredibly interesting. She dives into topics such as intermittent fasting (or time-restricted eating) and diet, and how these affect circadian rhythm and disease.
Ultimately, practicing a lifelong learning daily habit will result in sharpening your brain and performance in the short-term. In the long-term, it will make you more creative and a better decision-maker. And who doesn’t want that?
Putting These Into Practice
“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The scent of your success if found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell
How many of these are you already implementing? How many do you need to start?
The great thing about each of these habits is that they can each take as little as 5 minutes.
- You can meditate for 5 minutes
- You can journal your thoughts for 5 minutes
- You can take 5 minutes to practice gratitude
- You can take a 5-minute walk outside
- And if you read for just 5 minutes a day, you’ll learn more than you think
Do you have just 25 minutes a day to start practicing these wellness habits that will make you healthier, happier, and smarter?
Just 25 minutes per day can make you face the day with confidence and resilience, rather than live reactively to all the notifications, requests, and stress that exists today.
It’s also worth mentioning that you can perform any of these habits while you’re in between tasks, projects, or just waiting around. You don’t even have to have 25 consecutive minutes — I’m sure you have an extra 5-minute gap here and there!
Once you get into the routine of practicing these actions, you’ll live your day-to-day in a whole new mental state. Paired with exercise, your energy levels will be explosive and you’ll experience peak performance in your work and life as you constantly are in a peak state of awareness and bliss.
So what do you say? Are you clearing some time in your schedule yet?
Can’t Find The Time?
Home Gym Heroes can help.
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That way, you attack your deepest ambitions and goals with more confidence, clarity, and energy while avoiding fear and stress altogether.
Interested in taking the plunge and getting a home gym set up?
Download our short Home Gym Handbook for free and learn what next steps to take.
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What’re you waiting for? Get started here.