When I was a teenager my two biggest goals were:
1. Fall in love
2. Find a way to have abs.
My attempt? Look away every time the guy I liked would look at me and do 100 sit ups every day.
Then came my early twenties. Goals:
1. Find a way to not spend money on anything, because you’re a poor student.
2. Fall in love with someone new.
3. Figure out how to have abs.
So naturally I stayed mostly at home, looked away every time the guy in my class looked at me and did the treadmill thing five days a week.
Goals in my early thirties (currently): 1. Feel good every day. Yes, you do get braver when you get older.
If we still do have the good old internet 10 years from now and this blog post still exists somewhere in there, I’ll probably get a good laugh then.
But now? I’m serious writing this.
Because over the last, well, probably three years I developed the following habits (without even realizing it) and they seriously help me fulfill my current goal if not every day, at least most days of my week.
They helped me make new friends, more money and made me more confident (although I am still, not the most confident person). All these = Feeling good daily.
These healthy habits have changed my life and I’m sure can help you too.
6 Healthy Habits That Changed My Life
1. Letting go of guilt
Have you noticed the genius tagline of this blog? If you haven’t, it’s: Feel good, not guilty. I came up with this myself and couldn’t be prouder.
And I came up with it for a reason.
Because I’ve been going on guilt trips about EVERYTHING all my freaking life.
Not finishing the things on my to do list, not even having a to do list, not being helpful enough to people who ask me for directions in the street, not being available all the time for my family or friends, missing a workout, eating three pieces of carrot cake yesterday or taking a shower instead of cleaning my desk.
After lots of days spent in thoughts, guilt and fights with myself and others – I decided to see things for what they are.
I can’t control everything. I can’t fix everything and everyone. And the BEST part: Nobody actually expects me to. I don’t have to.
As long as I do what’s important for me and actually take care of myself, everything else will take care of itself.
Now realizing this is great, but to actually make a change I needed to keep reminding myself. And I do it periodically whenever things get crazy and I start feeling overwhelmed.
2. Spending time in nature
People like to let out an ommmmm here, an ommmm there, but I’m not much into meditation. I feel like an idiot while trying to do it.
What SAVES me is spending time in nature. Whether it’s a park during lunch break, walking along the beach, the mountains or the woods. I do whatever I can. Whether I’m on my own or with someone else – nature seems to clear my head and ground me.
I don’t know how to explain this without sounding like a pretentious hippie.
But there, I’ll take a chance: I feel like nature connects me to what I really am, it’s a place where I realize my job, social media, TV, cars, buildings, even abs – all that just doesn’t matter. And I will somehow be alright even if it’s all gone.
3. Reminding myself what food actually is for
Don’t play around with food, some genius people say and they’re right.
Food is not something we need to make challenges about, not eat any of, or separate into good and bad.
Food is one thing only.
It’s a source. It’s a source of nutrients to keep us all alive on this planet. Here’s the definition of food according to The Oxford English Dictionary (today I’m super fancy somehow – first the hippie talk, now this)
Any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink or that plants absorb in order to maintain life and growth.
Food is not a toy, not a treat, not a loved one, not an enemy.
It’s just the source of energy and building blocks to help you maintain your body and do other things in this world besides eating or thinking about food.
Now. I realize this and I still struggle at times with overeating or feeling guilty when I eat something I “shouldn’t”. But I’m working on it every single day – I keep reminding myself what food is for.
4. Talking to new people (and the right ones)
Whenever someone would come ask me something in the past my reaction would be – a hesitant yes, no or I don’t know (all that without making eye contact). Sometimes it would just be nothing.
I’d react like this whether it’s an old lady or a younger guy asking for the time, who I just assume wants to sleep with me and then leave me. I mean the old lady.
Now this behavior, as charming, playful and mature as it was, did not make me happy. Like at all. I felt like a jerk every time and after that I’d go on a guilt trip.
I’d then go into the other extreme where I talk to a creepy guy and then feel like I need to take a shower after that.
I now learned how to deal with this. Whenever someone approaches me – I keep an open mind, trust my instincts, but overcome my habit of trying to get it over with as quickly as possible.
I am always friendly, because that’s when I feel like truly myself. No need to be an idiot, even if you know that the person you’re talking to won’t be your best friend.
If it’s a creepy guy – I say I don’t know politely, or that I’m not interested and I get away quickly. If it’s a nice old lady – I try to be as helpful and polite as I can and this makes me super happy. Seriously, sometimes I’d feel good for the rest of the day if I had a little chat with someone nice I didn’t know before.
5. Doing a short workout in the morning
You can easily waste 10 minutes on social media, emails or even youtube first thing in the morning or, you know, use that time to do some yoga.
Most mornings I choose to do yoga or other types of workout if I’m really motivated.
Then I take a shower and don’t feel like a complete failure. I feel great, light, no pain in my back, ready for a great day.
I say it all the time: this is one of the easiest and most rewarding habits I have developed during the last few years and I’m sure can benefit you greatly too.
6. Focus on making, not watching
I grew up watching telenovelas and shows like Step by Step after school for more than 6 hours a day.
Then I grew up some more and started watching the news. And this made me MISERABLE. Like that’s all there is? War, shootings and lack of education?
However, recently I realized that I haven’t watched TV for more than 6 months. Mentally, and physically I haven’t felt better.
Not only do I not care what’s going on in the media anymore, but I also don’t worry what mean people might do to the world. I trust that everything will be pretty much the same even if I don’t spend my time watching. I also have more time to actually do the things I want to do.
Even if it’s to cook a meal, clean, go outside to watch the sunset or write a blog post. I focus on making something, instead of watching someone else do something (or in some cases: do nothing).
Whether you want to lose weight, start a blog or just enjoy life – if you’re a TV watcher, cut that time in half and make time for what you really want, but are always putting off. It’s SUPER rewarding. This habit will not just improve your health, but can also help you make extra money. Which is always nice.
Alright, alright alright
Well, these are the habits that turned me from someone who’s always negative and fearful to do anything, to someone who is less and less afraid every day. Someone who takes action and doesn’t just think about it.
I hope these “tips” help you too, but as I always try to improve myself, I’d like to know: are there any habits that changed your life for the better? And what steps did you take to develop them?
You might also enjoy:
- 7 ways to feel good in your body today
- 11 tips to reduce stress even when life is crazy
- How to stay motivated to eat healthy and exercise