Want to change your life? Change your habits.
To rephrase a popular statement, the habits that got you here won’t get you where you want to go.
You change your life when you change your habits.
But it isn’t about “breaking” bad habits; it’s about replacing them with good ones.
But what if you’re mostly okay with your life? What’s so terrible about having (enjoying) a few bad habits?
For starters, bad habits keep you from reaching your goals, harm your health, and waste your time and energy.
Bad habits are dangerous.
Here are the top 5 you should replace today.
Sufficient sleep is a necessity, not a luxury. Sure, you can grind your way through 4-5 hours of sleep a night, but you will pay the price sooner or later and won’t like it very much.
Sleep plays a vital role in stress management. Insufficient sleep leads to bad decisions, and bad decisions lead to stress and emotional health challenges.
Insufficient sleep also takes years off your life. Want to die before your time? Skimp on sleep.
Sleep restores and maintains your system. The body and brain make repairs during sleep.
Adequate rest and sufficient sleep are vital to your health, happiness, and well-being.
Create bedtime rituals that support healthy sleep habits. Avoid sleep-disrupting chemicals like alcohol, caffeine, and sugary foods a few hours before bedtime.
And consider shutting off screens and reading a book while taking a relaxing bath instead.
How often have you had your phone, laptop, and tablet all on at the same time, and the television, too?
Has life really come to this, where we must interact with every device simultaneously to entertain ourselves and not be bored?
First, too much screen time takes a toll on your eyesight.
Secondly, we all know by now how the blue light emitted by electronic screens affects the body’s melatonin levels, disrupting sleep.
Start replacing this bad habit by at least reducing your gadgets’ brightness and holding them about a foot away from your eyes while browsing. This should help with your melatonin levels. And remember to take frequent breaks from your screens, too.
Sitting Too Much
People who spend most of their time sitting down risk their health severely. If this sounds like you, you need to make some changes.
Excessive sitting has been associated with obesity, muscle wastage, cancer, and decreased bone density.
Your body was designed to move. To be active. To live! So get up and move around!
The answer isn’t quitting your sedentary job and finding a one that forces you to be active.
But you can set the alarm to remind yourself to get up every hour and get a glass of water, use the restroom, or brew some coffee for the office.
Sitting and not moving slows your metabolism and makes you injury prone.
If you work from home, take occasional breaks and do a few jumping jacks, or run/walk in place during commercials while watching television.
Be creative. Find an activity you enjoy and then do it to raise your heart rate and get some exercise to reverse the damage of sedentary living.
Too Much Fast Food
Granted, this is a hard habit to replace for many people because this food is fast, easy, cheap, and so tempting when racing home from work, feeling tired and depleted, and all you want to do is rest.
(And even the non-fast food options aren’t exactly healthy either because of all the salt, fat, and sugar.)
Fast food is loaded with trans fats, which cause weight issues, diabetes risk, high cholesterol, heart disease, and inflammation.
And even though the food tastes great, you don’t feel so great soon after eating it.
Save fast food for the occasional (rare) treat and prepare healthy meals at home instead.
Make meal preparation easier by following a menu and prepping ahead of time, using a slow cooker, and taking turns cooking, if possible. You can even make healthier versions of some of your fast food treats at home.
Alcohol is a touchy subject. But the truth is, it’s best left alone, especially considering how many people have a family history of alcoholism. Wine is also unnecessary for heart health because you can get the same benefit from drinking a few ounces of unfermented, pure grape juice (unless you have diabetes, in which case you should avoid fruit juice altogether because it’s loaded with sugar).
Alcohol affects your liver and mental health and weakens your reasoning and decision-making abilities. It can even negatively affect your bones, fat loss efforts, memory, and blood pressure.
Bad habits can shorten your life, damage relationships, pack on the pounds, cause exhaustion, disrupt sleep, and throw your system into metabolic disarray, to name a few.
Why not begin unlocking your best life today by replacing your bad habits, especially any of these five, with life-enhancing, energy-producing, relationship-building habits that fill your life with a lot more joy, peace, and satisfaction?
Photo by Manan Chhabra on Unsplash