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How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

How to Create and Sustain 200 Good and Healthy Habits

Imagine for a moment all the small decisions you’ve taken today or over the past few days. Now, can you identify all the habits you have formed in your life? Our lives are filled with recurrent and often subconscious patterns of behavior. They are formed and reinforced by our small daily decisions, so it would be good to know how to form our habits well!

Choose a positive habit to develop

First, we have to identify a positive habit we would like to acquire. It cannot be expressed in the negative form. For example, “Quit smoking,” “Stop complaining,” and “Stop watching TV in the evenings,” are extremely hard to form. Their positive counterparts are much better: “Take 10 deep breaths and think about my family whenever I feel I need a cigarette,” “Read three positive articles every day before 10 a.m.,” “In the evenings, read a book for at least half an hour.”

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If you want to fight some negative habit you already have, don’t think about simply getting rid of it; think about the positive behavior you would like to exchange it for. Human nature simply hates voids!

Your positive habit has to energize you because it will take weeks to become a pattern. For “Watch one TED video every day and think how I can put that into practice,” think about how inspired they make you. For “Do all tasks that take less than three minutes immediately,” remember the great feeling of accomplishment you will have. For “Note down whenever I lend anything out,” consider how you lost so many books already! And for “Communicate according to Non-Violent Communication,” think about how you want to really express what you mean.

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Once you’ve identified the habit, let’s start.

Take your time

Have you ever wondered how long it takes to form a habit? Imagine you want to start doing something or change one behavior for the other. Some people say it’s 21 days, but if you try to find the source of that information, you will probably fail.

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A great article on PsyBlog, “How Long to Form a Habit,” gives us the answer. To start drinking your daily glass of water, you will need approximately 15 days. However, if you want to start doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast, it will take you 254 days, which is nearly nine months!

The average time to form an automatic behavior is 66 days. You need to give yourself two months of daily repetition before the behavior becomes a habit. Give yourself some time and don’t give up too early! (And by the way, the study has shown that missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit!)

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Form 200 habits

Now I want to challenge you to start forming just one habit, right now. Think about one positive automatic behavior you would like to acquire. It can be very simple, but you should feel energized about it. Now put a reminder on your phone timed for just after you wake up, or put a note on the phone’s main screen. Make a sticky note on your computer, ask your family for support, write it on your hand, write it on the wall, do whatever suits your personal style and will remind you that you are in the process of learning something new.

On average, after 66 days, you’ll be done. It will be fully automatic. This is the time to pick up another positive habit. This way you can form six positive habits every year. Just think for a moment: in a year from now, you will have six subconscious positive behaviors! If you continue that process over the next 30 years, you will be able to form 200 good and healthy habits, just by working on one habit at a time. Exciting, isn’t it?

Start now

I encourage you to start this right now. Sit down, relax and think about just one habit, or make a short list. Focus on just one and simply start. Not this coming weekend, not tomorrow, not even later today, start it right now. In about two months you will be ready for another new habit. If you write them down in a list as you achieve them, years from now you will be able to notice the huge positive impact some small decisions made and how many of these previously so-much-desired patterns are now fully automatic.

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

How to Live Longer? 21 Ways to Live a Long Life

When it comes to living long, genes aren’t everything. Research has revealed a number of simple lifestyle changes you can make that could help to extend your life, and some of them may surprise you.

So, how to live longer? Here are 21 ways to help you live a long life

1. Exercise

It’s no secret that physical activity is good for you. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy body weight and lowers your blood pressure, both of which contribute to heart health and a reduced risk of heart disease–the top worldwide cause of death.

2. Drink in Moderation

I know you’re probably picturing a glass of red wine right now, but recent research suggests that indulging in one to three glasses of any type of alcohol every day may help to increase longevity.[1] Studies have found that heavy drinkers as well as abstainers seem to have a higher risk of early mortality than moderate drinkers.

3. Reduce Stress in Your Life

Stress causes your body to release a hormone called cortisol. At high levels, this hormone can increase blood pressure and cause storage of abdominal fat, both of which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

4. Watch Less Television

A 2008 study found that people who watch six hours of television per day will likely die an average of 4.8 years earlier than those who don’t.[2] It also found that, after the age of 25, every hour of television watched decreases life expectancy by 22 minutes.

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Television promotes inactivity and disengagement from the world, both of which can shorten your lifespan.

5. Eat Less Red Meat

Red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer.[3] Swapping out your steaks for healthy proteins, like fish, may help to increase longevity.

If you can’t stand the idea of a steak-free life, reducing your consumption to less than two to three servings a week can still incur health benefits.

6. Don’t Smoke

This isn’t exactly a revelation. As you probably well know, smoking significantly increases your risk of cancer.

7. Socialize

Studies suggest that having social relationships promotes longevity.[4] Although scientists are unsure of the reasons behind this, they speculate that socializing leads to increased self esteem as well as peer pressure to maintain health.

8. Eat Foods Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the risk of heart disease[5] and perhaps even Alzheimer’s disease.[6] Salmon and walnuts are two of the best sources of Omega-3s.

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9. Be Optimistic

Studies suggest that optimists are at a lower risk for heart disease and, generally, live longer than pessimists.[7] Researchers speculate that optimists have a healthier approach to life in general–exercising more, socializing, and actively seeking out medical advice. Thus, their risk of early mortality is lower.

10. Own a Pet

Having a furry-friend leads to decreased stress, increased immunity, and a lessened risk of heart disease.[8] Depending on the type of pet, they can also motivate you to be more active.

11. Drink Coffee

Studies have found a link between coffee consumption and longer life.[9] Although the reasons for this aren’t entirely clear, coffee’s high levels of antioxidants may play a role. Remember, though, drowning your cup of joe in sugar and whipped cream could counter whatever health benefits it may hold.

12. Eat Less

Japan has the longest average lifespan in the world, and the longest lived of the Japanese–the natives of the Ryukyu Islands–stop eating when they’re 80% full. Limiting your calorie intake means lower overall stress on the body.

13. Meditate

Meditation leads to stress reduction and lowered blood pressure.[10] Research suggests that it could also increase the activity of an enzyme associated with longevity.[11]

Taking as little as 15 minutes a day to find your zen can have significant health benefits, and may even extend your life.

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How to meditate? Here’re 8 Meditation Techniques for Complete Beginners

14. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being overweight puts stress on your cardiovascular system, increasing your risk of heart disease.[12] It may also increase the risk of cancer.[13] Maintaining a healthy weight is important for heart health and living a long and healthy life.

15. Laugh Often

Laughter reduces the levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, in your body. High levels of these hormones can weaken your immune system.

16. Don’t Spend Too Much Time in the Sun

Too much time in the sun can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer. However, sun exposure is an excellent way to increase levels of vitamin D, so soaking up a few rays–perhaps for around 15 minutes a day–can be healthy. The key is moderation.

17. Cook Your Own Food

When you eat at restaurants, you surrender control over your diet. Even salads tend to have a large number of additives, from sugar to saturated fats. Eating at home will enable you to monitor your food intake and ensure a healthy diet.

Take a look at these 14 Healthy Easy Recipes for People on the Go and start to cook your own food.

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18. Eat Mushrooms

Mushrooms are a central ingredient in Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s GOMBS disease fighting diet. They boost the immune system and may even reduce the risk of cancer.[14]

19. Floss

Flossing helps to stave off gum disease, which is linked to an increased risk of cancer.[15]

20. Eat Foods Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants fight against the harmful effects of free-radicals, toxins which can cause cell damage and an increased risk of disease when they accumulate in the body. Berries, green tea and broccoli are three excellent sources of antioxidants.

Find out more antiosidants-rich foods here: 13 Delicious Antioxidant Foods That Are Great for Your Health

21. Have Sex

Getting down and dirty two to three times a week can have significant health benefits. Sex burns calories, decreases stress, improves sleep, and may even protect against heart disease.[16] It’s an easy and effective way to get exercise–so love long and prosper!

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Featured photo credit: Sweethearts/Patrick via flickr.com

Reference

[1] Wiley Online Library: Late‐Life Alcohol Consumption and 20‐Year Mortality
[2] BMJ Journals: Television viewing time and reduced life expectancy: a life table analysis
[3] Arch Intern Med.: Red Meat Consumption and Mortality
[4] PLOS Medicine: Social Relationships and Mortality Risk: A Meta-analytic Review
[5] JAMA: Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Women
[6] NCBI: Effects of Omega‐3 Fatty Acids on Cognitive Function with Aging, Dementia, and Neurological Diseases: Summary
[7] Mayo Clinic Proc: Prediction of all-cause mortality by the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory Optimism-Pessimism Scale scores: study of a college sample during a 40-year follow-up period.
[8] Med Hypotheses.: Pet ownership protects against the risks and consequences of coronary heart disease.
[9] The New England Journal of Medicine: Association of Coffee Drinking with Total and Cause-Specific Mortality
[10] American Journal of Hypertension: Blood Pressure Response to Transcendental Meditation: A Meta-analysis
[11] Science Direct: Intensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators
[12] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[13] JAMA: The Disease Burden Associated With Overweight and Obesity
[14] African Journal of Biotechnology: Anti-cancer effect of polysaccharides isolated from higher basidiomycetes mushrooms
[15] Science Direct: Periodontal disease, tooth loss, and cancer risk in male health professionals: a prospective cohort study
[16] AHA Journals: Sexual Activity and Cardiovascular Disease

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