Looking for the top 10 healthy habits you need to focus on? Then you’ve come to the right place!
I hope these tiny, tactical ideas inspire you to take action & find your feel good too!
healthy habits: 10 simple daily habits for a healthier life
In this episode, we are talking about ten simple, daily habits for a healthy life. In last week’s episode, we covered happy habits – and of course, there is some crossover. After all, happiness and health really do go hand in hand.
Episode 200 was a celebration of four years and 200 episodes of the Feel Good Effect Podcast. Within those 200 episodes, there have been dozens and dozens of health experts interviewed.
We’ve had guests like Melissa Hartwig Urban, the creator of the Whole30, Lalah Ali, cookbook author & daughter of Muhammad Ali, Mark Sisson, a pioneer in the paleo world and founder of Primal Kitchen, Danielle Walker, cookbook author & pioneer in the paleo world, Gregory Gourdet, author & a Top Chef runner-up, Sarah Adler of Simply Real Health, Kelly LeVeque several times, McKel Hill-Kooienga from Nutrition Stripped – really heavy hitters in the world of wellness. The definitions of ‘health’ that these experts talk about come from specific diets or ways of eating, but they all have something in common: these ten habits.
“Motivation gets you to start, habits get you to stay”
Robyn Conley Downs
1 | rest
Healthy people rest and make a habit of resting regularly.
This is rest not only once you feel burned out, but on a daily basis through routines (I use the 4-R framework for daily wellness routines around rest).
For you – rest might look like finding time to relax during the day, practicing good sleep hygiene when going to bed, taking days off, or taking some intentional time away from social media.
2 | joyful movement
Joyful movement is absolutely a cornerstone to a healthy life.
It doesn’t have to be exercise. And it doesn’t have to be painful, punishing, time-consuming, or even require getting sweaty. But, healthy people do move their bodies on a regular basis.
It doesn’t have to be every day, simply aim for more days than not. I teach the 2 out of 3 rule in The Feel Good Effect, which suggests doing healthy habits more days than not.
There are an infinite number of ways to move your body. I have talked about finding movement through the tiny habit called exercise snacking. Remember, it doesn’t have to take a long time for it to contribute in a big way to your overall health.
3 | let go of all-or-nothing thinking
Healthy people have let go of all-or-nothing thinking.
They don’t get caught up in black & white, dichotomous, all-in or all-out thinking. Instead, they’ve found a way to live in and embrace the middle ground (or what I call the power middle).
We’re talking about freeing yourself from all-or-nothing thinking about food, exercise, mindfulness, and any other area of your wellness. Think about where you find yourself getting stuck in that all-in or all-out mentality.
4 | eat plants
We have interviewed so many experts from various dietary points of view. I don’t talk about any one particular way of eating being the healthiest, but there is one habit that crosses over between all the ones we have talked about.
There is wild disagreement in the healthy eating community about everything from carbs to grains to fats to macros to calories. The one exception? Healthy people eat a lot of plants.
Meaning a vegetable-forward diet – whether that’s Mediterranean, Paleo, the Fab Four, or something entirely different based on eating real food that doesn’t have a category. This is one of the only things we know for sure based on the science out there – healthy people eat a plant-forward diet and a lot of vegetables.
This is my top recommended healthy habit for anyone looking to lose weight or eat healthier because it’s additive, not punishing. Not taking anything away, or ‘eat this not that’. Instead, it’s about focusing on more.
My friend Taesha from the Natural Nurturer has a veggie-loaded approach and hundreds of free recipes to help you veggie-load at each meal of the day. Add a vegetable to your smoothie in the morning or veggie toppings to your pizza. Just eat more plants and focus on vegetables (and remember, you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to do this!).
5 | let go of perfectionism
Letting go of perfectionism means ditching the thought pattern that says you can’t make a mistake. Or that insists you have to live up to impossible standards.
It’s a tricky one. Perfectionism is something people often don’t realize how much it comes up and how much it impacts everything in their life, including their health. When you are going through life trying to avoid mistakes and live up to impossible standards it really impedes your health and ability to take on new, healthy habits.
Dr. Kristin Neff is a great resource for finding ways to let go of perfectionism and finding self-compassion.
“Health isn’t just about your physical body, it’s about your mental health as well”
Robyn Conley Downs
6 | hydrate
You’ve heard it before, but you still might not be doing it regularly.
Here’s some proven hacks to make this habit stick:
- Put a clear pitcher of water on your counter or desk in the morning and make it your goal to drink that by the end of the day. This relies on a visual cue rather than willpower.
- Make sure you like the temperature of your water, know yourself.
- If you don’t like the taste of your water, look to filtered water or add something like citrus, herbs or fruit.
- Use a water bottle that has marks on it to cue you throughout the day & keep things consistent
- Add a straw, it makes it even easier to increase the amount of water you drink
7 | stress management practices
There are so many habits in the realm of stress management. If you don’t currently have any habits supporting you in this area, then this is a good place to focus.
Stress management practices, of course, include therapy – but they also include things like journaling, social relationships, and friendships. Some regular habit that helps manage daily stress.
Having ways to manage stress and cope that are proactive rather than reactive are so important.
8 | time to cook (kind of)
Something that might surprise you about all of our chef guests, including cookbook authors – is that they do not spend hours in the kitchen. But they do find a way to cook at some capacity.
It might look like ordering meals delivered or focusing on very simple recipes (like these on Real Food Whole Life).
Even the cookbook authors we have on talk about cooking for themselves, but in an ultra-simple, practical way, getting support where needed. Cooking is a cornerstone healthy habit, but it can look different for everyone.
Thinking about how it could look simpler & easier in your life is a great place to start figuring out how to make it a more regular healthy habit.
9 | let go of comparison
Healthy people with healthy habits have let go of comparison and found a different way.
The alternative to comparison is gratitude, and learning simple ways to add that into their lives.
10 | make it simple
Lastly, healthy people have found a way to make these practices simple and integrated into their life. They make it habit-based versus willpower & discipline-based.
This is the secret that we don’t talk about enough – motivation alone is not enough to sustain a habit.
embracing the 80/20 rule
The goal here is not to shove every habit into your life and make it about productivity or hussle-culture. What you’re doing is often enough and maybe the healthy habit is just giving yourself credit for that. It’s not about powders, elixirs, or hours in the gym doing the latest workout.
Health is pretty basic. 20% of your actions yield 80% of your results. If you want to be brilliant at the basics, these are the habits to start focusing on today!
other feel good effect episodes you’ll love
This post contains affiliate links