40 Short Habits That Have a High Return On Investment In Life

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Have you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions with your life?

Like you’re just going through the motions of your day, and all you do is work, eat, watch TV, and repeat? You are not alone.

Many people are living life on auto-pilot. They do the same things every day but expect a different outcome tomorrow.

Life only gets better if you are deliberate about your habits.

Design your day, month or year with specific goals in mind. Pay attention to your daily routines and behaviours; they set you up for better or worse.

F.M. Alexander is right:

”People do not decide their future, they decide their habits and their habits decide their future.”

Until you change something you do today, you will never change your life tomorrow. And knowledge of good habits doesn’t change us; we have to practice them to get different but better outcomes.

Don’t just read; act on what you know.

These are a few habits that have a massive return on investment in life. Focus on one habit at a time. You don’t have to disrupt your current schedule. Start small and make the change one habit at a time.

  1. Start your day on purpose: identify your MIT’s (most important tasks) the night before and start ticking them off first thing in the morning.
  2. Tackle high-value tasks before 12 pm.
  3. I can’t stress lifelong learning enough. Read for at least 15 minutes every day: your life will be 37x better in a year.
  4. Saving is good but investing is better. Invest a percentage (you choose) of what you earn in a less risky index fund. Put compound growth to work.
  5. Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. Water your brain. If your water level is low, your brain cells shrink, and you also get brain fog. Coffee doesn’t count.
  6. Add more whole foods, fiber and vegetables to your diet. Prioritize your health; the next 10 or 20 years of your life depend on it.
  7. Nurture meaningful and strong social connections: your happiness depends on them.
  8. A side hustle can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. Spend some time exploring your curiosities.
  9. Learn to question common sense — we don’t question our beliefs, assumptions and beliefs enough. To find better answers, ask why.
  10. Audit your content sources once every month. It saves time and improves knowledge acquisition.
  11. Design a starting ritual for your work; it reduces your decision-making process and saves cognitive energy for important things.
  12. Spend more time in nature. It’s a simple habit that improves your mood and mental clarity.
  13. Whatever you do, find time to move every day. It doesn’t matter how long. It improves blood circulation and helps you think better.
  14. Don’t speed read or skim every book or insightful article. If your aim is knowledge retention, read slowly.
  15. Try sprinting at least once a week: It will strengthen your cardiac muscles and improve blood circulation.
  16. Sit with yourself for a few minutes a day to declutter your brain. It can reduce stress.
  17. Start a new day as if you have something new to learn, and chances are you will. Keep an open mind for growth purposes.
  18. Early to bed, early to rise. Your days will feel longer if you can get to bed earlier than usual.
  19. Cut back alcohol and caffeine in the evening: a good sleep depends on it.
  20. Group your worries into two: those you can control and those you can’t. Do something about what you can change and stop stressing about things you have no control over.
  21. Don’t sweat the small, unimportant details. For everything you worry about, ask yourself: will it matter tomorrow, next month or year.
  22. Design a morning routine that works for your mind and body. Start your day on a good note.
  23. Start a hobby or passion project outside work that makes you come alive.
  24. Read at least one profound essay to improve your perception of life and live it every day.
  25. Create a motivational playlist for your exercise routine: something to look forward to can help sustain the habit. “The right playlist can transform your experience of exercise,” says Kelly McGonigal.
  26. Spend a few minutes every night to write down your worries or thoughts as they appear.
  27. Start a lifelong learning habit: tune into relevant essays, documentaries, videos, books and courses.
  28. Cap your daily most important tasks: 3 at most.
  29. Try the one-tab work habit to improve your focus: don’t open another tab when working until that specific task is complete.
  30. Limit the news: focus on a few credible sources and turn off news notifications.
  31. Declutter your personal workspace before you call it a day.
  32. Repressing your emotions makes you worry more; talk about them, speak to someone about them or tell your loved ones how you feel.
  33. Appreciate the even smallest everyday experiences: they can improve your mood. Be more present and observant.
  34. Spend quality time with people who empower and bring out the best in you; your happiness depends on it.
  35. Don’t aim for 10,000 steps a day; it’s not sustainable. Aim for a consistent walking habit; the goal is to make it to do it every day.
  36. Stop spending too much time in your head. It robs you the present and increases stress and anxiety.
  37. Distractions are everywhere. Record them to block them and watch your productivity soar.
  38. Take full responsibility for your happiness; no one can make you happy forever. Do more of what makes you come alive.
  39. Change things up once a month; use a different route, read a book you usually ignore, talk to a stranger, or surprise someone you love. It puts your brain to work and makes you think.
  40. Finally, remember what Gretchen Rubin said, “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.

This article originally appeared in Medium. 

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