Habits to Improve Your Life


Habits to Improve Your Life

Have you ever been told “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit”? Aristotle was on the money when he said this.

We are the sum of our habits. So make sure the things you do daily are practices that will help you become your best self.

Go to bed at the same time every night

Having a consistent sleeping pattern is one of the best things you can do for your health. This is backed up by a lot of circadian rhythm research.

Studies show that those who have consistent bedtimes tend to be healthier individuals.

Going to bed at the same time most nights will help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleep quality.

sleeping in bed

Your body likes predictability and prefers to keep disruptions to a minimum. If you’re struggling to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per night, maybe it is because your sleep schedule is erratic.

Lack of adequate sleep negatively affects all facets of life. Just 17-19 hours of sleep deprivation is the equivalent of being legally drunk when it comes to memory and coordination impairment.

In order to live your best life, try to sleep and wake up at similar times every day.

Stop crossing your legs

Crossing legs while sitting is a deeply ingrained habit for many people. Interestingly, it is estimated that 62% of leg crossers prefer right over left.

Most people aren’t even aware of how frequently they do it. Many osteopaths and anatomy professionals will warn against crossing your legs when sitting for a number of reasons. Sitting cross legged can affect spinal alignment, leading to postural issues and potential muscle pain.

sitting with cross legs

If you want to prevent asymmetrical posture then sitting with your hips level is the way to go.

Crossing your legs can even increase your blood pressure. Although it may seem inconsequential, leg crossing can have some serious effects in the long run.

Get into the habit of sitting with an even pelvis and your body will thank you for it.

Be grateful

It may sound a bit hippie and woo woo but practising gratitude improves your mental and physical health. Those who focus on what they do have rather than what they don’t have tend to be much happier individuals.

Being thankful for what you have can lower stress levels and improve symptoms of depression. Amazingly, studies also show that keeping a gratitude journal can improve sleep quality and quantity.


If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we take a lot of everyday freedoms for granted. Set aside some time every morning to be grateful for at least one thing. Even if it’s something as minor as a morning coffee.

Other ways to practise gratitude could be to send a thank you note to someone or to write down on your phone notes one thing you are grateful for every day.

It might seem silly to some but doing this consistently will make you feel more positive and happier overall.

Donate to a local community box

You might have noticed a community fruit and vegetable box in your neighbourhood. There are a plethora of them throughout New Zealand.

community food box

Putting items in your local box is a great way to get rid of any food you have no intention of using. More importantly you are helping out others in need and can feel good about contributing to your local community. New Zealanders waste approximately 271 jumbo jets worth of food every year. By using the community box you are reducing your food waste but also cleaning out your own home.

Decluttering your home can lead to better physical and mental health for you. Additionally science tells us that your brain releases feel good chemicals called endorphins when you do charitable acts.

So if you have some extra things you no longer need, walk those things down to your local community box or Salvation Army. As Anthony Kiedis once said, “give it away, give it away now”.

Increase the NEAT

NEAT or Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis refers to the energy your body burns when doing everyday activities like fidgeting, typing or walking.

Researchers know that NEAT plays a critical role in regulating our bodyweight.  Leaner individuals tend to have higher levels of NEAT whereas obese people are much more sedentary.

Not surprisingly, our levels of NEAT tend to be higher in the summer months. In order to stay at a healthy bodyfat level we need to be active throughout the day and this may require a more conscious effort during winter months. It is all too easy to be lazy in modern society which means we can get away with low levels of NEAT.

In order to combat this you can park your car further away, take the stairs every chance you get, track your daily steps and minimise the amount of time you spend sitting down.

man walking up stairs

Although some days may require more effort than others, you will never regret being more active.

Sharpen the saw

We don’t mean literally. Sharpen your saw means dedicate time to bettering yourself or work on improving a skill. One way to do this is by listening to podcasts.

Studies show you can gain more knowledge through podcasts than traditional learning methods like books. With over 48 million podcasts episodes available online (likely many more), you are spoiled for choice with topics. Find a podcast that is both enjoyable and educational.

You’ll find yourself learning new things with minimal effort. Turn on a poddy while you’re doing household chores, driving or cooking.

Take advantage of the information age we live in and learn something new everyday.

There is a Chinese proverb “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. Essentially it is the small things we do every day that lead to great things.

By making small healthy habits part of your daily routine, you are sure to reach your potential. Do something your future self will thank you for; even if it’s something as small as not crossing your legs.