Now that you’ve reached your twenties it’s time to say goodbye to your teenage years and start working on personal development. A great way to start is with these 20 good habits.
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Why are good habits important?
Good habits make your life easier, it helps you form a routine. You automatically start to do something when you’re triggered, for example, you wake up, what’s the first thing you do? You don’t even have to think about it: waking up is your cue to do what you do every day.
When I wake up I get dressed, I brush my teeth, I wash my face and do my hair, then I go downstairs and I make breakfast. It’s the same routine every day and I don’t think about it, I just do it. This routine saves me so much mental energy, and this is why good habits are important.
Imagine if you wake up and the first thing you do is eat pizza and watch Netflix, and you would do that every day. It’s not the best start of your day and that’s troublesome, because once a habit sets, it’s hard to change it.
Here are some good habits to get you started, and if you’re reading this and think: ‘but I’m not in my twenties anymore’? Don’t worry, better late than never.
20 good habits to start right now
- Plan your meals for the week: Start every Sunday or Monday with planning your meals and groceries for the week. Having a plan will help you eat healthier, save money, reduce stress, and reduce food spillage. You can download a free meal planner here.
- Fill out a gratitude list every night: It’s hard to realize everything we already have in a fast-moving materialistic world. The solution is filling out a gratitude list before bed, so you see that even though you might have had a bad day, there are always things to be grateful for.
- Brush your teeth twice a day: Yes, you want to sleep in, and rush to work, and you rather dive straight into bed after a long night, but brushing your teeth twice a day is a great little habit to hold on to. It helps you maintain a day and night routine, and healthy gum and teeth are important to protect your health, you don’t want bacteria to get into your bloodstream.
- Drink plenty of water daily: You should drink about half a gallon – or 2 liters – water a day. Staying hydrated has many health benefits like it prevents headaches, it helps to maintain blood pressure and it helps your body to get rid of toxins.
- Stop negative self-talk when you notice it: We can be our worst critics, and it’s pretty harmful. So next time when you notice you’re bullying yourself, tell yourself ‘STOP’. Instead of ‘I’m not good enough’ reframe your thought to ‘It wasn’t perfect, but it’s good enough’ or ‘I have many good qualities’. This is a process, and it won’t happen overnight, but if you keep practicing, you will get better at reframing negative self-talk.
- Tell others how you truly feel instead of saying ‘I’m okay’: You should be, able to be honest about how you feel in a friendship, if you can’t is the friendship really worth it? A good friend can see right through you anyway. Chances are if you tell someone how you truly feel you start a meaningful conversation. Maybe the other person isn’t doing well either, or maybe they can cheer you up or help you out. Try it next time!
- Use a planner: You’re an adult now with responsibilities, and with that should come a planner. Whether you use a paper planner or a digital planner, it’s important to write down important meetings, deadlines, and other plans. I have an easy free printable planner for you here.
- Have a morning and night routine: Having a routine brings calmness, balance, and safety. It helps you become more efficient and it can greatly improve your mental health. If you find it hard to have a morning and night routine start with small things like going to bed at the same time. Then you can create a routine like no screentime 2 hours before bed, reading a book, drinking a cup of tea, brushing teeth, etc. Don’t get disappointed with yourself if this doesn’t come naturally, creating habits takes time.
- Don’t sit for longer than an hour at a time: Sitting is the new smoking, it’s bad for your health. Take small breaks in which you can walk for a bit, or stretch. a fibit can help you remember to move.
- Meditate daily: Meditation is a great habit that takes some getting used to for most people. You need to be able to sit with your feelings for a moment and leave the stress from the day behind, but if you’re willing to practice meditation, it will improve your health and life. A great tip to make meditation a habit is to schedule it into your day.
- Go outside at least 15 minutes a day: Fresh air and vitamin D are important for you. Go outside at least 15 minutes every day, but longer if you can. Go for a walk during your lunch break, sit in the garden, or go hiking in nature. There is always a way to get some much needed fresh air.
- Maintain a hobby: Hobbies are important, it helps you relax, it gives you a feeling of purpose and it helps you connect with others. Make time for your hobby, and if you have no hobby, find one. Try out a few different things, until you find something you love to do.
- Practice belly breathing: Belly breathing helps your body and mind relax. With belly breathing, you push your belly outward when you breathe in, if you do it well you can feel your pelvic muscles relax. This is a great source for more information about belly breathing.
- Clean after yourself: On an average day, you use multiple cups and plates and you take things out of the closet if you leave them when you’re done things will become a mess. If you clean after yourself as a habit, life becomes a lot easier.
- Evaluate every month: What’s working and what’s not? If you ask this at the end of every month you can create the life you want. Are there things you need help with? things you need to stop doing? What things are making you feel great and bringing you joy? An evaluation doesn’t have to take long, just figure out what works for you. Journal prompts can help you start with this habit.
- Make a to-do list daily: A to-do list helps you remember what tasks you need to do, you can prioritize tasks easily, and checking off things you did feels rewarding. You can use a physical list or app. I like to use Focus-to-do, this app has a to-do list and focus timer.
- Be active for 30 minutes every day: This can be cleaning, walking, or, more intense sports. It’s good for your (mental) health and general wellbeing.
- Get rid of clutter: A messy house is a messy mind, plain and simple. Get rid of things you don’t need anymore. My general rule of thumb is: If I don’t use something for 60 days, I don’t need it. I throw it away or give it to charity.
- Don’t use any screens 2 hours before bed: Do you know that feeling when you try to sleep and you’re still thinking about that tv show or game you played before bed? and you desperately trying to fall asleep, looking at the clock while another hour passes. Well, it’s easily fixed by not using any screens 2 hours before bed, read a book or meditate instead. Your mind will thank you!
- Read a book every month: Reading is good for your wellbeing, it makes you smarter, it relaxes you and it gives you something to talk about with others. Reading a book every month is a great little habit. Read a chapter when you wake up, or before bed and you’ll see that it becomes easier and you’ll enjoy it. Choose a fiction book if you want to escape the real world, or read a self-help book to discover something new about life, the possibilities are endless.
How to stick to a habit
According to a 2009 study, it takes 18 to 254 days to form a new habit, with an average of 66 days for a habit to stick, this means you need some serious dedication. Sticking to a habit is easier for some people than others, but you can increase your success change in a few ways:
- Make sticking to a habit a goal.
- Ask others to help you. They can remind you of your habit, or tell you when you’re slipping.
- Keep doing it, no exceptions. If you think ‘okay, just this once’ you’re done because the next time your brain will use the same excuse.
- Use a habit tracker.
Free printable habit tracker
This habit tracker can help you stick to a habit. Write down the habits you want to track, then check off the habit once you’ve done it. At the end of the month you can see how you’re doing.
So, what habits will you start? Let me know in the comments!