9 Habits That Can Significantly Improve Your Life

Upgrade your life by adopting these few simple habits

Emeka Nwanedo
Feb 16 · 7 min read
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Good habits are like rituals you practice every day that ultimately improve the quality of your life in the long run.

If you’ve ever observed the lifestyle of successful people (by whatever your definition of success is), you realize that one thing they have in common is that they always follow certain rules or principles and they’ve also practiced certain habits repeatedly to get them where they currently are.

Truth is, nobody’s perfect and since we are repeatedly what we do, it’s quite important for us to imbibe good habits that will not only help us become truly successful, but will also overshadow the bad habits that are hard to eliminate.

Think Long-Term

This isn’t probably what you’d expect to see as a typical first on the list but if you give it a deeper thought, you’d discover a lot of our goal realization problems are a result of short-term thinking.

According to Stephen Covey, beginning with the end in mind is one of the habits of highly effective people. This means that before you even start anything worth doing, you have to picture what you want to achieve in the end.

This keeps you focused and goal-oriented no matter what kind of distractions you’ll encounter in the process of achieving it. It helps you with flexibility of your methods as well as the needed stubbornness to achieve your goals.

Thinking long term also helps with decision making as it sieves out distractions and leaves you with the things that really matter.

Self-Reflection

If you take a look at the calendar of most people, you’ll find the regular set of scheduled events like meetings, lunches, dinners, birthdays, games, and so on.

But what’s the one thing you won’t find easily on their to-do-lists?

Time chunked out just to think and reflect on past activities.

Reflecting on our actions helps us make better decisions in the future. It’s what makes us realize that we might have made an impulsive decision on a whim.

It gives us the reassurance that we are working on the right things, that we are going about those things the right way, and that doing those things will ultimately give us the results that we really seek.

Develop Systems and Rituals

All successful people have systems and rituals that help them maintain consistency in all their daily dealings.
When you have systems and rituals, it ensures that you’re really focused on the things you’re working on.

Having a daily to-do-list that tells you exactly what you’re supposed to be doing at every time of the day is a great example of a system that provides consistency.

Successful people also need daily rituals. An example of this is waking up early in the morning to do stuff without distraction from others who are still asleep.

However, waking up early isn’t the only thing that can change your life for the better. You could decide to be engaged in something else that gives you real inspiration, no matter the time you wake from the bed.

If practiced consistently, developing systems and rituals could be the best decision you’ll ever make to productively turn your life around for the better.

Focus Only On The Things That Matter

As simple as it sounds, it’s quite difficult to implement. Pareto’s principle suggests that in any situation, 20% of the tasks you’re engaged in will yield 80% of the results you get. This means that it’s important to pay more attention to your prioritized list of tasks.

Here’s what I do personally.

  1. I create a to-do-list.
  2. I prioritize my tasks on this list.
  3. I apply Pareto’s principle on my already prioritized list. I do this by taking a deeper look at the list and picking the top 20% that has largely given me 80% of results in the past.
  4. I focus my energy on the top 20% of tasks and break them further into tinier tasks so that I can act on them without much difficulty.

Only after doing this will I have time for other tasks on my to-do-list.

Create Space Between Tasks

Don’t schedule things too close together. Give yourself enough time to rest and unwind. This shouldn’t be practiced only in your daily to-do-list schedules but also after reaching milestones in your journey.

Take time to reflect and be grateful for the work done so far. Invite fresh inspiration into your mind by engaging yourself in new leisure interests.

Create space between your tasks — if not, you could burn yourself out.

Don’t Execute More Than One Task At a Time

Multitasking contributes to mental clutter by making it difficult for your brain to filter out irrelevant information. It also makes your brain jump from one task to another without being able to focus properly on either one.

A Stanford University study concluded that multitasking lowers efficiency and may impair your cognitive control. Psychology also suggests that people who multitask are latecomers. They’re never early for an appointment, be it work, church, or social events.

Instead of multitasking, choose one thing on your to-do list and give it your full and undivided attention until you’re done.

One of the immediate visible results is that you’ll feel less stressed. It will also decrease your probability of making mistakes and increase your productivity level significantly.

Read Books Everyday

There are great benefits to stimulating your brain daily, although some aren’t instantly obvious. Science is proving that our brain changes as we learn.

Without exercising our brain, they tend to slow down and become less responsive and more prone to disease over time.

Reading books is an amazing way to gain knowledge and stimulate creativity. Just like meditation, reading books gives a common effect and also improves focus.

Not all books have the same effect though.

Non-fiction books are excellent for broadening horizons by motivating you and helping you develop new ideas. Since they are based on real-life experiences, they offer actionable advice on how to overcome all types of challenging situations.

It’s been proven that people who continuously learn have healthier brains, faster responses, better social skills, and have greater overall well-being. It can help fight dementia, improve memory abilities, make it easier to process new information and make you more productive.

The idea of learning something new also gives you a sense of purpose and makes you more interesting as a person.

You can start by reading at least 20 minutes before you go to bed. You can carry books along with you and read at intervals, or you can opt for audiobooks.

Practice Minimalism

We all have a lot of stuff we can easily do without. We also have a habit of selecting, collecting, displaying, moving, cleaning, and finally storing stuff.
But you’ll eventually come to realize that this stuff doesn’t necessarily make us happy.

On the flip side, it wastes our time because we eventually have to sort them out.

With minimalism you imbibe simple habits like the art of you using simple tools, keeping a simple wardrobe, carrying less, and living lightly. As you get rid of things you don’t need or use, you’re left with an uncluttered simple environment and life.

Minimalism offers you the opportunity to move the focus from possessions and tasks to family and enjoyment. It declutters your life, giving you more room for more important things to make you happy.

As you spend less buying or replacing things, you’re in turn saving more. Your wealth will increase and in the same vein, so will your time. A minimalist lifestyle will make your home easier to clean, your time easier to manage, and essentially, your life easier to live.

Don’t Go a Week Without Working Out

It’s advisable to set aside at least 15–35 minutes a day for exercises. There are countless benefits that come with regular exercising.

Other than physical improvement, regular workouts enhance creativity and improve your cognitive skills. Exercise also helps decrease the risk of developing health complications if you’re infected by COVID-19.

Exercising doesn’t have to be boring nor does it have to involve lifting heavy equipment in the gym. It could involve activities that you do for fun such as taking your pet for a walk or dancing around the house.

Starting is the hardest part.

The first month of creating a new fitness habit may seem demanding, but committing yourself will help in the long run. Your social behavior will improve, your appetite will be normal, digestion would be seamless, you’ll sleep better, develop an improved memory, and so on.

The list of benefits of exercising goes on and on.

If you’re not currently in the habit of exercising, you can start gradually with minor achievable exercises like doing 10 push-ups every morning before you shower.

If you’re still having difficulty with the discipline to work out after reading this, I recommend you should read this book: “Discipline Equals Freedom” by Jocko Willink. He’s a battle survivor and a former U.S Navy SEAL.

So trust me, he knows what he’s saying.

ILLUMINATION

We curate outstanding articles from diverse domains and…

Emeka Nwanedo

Written by

Corporate investment banker and leadership enthusiast. I love researching and I write to inspire. https://emekanwanedo.com

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Emeka Nwanedo

Written by

Corporate investment banker and leadership enthusiast. I love researching and I write to inspire. https://emekanwanedo.com

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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