5 Daily Habits for a Healthier, Happier Life
If we’re going to talk about things you should do every day, we should start with the big one, which is God. Not what you’d expect from a fitness blog? Well, you’re here now, so we might as well continue.
CS Lewis said if Christianity isn’t true, then it is of no importance. But if Christianity is true, it’s the most important thing in the world. I don’t know if you’re Christian or not, I don’t know if you’re religious or not, but we could swap in God for Christianity, and make about the same argument. The point? If God doesn’t exist, then it is of no importance—nothing is of any importance, ultimately. We’re just balls of meat with a little hair on top, like what’d you get from the lunch lady for in middle school. But if God does exist, then it is the most important fact of the universe, and we should probably do something about it.
So maybe you meditate or pray, or maybe you do a bit of both. (I prefer a bit of both.) And even if you’re not one of those “Jesus Is My homeboy” types, that doesn’t mean you won’t get anything out of a spiritual practice. The science is clear and awesome on this: Meditation and prayer are exercise for the mind. You become healthier, happier, and more productive by doing them. Which is why you should do them everyday.
Recommended Resources: Headspace (meditation app). Gratitude Journal. Church/spiritual community.
As for my advice? Get on a program that makes it easy to move every day; a plan that periodizes, that has days of serious, hard work, and days of mobility and stretching and walking.
Frequency of exercise is important—keeps the endorphins elevated, builds habit and momentum—but is often lost because of intensity. I’m not a fan of “off days.” I don’t think there’s any reason why you shouldn’t at least go for a walk or practice handstands or cartwheels or joint mobility. I wouldn’t lift every day. But I would exercise every day.
Recommended Resource: Strong ON!
After exercise comes play—or maybe before, it doesn’t actually matter. But with how busy our lives have become, it can be a hassle to have fun. Only, all of us need to have fun. Especially physical fun.
Remember when you were a kid, and all you would think about was junk food and play? Whatever happened to that? Oh, I know. They took away recess, those butts. And then you learned about that substance cholesterol.
Now, adults sometimes get mixed up about this. So here’s what play isn’t: Nachos and beer. That’s cholesterol. Apologies for being nit-picky, but this is important. Because play is more like exercise, only spontaneous.
Recommend Resource: Nature. (AKA “outside”)
I have this theory that if you want to make it in life, all you need is to read ten good books and apply what you learn. Since most people haven’t read even one good book (nor applied what they learned), if you read just ten good books (and apply what you learn) you’ll have the upper hand.
Now imagine if you read 100 good books.
Recommended Resource: How to Read a Book
5) Friend and Family
There are two things in life that can re-orient you: Birth and death, and especially death. Because when somebody dies, no matter how great your relationship was, you always wish there could have been more.
I became re-oriented when my grandfather died, because even though we had a strong and loving relationship, there’s so much more I wish I would have said to him, so much more I wish I would have done with him. I know he knew that I loved him, and I know he knew that he loved me. But that isn’t the point. The point is we wish there could have more. The point is people matter—family matters.
So, take a little extra time today, and every day, to let the people in your life know what they mean to you. But don’t just tell them, show them; by spending time, by going out of your way. Invite them to talk, to play, maybe even to exercise. Or, if you want, to drink beer and watch football—I don’t have anything against that, so long as you’re not not doing everything else.
Habits aren’t easy to establish, least of all the good ones. And they aren’t always urgent–life will always put more pressing matters upon you. But they are important. And if something’s important, you should do it everyday.
PS – Also, brush your teeth, wear a seat belt, etc, etc.
PPS – Here’s a podcast on Habit Building and How to Finish What You Start.