13 habits that changed my life – which ones suit you?
Question: “Really, Diana, why would I be interested in the changes you’ve made?”
Answer: “Because I strongly believe in being inspired by others. I learn mostly through and from the wonderful people around me. From each of them I receive something and then create my own tailored cocktail of habits. Even if only one habit inspires you from the 13 below: mission accomplished.”
I bet there are things that you would like to change in your life and your habits, may it be giving up smoking, eating less sweets, being more active, reading more, dedicating more time to your personal development, doing more things that make your heart happy, being more patient with your parents, etc. All lies in YOUR power to change and there is no better time than NOW. Stop waiting for the ‘perfect moment’, when you will have more time (honestly, when is that going to happen?), when your kids grow up, when you’ve finalized the big project at work, when starts align. Now is the moment, make the decision and start TODAY (not Monday or from the 1st of the month or after your birthday).
I must admit I am fairly proud of the changes enumerated below. But I need to emphasize that it took a year, that the process is slow and things don’t happen overnight. So be patient with yourself. Each step in that direction releases the happiness hormone dopamine.
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Dopamine gratifies you and encourages you to continue and one day, the new habit is part of you and no longer represents a struggle, nor a will power exercise or decision effort. It just IS.
What I’ve outlined below does not represent medical advice, but rather what has worked for me and has been validated by the ones around me and the though leaders I follow (you can find those here). Read, try and assess what work for you.
And now, with your permission, I will share the changes I’ve in my life over the past year that really made a difference in my life.
1. Growth: I listen to podcasts, watch videos, take courses in the morning, while I prepare for the day
I believe that the investment in self is a necessity, but at the same time I see it as a pleasure and an act of self-care that I owe to myself. Curiosity, openness to new things and willingness to learn have positive effects on our lives.
In the morning, our brains are clear and receptive to new information, this is why, while I am making coffee, brush my teeth, do my workout, take a shower, dress up, I put on podcasts, videos, courses (there is A LOT of free and valuable stuff online). As mentioned before, if one idea or learning sticks with me, I know it was worth my time.
These have inspired the changes in my life, continue to be of enormous help and motivation for me. They also represent one of the main sources of inspiration for the AHArticles.
2. More sleep
Although opinions differ, most of the experts recommend between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night. I’ve mentioned it before, for me, lack of sleep has lead to health conditions, but besides the benefits over that condition, the other benefits are so obvious that I’m still sometimes surprised: I’m much more efficient, my mind is clearer, I can focus better, I have a noticeable better mood, I eat less and healthier and make better choices overall. And I will not bore you with the other, internal benefits, such as the recovery of a plethora of body functions, which are more visible over the long term. As I have described in this other article, by sleeping more, you gain more time.
3. Walking to work
I understand that this is not an option for a lot of people. But the idea of walking more OUTSIDE has a lot of benefits (at least more than I expected). It’s also good for getting in the steps, HAHAAA, meaning for physical activity, but also for the exposure to sun light (which releases the happiness hormone serotonin – see free e-book above).
4. Daily workout
I mentioned this several times and probably will mention even more, just because it makes me so proud. This habit has changed my mood, the shape of my body, my self-confidence and even my perception of reality.
I have a natural (and highly annoying) tendency towards negativity and melancholy. It sometimes happens that I wake up in the morning with no desire to get out of bed and with the feeling that life has no purpose. Without exception, after my morning workout, life is so much better (endorphins!). I am MUCH more joyful and I treat myself and others better. Also, it’s really nice when the zipper goes all the way up, with out feelings of suffocation.
5. Glasses and blue light protection
I’ve been needing glasses since I was 12. Why I never wore them? “They don’t look good on me”. I know, very mature of me! When Mr. eye doctor saw me, he said: “I have no idea how you lasted for so long without glasses”. Now I wear them and I look like Red Riding Hood from the Two Stupid Dogs cartoons, no kidding.
I can now SEE… into the future! On top that, the lenses provide protection against the blue light from the PC, phone, etc. which makes you tired. Naturally, the eye should be exposed to a combination between red and blue light which follows the rhythm of the sun, which nowadays doesn’t happen anymore. I am now less tired and I stopped having headaches. Yay!
6. Natural deodorant
Maaany deodorants used by the vast majority of people have metals, like aluminum, in them, which have serious negative effects on our body (including on the fetus, which is even scarier). Many of these studies show this, as a simple Google search reveals. Luckily, there are more and more natural organic options. The only note I would like to make here: make sure you choose a deodorant that is a good fit for you… it happened to me to use one and… to clear any lining creature around me on a 1km radius…
7. Olive and coconut oil for the skin
As in the above example, I prefer the natural options. In my opinion they have at least the same, if not a better, effect than the most expensive creams. I am not a chemist and cannot really tell which ingredient does what, but from all my research, the natural solution seem to be the best. I also suspect that heaven smells like coconut oil, the smell is so divine…
8. Warm water
I have replaced tea with warm water. It feels better for my stomach and I feel it helps with digestion. I used to drink too many chamomile teas per day and this change was really welcomed by my body. The tea, in reasonable quantities, can have wonderful effects, no doubt. I just decided to share this habit, because it was beneficial for me and it might be for you, too.
9. Less dairy
Following some investigations, Mr. naturopath told us, me and my husband, that we have inflammation in the gut and when we eat dairy, it’s like putting gas on fire. Inflammation has veeery bad consequences, from anxiety and depression to dementia and Alzheimers. We used to eat dairy at every meal, but we were able to change the habit and now we only eat occasionally when we go out and visit friends and family. We feel very good, we digest the food faster and… we stopped feeling bloated after meals, which was a new and awesome feeling. I invite you to do some research on dairy, so you understand that dairy is not the only source of calcium, that we are not meant to eat dairy besides our mom’s milk and that the idea that we need dairy has been artificially inoculated to us by the producers. Tadaaam!
10. No diet coke and chewing gum
I would drink at least ½ liter of diet coke and chew 4-5 gums per day. Both contain aspartame, one of the most dangerous artificial sweeteners. Among others, it messes up the appetite signals in the brain. Basically you choose diet coke to get rid of sugar, but add a substance that is very harmful and it also makes you eat more. Awesome deal! The consumption of diet coke and anything that contains aspartame is correlated with weight gain… not weight loss.
11. No sweets (!)
This is maybe the change of all changes, the improvement of all improvements. In all discussions about nutrition, health, well-being, weight, optimal brain function, SUGAR makes the top in the “no-no” ranking. I heard this once, twice, one hundred times, until I got it and said enough. I won’t go into details, find out here my top 5 tips of how it did it.
12. The rainbow on my plate
Me and the unicorns, hahaaa! I’m sure you’ve heard about the concept of eating as colorful as possible (and I don’t mean skittles). Each color represents a specific nutrient good for the body. There are many theories nowadays: to eat what your mom ate when she was pregnant with you, to eat the vegetables from where you grew up, to eat local, to eat according to the seasons, to avoid vegetables treated with pesticides (dirty dozen, as opposed to the clean fifteen)… Each of us can choose what to believe. For me, a color variety brings me joy, wakes up my creativity, makes my taste buds dance and makes me happy. Great!
13. 12-14 hours between dinner and breakfast
This practice in very ‘in’ at the moment. More and more people talk about the extraordinary benefits of fasting on body recovery, elimination of ill, damaged and old cells, well-being, ability to focus, weight loss, etc. In our case, we are still working on establishing this habit. The idea is to take it step by step, by increasing the fasting time every day. When we do fast for 12-14 hour, the sensation in the body is wonderful and revitalizing. Like any of the above mentioned habits, it requires time and dedication, in order for it to be fully integrated in our day-to-day lives and become natural. But all the above are the proof that it all depends on you. Which is awesome news!
I believe with my whole being in our ability to change. It is up to you to decide how you want to change.
“I can’t” means “I don’t want to”, like my grandma says. If there is something you want to change… what are you waiting for? Take micro-step after micro-step, which together become a big leap towards the new and improved version of yourself. Excuses such as “I don’t have the genes”, “I am lazy like my dad”, “I have no time”, “my environment doesn’t help me”… are exactly that: excuses. If you made the commitment, change, if not, it just means this is not important enough for you.
Your personal power is fascinating when used. You can change 180 degrees and the good news is that when you’ve proven this to yourself once, nothing can stop you.
What habits did you create? Which is the new good habits you’ll introduce? And… what is the first smallest step you can take in that direction?