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11 Easy, Healthy Habits to Adopt this Year

  • 7 min read

11 Easy, Healthy Habits to Adopt this Year

Words By Tena @ Thinking Threads  

When the calendars switch and January arrives, the world doesn’t magically reset. It goes on and we continue to experience the same burdens, restraints, and circumstances as before.

 

We all know how it goes. 

When the New Year comes around, we are pressured from all sides to make some resolutions. Make goals. Finally decide to quit bad habits, achieve great things, and improve our health.

But often instead of being motivating, this “New year, new me” philosophy can be toxic.

According to some reports,80% of resolutions fail. Reasons are, of course, many, and it depends on person to person. But there’s one underlying fact that makes resolutions prone to failure. 

When the calendars switch and January arrives, the world doesn’t magically reset. It goes on and we continue to experience the same burdens, restraints, and circumstances as before.

Not surprisingly,some surveys show that fewer and fewer Americans are making new year resolutions. Especially since the pandemic, we saw very closely how the world is unpredictable and can change within a matter of minutes.

Does that mean that we should all ditch resolutions?

Not necessarily. If this is something that motivates you to do more or better, you should do your best to stick to it.

But if you’re like me and resolutions either seem intimidating or just not relevant right now, then I've got something for you.

We can still use the new year to do something better. But instead of setting high or abstract goals, how about we work on adopting some habits. Habits that we build on everything we did or are doing so far and habits that we can take on with us for years to come. 

The habits don’t have to be big or complicated. I’m proposing 11 easy habits that you can try to adopt. They may not all be for you or you are perhaps already doing some things I’m about to suggest. Yet, I hope you find some inspiration.

 

All of the habits below are healthy for your physical and mental health but also the planet! 

 

Move your body every day

Forget ideas like exercising more or losing weight. Instead, focus on making physical activity a part of your routine. It can look however you want it to look. Perhaps you decide to dance for 10 minutes, go for a walk around the block, take the stairs, or cycle instead of driving.

It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you give your body a good stretch and a bit of activity. Trust me, your body will be thanking you!

 water

Have a glass of water on your desk

Or better, a bottle of water!

You probably know that drinking more water is essential for your body. Maybe you have tried to drink more water before. But it’s easier said than done, isn’t it?

Well, the trick that helped me and many others is making sure to have at least a glass of water on your desk. Whether you’re working from home or office, simply having water on your reach will make you more likely to drink it. With time, you’ll actually start remembering to drink more water!

 

Reduce social media once a week

Digital detox is popular right now. If you’re not familiar with the idea, it’s basically switching off your phone or at least your mobile data for a few days. Many claim that it feels good but honestly, whenever I tried it, I ended up struggling more than feeling rested. 

Instead, I take one or two days a week where I occupy myself with non-digital activities. Hanging out with friends, reading, cooking, hiking… Anything that will reduce my screen time to a minimum. The key, however, is to plan it ahead and stick to it.

I also noticed that I feel much better when I take these little breaks regularly rather than doing one big, radical break at once.

Try it and see how it works for you!

 

Turn meal prep session into a reward

Planning and preparing meals ahead saves time (and potentially money) reduces food waste, and you’re more likely to eat healthy. It sounds great, right?

And it is. Except that it’s also a habit that is sometimes hard to fit into the schedule.

So, I work around it. I usually take one evening in a week, usually a Sunday for it. I don’t pressure myself to make food for absolutely every meal in the upcoming week but to cook for most lunches or dinners. My advice is to always start small and progress gradually.

To reward myself, I usually put on a movie, show, or turn on a podcast episode to entertain me as I cook. This way, it’s much easier for me to set the time apart for this and I feel that I’m rewarding myself. It makes all the difference!

Kintsugi 

Look to repair before buying new

The laptop starts failing, jeans get holes, mug cracks, dishwasher breaks… These things inevitably happen. And it’s almost too easy to buy a new one, rather than repair what we have.

Often, it’s cheaper too, so I don’t blame you if you decide to do it.

Yet, try at least exploring the options. You might be surprised.  

I recently learned that there’s a social enterprise that repairs household electronics at a fraction of the price it would cost me to get a new one. I also learned that a good tailor can make a basic dress I find in a second-hand shop look much fancier than you'd expect for the total cost.

You don’t need to repair absolutely everything, but start somewhere. It will save you money in the long run, help you declutter your home a bit, and is far more eco-friendly than getting something brand new.

 

Read the labels

This goes for the food you’re buying but also things like cosmetics, make-up, and clothes.

Get in a habit of checking and reading the label before buying something. Simply doing this, you will start choosing healthier options. And don’t worry if you don’t always understand the labels. Sometimes, the companies hide behind complex words or industry slang. With time you’ll learn most of it. As a rule of thumb, I usually go for things that have fewer ingredients listed on them.

 

Unsubscribe from the newsletter you don’t read

I’m the first one who will admit that I love a good newsletter. This is how I get my first news every day and how I keep up with the industry I work in. However, I’m also going to admit that I subscribe to many that I simply don’t read.

So, I got into a habit of evaluating and unsubscribing from those, about once a month. If something is not useful to you, it counts as unwanted email or junk. 

Unsubscribing means that your inbox will be less cluttered, you will be more focused, and you’ll reduce your digital footprint. When you do it regularly, it won’t take more than 5 minutes every month!

 

Unfollow toxic accounts

Similar idea as the previous: unfollow accounts that make you feel bad, encourage you to only consume, or are promoting unhealthy attitudes. 

Remember: you can control who has access to your time and attention online. So, make your digital space healthy and in line with your values.

Instead, if you need some inspiration, you can check outthese fashion activists and follow some of them. 

 

Remove technology from your bedroom

Sleep is crucial for our physical, emotional, and mental health. Still, the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night are not always possible. As much as I would like to sleep more, it’s just not happening!

Well, the good news is that some experts argue thatthe quality of sleep is more important than quantity. Therefore, rather than focusing on the number of hours, l try to focus on the quality of my sleep. Even if I only get 6 hours of sleep, I try to make it as good as possible.

The thing that helps me the most is removing the electronics from the bedroom and making it as dark and quiet as possible. Even if you live in a busy street, you can still reduce the inner noise and other things that keep your body restless at night.

You may not see the effects right away but with time, you will realise that you have much more energy and focus.

 self care

Find the daily self-care habit that works for you

Forget trends and what other people recommend. Self-care should ultimately be a practice that you enjoy. 

Surely, for some, that means an elaborate skincare routine. For others, that means calling or chatting with a friend or a family member.

Every day I set apart 20-or-so-minutes to just listen to music and sing along. It’s my form of mediation. I’m sure that you can find something like this too.

What matters is finding something that you can fit into most of your days that leaves you energised and rested.

I suggest thinking about what truly brings you joy and doesn’t feel like an obligation or a waste of your energy. Then, try tracking the habit for about a month and see if you’re sticking to it. If you find yourself skipping it a lot or dragging it, perhaps it’s not for you and you can try something else. 

 

Do something just for the sake of doing it

Whenever we pick up a hobby, let’s say painting, exercising, or crafts, we are pressured to either turn it into a side hustle and money maker or to be the best at it.

Sure, becoming better at something and learning new skills is great. It’s how we humans grow. But we don’t need to have a higher goal for everything we do. While many turned their hobbies into profitable businesses, it doesn’t mean that you have to.

Sometimes, we just need to learn to do things for the sake of doing it. Get into your zone, exercise the art or skill to simply enjoy it. Taking off the pressure will do good for your overall mental health!

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Thinking ThreadsTena Lavrenčić - Thinking Threads.
Tena is a cultural anthropologist, a researcher, and an active advocate for sustainable and ethical fashion. 
You can find her on instagram at @thinking.threads







 

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