We’re all familiar with bad habits, and we’ve likely spent significant time trying to breaking a few over the course of our lives. But what about establishing positive habits? Setting, creating, and sticking to positive habits can help us improve our overall wellbeing by creating structure and routine around activities that improve our daily lives and overall wellbeing. What are positive habits, and how can we develop them? Read on to learn more.
What are positive habits?
A positive habit is simply any regular, constructive action we take that has a favorable impact on our daily lives. The key here is routine commitment: no matter how positive the action may be, it’s not a habit unless it’s performed at regular intervals, whether that’s daily, semiweekly, weekly, or beyond.
How do you develop positive habits?
Developing positive habits isn’t easy. It takes discipline and commitment to make such a positive change. While we may have every intention of creating a positive habit, our attention and motivation tend to fade quicker than the time needed to establish a new routine. According to an article published in the British Journal of General Practice, behavior changes should be “simple and sustainable” to ensure the new, positive habit actually sticks. This same study recommended the following steps to create a new healthy habit:
- Choose a goal.
- Choose a simple action that will help achieve the goal.
- Choose when and where the action will take place.
- Do the action at the set time and place, every time.
Positive habits you can start today
1. Wake up and go to bed at the same time: Our bodies rely on the circadian rhythm, the body’s “internal clock,” which responds to nighttime and daytime. Darkness signals our bodies to go into sleep mode by producing more melatonin, while sunlight gives our bodies the go-ahead to wake up. (This is also why a screen-free hour before bed can ensure more restful sleep; a 2010 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives discovered that blue light tricks our bodies into thinking it’s daytime, interrupting our circadian rhythms.) Waking up and going to sleep at roughly the same time every day — yes, even on the weekend — can help keep our circadian rhythm in check while getting the restful sleep we need.
2. Adopt a more positive mindset: Seeing the glass as half-full can be hard work, but positive thinking influences every corner of our lives. Negative thinking only leads to day-disrupting stress and frustration. Staying positive has science-backed benefits, too: a study published in the Journal of Aging Research in 2018 concluded after following 13,674 people for 35 years that a positive mindset can “improve the… quality of life.”
3. Perform random acts of kindness: It may seem inconsequential on the surface, but being altruistic without expecting anything in return can have a positive impact on overall wellbeing. This topic is well-investigated by researchers; one such study out of Spain discovered that givers became more satisfied with their lives and jobs, while those who received gifts experienced increased long-term happiness. Not only does giving benefit the receiver, but it benefits the giver, too.
4. Manage your money wisely: A latte here and there may seem like a trivial expense, but those small costs add up over time. Creating budgets, eyeing spend, and sticking to a plan to save can help build short-term and long-term financial health. Set aside time each month to review what was actually spent — the results may be surprising. New to money management? There are many apps available to help track spending, or a dedicated journal can help, too.
5. Make a schedule each day: Set goals and intentions for each day with the help of a planner or an online scheduler. Blocking out time ensures that each task, activity, and deadline is met without feeling rushed or hurried, or without forgetting it altogether. This visualization can help us feel organized and in control, particularly on busy days when the clock quickly gets away from us.
6. Try meditation: We all need a few moments to catch our breath and slow down, which makes this ancient practice ever-relevant in our modern, fast-paced world. Multiple studies have demonstrated meditation’s positive impact on wellbeing, including a 2019 study conducted in the U.K. which found that workers who practiced meditation with an app reported a significant increase in psychological wellbeing.
7. Incorporate CBD: Cannabidiol (CBD) is all about bringing the body back to balance* — and what can be a more positive habit than that? CBD, a phytocannabinoid found in hemp plants, interacts with our body’s endocannabinoid system, responsible for keeping our bodies in a state of homeostasis, or its natural state of being.*
CBD can be easily folded into any daily or weekly ritual that keeps us grounded. Our The Daily vegan softgel can be taken each morning at breakfast, or try stirring a powder blend into a cup of tea. Love a hot, relaxing bath? Our Soak It In Bath Gem takes this relaxing ritual to the next level.
8. Start the day with yoga: It’s no secret that exercise and relaxation are both important for physical wellbeing and mental clarity. Yoga is an excellent way to squeeze in both. This positive habit combines focused breathwork, stretching, and the challenge of movement into one routine practice, whether we make it a daily habit or a semi-weekly occurrence.
9. Make time for free time: All work and no play doesn’t just make us dull — it can have a detrimental impact on overall wellbeing. The Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology published a study in 2010 which found that people are happier and more energetic from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon — in other words, when they have more free time on their hands. It may be difficult between work and family obligations, but making time for an unstructured hour each day during the week can go a long way in keeping positive, upbeat, and living for each day, not just “living for the weekend.”
10. Take “alone time” each day, even if only for a few minutes: Reset and recharge without interruptions each day. Whether that’s escape from a ringing phone or energetic kids, everyone needs a break to spend time with themselves, recollect, and recharge before facing the next day.
Forming positive habits, one day at a time
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Forming long-lasting positive habits can take time and effort as our minds learn to expect these new routines in our daily or weekly schedules. But just like a bad habit can be broken with persistence and mindful commitment, so, too, can a new positive habit be formed.