The Being & The Doing EPISODE 22:
Top 10 Personal Habits
for a Happier & Healthier Life
Successful people – the ones who live joyful, fulfilling and meaningful lives – have personal habits that contribute to their health and happiness. In this episode I share my list of the top 10 personal habits and the one important key to making them work for you.
*A full transcript is at the bottom of this page.
Top 10 Personal Habits
Create a morning routine
Make time for personal reflection
Get enough sleep
Declutter your space, heart and mind
Build a success circle
Create an evening routine
You can also read my original blog about the top 10 personal habits (and 2 bonus habits).
Get Out of Your Own Way
I’d love to help you get out of your own way and be more successful creating new habits and then sticking with them.
Learn more about coaching with me. PS you will love it!
Best Declutter Resources
You will also find my FREE Ultimate Guide to Decluttering in the show notes of EP 17 Too Much Stuff!
This Episode’s Homework
Something to think about:
What are your top 10 personal habits?
If you don’t know then they are probably not consistent habits. How closely does your list match my list? Maybe you have a bigger list of habits that actually take away from your success. Maybe you could swap one of those habits for one which would bring your greater happiness and health.
Something to try:
Pick one of the habits from my top 10 list and give it some consistent focus and attention for the next week. Maybe make a few notes every day and then at the end of the week notice what difference it has made for you.
Remember it’s all about consistency.
You can grab your FREE homework Awareness & Action guide HERE
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CREDITS: The Being & The Doing podcast is produced by Neela Bell. Voiceovers by Jason Harris. Music is GoodMorning Sunshine by Yoav Alyagon and Firefly by Scott Buckley.
Full Transcript of the Show
Laurel: Hey, lovely ones. Welcome to Episode 22 of The Being and The Doing. So did you know that the most visited post on my website is about The Top 10 Personal Habits? Apparently, thousands and thousands of people are looking for some guidance in choosing the most important personal habits that will lead to their happiness and health and so, they come and visit that page. So today we are going to dive into that list, the list of The Top 10 Personal Habits.
And to start, I want you to think about the most successful people that you know. Now, I want to define success, and I want to define it this way: Successful people are ones who are living a joy-filled, prosperous, meaningful, productive life. You know, people who seem to kind of have things firing on all cylinders. You know, people who are able to go with the flow even when life seems challenging. Now, you’re thinking about the people that you know who are like that, maybe you are like that.
And I know successful people have a secret. They practice a set of personal habits that contribute to their success. They go out on a regular routine of usually daily, perhaps weekly, but mostly daily habits that reinforce the things that are most important to them. And they keep on track by making conscious choices, intentional choices about how they spend their time. And they’re continually renewing their commitment to life. Consistent personal habits actually reinforce our values. It’s their way of walking their talk, letting their actions reflect their words rather than just kind of talking a good game.
Now, the top 10 habits are not rocket science and they might even seem, you know, like basically simple. It’s the consistency of them that is key. The consistency with which they perform these habits, they engage in these habits. Leadership guru John Maxwell, he said this, ‘You’ll never change your life unless you change something that you do daily.’ The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. People who are inconsistent in their habits are far less successful. They’re in this perpetual dance of one step forward, two steps back and it could be because they aren’t even really exactly sure of what it is that’s important to them. Because it’s really hard to walk your talk if you don’t know what your talk is.
So let’s define what is a habit, when we’re talking about habits, what is a habit? Well, you know, the definition of a habit is a recurrent pattern of behavior that’s acquired through frequent repetition. I want to make that distinction between habits and goals. Habits are the core behaviors that let you achieve your goals. So before we go through the list, I want to talk about brushing your teeth, which is not one of the top 10 habits. Although, let’s hope that you do have a consistent habit of brushing your teeth.
But the reason why I want to touch on the habit of brushing your teeth is that it’s a great reminder of what it takes to create a habit. So when you were little, someone taught you the habit of brushing your teeth, right? They taught you how to put the toothpaste on the brush and brush up and down and rinse your mouth. And then there was a lot of repetition and there was a lot of encouragement and support and queuing, oh, it’s time to brush our teeth before bed. And the motivation maybe came a little bit later. Because when you were little, you didn’t really understand, probably, the motivation about why brushing your teeth is a pretty good habit.
So that’s a good reminder that when we’re looking at these habits that they only become habits when we repeatedly do them. And sometimes we have to begin to create a habit, even if we’re not all in on the motivation. Let’s get going on the list.
So number one is creating a morning routine. So having a habit of starting your day in a certain way because how you start your day has a tremendous impact on how your day is going to unfold. Because even when life is going to bring you unexpected chaos and something that you just really hadn’t planned, when you start your day in a positive way, that sets you up to roll with obstacles and complications with greater ease. So think about your current morning habits, do they set you up for success? Do they leave you feeling grounded and happy? Because if they don’t, this is a good place to start. You can create some new habits.
And the kinds of things that we’re talking about when you’re starting your morning, you don’t have to add like a whole bunch of things because who isn’t busy first thing in the morning. But some things that you can do that might be part of a great morning routine habit are perhaps setting an intention where you pause for a few minutes and think about what it is that you want to the quality or the flavor for your day. Could be other kinds of things that are very grounding; like a little time in meditation or some people have a little bit of a yoga practice. Maybe it’s journaling or some form of prayer or just a little bit of quiet reflection or going for a walk. Something that sets the tone of your day as opposed to just jumping out of bed and, you know, like full-on into your day.
And so when you set aside just a little bit of time, so your morning routine could be five minutes or 10 minutes or 15 or 30 minutes or whatever, it depends on what works for you, when we do that, it allows us to be more deeply connected to the things that are really important to us and then bring that forward into our day. That’s number one.
So second, a personal habit. Yes. Eat well. Now I’m not going to define what ‘eat well’ looks like for you, but we know what not eating well looks like. And I’m a big believer in kind of that 80/20 rule where 80% of the time you’re making really good choices and you know, the rest of the time you’re going to indulge yourself. Sure. But what we know is if we fuel our bodies properly, our bodies are able to do better the things that we want them to do for us too. We’ll have more energy, we’ll actually have more focus. We’ll be able to engage in the kinds of activities that we want.
And so, you know, right on the heels of that, number three is exercise. So yes, eat well and exercise. And again, I am not going to define for you what that means, but we do know human beings are meant to move. You know, that’s the old saying about ‘move it or lose it.’ And so, you want to choose the physical activities that you love. And keep in mind that there’s a balanced piece of it where you want to do something that helps your flexibility, something that helps you build strength and something that works your heart has a cardio component.
Now, what that is for you, I don’t know, but we know that if you want to be at your best, you have to move your body. And I’m going to add this other little piece in: If you can do it outside even better because human beings are wired to be outside. There’s something that connects us to nature when we’re outside which actually helps to reduce our stress. So you can kind of get sort of a double whammy there.
Number four; Number four is a habit of personal reflection. Again, that could look, you know, a lot of different ways. But think of personal reflection as taking some time to have a regular habit of reflection; either through meditation or journaling or prayer or perhaps even walking. You know, it’s not your power walk for fitness, but it’s an opportunity for you to just be able to slow down, breathe and be able to hear your true self speaking to you. Because when we’re in constant motion, we can’t hear our true self. All we hear is that inner chatter, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah, that’s going on in our heads. And so we need to have a habit of personal reflection just as quiet time to allow ourselves to settle a little bit and to actually hear from the most authentic parts of ourselves.
Number five, the habit of giving back. And that can look a whole bunch of different ways but we feel better when we know that we’re making a difference. And it isn’t so much about making ourselves feel good, it’s about being able to offer assistance and help to other people. And then, yeah, great, we also reap the benefits of that. And you know, it’s part of that inner connectedness that we all have. You know, my mother used to say, what goes around comes around. When I give back, yes, things do flow back to us. So, what does that look like? It might be connecting with something locally in your own community that is meaningful to you. Or maybe it’s something in the wider global community where you contribute your time or your energy or your resources; sometimes it’s about that. It’s the idea of consciously and intentionally performing things like random acts of kindness. But understanding that it’s not just all about me, that part of my success comes from sharing back in whatever way I can to other people.
Number six, the habit of getting sleep. So we already have three that are like kind of no brainers, right? Eat well, exercise, get sleep of that triumvirate of health, we know that most people these days are in a state of sleep deprivation. We don’t get enough sleep. We don’t go to bed early enough. And when we do, we take our devices with us so we’re not sleeping well. Our sleep is interrupted and your sleep is a really important component of your health because it’s during sleep that your body is doing things. You might be sleeping but your body’s busy repairing itself. So, yes, you’re getting rest, but your body is also building growth hormone and your brain is actually sorting and organizing all of the stuff that’s happened in the day. And so you need to give your body the opportunity to do that and it has become the bad habit of not getting enough sleep. So this is one where you’re turning it back around into creating a habit of getting sufficient sleep. Which probably does start with unplugging from that technology.
Number seven is the habit of decluttering. So, we kind of have this flurry of decluttering. You know, in the springtime, we declutter or maybe at the beginning of the year or sometimes you know, fall is like, Oh, I’m going to just clear out a bunch of stuff. Think about decluttering as a continual habit and I’m not just talking about your stuff. Yes, physical clutter, but there’s also kind of that mental, emotional clutter that we have. And so, regularly, being able to kind of sort through and getting rid of stuff that’s getting in your way. So whether that’s sorting through the physical clutter that you have or the mental clutter, like just too much stuff in your head and being able to let some of that go or the emotional stuff you know, which has to do a lot with relationships that we’re in, that are not sort of mutually enriching.
I actually did like a three-part series in last season on decluttering. So you might want to go back if this clutter habit of the continual habit of decluttering is of interest to you because there are three episodes that tackle this whole big topic about decluttering that would be a good place to get some really great information along with a really cool guidebook that I did to help you declutter. So think of decluttering as a habit, as something that we do. Imagine if on a daily basis you were just kind of continually weeding out the things that are getting in your way and no longer serve you, far less intimidating than that. Oh wow. I’m going to purge my entire, you know, Facebook list or my closet or whatever.
Number eight is the habit of surrounding yourself with what I call a success circle. So really looking at the people that you invite into your inner circle or the circle that gets your time and energy. Because we want to surround ourselves with people who are supportive and encouraging. And yes, sometimes people who challenge us to be at our best. So, you know, they might kind of call us on our nonsense when it’s needed. These are the people that we go to for brainstorming or for advice, or sometimes just like a good old kick in the pants when we need it. That’s a habit of paying attention to who is it that I surround myself with? Because if I surround myself with people who are not really in my corner, cheering me on to be at my best, then it’s really hard for me to be able to do that, to be at my best. So it’s a habit of always looking at who are the people that are in my life that I spend time with that get my time and energy.
Number nine is the habit of reading. And you know, you might be, well, you know, I don’t read or I’d like to read, I wish I had more time to read. I think this is a really key personal habit of spending time reading because it allows you to sort of expand your mind, whether it’s reading fiction books or reading nonfiction books. So I’m not saying that there is a must-do list, you know, you have to read this type of thing but we do know that when we read, we kind of expand our horizons. We have different perspectives, different information now that we’re inviting into our lives. And even if you’re not like a book person, you know, you can still get that same kind of intellectual stimulation through audiobooks. So, you know, maybe you’re going to read, but it’s really listening, but you’re reading while you’re walking or while you’re driving. If you’re not someone who invites books in, think about that as a habit, even every day. What is it that I read that allows me to either be a better person or also you know, just develop my mind?
And the last one kind of bookends the first one is the habit of having an evening routine. Because how you end your day has as much impact on how you start your day. It’s an opportunity for you to celebrate and reflect and kind of reconnect with your priorities. So I want you to think about again, your evening or your bedtime routine or habits; like do they actually honor your accomplishments of the day? Do they leave you feeling kind of grounded and happy and settled? Do they let you refocus on what the most important priorities are?
So what kinds of things can you do in these habits? Well, it’s just taking a few minutes to reflect on what actually worked today. Because often what we do at the end of the day is we focus on all the stuff that didn’t get done or all the things that didn’t go well. And so, instead, you can take some time to kind of acknowledge and celebrate all this stuff that you did get done because you know what? You probably got a lot done and where did you make choices that really lined up well with your priorities and what’s important to you?
And another thing that you can do as part of this evening habit is just sort of releasing your day. Because sometimes, we’ve had a day, oh, we’ve had this day and we drag it into our sleep and we get up in the morning and it’s waiting there for us again. And so, you know, sure, you might look at your day and say, Oh, I might have done that differently and then let it go. You know, we all make choices in our day that are not necessarily mostly in service of us. So whatever. Okay, let it go and then begin to focus on how you can choose differently tomorrow.
And often evening ritual, you know, part of a routine is to maybe do a gratitude journal where you’re just capturing some ideas about the things that you were grateful for, appreciative of in this particular day. So let me recap them.
Top 10 habit of having a morning routine:
- Eating well
- Personal reflection
- Giving back
- Getting sleep
- Creating a success circle
- Having an evening routine.
And I’ll put that whole list in the show notes for you.
So a couple of things to remember that we can’t build a million habits all at the same time. So pick a habit. Pick one habit and then be consistent. And then it’s about the daily recommitment to the habit. Habits are created by doing something over and over and over and over again. And it takes a while to build a habit. So pick one like, you know, which one jumps out at you that you, yeah, that could really work and focus on that. Now, these are my list of the top 10 personal habits, but you might want to swap one of these out for something else. Great. One of my principles in life is do what works for you. So if it works great and this list works terrific and if you’re swapping something out, that’s okay.
And if building more consistent habits or you know, kind of getting unstuck from even starting to do it is something that’s of interest to you, that’s exactly what I do with coaching clients all the time. You know, how to set themselves up for success and be able to stick with it long enough to see some results. So I’d love to help you if that is something that would be of help to you. So just check out the show notes for a link about coaching with me.
For now, let me leave you with a little ‘being and doing’ homework as always, something to think about and something to try. Because I don’t want you just to have listened to this information, I want you to do something with this information. So at the heart of ‘the being and the doing’ awareness, some ‘being’ stuff that we’ve done here, you’ve got some new ideas and now we need the ‘doing’ piece. You will find the homework always in the show notes as well.
So something to think about; what are your top 10 personal habits? Can you actually write them down? Because if you don’t know, then you probably don’t have consistent habits. And how closely does your list match my list? Maybe you could swap one of the habits that aren’t working as well for you with something that might bring you greater success.
And something to try. So pick one of the habits from my top 10 list and give it some consistent focus and attention for the next week; just the week. Maybe, you know, make a few notes every day and then at the end of the week, notice what difference has it made for you when you ate well this week or you paused and had some reflection time every day or whichever one you’re going to pick. Because remember it’s all about consistency.
Now, next time on The Being and The Doing, we are going to take a look at whether your ducks are in a row. Is there alignment between what you say and what you do? Do you actually walk your talk? So tune in to the next episode and you’re going to find out about closing the gap between words and actions. Until then, lovely ones, I invite you to pause and to breathe and enjoy each and every day in front of you.
Outro: You’ve been listening to The Being and The Doing with your host, Laurel Vespi. If you like this episode and think other people would, please, subscribe, rate and give a review on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Be sure to tune in next week for another conversation about The Being and The Doing. Thanks for listening.