Unpopular opinion: goal-setting is overrated.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having a set of aligned goals to work towards but it can be so tempting to put all of our focus on setting goals and not enough attention to actually achieving them.
There are countless goal-setting methods, templates, and techniques out there. And while they are great for getting your thoughts and dreams onto paper, they usually don’t help you actually reach your goals.
Setting goals doesn’t move you forward, action does. And the most consistent way to take action is to fine-tune your habits so they align with where you want to be.
The habits that best serve you may vary depending on your goals, however, there are a fundamental set of habits that I believe can benefit most people because they support our physical, mental, and emotional well-being, which is often required to meet any goal.
Here are seven habits you can implement for a better life.
Habits for a Better Life
If there is any one habit on this list that I recommend for everyone, it is some form of meditation practice. That’s because no matter who you are, or what goals you have, the benefits of meditation can be incredibly helpful to you.
Meditation does not have to mean sitting in silence for hours. You can truly turn any activity into a meditative experience with a bit of mindfulness and connection to your breath. I love listening to guided meditations because I find them easier to follow, and I enjoy listening to them when walking, getting ready, journaling or doing tasks around the house.
My favorite app is Open, which is a meditation, movement, and breathwork app offering daily classes from a diverse group of teachers. I love doing their daily meditations and have noticed such a difference in my ability to stay calm and focused since I started their meditations. You can try Open for 30 days free here.
2. Screen Time Limits
Most of us can use a little less screen time these days. Whether you want to get better sleep, want to feel less anxious, or are easily distracted by social media, setting digital boundaries for yourself is a helpful habit to implement.
Start by looking at your current screen time stats to determine where you want to cut back. What apps do you spend the most time on? When do you typically reach for your phone? How can you replace that habit with something else?
I used to reach for my phone every morning as soon as I woke up. When I switched to having a physical alarm clock that wasn’t my phone, and put my water bottle on my nightstand instead of leaving my phone there to charge, I noticed I wasn’t as tempted to use my phone when I woke up. Instead, I typically turn off my alarm and immediately reach for my water bottle. This is an example of modifying an existing habit.
You can also set up screen time limits for certain apps, or create a phone curfew by setting an alarm to remind you to stop using your phone at a certain time.
3. Daily Movement
Our bodies were designed to move, but unfortunately, many of us are sedentary while working and commuting. This makes intentional movement so important.
It is absolutely ok if high-intensity exercise or hours in the gym aren’t your thing. You can experience the benefits of exercise through activities such as walking, stretching, yoga, low-impact strength training, and Pilates.
I personally like to take yoga classes on the Open app a few times per week from the comfort of my own home, as well as daily walks.
4. Getting Thoughts on Paper
Years ago I read the book Getting Things Done by David Allen and found one of my favorite quotes, “Your mind is for having ideas, not storing them.”
Many of us use our brains as a storage unit, storing our thoughts, ideas, tasks, responsibilities, events, fears…you name it. We can create so much more peace and spaciousness by getting these things out of our heads and onto paper through journaling.
There is no right or wrong way to journal. You can follow a guided journal with prompts, you can create brain dump lists of everything on your mind (even if there’s no rhyme or reason), you can write down your daily tasks and to-dos, you can write down what you’re grateful for, or if you’re like me you can do a combination of all of the above depending on the day and what you need.
Whichever method you choose, getting thoughts out of your head and onto paper can give you a sense of peace and focus to support you in reaching your goals.
5. Going Outside
I started prioritizing spending time outside every day after hearing it from one of my favorite people to follow, Anna Mae Groves. Going outside (if you can) has so many amazing benefits.
Not only does morning sunlight exposure improve your energy levels and ability to fall asleep at bedtime, getting outside for fresh air can help us breathe better, reduce depression, increase immune response, improve vision, and give us more mental energy and motivation.
Try to find a simple way to get outside each day. Even if it’s just getting outside for a few minutes each day to walk, or simply enjoying your morning coffee or tea on the patio.
6. Night Routine
Early morning routines are all the rage, but I would argue that a successful morning routine starts the night before.
Many of us try to go straight from work or high-stress situations to bed and wonder why we don’t feel rested. It’s because we need some transition time between work, responsibilities, and rest.
A lot of parents have bedtime routines for their kids where they will give them a bath, read them a book, and help them wind down for the night. The thing is, adults need these types of routines just as much as kids do.
Your night routine doesn’t have to be elaborate or have a ton of steps. Even if it’s taking a quick shower, having a cup of tea, and taking a few minutes to read (or any other relaxing activity), give yourself some transition time to wind down and get ready for bed.
How often do you take time to pause and reflect? Whether it’s to express gratitude, assess how things are going in your life, or brainstorm ways you would like to improve, taking intentional time for reflection is a key habit that is necessary for satisfaction and growth.
What are some habits that have helped you improve your life? Let me know in the comments below.
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using one of our links we may earn a small commission at no cost to you.