A “habit” is defined as an involuntary behavior done on a regular basis. Both good and bad habits can influence your mental, physical, and emotional state. While positive habits may change your life for the better, negative habits can attract the opposite.
Unhealthy Habits to Drop
While some bad habits are more challenging to quit than others, the bottom line is you need to extract them from your life. Aside from excessive drinking, smoking, and other life-threatening practices, below are habits you should quit right away to become more healthy and productive.
- Nail Biting
Nail biting is one of the most common of so-called “nervous habits.” People bite their nails for many reasons, including boredom, curiosity, stress, anxiety, and habit. However, biting your nails is an unhygienic and repelling habit. The worst part is, it can impact your health by creating dental problems like malocclusion, cause gastrointestinal infections, and lead to deformed fingernails over time. Nail biting also means your fingernails are always shorter than average, exposing your nail plates to scarring and eventual absence.
If you are guilty of this habit, understand what triggers your behavior and replace it with a positive habit. For instance, if you nibble on your nails out of anxiety, try going for a walk or listening to music instead. Remember, it takes making new habits to break old ones.
- Clinging to Toxic Friendships
Do you always go the extra mile for others but they never do the same for you? A UCLA study comprising 122 healthy adults revealed that those with negative social experiences had increased levels of proinflammatory proteins, which could cause severe cases of depression, hypertension, coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and certain cancers.
While you should always give without expecting anything in return, you need to cut ties with people who are damaging your emotional wellness. Spend more time with people who appreciate and value you instead.
- Eating Too Much Red Meat
Who doesn’t love meaty double cheeseburgers and tender pork spare ribs? — Very few people. Over 97 percent of the Earth’s population eats meat.
As delicious are red meats are, most of them are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol increases your risk of heart disease. Further, conclusive studies show consumption of red meat heightens the risk of colorectal cancer, lung cancer, oesophageal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and endometrial cancer, breast cancer, lymphoma, stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and prostate cancer.
World Cancer Research Fund suggests eating red meat to no more than 350–500g (about 12–18oz) cooked weight per week. If you love your daily servings of meat, it may be best to use vegetarian alternatives. There are many meat-free sausages, patties, meatballs, and veggie bacon strips available in local markets.
Waiting until the last minute to finish your workload is exhausting. Procrastinating damages your body and mentally drains you by being in a constant state of hyper-tense mode, feeling stressed and anxious about whether you can finish your work on time.
Start today on a brand new note. Instead of waiting for your deadlines, be proactive about planning ahead, distinguishing what needs to be done for the week, and accomplishing tasks in advance. By staying ahead of your responsibilities, you can use your extra time to plan other aspects of your life and finish more goals.
- Being Late
Being late may seem like a harmless and honest mistake to the doer, but it is rude and disrespectful to those running on precious time. Having no sense of punctuality means you are always hurrying from one place to another, always trying to catch up with your schedule, and always apologizing to every person you meet.
Instead of focusing on being late, concentrate on being early instead. Aim to arrive 15 minutes earlier before an appointment and bring something to help you kill time in those 15 minutes (or longer if the other party turns out to be late). Maintaining a life planner or to-do-list proves helpful in managing your tasks, achieving your goals, and killing time when needed. Then, you can stop trying to catch up and stay ahead in life.
Healthy Habits to Adopt
When it comes to developing healthy habits, small decisions add up over time. Below are unique ideas to help you become healthier every day:
- Sit Up Straight, Never Slouch
Having good posture plays a role in preventing backaches and pain, as well as reducing stress on your ligaments. To improve your posture, try leaving a note on your desk saying, “don’t slouch” — a reminder for you to sit straight until it becomes an unconscious habit. Walking with your head held high and shoulders back can also make you feel more confident.
- Get Some Beauty Sleep
Do you get seven or eight hours of sleep every night? Experts say sleeping for at least seven hours is an indicator of good heart health. A good night’s sleep not only gives you the energy to conquer your day, but it also helps improve healthy eating habits. When your mind and body is short on sleep, it reduces your production of hormones that suppress appetite, triggering the munchies and contributing to weight gain.
- Replace Soda with Carbonated Water
Almost half of all Americans drink soda daily, a habit fueled by the addictive components of sugar and caffeine. If you are one of the many men and women drinking soda each day, replace it with carbonated mineral water to help detach yourself from the unhealthy habit. Frequent ingestion of artificial sweeteners in sodas can increase your desire for colorific foods and put you at risk for obesity.
- Take and Use the Stairs
If you have stairs in your home or office, take them every chance you get. For an intense cardio workout, walk up and down the stairs repeatedly. Begin with a limited number of repetitions, then increase them as you feel stronger.
- Balance on One Leg for 10 Seconds, then Switch
Balancing on one leg is a simple exercise you can do while brushing your teeth or when waiting in line to check out your groceries. It is an essential step in neuromotor training, which helps improve your balance, mobility, and agility for everyday movement and other forms of exercise.
Keep in mind that breaking and developing new habits will take some time. Stay focused on your goals, and if you slip along the way, don’t be afraid to start again.