36 Good Habits You Can Develop Today! - Professional Leadership Institute (2023)

When we think about habits, it’s easy to focus on changing the negative habits we have developed thus far. Whether it’s limiting screen time, biting your nails, or smoking, bad habits come in all shapes and sizes. However, rather than concentrating our energy on limiting the bad habits in our lives, it’s more productive to begin developing good habits. This way, we can slowly make meaningful changes that help us become the best versions of ourselves. Therefore, if you want to learn more about developing good habits and how to overcome bad ones effectively, keep reading.

Key Takeaways

  • Healthy habits are any behavior that is beneficial to your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
  • Rather than quitting bad habits, learn to replace them with positive habits that seek to benefit your wellbeing.
  • Developing positive habits occurs over time and requires you to have an internal motivation behind them in order to stick.
  • Habits develop from a cue that triggers a craving before it leads to a response and reward.
  • Uncovering the root causes of your bad habits can help you adopt positive coping mechanisms that benefit your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

What are good habits?

Before delving into our comprehensive list of good habits below, let’s first take a look at what the definition of a good habit is. Simply put, good habits are any behavior that is beneficial to your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Good habits take self-discipline and control in order to achieve. For example, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, sleeping at least eight hours a night, and drinking eight glasses of water a day can be categorized as beneficial as they seek to improve the overall wellbeing of the individual.

How do I develop positive practices and Make them Stick?

Furthermore, have you ever started a habit and then fallen off the bandwagon after a couple of tries? If the answer is yes, then there is no need to worry; we’ve all been there at least once or twice in our lifetime. So, how exactly do we develop a good habit that sticks? By following the step below, you’ll be able to do just that. Remember, though, to make or break any habit; you first need to be committed enough to follow through on your plans. With that being said, here is how you can develop good habits in your life as soon as possible!

Step 1: Find Your Cue

Like any good or bad habit, our actions and behaviors are often instigated by a cue or trigger. For example, in the morning, you wake up and make yourself a cup of coffee. Therefore, the coffee machine is your cue that instigates the act of making coffee. Similarly, when trying to establish good habits in your life, you first need to find a cue that will prompt your habit. For example, you could set the alarm at a specific time of the day that triggers you to write and reflect in your journal for 15 minutes.

Step 2: Identify Your Craving

The next step to building good habits is identifying your craving or the motivation behind your habit. For example, if you want to live a healthier lifestyle, perhaps the desire to attain your dream body is your motivation to get to the gym for your workout.

Step 3: Immediately Respond

Furthermore, once you have determined the motivation behind your desired good habit and the cue you are going to use to experience that desire, you then need to act immediately. For example, once your alarm goes off on your phone, you drop what you are doing and get yourself ready for the gym, or you begin brewing yourself that cup of coffee you have been craving all morning.

Step 4: Reward Yourself

The final step in any good habits cycle is to reward yourself. Whether it’s speaking positive affirmations to yourself for getting to the gym or finally tasting that cup of coffee, your reward is now linked to the cue you have identified for yourself. Over time, the brain will rewire itself to associate your reward with your cue, thus creating good habits that stick.

36 Good Habits You Can Develop Today! - Professional Leadership Institute (1)

Good vs. Bad Habits?

Moreover, like all things in life, not all habits are good for us. This is why it is essential to determine whether or not the habits in your life are benefiting you in the way you want them to, so you can live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Therefore, when thinking about good habits vs. bad habits, you need to ask yourself the following questions to better identify whether your habits are working in your best interests or causing you harm.

  • How does this make me feel about myself?
  • What are the physical influences this is giving me? Is this habit impacting me negatively or positively?
  • How is this affecting my mental health and emotional wellbeing?
  • Am I in control of this habit, or am I allowing this habit to control me?
  • Do I find myself spiraling out of control when performing this habit?
  • Does the habit feel good long after I have done it, or does it only provide me with the temporary relief that I am looking for?

Furthermore, once you have asked yourself these questions, you can begin rewiring your brain to work in your favor and replace your negative behaviors with good habits that benefit your wellbeing.

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How to Quit Negative Behaviors or Bad Habits

Moreover, now that we understand the basis of learning good habits in life, it’s also important to remove bad habits that have been lingering for far too long. Not only will this help transform your life, but it will also provide you with a fresh start to becoming the best version of yourself you want to be. Therefore, by following the six steps listed below, you’ll be able to remove any bad habit in your life with ease effectively.

Step 1: Eliminate Your Triggers

We all have triggers. Whether it’s people, places, things, or activities, your bad habits are often tied to specific triggers that elicit behavioral responses. Therefore, you must first eliminate these triggers from your routine to begin quitting bad habits. For example, if you tend to use shopping as a form of therapy when you get stressed, avoid going to malls.

Step 2: Reduce Your Cravings

Furthermore, the next step to eliminating a bad habit from your life is to reduce your cravings. Often, cravings originate from the desire to change something about or within ourselves. Therefore, you need to first identify how they make you feel once you have given into them to reduce your harmful cravings. Then, you need to find a healthier alternative to substitute your unhealthy craving. For example, if you smoke because it relaxes you, replace this action with good habits that also relax you, such as reading a book, taking a hot shower, or going for a long walk in nature.

Step 3: Make Negative Habits Difficult to Perform

Moreover, once you have eliminated your triggers and reduced your bad habit cravings, you now need to make performing your negative habit difficult. For example, if you have difficulties going to bed at a decent time every night, start going to work early each morning. As a result, knowing that you will be tired in the morning and have an unproductive day will begin to make it difficult for you to stay up late at night.

Step 4: Uncover the Root of your Bad Habits

The next step to quitting bad habits in your life is to uncover the root cause of each bad habit you have. Often bad habits arise from subconscious issues that go unresolved. Therefore, as a result, we pick up on unhealthy coping mechanisms that affect our physical and mental wellbeing. For example, if you smoke to relieve stress, rather than cope with a cigarette, you need to discover the root of your stress and find a suitable habit to replace the bad habit you continue to perform.

Step 5: Adopt Healthy Routines in Life

Furthermore, rather than simply removing bad habits from your life, you need to also adopt a healthy routine that consists of healthy lifestyle choices to improve your daily wellbeing. For example, make a healthy smoothie for breakfast, ride your bike to work if possible, and switch your phone for a good book before bedtime.

Step 6: Foster Intrinsic Motivation

The last step to dealing with bad practices is establishing motivation within yourself. Remember, as human beings; we have the freedom to choose our actions. Therefore, we need to find it within ourselves to make positive changes and eliminate bad choices by looking within and wanting to live a healthier lifestyle for ourselves before we can successfully remove any negative aspect in our life.

List of 36 Good Habits to Start Today

Moreover, building a suite of good habits that last a lifetime doesn’t happen overnight. It’s something that takes dedication and hard work. With that being said, there is nothing standing in your way from starting a new, positive habit today. Therefore, if you’re looking to develop good habits and remove old ones that longer serve in your best interest, take a look through our list of 36 good habits that you can start right now!

  1. Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day to improve your physical and mental health.
  2. Get at least eight hours of sleep a night.
  3. Create healthy boundaries when using technology. For example, stay off your phone for at least an hour before going to bed.
  4. Read at least one chapter of a book each day.
  5. Set aside 5 – 10 minutes daily to write in a journal and reflect on your day.
  6. List five things you are grateful for every day.
  7. Practice positive affirmations by creating a personal mantra that you recite to yourself daily.
  8. Breathe in fresh air at least once a day by spending time outside and away from your phone.
  9. Declutter and organize your space to have a clear mind and reset your energy.
  10. Practice a five-minute mindfulness meditation once a day.
  11. Replace unhealthy drinks with water to stay hydrated.
  12. Track your tasks by making a daily list and checking off each task as you complete it.
  13. Practice better hygiene by developing a simple morning and night routine.
  14. Develop healthy eating by adding more greens into your diet and avoiding fast food.
  15. Develop a monthly financial plan to save more and pay off any debt you may have collected over the years.
  16. Compliment yourself and others throughout the day.
  17. Write down your monthly goals and a detailed plan on how to achieve them.
  18. Make time for yourself to do something you love, just because you can.
  19. Begin going to therapy to work on your self-development.
  20. Set healthy boundaries with individuals and environments that don’t serve your best interests.
  21. Make time to see your friends and family in person at least once a week.
  22. Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby.
  23. Perform a thoughtful act of kindness to a stranger at least once a day.
  24. Reduce your daily caffeine intake.
  25. Smile more often.
  26. Listen to an educational podcast at least once a week to improve your learning.
  27. Take more risks and confront the things in life that scare you.
  28. Say yes to new adventures more often.
  29. Make your bed every morning.
  30. Remain mindful of your posture.
  31. Stretch once in the morning and at night to increase blood flow and improve flexibility.
  32. Avoid taking part in gossip.
  33. Floss and brush your teeth twice a day.
  34. Volunteer more often in your community.
  35. Donate old clothes and other items to a local charity.
  36. Arrive early to work and get a head start on the day.


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