10 Simple and Important Habits to Cultivate

If our everyday actions define who we are as people, are you working hard on maintaining positive daily habits?

Personally, I know I let a lot of areas slip in my life from time to time, and only through conscious thought and action on my part do the habits I want in my life come to pass. I’ve said that there is no minimalist rulebook, but there are simple habits that we should be consistently working to cultivate in our lives.

Here are ten simple habits that will improve your life:

  1. Tracking your spending. This is an absolutely critical practice to focus on in order to get control of your personal financial situation. It is easy to dismiss the impact of small, daily spending without seeing the numbers laid out together. Once you get used to hanging on to receipts and tallying them in a simple spreadsheet, it becomes second nature and provides a overview of your true spending behaviors.
  2. Healthy eating. Chronic dieters are more likely to see an increase in their weight than a decrease. Why? Because dieting is not a viable long-term solution. The personal struggle to eat healthy is not something that can be won in a month or even a year. It is a long process requiring a constant commitment to gradual improvement. By focusing on the big picture rather than a month’s worth of stressful dieting, you can achieve a long-term lifestyle change.
  3. Exercise. The other side of the healthy eating coin. When exercise becomes a standard daily activity you can train your body to crave it rather than dread it. I actually get anxious on days when I don’t exercise and feel more sluggish and less mentally sharp.
  4. Self-Improvement. I don’t mean the thinking-positively and hoping for the best type of self-improvement. I mean literally improving your knowledge and mental clarity on a daily basis. Make it a priority to read (at least) one book a week and find other avenues to actively learn more and improve yourself.
  5. Do-It-Yourself. It can be something as simple as cooking at home more or making your own cosmetics, or as complex as brewing your own beer, but strive to maintain D.I.Y. a focus in your life. It will benefit your bank account and teach you new skills.
  6. Create art. Do some small piece of action each day toward finishing your masterpiece. Even a little step forward in progress is better than nothing at all.
  7. Social interaction. Maybe you are a natural extrovert, but the word “hermit” has been tossed in my direction more than a few times. Consciously aiming to change this helps me to stay better connected with friends and family.
  8. Gratitude. This is something I’ve constantly struggled with. It is so easy to be smug about the fact that through making smart choices I now spend less money, waste less resources and have more to show for my efforts in life. Instead of some misplaced sense of moral superiority because of this, shouldn’t I (and all minimalists) be grateful for the chance to even live a life that makes these possibilities available to us? I don’t have to tell you that there are a multitude of places around the world without access to the basic necessities of life. We should be thankful for what we have and for the opportunity to be able to chose to live as minimalists. Joshua Becker recently wrote a great post called “The Life Changing Nature of Gratitude” that I encourage you to check out if you struggle with this as much as I do.
  9. Helping others. Once you begin to practice the habit of gratitude, you may find yourself naturally inclined to help out those around you more often. When doing so, make it a point to help without any expectations or desire for repayment. If you’re helping others in order to gather up favors and I.O.U.’s, you’re kind of missing the point.
  10. Make the world a better place (one small step at a time). I highly recommend Raam Dev’s new (free) eBook – Small Ways to Make a Big Difference – if you are interested in reading some fantastic ideas on how to make the world (and yourself) better.

What other simple habits do you try to cultivate?

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Speaking of Joshua Becker, if you haven’t already done so I strongly encourage you to check out his new eBook – Inside-Out Simplicity. If you’ve mastered “beginner” minimalism and simplified your belongings and clutter and want to continue improving your mental outlook and relationships with those around you, I highly recommend this book. It discusses many areas that are not being talked about among minimalist bloggers right now and definitely need to be.

If you missed it, I was interviewed last Friday by Courtney Carver from Be More with Less. She had a lot of great questions, so check it out.

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