Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Your quality of life is something that is determined by your own standards and ideals, but it is comprised of all the things that contribute to your happiness, health, ability to support yourself, how you spend your free time, and your satisfaction with your overall life. Quality of life is not just how happy you are or how much money you earn, but it is a measure of your overall well-being.
Therefore, efforts that you make to improve your life must include all these areas, because neglecting one will leave you imbalanced and, therefore, not achieve your goal. While you may have all the money you need or be in excellent health, if you are not happy or enjoy how you spend your time, what is the point? Striking a balance is critical and knowing which areas of your life need support can also help you identify where to focus your energy.
And no matter what, there is always work to be done that can improve your quality of life and help you feel more happiness and enjoyment. Because you are constantly evolving and your needs change, the process of personal growth and development never stops, which means there is always work that you can do to help improve your life.
When you want to improve your life, you focus on changing what you do, which, over time, can improve how you feel, what you believe, and what you are able to accomplish. You can improve your life in innumerable ways, but those that are most successful are aligned to your values and goals, help you achieve what is important to you, and allow you to become the best version of yourself that you can be.
As we said, improving your life happens when you focus on several areas that address your overall well-being and happiness. These include habits that will enhance your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health as well as practices that improve your environment, success, finances, security, relationships, and allow you to reach your goals.
The Role of Habits in Improving Your Life
Just wanting to improve your life and be happier is not really going to accomplish anything, though. When you are ready to enhance your life, you must be prepared to take action, to set goals, and to engage in regular habits that will help transform your life into a better reality.
Habits are things you do regularly. Some you do daily while others may be necessary weekly or monthly. The point of habits is that, by doing them consistently, you attend to the things in your life that need focus, you give energy to all the aspects of your life that influence your quality of life, and you develop patterns of behavior that ensure that you will be able to continue these efforts as long as they are needed.
Habits are things that you do without really needing to think about them. They become automatic, which means you do not need to think too hard about doing them; they just happen. Some habits, like brushing your teeth, we learned as children, but others, like monitoring your money, may not be ones that you learned or have practiced for some time.
Developing the right habits, those that are helpful and healthy is the key to improving your life and helping you to realize your goals. The proper practices will replace negative or unhealthy ones and promote wellness in all aspects of your life. And while this sounds easy, it is not always so because habits are so ingrained in our minds that they are difficult to change once they are in place.
However, certain habits, like those that we describe below, are meant to disrupt your current thinking and behavior, which means they force your mind to make important shifts that are necessary for transformation. And over time, these habits can enhance the quality of your life.
It is important to remember that, for a habit to really improve the quality of your life, it must be a positive influence and not have any adverse outcomes. That means that, while drinking wine may improve your mood, it does not have positive effects on your body long-term, which means that it would not be considered to be a helpful habit. Coping strategies and healthy habits are not always the same thing, and it is important that the habits you adopt are beneficial to all parts of your well-being, or else you will need to select new habits just to counteract the effects of them.
Adopting helpful, powerful habits that are beneficial to your well-being allows you to improve the quality of your life without spending extra mental effort, without having to think too much about what you are doing or why. You learn to do them and practice them enough that you do them, and, over time, your well-being will reap the rewards of your effort and tenacity.
So, without further wait, here are the 20 habits that, if you adopt them faithfully, will improve your life immediately and allow you to enjoy well-being and happiness.
20 Habits that Can Improve Your Life Now
#1. Practice Daily Gratitude
Spending just 10-15 minutes every day thinking about your personal gratitude and appreciation can have a profound effect on your life. Not only listing those things for which you are grateful but considering why you appreciate them in your life helps your mindset and outlook, brings you closer to your values, and promotes positive thinking.
No matter how dark your life may be, there are things you have that are gifts and blessings and focusing on these instead of your challenges helps you remain positive and seek solutions and possibilities.
Gratitude is a powerfully positive habit and making this a part of your morning or evening routine can enhance your quality of life in a very short time. Try it today. As you lay down tonight, close your eyes and name three things for which you are grateful and your reasons. Keep it up every day, and you will soon feel like you have more bounty than you know how to handle.
2. Meditate Regularly
Along with a daily gratitude check, regular meditation can help to transform your mindset and improve your mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Meditation is not necessarily a spiritual practice. In fact, it is a cognitive skill that you can learn.
When you are meditating, you are merely focusing your thoughts on one thing, usually your breath, and you are practicing staying focused for an extended period.
The benefits of meditation are far-reaching and well-proven. They include reducing stress and its negative effects on the body, improving your ability to concentrate and focus, enhancing emotional control, and improving your outlook.
It can even reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and other adverse symptoms you may be experiencing. Develop a daily meditation habit starting today using guided meditation apps or podcasts.
3. Move More
The goal of reaching 10,000 steps every day is not just about getting physical exercise, but it is also about just moving your body more and sitting less. Walking is one of the best exercises for all people because it is minimal impact, it is something you can do in combination with other activities, and it promotes a healthier weight and overall improved health.
You do not need to worry about setting aside huge chunks of time to walk 10,000 steps all at once; you just need to work on integrating more movement and walking throughout your day.
Walk to accomplish errands that are close by, walk while you make phone calls or chat with friends, walk before and after meals to improve digestion, take the stairs whenever possible, walk to take a break from your computer work, part further away so you can get in more steps, and just make a concerted effort to walk more and sit less. Your body and your mind will thank you when you embrace this habit.
This habit is not just about your belongings but also about your time, thoughts, and emotions. Clutter is just unnecessary things that are getting in your way and but not benefitting your life. Take time every day to organize your surroundings, to return things to their proper place, and to get rid of unnecessary items.
Decluttering applies to your home, your offices or desk, your car, your friends, your emotions, and your self-talk. If it does not positively serve you, it needs to go.
Develop a daily ritual of tidying up, including evaluating your habits for the day to see where you can make adjustments that result in less overall clutter. The less clutter you have in your space and in your life, the less stressed you will feel and the easier it will be to enjoy your life.
When you physically smile, the movement has a positive effect on your mental and physical well-being. Smiling sends strong messages to your brain and your body, which alters your brainwaves and your body’s functions. Even when you are not really happy, just smiling can make you feel more positive and lower your blood pressure.
The next time you find yourself stressed or low, try keeping a sustained smile on your face for at least five minutes. And the longer you are able to keep the smile on your face, the more influential the impact on your mindset and your physiology. While smiling is usually considered to be a product of happiness, it turns out that is can actually cause it, as well.
6. Learn Something New
Keeping your brain active and engaged is a crucial part of your wellness and overall quality of life. Learning helps you grow and gain skills and knowledge, and it enables you to further your growth in ways that are important to you.
Learning is crucial to improving your quality of life as it provides you with the resources and inspiration to achieve your goals.
You can learn in any number of ways, including reading, watching videos, hands-on experiences, formal classes, or through coaching. Spending some time every day learning about something important to you can keep you motivated, engaged your mind in meaningful ways, and improves your abilities and confidence.
7. Having a Bedtime Routine…and Follow It!
One of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your life is to improve the quality of your sleep. Just as getting your day started well is essential, ensuring you end your day well is just as (if not more so) critical. Your nighttime routine should accomplish two goals. The first is to prepare to have a successful start to your day tomorrow, and the second is to ensure that you get a great night’s sleep with enough time to enjoy the rest you need.
Find a routine that works for you but be sure that it includes shutting off your use of screens like tablets, TVs, and phones at least 30 minutes (preferably one hour) before bedtime.
Engage in activities that help to clear your mind of the day’s clutter and worries. Make sure your sleeping environment is conducive to quality rest and get to bed on time. Following a regular routine ensures that you safeguard your sleep and that you are always prepared for the following day.
8. Improve Your Time Management
Most people complain that they never have enough time when what they mean is, they do not have enough time for the thing they want. Learning to manage your time more efficiently can help you gain back wasted time, eliminate activities that are not improving your life, and have more time for the things that are most important to you.
Time management techniques include creating lists, prioritizing tasks, combining like tasks together, eliminating harmful habits that waste time, avoiding distractions that pull you away from what is important, and setting boundaries for time off task.
Find two or three time management strategies that work well for you and implement them every day to start feeling more productive and like you are in control of your own time.
9. Spend More Time Outside
Whether you are exercising or not, spending time outdoors is an important ritual that can improve your well-being and quality of life. Walking, sitting in a park, gazing at a sunset, or riding your bike around the neighborhood are all effective ways to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and green spaces around you.
When you spend time in nature, even just looking at a tree, your brain and body relax, you release feel-good hormones that improve your mood, and you feel more connected to other people.
10. Connect with Other People
Connecting with others on a deep level is an important habit that can improve the quality of your life. Hugging others, holding hands, looking into someone else’s eyes, and showing genuine interest in someone else are all ways to show you care, and the more you connect with others on a personal level, the better your outlook and mindset will feel.
Set aside time every day to talk with loved ones, to share alone time with your partner, to reconnect with long-lost friends, or to strengthen your relationship with someone in your life. And when you start investing in your relationships with others, you will see how much they reciprocate that energy.
11. Give to Others
While this does not have to be a significant part of your everyday life, it should be something that you do regularly. Giving of yourself to those in need not only improves their lives but also enhances the quality of your own.
When you volunteer or spend time helping other people, you are showing that you are willing to give of yourself to help someone in need, which makes you appreciate your own life even more. Giving your time and effort to others can also help you develop your skills as you share something important that you love with other people.
Giving and contributing are selfless acts that nonetheless have substantial personal benefits. The more you can help those in need, whether in your own circle or in your community, the more positive you will feel about your ability to make a difference in the world.
12. Spend Time on Self-Reflection
If you really want to improve your life, then spending some quality time with yourself, getting to know who you are and what you need, and reflecting on your life will help you tremendously. Spending just a few minutes each day reflecting on your strengths and weaknesses, thinking about what you have learned that day, and exploring your goals can have a substantial impact on your overall happiness and success.
It is also a great idea to spend time every few months on a more in-depth reflection. This is the perfect time to evaluate your goals, look at the progress you have made toward long-term objectives, adjust your routines and habits, and generally make sure that things are doing in the direction you want.
13. Do All Your Tedious Stuff at Once
If you want to make your day feel more productive, take just 20-30 minutes each day to do all the tedious but necessary tasks that seem to suck up a lot of your time otherwise. Return phone calls, make appointments, listen to voice mails, go through paper mail, refill supplies… anything that you would typically have to stop what you are doing to do or that would otherwise become a multi-tasking distraction for you.
Tedious tasks are not fun, and no one likes to do them, but getting them all out of the way at once frees you to get on with your day and not have to worry about them.
And setting aside dedicated time for them ensures they actually get done, rather than just getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do for tomorrow. You will soon feel more productive and less stressed without these meddling tasks hanging over your head.
14. Eat a Healthy Diet
While it may feel good in the moment to indulge in that doughnut, but your brain and your body will not agree with you later. Indulging in unhealthy foods that are loaded with sugar, fat, and salt not only is likely to pack on the extra weight and interfere with your health, but it also wreaks havoc on your brain chemistry and hormones.
Instead, focus on providing your body the nutrition it needs by eating healthy, whole foods that are minimally processed. Eating whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds provides your body with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy and protect your well-being. Invest in your quality of life by investing in the quality of your diet.
15. Manage Your Money
No matter how much (or how little) money you make, it is imperative that you learn to manage the funds you have effectively. When you do not pay attention to where your money is going, it is likely to lead to overspending, not having enough money saved, or being unprepared for retirement or emergencies.
Creating a monthly budget is the first step, but the vital part of this habit is tracking your daily spending to ensure that you are staying within that budget. Track every penny that is spent, and soon you will have a better handle and where you can make adjustments and how you can save for the things that are really important to you. And being in control of your money reduces stress and helps you plan better for the future.
16. Simplify Your Morning Routine
For the most part, you probably do (or should do) the same things every single morning of your life. Look at all those to-dos and find ways to streamline that routine as much as possible. Getting your day started off right, and giving you less to worry and stress about, are all critical parts to improving your quality of life.
Start by devising a routine. Combine things together to save time (like reflecting on your goals for the day while in the shower or listening to an inspirational or educational podcast during your commute), prepare what you can the night before (make your lunch, pick your outfit, pack your bag or purse), and start each morning with positive thoughts and an optimistic outlook.
Getting your day going in this way sets the tone for the rest of your days and helps to ensure your success.
17. Do Something Kind for Yourself Every Day
While you are busy worrying about and taking care of others, it is essential that you also do something kind for yourself every day. Taking care of your own needs, attending to your mental, emotional, and spiritual goals, and just taking a time out now and then when you need are all necessary to your well-being. Do not be afraid to set boundaries to protect yourself, to take a breather when you need time to reflect, and to engage in self-care that looks after all aspects of your well-being.
Getting enough exercise every day has not only many physical benefits but also has tremendous psychological and emotional benefits, as well. Exercising for as little as 20 minutes per day can improve your overall health and help you live longer. And the healthier you are, the more you can enjoy your life and achieve the level of happiness you want.
Exercise should elevate your heart rate, help improve your muscle tone, or improve your balance and coordination (or all three!). Activities like jogging, cycling, swimming, lifting weights, yoga, and cross-training or interval workouts are all excellent choices.
Finding time in your day to exercise is just as important as finding time to eat, sleep, and bathe, so be sure that you are making this a priority in your life.
19. Do Something You Have Been Avoiding
This does not need to be a daily routine but should make time each week to tackle those items that you naturally procrastinate or that you routinely avoid. Start by making a list of those things that you hate to do. This can be anything from paying bills to sorting the recycling to cleaning out your car. Whatever it is that you always seem to put off doing, put it on the list.
Commit to spending either a few minutes every day or an hour or so a week to getting these done. Even if you do not fully complete the task in your allotted time, be sure you devote the entire window to these chores.
Getting them taken care of will eliminate anxiety and help you feel accomplished while also tackling important jobs.
20. Get Inspired
Your final powerful habit is to be sure that you are looking for something inspiring in your life every single day. Inspiration can come from lots of places, including people in your life, strangers on the street, something you read or watch, or your experiences.
Look for things that inspire you to be a better person, to improve your own life or someone else’s, to achieve your goals, and to remain committed to your dreams.
When you feel inspired, visualize yourself succeeding, reaching goals that you have set, realizing your dreams. Imagine your life in its optimal form and allow yourself to feel what it will feel like to achieve this objective.
Taking time every day to be inspired can help you remain motivated to change your life and can give you ideas for ways you can continue to improve and grow.
Take one of these habits and implement it today