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Life Organization

5 Healthy New Habits to Start this Autumn


Habit: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up

Each of us have our own habits. Be them good or bad, it’s important to realize that habits are a part of being human. Exercising daily is a ‘good’ habit that can be beneficial for our mind and physical wellbeing. Writing in a journal would also be classed as a ‘good’ habit. On the other hand, scrolling on social media the moment you wake up is not beneficial to our health, so is more of a ‘bad’ habit. I say ‘good’ and ‘bad’ in quotation marks because I believe in everything in moderation. I am as guilty as the next person of doom-scrolling and making excuses why I can’t exercise that day.

What are habits?

A habit is a repetitive behaviour or action driven by a craving. In his book The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg talks about a ‘habit loop’, which is the neurological loop at the centre of every habit. A cue, a routine, and a reward.

Duhigg gives an example of a bad habit of his own:

“My routine is that you get up from your desk in the afternoon, walk to the cafeteria, buy a chocolate chip cookie, and eat it while chatting with friends.”

To figure out what the cue and the reward is for this habit loop, he asked himself some questions:

  • Is the cue hunger, boredom, needing a break, or low blood sugar?
  • Is the reward the cookie itself, the change of scenery, the distraction, or socializing with friends?

After doing this, he could figure out which cravings were driving his chocolate chip cookie habit and change it for something healthier, accordingly.

What about my habits?

There are an infinite number of habits, all uniquely individual to each person. Working on your self-development by implementing healthier, more positive habits into your life will have an incredible effect! Starting a new habit doesn’t need to be an uphill struggle. I encourage you to read my previous article about starting a new habit for the best chance of sticking to it.

New habits to learn

You can tailor these 5 suggested habits to fit around your routine.

Make your morning screen-free

By now I am sure you will have heard about the negative health effects of too much screen time. Eye strain, headaches, screen addiction. But did you know that reaching for your phone the moment you wake up can be bad for your mental health and productivity? If the first thing you do for your morning dopamine fix is scroll Instagram, your brain will crave this for the rest of the day. Try to avoid of your phone and focus on starting your day right.

Write x3 things you are grateful for each day

Learning to be more grateful for the life I have has dramatically improved every part of me. I see the joy in the little things. I appreciate my friends and family more. I’ve started to believe that there is a silver lining in any situation, even if I’m really struggling to see it. Having an attitude of gratitude takes time, but I believe it really does help you deal with life’s challenges.

Start small. Each morning when you wake up, list x3 things you are grateful for in your life. Or, if you’d prefer, you can write x3 things you were grateful for during the day before you go to bed. The important part here is to choose different things each day. It’s very easy to say you’re grateful for ‘my dog’ every single day, but you know that. Try to appreciate the smaller, more discreet tbhings around you.

Go for a walk

There are so many benefits to going for a walk. It can break up a stressful day, give you much-needed thinking space away from distractions, and can give you an endorphin boost to get you through the day. In his ‘Just One Thing‘ podcast, Dr. Michael Mosley encourages us to go for an early morning walk within an hour of waking up to boost our mood. It’s a great habit to start, and if you have a dog, even better! I’m sure your furry friend will appreciate the extra exercise.

Read daily

Reading daily is a great habit to adopt. Whether you prefer fiction or non-fiction, it doesn’t really matter, so long as you’re reading consistently. Research has shown that reading fiction books for at least 30 minutes a day can improve social cognition and empathy. For those of you who prefer non-fiction, you won’t need reminding about the perks of learning through books. Increased knowledge, solutions to real life problems, an expanded vocabularly. All of these are perks of non-fiction books. Whichever you prefer, try and read for at least 30 minutes a day for maximum effectiveness.

Set a bedtime alarm

You’ve undoubtedly heard about the benefits of waking up at the same time every morning. However, have you ever heard of setting an alarm to remind you when to go to bed? Of course, waking up at the same time will create structure and routine, but what about if you want to wake up at 6am but only went to sleep at 1am? You’re not going to be your best self when you run on only 5 hours sleep. Add a bedtime alarm to your nightitme routine so you’re able to get a good amount of sleep and start the next day energised.

Does it take 21 days to start a new habit?

Surprisingly, no! If you’re starting a new habit of eating ice cream every day for breakfast, it might only take a day for the habit to form. On the other hand, if you’re trying to wake up at 5am every day to exercise, it will probably take a bit longer to stick, this is the advice from Duhigg himself. Instead, try to remember why you are starting the new habit. Are you doing it to be healthier? To be happier? To be more productive? Whatever your reasons, next time you feel an excuse creeping up as to why you can’t read/journal/stay away from your phone, remember your why.


  1. Stuart Danker – Malaysia – A Malaysian writer who's been in the no-niche niche for a decade. His debut novel, Tinhead City KL was published in April 2021. www.stuartdanker.com
    Stuart Danker says:

    Great post! I myself have built a few habits on the premise that my body and mind are the only things that are with me 24/7. So I cultivate them by eating healthy, exercising, and reading. Anyway, thanks for this post!

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