A good habit is one that takes little effort but can have an enormous impact on your life.
Automating your savings, reading, exercising–these are small habits that make all the difference. Yet, they’re not hard to do.
My personal belief is that I’m not talented. But, I’ve been able to develop good habits in areas that matter.
These habits have compounded over the years. For example, for around 10 years now, I’ve read a book a week. A habit that has helped build this blog is reaching out to 3 reporters a day.
I’ve gone as far as tracking these habits (as well as bad habits) in a spreadsheet.
In every area of your life, there are small habits that can make a big difference. Below are 100 examples of good habits, from my own life and/or backed by research.
You don’t need to start every habit. But chances are there’s one, two, or maybe even 15 that can make all the difference in your life.
Let’s dive in…
100 Good Habits That Make A Big Difference In Your Health, Wealth, & Happiness
- Set financial goals. Make your money have a purpose by setting financial goals at least once a year.
- Revisit your financial goals monthly. Set a time aside at least once a month to track your progress.
- Look at your budget weekly. See how you’re doing, adjust if necessary, and check for any errors.
- Invest the gap. At the end of the month, whatever the difference is between your income and expenses, put it towards your highest financial goal.
- Set up auto-payment. For all your bills, set them to auto-pay.
- Ask for a second opinion. Make a habit of asking for a second opinion from someone you trust before a big purchase or investment.
- Treat every dollar the same. Don’t treat money differently depending on where it came from, a dollar will always be a dollar. For example, don’t splurge because you got an end-of-year bonus. Look at that money as the same as the income you received throughout the year.
- Make financial decisions in the morning. Never make a financial decision when you’re tired. Always wait until after a good night’s sleep.
- Review your credit. Check your credit score, credit report, and look for opportunities to increase your score at least twice a year.
- Make your money invincible. Hide money from yourself as much as possible by automating good behaviors. Think 401(k) deductions, automatic IRA withdrawals, and transferring money immediately from checking to savings.
- Rebalance. Review your investments once a year to see if your asset allocation matches your risk. If you have a 401(k), use a free service like Blooom to analyze your current investments.
- Review fees and payment schedules. Review any bills annually for hidden fees. e.g. can you save money by paying insurance in full, can you save money buying your own modem, etc…
- Review your employer’s benefits package. Employers add benefits all the time. Sit down and read through your entire benefit packet once a year to see if there are any opportunities.
- Always work towards a signup bonus. When it comes to travel rewards, my rule of thumb is that I’m always trying to work towards a sign-up bonus. Between my wife and I, that means we apply for around one new personal and one new business card each every year. The results? Tens of thousands of dollars saved in travel. To learn how to use credit card points for free travel, check out my in-depth guide to travel hacking.
- Don’t pay banking fees. Americans pay over $15 billion in overdraft fees a year. That’s insane! If you paid $1 in fees last year, you owe it to yourself to find a better bank. Check out Fiona, a free search engine that helps you find the bank that pays the highest interest rate in your area. No personal information is required, just enter your zip code. When I did this, I found a bank that paid 22X the national average on their savings accounts! See what banks are paying around your area—check out Fiona today.
- Increase your savings rate regularly. If you’re in savings mode, set a calendar alert to increase contributions to your 401(k), IRA, or any other investments. A 1% increase every quarter will increase your savings rate by 10% in just 2.5 years.
- Increase principal payments regularly. If you’re in debt payoff mode, increase the automatic payment amount in small increments monthly. Even $10 a month more, will save you a lot of money.
- Wait 30-days on any purchases over $100. For any purchases over $100, wait 30-days and evaluate your wants and needs at that time.
- Wait 1 day to make an online purchase. Wait at least one day on any online purchases, to avoid overspending.
- Shop your insurance. Make it a habit to at least once every other year.
- Put a subscription on hold. Put a subscription on hold, e.g. gym membership, TV, clothing, food, etc…, to see if you really miss it. Go back to it if you do. One great tool for this is Truebill, which can identify and automatically cancel unused subscriptions. (Read about it in my review of the service.)
- Use notifications for gifts. Don’t wait until the last second to buy someone a gift when it’s easy to overspend. Instead, when you go to put the event in your calendar, set an alert two weeks out to notify you.
- Only buy what’s on your list. When you go grocery shopping, only buy what’s on your list.
- Scan your receipts. Take pictures of your receipts when you’re done shopping with Ibotta, to earn free cash. Read our full iBotta review.
- Adhere to maintenance schedules. Following a home, car, and appliance maintenance schedules can help save your money long-term. Put these events in your calendar.
- Check Craigslist. Before making any big purchases, check sites like Craigslist.
- Use Swagbucks Shop. Get cashback on your online purchases effortlessly when you use Swagbucks shop.
- Download Library Extension. This extension tells you if a book you’re viewing on Amazon is available from your local library.
- Download Honey. This extension will cycle through available coupon codes to find the maximum savings on your online purchases.
- Negotiate subscriptions at least once a year. Negotiate any monthly subscriptions like cell phone, cable, or Internet. Or, you can have Trim negotiate for you.
- Compare three quotes/prices. Whenever making a purchase over $100, get at least three different prices.
- Be the planner. Plan ahead of time fun, frugal activities that will fill up your weekend.
- Take a survey a day. Take a survey a day with a site like Survey Junkie to earn a nice little side income.
- Play videos in the background. You can get paid to watch videos while working. Sign up for Swagbucks and watch videos in the background while getting work done.
- Write every day. One of the reasons I started this blog was because I love to write. Nothing puts me in a better flow-state, and therefore a better mood, then writing. It’s also proven to be a great way to organize my thoughts around a lot of important areas in my own life. If you’re interested in starting a money making blog like this one, sign up for our free email course below:
- Write one thank you note a day. This was actually Mark Zuckerberg’s goal a few years back.
- Ask for a raise. Ask for a raise annually from your employer.
- Look for a higher-paying job. Seek a higher-paying job at least once every other year.
- Send a weekly recap. Send a weekly recap to your boss, explaining what you accomplished over the past week and opportunities to bring more value to your employer.
- Don’t talk bad about coworkers. There are a lot of downside and absolutely no upside.
- Schedule email. Don’t have your email open all day. Instead, schedule set-times to check and respond to email throughout the day.
- Reward yourself. Reward yourself whenever you feel like you’ve stretched yourself and grew beyond what you thought was possible.
- Send congrats. Whenever you hear of someone’s success, send them a quick congrats and encouragement for the road ahead.
- One article a day. Whatever your # 1 career goal is, read an article a day on accomplishing that goal. Tip: Search Google for “Case Studies+Goal”. e.g. “six-figure freelance writer case studies”
- One new skill a year. Develop one new skill per year, which will increase your value to others. Examples include negotiating, persuasion, decision making, persuasion, design, writing, etc…
- Surround yourself with smart people. Aim to go to some an event every month, where you feel like the least experienced person in the room.
- Smile whenever you meet someone. First impressions make a big difference.
- Give praise. Don’t let good work go unnoticed. Actively reach out to others to tell them they’re doing a great job.
- End the day on a question. This habit I learned from Josh Waitzkin on the Tim Ferriss Podcast. In a nutshell, the habit is to ask yourself an important question at the end of the workday and let your subconscious mind think about it until tomorrow.
One of my favorite researchers right now is a man named John Gottman.
His lab has gotten so good, they’re able to predict divorce in a relationship with over 90% accuracy.
He’s transformed what we know today about building a healthy, happy marriage. Here are 5 habits he recommends (and one of my own) for building a healthy, happy relationship.
- Ask, “How was your day”. Get a sense for how your significant other is doing every day by just this simple question at the end of the day.
- Kiss for six-seconds. A daily six-second kiss has shown to increase emotional and physical intimacy.
- Know the Magic Ratio. For every negative interaction you have with your spouse, have five (or more) positive interactions.
- Have a date night. Plan at least one date night a week.
- State of the Union Meetings. Have an in-depth conversion once a week with your spouse to discussing areas of concern both personally and as a couple.
- Set a calendar alert for special occasions. Set a calendar alert 30-days ahead of time before a special occasion. Special events such as an anniversary or birthday can creep up fast. But, they’re worth celebrating. A calendar alert can help you plan ahead of time a memorable experience.
As a Father, one of the most important skills I’ve been focusing on lately has been parenting.
Here are 3 small habits I’ve learned from these experts about becoming a better parent.
- Schedule 15-minutes with each child. This has a big impact on how each of my kids acts the rest of the day.
- 12 Hugs a day. Family therapist Virginia Satir has a great quote, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”
- Say, ‘Wow, you really worked hard’. Always compliment their work ethic when instead of their talent.
- Plan your day. Take a few minutes in the morning to plan your day.
- Plan your afternoon. Plans have great intentions but don’t always work. Take a few minutes in the afternoon to plan the rest of your day.
- Volunteer your time. One study showed that people who volunteered their time felt like they had more of it.
- Have a stop work time. Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage and have a set-time you stop work each day.
- Make time wasters harder to do. Wherever you tend to waste time, make those activities a little harder to do. Spend too much time watching TV? Take the batteries out of the remote. Spend too much time on your phone? Use an app like Freedom that limits the amount of time per day you can spend.
- Start with the hardest task. Start your day completing the most demanding task, that will make the biggest impact on your goals.
- Share your goals with one friend. Share your goals with one friend who will hold you accountable. Then, check-in weekly with that friend on your progress.
- Make a distraction list. For one week, every time you change tasks while at work, write it down in a journal. I can’t recommend this enough.
- Write down decisions. Write down every single decision you have to make in a day (it will be a lot). Then, look for ways to eliminate and automate as many decisions as possible.
- Make a stop doing list. The list of habits and things you’re not going to do anymore, is just as important as the things you are doing.
- Track your deep work. Keep track of where, when, and how long you perform deep work every day.
- Take a break. Take breaks during your workday and for longer stretches on the weekend.
- Have a shutdown ritual. A shutdown ritual is something I learned from Cal Newport.
- Block notifications from your phone. Only allow urgent messages to show up on your phone’s home screen.
- Get outside. Get outside in the sun as quickly as you can after waking.
- Have a batch cook day. Have a day where you pre-make meals for the days ahead.
- Drink water. Carry with you a water bottle as much as possible.
- Eat a vegetable salad a day.
- Get in daily exercise. Don’t have time? Try the 7-minute workout.
- 5 Pulls-ups. One habit I learned from Pavel Tsatsouline was to put a pull-up bar in a room in your house. Then, every time you walk through that specific door, you do 5 pull-ups.
- Drink water first thing in the morning. As we wake up dehydrated it’s important to rehydrate yourself upon waking.
- Wear blue-light blocking glasses. When on screens at night, wear blue light blocking glasses. While my wife does make fun of me, it has a big impact on how I sleep. Here’s the pair I have.
- Use a standing desk. Studies show that sitting all day long cuts lifespan by two years. Get a standing desk. Here’s the one I have for my home office.
- Always take the stairs. Avoid escalators and short-elevator rides.
- Designated bedtimes. Have a designated time you go to bed and wake up each day.
- Weigh yourself every week. Don’t let weight gain creep up on you by weighing yourself consistently.
- Track your steps. Similar to the above, tracking your steps brings consciousness to how active you are.
- Honey before bed. A small spoonful of honey before bed has shown to improve sleep quality.
- No caffeine in afternoons. On average, the half-life of caffeine is 5 to 6 hours. That means any caffeine ingested in the afternoon, typically is not through your system by when its time to go to sleep.
- 10 Minutes of mobility a day. To keep your body feeling good, aim for 10-minutes of mobility a day. Once a year, I try to go through Kelly Starrett’s first 100 videos on YouTube.
- Take 100% responsibility. Whenever something goes wrong, assume it was 100% your fault.
- Mediate. There is a number of good studies on the importance of meditation. Even just a few minutes a day can make a big difference. A few free apps I’ve liked are Oak Meditation and Insight Timer.
- Start a gratitude journal. Write down at least 5 things you’re thankful for every day.
- Work in a flow state. At least once a day, do something without distraction for at least an hour.
- Have a no screen day. Take a day off screens at least one day a week.
- Plan a vacation. The anticipation of a trip has a positive impact on your happiness.
- Sleep. Get at least 8-hours of sleep a night.
- Read 10-pages a day. Read 10-pages a day from a book you consider is filled with wisdom.
- Start a decision journal. Whenever you make a big decision in your life, write down in a specific journal the reasons why. This is a great way to improve your decision making.
- Breath work. When you need to recharge, practice breath work, even a minute makes a big difference. Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breath is a great place to start.
- Read one new book a year in each category. For each category of your life (health, finances, career, parenting, relationship, social, spiritual, etc…) read at least one new book a year.
- Say something nice to yourself. Most of the self-talk we give ourselves is negative. Make it a habit to tell yourself something nice about you. For example, every time you look in the mirror after you go to the bathroom, smile and silently say one thing you love about yourself.
- Do a weekly time budget once a year. Aim for an in-depth budget of how you spend a week in 15-minute increments. This is eye-opening!
- Make a positive impact. You don’t have to be a millionaire to use your resources for good. One example: by switching to Arcadia Power, you can use renewable energy in your home for about the same price as you’re paying for coal-powered electricity.