Great habits to form in 2022
I shout it from the rooftops as often as I can that you need to set good habits in order to have an extraordinary life, so yep, I’m saying it again. The start of a year is a bit of a clean slate for many of us. As we pack away the Christmas decorations, we leave behind lots of the things that may not have been that great for us. My hand is raised really high here, as I think of the 6 months’ worth of champagne, I drank in those 6 weeks where we were actually social at the end of 2021. It doesn’t matter if you are a stay-at-home parent, a doctor, hospitality worker, student, or retired – habits will help you to do more of what you want, and less of what you don’t. They’ll help you to reach those goals that may have been hanging around for a bit too long. They can give you more time and take away so much stress when done well. Here’s a list I’ve put together of 52 habits that you may want to add into your life. You could spend the next year adding one a week! 52 Good Habits to work on in 2022
- Ask for help
You are not stranded on a desert island. Asking for help more often is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. Trust me, I work on this habit every day. Start small. Maybe ask someone to grab you something when they are at the shops, or when your partner says ‘do you need me to do anything’ tell them one thing that would be great to get help with.
- Check-in with friends
Once a day, call or text someone randomly from your phone and say “Hi. There doesn’t have to be a bigger reason than connection. It’s one of our greatest needs, so make the effort to keep it going with people from your past.
- Cook more
In this hustle and UberEATS age, we can often get a bit lazy with cooking – don’t! Make eating out or getting takeaway a ‘sometimes’ thing. Not only does it then stay special, but you may also be eating better and saving money!
- Create a fear list and work on busting them
Seriously make a list of 5 – 10 things that scare you, and work on a plan to do them. Get help where needed and remember fear is a thought and thoughts can’t hurt you. Ok, I’m still not jumping out of a plane, but you get the idea.
- Declutter something regularly
Most people have that drawer or cupboard that you don’t want to look in or that section of the wardrobe that doesn’t fit. Declutter it! 30min a week to tackle one area will free up space and your mind – making room for good.
- Develop a night-time routine
Make a plan that works for you and stick to it. It may include some of the habits listed here. There’s no perfect routine, it’s about what works for you. So play with it, try new things, and see what has you going to sleep and waking up feeling better.
- Dress for success
We may still be in a bit of the Zoomiverse, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show up as our best selves. You’ll feel better, your confidence will get a boost, you’ll show respect to the people you are seeing and yourself. So worth it.
- Drink less alcohol
I love me a good glass of champagne, so I am not telling you not to drink, I’m suggesting you think about when and how much you want to drink. I’m not drinking at the moment, and I regularly do 1-6 months booze-free. It’s not even that I drink too much (well at the odd party) or even every day, but I do know I feel better when I’m not puffing up from champagne and that addiction is a family trait that I’d love to avoid.
- Drink more water
This one I am shouting about. I go through stages of having an alarm on my phone reminding me to drink water ‘drink water you are not a camel’ was one of them. You will know how much feels right to you, but yes 2litres is a great place to start.
- Eat more plant-based meals
When my daughter wanted to explore being a vegetarian, we did ‘meat-free Monday’, that soon turned into a couple of nights a week, and now nearly 4 years later she is a full-time vegetarian, whilst I am a flexitarian – I am veggo when she is with me, and eat some meat & fish when she isn’t. I love it. It’s better for us, and the environment.
- Eat a variety of foods
Colour, cuisines, cooking methods, etc. If your plate is one colour or one theme all the time, that’s not ok. Fruit, vegetables, different proteins, sauces – anything. Variety is the spice of life as they say, and I think variety in what you eat is really important. We are doing ’52 meals from different countries’ this year so it’s educational also.
- Find a hobby
When was the last time you started a new hobby? As a teen? Do it. I dare you. Golf, archery, painting, writing, baking, gardening – anything.
- Find a mentor
People love to share their expertise. So find someone that could help you on your path. Sometimes you may need to do something in return, but often they are happy to often guidance when asked appropriately and with respect for their time. Make a list and make it happen.
Yes, Samantha Mary – floss. You know you must, so do it.
- Get regular exercise
We don’t all have to be marathon runners or Crossfit champions, but we do all need to exercise. Find something that makes you feel good. You don’t need expensive equipment or membership, there are so many amazing free videos on YouTube (check out Caroline Girvan and Yoga with Adrienne). If it’s something you love to do, it will be easy to form the habit.
- Go to bed with a clean slate
Leaving things undone at night can make you feel like crap in the morning. Hello, messy kitchen after a late dinner party! So before you turn in, make sure you cover off the things that you know will bug you. Kitchen, washing, phoning your mother back, you get the picture. Bonus points if you plan your tomorrow too.
- Have date nights (yes with yourself counts)
Special time is important. No distractions. A good meal, something fun or some pamper time. Time for you and your loved one, or you alone. It fuels the heart.
- Have more good sex
Seriously. Orgasms are so good for you. All those happy hormones pumping through you like oxytocin, endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine. If you don’t have a regular sexual partner, make masturbation a part of your routine. I promise a kitten will not die when you do it.
- Implement good community habits
Recycling, checking in with neighbors, reading at the school, working the community garden, joining a local buy/swap group – in general keeping an eye out for anything you can do in your local area.
Every Single Day. You can download a journaling worksheet to help you.
- Laugh more
Funny movies, jokes, friends that you roll about laughing with, YouTube videos of your favourite comedians. Laughter really is good medicine.
- Learn something new
A bit like finding a hobby, when was the last time you took the time to learn something new? A language, a sport, the piano, scuba diving, calligraphy – anything. What’s something you’ve always wanted to try?
- Less screen time
Shouldn’t really need to explain this one. From being better for your eye health to helping you sleep, to having less negativity in your life – there is no reason not to have less screen time.
- Listen to music that inspires you
There are songs that come on that transport you to a place where you have no problems, lots of energy, inspiration, feeling loved, all the feels. So, curate a playlist/playlist for different moods or modes of your life. Then pump up the music and go!
- Love & appreciate who you are
There’s only one of you, so this love piece is vital. As far as we know, we don’t get a do-over. It can be hard to go from ‘I suck’ to ‘I love myself’ so start small. Write a list of things you are proud of, accomplishments, great moments and keep adding to it. Try the Mirror Exercise. Start a ‘fab file’ and add any testimonials, gorgeous cards, notes, etc from other people.
- Make your bed
Every Single Day. No ifs, buts, or maybes. It starts your day knowing you’ve already ticked something off, and when it comes time to go back to bed at the end of the day – your sanctuary is neat and tidy.
- Manage your money
This can be a tough one for many of us that have a history of not doing it well. It’s never too late to start or too small to start. My friend Denise Duffield Thomas is an expert in this, so I recommend checking her out (it’s not an affiliate link, I think the work is brilliant).
Arghgh, how do you shut the noise off in your head? It’s hard. It took me ages to be able to not feel like a lunatic when I mediated. Grab an app like Calm or Omvana, or try some YouTube videos. Guided meditation is still my go-to, and it’s a daily habit that I love.
- Network more
Yep, this has been hard over the last couple of years, but it is vital. Even if you’re not in business for yourself, it’s important. Network to find new friends for the stage of life you’re in, for a topic you are interested in, for your business or employment growth, for a higher money standard or to find people to drink margaritas and dance with. Proximity is everything. Online networking is also a great tool when used well, so check out some things and go.
- Nurture a growth mindset
A growth mindset means different things to different people. For me it’s about always improving (without feeling like you ‘need’ improving), upskilling, exploring interests, and uncovering & working through our issues. In general, being like a child wanting, needing, and enjoying finding out all they can about the world.
- Practice forgiveness
Yep, it really is a poison you drink. Forgiveness doesn’t need to be walking up to the person you feel wronged you and saying, ‘I forgive you’. It’s about healing the thoughts inside yourself, so it no longer consumes you. I forgave my father a couple of years before he died for the trauma and experiences that came with his alcoholism in my childhood. It was hard but worth it. The anger and resentment left, and I could understand the disease and his own life more. Start small again, that person that cut you off in traffic, the waiter who stuffed up your order. Every day, think of something that’s niggling at you and forgive it.
- Practice gratitude
I’m sounding like a broken record here. Every Single Day. 1-5 things that you can think of in your day that you are grateful for. You can’t be angry or sad when you are thinking gratitude. Some days I’m grateful for the coffee I just had!
- Read regularly
I like to do a book a week, and after years of it being primarily business or personal development, I’m back reading fiction and more biographies. Mix it up. Take some time to do it, yep Every Single Day. Check off how many books you read to feel really accomplished. I recently read ‘Will’ and it was fabulous!
- Remove technology from your bedroom
I still struggle with this one sometimes. There’s no tv in there, but I do sometimes leave my phone beside my bed instead of in the bathroom charging. Oops. I like using meditation apps on my phone, so now I have a Home Pod to be able to do this without my phone. We don’t need the light to mess our sleep, and we certainly don’t need to be waking up and checking social or email!
- Review what you are doing regularly
It’s easy to just keep swimming as Dory with say, then all of a sudden, it’s July and you think, WTF happened to the year. I review weekly. My goals, schedule, etc. You don’t have to do it that often (but I do recommend it). Even monthly to sit down and see how you are going with things, what needs to change, what the next week/month etc looks like, what you can celebrate, and what didn’t work. It’s like having a parent-teach night with yourself….if only she concentrated more in class and stopped talking.
- Say no more often
Many of us get bought up to people please (which makes us liars by the way) and to say yes all the time. No is a full sentence and it’s the most important one you can learn. Boundaries have the power to make or break us. Again, this can be a hard habit to get into, so start small. Even saying no when someone goes off to get morning tea can be a good place to start. You don’t need the banana bread to feel part of the team, especially when you then feel guilty about the calories.
- Set goals and work on them everyday
I can talk about goal setting till I’m blue in the face. They are very important. We start them when we are young at school, then we start slipping with them. I say bring back sticker charts and deadlines for all! If you are new to goal setting my 5 x 5 Goal Formula is a great place to start.
- Sleep, sleep, sleep
If you believe all the big boy hype and hustle culture about sleeping 4 hours a night to be successful, you are in for a painful time. It’s simply not possible for the majority of the population. 7-9 hours is the average we need, for good sleep! Not, passed out after too many wines, or slammed with a pill, kind of sleep. Good sleep. Have a google on sleep hygiene and start implementing better steps for yours. Baths, no tech, eating earlier, dark room, good temperature, etc all help with this. Work out what works for you with trial and error and sleep.
- Smile more
As Charlie Chaplin sang ‘You’ll find that life is still worthwhile If you just smile’. Smile to strangers, smile to your kids or partner. Smile to the guy tapping his steering wheel next to you at the lights. Smiling will not only make you feel better, you may also make someone’s day.
- Spend less time on social media
This is ironic for me to write, given I’ve had some of my social media disabled and am finding the lost connection really hard….but….we do need to spend less time on it, and we need to curate our feeds, decline ads, etc. It’s a free tool, so it’s up to us to make it work for us. 15 min, 4 x a day works for me.
- Spend time in nature everyday
Sunrise may not be your thing (I love it), and you may not have a dog that needs a long long long walk, but you can take a few minutes a couple of times a day to be outside and take some deep breaths. Watch the stars, makeup characters with the clouds, dance in the rain, or sit on a rock and think. Doesn’t matter what you do, but the natural light and fresh help will help with many things, including your sleep.
- Spend time with positive and supportive people
I’m not going to say ditch every negative nelly in your life, sometimes they are our closest relatives. I am saying, be intentional about the time and energy you give those relationships and aim to spend more time with people who lift you up, care about the things you care about, are working on, or have done what you want to do. Again, proximity is power.
- Start your day with a good routine
If you haven’t already watched the November 2021 episodes of The Samantha Leith Show I go deep into the Daily Success Formula and how to create the perfect one for you. Everything from exercise to breakfast. Those first few hours can make or break you. Bed, meditation, reading, coffee, getting ready, exercise, breakfast, sunrise – anything, it’s your ideal routine!
- Stick to a schedule
If you’ve had a baby, you know how important schedules are for them, then as they get to school it’s harder to make it stick but can be more important. Some of us like online calendars, some paper, some alerts on phones. Whatever works for you – just do it. There’s a popular theory that having a schedule means you are boring, and you want to be ‘free’, it’s bull. Having a schedule can give you more freedom because you allow for downtime and are less stressed about everything that needs to get done.
- Stop trying to multitask
You can’t do it. You think you are, but you’re not. You may be switching quickly between things, but you’re not giving that phone scroll the same attention as the movie you’re watching. You’re not hearing everything in the webinar while you are entering invoices. Give your energy to one thing at a time and get more done.
- Switch off at least an hour before bed
This is where that Daily Success Formula comes in again, your night – your way. Turn off the tv, stop scrolling social and put down the to-do list for tomorrow. Read, chat to someone, have a bath, meditate, or do relaxation yoga, pop on a face mask, and go to bed. This will help improve your sleep hygiene and make tomorrow even better.
- Take regular breaks
I work best in 45min sprints, then a week break. For you, it may be an hour or 30min. Can you imagine school kids trying to work for 6 hours straight? It’s not possible. Then carve out time for longer breaks. Maybe it’s a weekend away every 3 months, or a bigger holiday every 6 months. This is rejuvenation time and we all need it.
- Take time for creativity
A few years ago there was a huge increase in colouring in books and for good reason. As adults, we tend to spend less time being creative, and we need to increase it. Drawing, cooking, singing, dancing, reading, home organisation (yes can be very creative), writing, comedy, acting. You get the idea. Think about something that sparked your creativity as a child and take time for it. I used to say I wasn’t creative because I couldn’t draw. When I realized my cooking and makeup/fashion were things I enjoyed so much: Bingo, creative outlets!
- Talk to strangers
Yes. Next time you are at a checkout or traffic lights, chat, don’t scroll. You may be the first person that they have served that day that even says hello. How magic is that? It will boost your confidence too.
- Use technology for good
Focus apps, reminders, wallpapers, ringtones. There are so many things you can do on the technology that you use every day that help you. If you’ve picked a word for the year, have you chosen a ringtone to go with it? I even have a reminder that says ‘drink water you are not a camel’.
- Use the stairs
We’ve all heard it, but then we’re in a rush so use the lift or escalator. Stop. You’re not in that much of a hurry. Taking this longer way not only increases your step and stair count, but it can also give you another couple of minutes to sort your thoughts or give you a little adrenalin boost to arm you for whatever you are about to do.
If you haven’t heard the stories over the last couple of years of the Sikh Volunteers in Australia, you have missed something really beautiful. Delivering food to the disadvantaged, people suffering from Covid, and many more. It’s just one example of the extraordinary volunteer organisations. Food may not be your thing. I mentored a young woman last year and I think I probably got more out of it than she did. It doesn’t have to be a lot of time, and if you don’t have time, it could be financial or something service-related through your business. I just encourage you to do something to give back. Now go have fun creating some amazing habits for your extraordinary year! This month in The Samantha Leith Show I dive deeper into setting your year up for success and lots of that is about how you work your goals into your life, so check it out.