4 Healthy Habits to Start Right Now
We often intend to start good habits—just not today. So these habits generally never begin. Here are four habits to start now. Not next week or next year. Today!
“I know I need to, but ….”
How often have we used this excuse to describe our relationship with healthy habits? The answer is, too often. It seems like every time we read some article that has scientific backing for a healthy habit, we get inspired to say something like, “Starting Monday, I’m going to ….” Then Monday comes and goes, and we just feel guilty instead of successful.
Motivation is the key to everything. Here are four biblical habits that we need to motivate ourselves to do regularly. The biblical support for each of these healthy habits, as well as some perspectives and hints, should be the proverbial kick in the pants that we all need sometimes.
1. Pray every day for at least as long as a Netflix cartoon episode.
The apostle Paul tells us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The rationale behind this healthy habit is putting a priority on prayer: Isn’t talking to God more important than the time it takes to watch a 20-30 minute cartoon or sitcom on Netflix, play a video game or scroll through Facebook?
Strategy: Make prayer a priority by doing it immediately when you wake up in the morning. King David set an example of regular prayer three times a day: “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray” (Psalm 55:17). Even if our prayers at different times of the day are not of equal length, we should make sure at least one of those intervals allows deeper quality time with God. For more ideas and help, read “Plotting Your Prayer Life.”
You can have healthy habits that will positively affect your daily life. Ask God for help to implement these daily habits. 2. Study the Bible every day for at least as long as you check your Facebook feeds.
Remember: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
Again, it all comes back to priorities: Isn’t studying the actual Word of God more important than that same amount of time writing a rant on Facebook, checking news websites several times a day or obsessing over work emails? Are we letting other messages obstruct us from God’s message to us?
Strategies: Just like prayer, we have to build Bible study into our daily routines. We could set a phone alarm alerting us to turn the screens off and open the Bible up. We could start studying the Bible during lunchtime. There are options available that give us easy access to the Bible anywhere: online Bibles, audio Bibles, podcasts, Bible apps or the old-fashioned ink-and-paper kind.
3. Eat a reasonable diet of beneficial foods, and exercise regularly.
The apostle Paul spoke of the physical body and mind this way: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are” (1 Corinthians 3:16-18).
This habit has a lot to do with perception: Does treating my body like God’s temple include regularly overindulging in harmful foods and lazily avoiding the movement the body was designed for?
Let’s think about how to apply this. Is trying to eat greater amounts of vegetables than processed sugars an unimaginable thought? Is trying to achieve at least 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity exercise (anything from a brisk walk to mowing the lawn) an impossible task?
Strategies: Eat a vegetable every day. For exercise, set a cumulative countdown of 150 minutes on a stop watch app at the beginning of the week and regularly dedicate time to achieving that goal. There are many health apps you can download on your phone to track exercise and even give you notifications and reminders.
For further insight on health, read “Healthy Diet.”
King David said, “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Human beings need sleep. Does getting sufficient sleep every night mean that I can’t enjoy my mornings or evenings? Of course not!
Isn’t trying to get between seven to eight hours of sleep a night more important than that extra Netflix episode or that novel that we can’t put down (or other time wasters)? Our bodies rebel in different, unwanted ways when we don’t get enough sleep. When we are tired, we will be less productive at work and less motivated to pray and study.
Strategies: On work or school nights, try to go to bed seven to eight hours before you have to get up. People often want to make up sleep time in the morning, but we are more productive when we get that sleep time during the night. Read “Replace Oversleeping With Motivation” for further insight into healthy sleep habits.
You can do this
You can have healthy habits that will positively affect your daily life. Ask God for help to implement these daily habits. He gives us the strength to build proper habits (Philippians 4:13).
Why not get started today?
In our next post, we will cover obstacles that can prevent us from maintaining these habits.
For further insight into healthy habits we need in our lives today, read “Health Science and the Bible.”