The surest way to a happy and healthy life is good habits. We may not always have a lot of money, or an amazing significant other, or a fulfilling job. But we will always have control over how we spend our days - and like Annie Dillard and many before me have said, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Regardless of how much TV we are watching, as long as we spend time on good habits every day, we are making progress and planting seeds for a better future.


Do something that hurts your brain (in a good way). Anything worth doing will be hard, and one of the best gauges of mental progress is how hard your brain has to work. The table below is a from a post that illustrates the benefits of doing something hard: try to descramble the words from List A vs the words from List B. List A was a hell of a lot easier, right? But you can breeze through List A and not remember a thing. List B, on the other hand, is harder to descramble which in turn will help you become better at descrambling and even remembering words. Find what makes your brain hurt and you will grow in that direction.


Do something that makes your muscles sore the next day. The same principle for growing your brain applies to your other muscles - do something hard and that pushes your muscles to grow. Maybe you do not usually walk a lot; try walking 2 miles today and see how you feel tomorrow. Pushups and planks are especially easy to do wherever you are.


Do something that grows your spirit. This one sounds kind of fluffy, but it is meant to be as “spirit” is different for everyone. For some people, growing their spirit is reading a holy book and praying. For others, it is meditating and breathing mindfully. Yet others grow their spirit through doing a favorite hobby, like perfecting a new cooking recipe. Whatever your definition of spirit, spend time growing what makes you happy, fulfilled, and in tune with yourself.


Do something that helps another person outside of your daily life. You probably see your coworkers, your significant other, or your roommates every single day; hanging out with them does not count. Growing your social life means going outside of that daily circle and reaching out to other people. The best interactions are the ones in person, but if that is not possible, then move down the intimacy levels (ie. try a phone call next) until you can suitably connect.

Do these 4 things every day, and you will live a happy and healthy life.