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The Absolute Best Habit I Started This Year

The Absolute Best Habit I Started This Year
Photo by Kinsey Gibson / Unsplash

I tried (and failed) to start a handful of new positive habits this year. But there was one that was better than all rest:

Consistently getting eight hours of quality sleep each night.

There’s a ton of information out there about why it’s important to get enough sleep.

And sure I read the studies and watched the videos and listened to the podcasts. But after experiencing two weeks of solid sleep, I was convinced. It was like I learned a new super power.

And I only made three changes to adopt this new habit.

Change #1 – Go to bed at the same time every night

No matter what, I went to bed at the same time each night for about three weeks straight. This was challenging at first. It conflicted with existing routines, time with my wife, and other goals.

But in the end I made a few adjustments – and eliminated some bad routines – to get to bed on time.

Change #2 – No Caffeine after noon, no screens after 9:00pm

I’m not a huge caffeine consumer, but sometimes I will enjoy an afternoon latte. I also don’t mindlessly scroll Instagram, but can get caught up watching YouTube. So eliminating caffeine after lunch and ending screen time before bed was harder than I expected.

So it was nice to learn after a few days that this combination really helped me feel ready to fall asleep.

Change #3 – Exercise (preferably outside) every day

I was training for a long hike during this experiment, which required me to do a lot of walking. And when I had stopped training I noticed it getting harder to get to sleep each night. It seems obvious now, but I was stumped for a few days.

I made it a goal to get some movement each day, preferably outside, to make sure I felt tired at the end of the day.