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12 Positive Habits and How to Keep Them

What are positive habits and how can you make them a permanent part of your life?
Woman in a light blue sweater marks a positive habit on her kitchen calendar

What are Positive Habits?

A positive habit is any repeated practice you do that improves your life in some way. This improvement can include making you happier, bringing you inner peace, making you more hopeful, or giving your life a sense of purpose. Positive habits can be anything from going on a daily walk to meditating before bed. They can be something you do daily, weekly, or even monthly, depending on how they best fit into your schedule.

The most important part of these habits is that they are positive. They need to impact your life in a way that actively makes it better.

Benefits of Positive Habits

  • You can start a big positive habit that will completely reshape your daily routine for the better.
  • Or you pick up smaller habits, also called micro habits, that focus on one simple, positive action you do within your schedule.
  • You can choose new habits that specifically help you improve your life how you want it improved. They can be bringing you joy, making you more optimistic, or benefiting your spiritual life.

Whatever you choose, you can pick whatever positive habits work for you. Here are some examples of positive habits you can incorporate into your daily or weekly schedule, and how to actually keep them.

READ MORE: To Start a New Habit, Do This First

Daily or Weekly Positive Habits

A woman in workout clothes meditating at her daily positive habit

1. Pray or Meditate Daily

Taking the time to pray or meditate regularly can help us slow down, reduce our stress, and focus on our connection to something bigger than ourselves. Meditation gets us out of our heads for a bit and helps us become mindful of our body and breathing. Prayer gives us the space to take stock of the things that are giving us anxiety and hand them over to God. Set a specific time during your day to do this. Maybe in the morning or right before bed. Even one minute of prayer or meditation can impact your whole day for the better.

READ MORE: How to Make Prayer a Habit

2. Call or See a Loved One

When was the last time you talked to a friend or family member on the phone? Text and social media are a great way to keep up with your loved ones, but nothing beats hearing their voice or planning a face-to-face hangout. Even a video call will help us feel more connected. With everyone’s busy schedules, it can be hard to make time. Start the positive habit of calling up a friend or family member just once a week to make them a bigger part of your life.

READ MORE: 4 Positive Habits for a Relaxing Family Dinner

3. Spend Time Outside

What better way to be reminded of the beauty in our life than spending time in the beautiful world around us? Soak up some sunshine, listen to birdsong, or take a nature walk. Your time outside could include a daily walk, playing a sport with your family, spending the day at a local park, or even just sitting in your backyard. Pick a time—like after the workday or on the weekends—so you commit to stepping away from your work and chores to enjoy the gift of this world.

READ MORE: A Spiritual Approach to Making Exercise a Habit

4. Start Journaling

Did you know journaling is an effective way to help you deal with anxiety and stress? Write down the things that are causing you worry so you can get them out and stop avoiding them. You might be surprised how much putting them on paper will make your worries manageable. If you are looking to make journaling an even more positive experience, try starting a gratitude journal. Reflect on the things in your life that bring you joy—your family, your friends, your hobbies, your faith—and commit them to paper so you are reminded of them every day.

READ MORE: How to Journal as a Spiritual Practice

Positive Morning Habits

A woman in yellow pajamas makes dancing a part of her morning positive habit

5. Pick a Bible Verse or Motivational Quote for the Day

As you brew your coffee or steep your morning tea, think about what theme you want to give your day. Do you want to be productive and get a lot of chores done? Do you want today to be about fun, with outside time or family games? Do you want today to be one of rest, with some quiet reading or watching a favorite movie? Pick a Bible verse or an encouraging quote to help you focus on the theme of the day and remind you to enter the day with a positive attitude. Here are a few motivational Bible verses to get you started:

  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. —Romans 15:13
  • But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. —Isaiah 40:31
  • Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. —1 Timothy 4:12

READ MORE: 7 Encouraging Bible Verses for Families

6. Sing in the Shower

Singing can relieve our stress and improve our mood. Pick a time during the day when you can belt out a favorite song. This can be in the car on your way to run errands or even in the shower as you get ready to start your day. Pick songs that bring you joy and have an uplifting message. It doesn’t matter if you sing off-key. It’s about expressing yourself and releasing some stress and emotions.

READ MORE: The Healing Power of Music

7. Make a Short List of Goals

Making a list of goals can be a great way to keep your day productive. Even if it’s just a short list of errands or chores, a list can help remind you to get them done. Plus, nothing feels better than scratching a task off a to-do list. You can even use the list to be unproductive. If you have a busy day and need to remember to take breaks, add a few rest goals to the list—like “step away from the computer for 20 minutes,” or “take a 5-minute break from chores to sit by the window and say a prayer.”

READ MORE: 8 Simple Habits to Make You More Productive

8. Focus on Positive Thinking

Can changing your thoughts change your life? Absolutely. According to Norman Vincent Peale, the author of The Power of Positive Thinking, approaching your day with a positive outlook can make all the difference in how you live your life. “Positive thinking is a philosophy, an expression of faith,” says Peale. “It doesn’t ignore life’s problems, but explains a practical approach to deal with, and overcome, them.” Make positive thinking your new habit and see what new positive habits you will find yourself doing.

READ MORE: 4 Ways Positive Thinking Helps Create New Habits

Positive Sleep Habits

A woman sleeping in her bed after doing a bedtime positive habit

9. Put Your Phone Down

The urge is real. You climb into bed at the end of a long day and reach for your phone for a little mindless scrolling. However, looking at a screen before you go to sleep can make it harder for you to rest once you finally put the phone down. Doomscrolling can make you even more anxious before you turn the lights off. Make your bedtime more positive by making a nightly habit of setting down your phone. Do something else during the minutes you lie in bed before rolling over to sleep.

READ MORE: 7 Bible Verses for a Good Night’s Sleep

10. Read in Bed

Reading a book in bed can be a great alternative to scrolling through your phone. While eBooks are popular, try using a physical book or an audio book so you aren’t staring into the bright light of your phone. Choose a book that is calming or comforting so you aren’t raising your heartrate up—maybe save the action or scary books for another time. A cozy mystery or a devotional might work better. There are even books and devotionals written specifically to help you fall asleep, like Guideposts’ Evenings with Jesus.

READ MORE: 15 Ways to Form a Positive Reading Habit

11. Count Your Blessings

How many times have we been told by our parents or grandparents to count our blessings? It turns out they were on to something! Instead of counting your blessings to stop yourself from complaining, make it a positive evening habit. Use your time in bed as the space to count out the things you are grateful for in your life. It is a wonderful way to end the day on a positive note. Consider taking up the habit of keeping a list of your blessings near your bed so you can reference it and add things to it. Your blessings can be anything, like your family, your pet, a close friend, the meal you had for dinner, or something that made you laugh that day.

READ MORE: 6 Positive Habits for Successful Working Moms

12. Listen to Something Calming

Gone are the days of endless tossing and turning with no help. Nowadays there are tons of apps to help you get to sleep. Make one of them a nightly positive habit as you rest your head on your pillow. Abide, the world’s leading Christian meditation app, has hours of sleep stories, Bible sleep talk downs, and calming sleep meditations. With soothing voices and relaxing music, these recordings will have you snoozing better than ever. Your body will thank you in the morning.

READ MORE: 3 Helpful Bedtime Habits for the Whole Family

How to Make Positive Habits that Last

Woman using a journal to track her daily positive habits

Try Habit Stacking

What is habit stacking? This simple technique (with a name coined by James Clear from his bestselling book, Atomic Habits) has grown extremely popular because of how effectively it works for some people. Habit stacking is the technique of adding new habits to your existing habits. Think of it as a “when I do [an existing habit], I will also do [a new habit].” For example, when you make your coffee or breakfast every morning, also take the time to say a short prayer. Or when you brush your teeth every night, also list the things you are grateful for that day. Habit stacking is an easy way to turn daily habits into positive habits.

READ MORE: 6 Ways to Build Up Your Prayer Life by Habit Stacking

Remember: Micro Habits are Worth It

Keep in mind that you don’t need to make big, sweeping changes to your life to improve it. Even doing one positive habit every day can have results. Don’t be afraid to start small. Choose a micro habit that feels manageable—one that isn’t going to disrupt your day. Put it on a sticky note in a spot you go to every morning to remind yourself, like the bathroom mirror or the fridge. Move the sticky note to a new spot every day so you can remind yourself tomorrow.

READ MORE: 18 Best Micro Habits to Improve Your Life in Minutes

Keep Track of Your Accomplishments

If you’ve successfully added a positive habit to your busy schedule, be proud of yourself! Adjusting and improving the way we live our daily lives is a huge accomplishment. Make note of your win by keeping track of it. This can be done with a calendar, daily planner, bullet journal, or sharing your journey on social media. If you find yourself falling out of your positive habits, let this tracker be a reminder of how much those habits improved your life.

Make Goals, Not Resolutions

Anyone who makes a New Year’s resolution knows how hard they are to keep. In fact, 91% of people who make New Year’s resolutions do not keep them, according to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. That’s a demoralizing number, especially since so many resolutions are made by people trying to improve their life. What if we alter the way we view these changes? Instead of making life-altering resolutions, set positive goals for yourself. To reach those goals, make reasonable changes to your habits to help you reach them.

Go Easy on Yourself

Everyone is going to face a day when they just can’t do their positive habit. You’re too tired after work to take that daily walk, or your too busy with the kids to sit in silence and pray to God. That’s okay! Don’t beat yourself up when you have a rough day. The beauty of a habit is that you can always pick up your positive habit again. Because it is a permanent part of your life, it will always be there the next day. Keep yourself inspired to continue with these quotes about positive habits!

READ MORE: Even More Ways to Cultivate Positive Habits That Last

14 Motivational Positive Habit Quotes

A man in a jean jacket in front of a blue wall smiles because of his positive habits

  • “The power of habit is great.” —Latin Proverb
  • “Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.” —Norman Vincent Peale
  • “To be successful in life, you must get in the habit of turning negatives into positives.” —George Forman
  • “Habits change into character.” —Ovid
  • “A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” —Mark Twain
  • “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you are inspired or not.” —Octavia E. Butler
  • “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks, but I do fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” —Bruce Lee
  • “The essence of belief is the establishment of a habit; and different beliefs are distinguished by the different modes of action to which they give rise.” —Charles Sanders Peirce
  • “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.” —James Clear
  • “Through constant familiarity, we can definitely establish new behavior patterns, using our tendency to form habits to our advantage. If we make a steady effort, I think we can overcome any form of negative conditioning and make positive changes in our lives. But we need to remember that genuine change doesn’t happen overnight.” —Dalai Lama
  • “I say that habit is but a long practice, friend, and this becomes men’s nature in the end.” —Aristotle
  • “The habit of attending to small things and of appreciating small courtesies is one of the important marks of a good person.” —Nelson Mandela
  • “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.” —Gretchen Rubin
  • “Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” —Charles Reade

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