Vital behaviors are the daily habits that we all need to accomplish to be healthy human beings. In the Define My Day journal, they are simply check boxes because each person’s ability will be different. For some, a 10-minute walk will be the exercise goal. For another person, it will be an hour of HIIT cardio. Whatever that requirement is for you, aim to meet it every day. When you are ready, raise it.
Food is one of the most important vital behaviors. What we put in our bodies has both short and long-term consequences to our energy levels and overall health. It may seem faster and cheaper to eat poorly in our struggle to maintain balance in our lives. In reality, we are trading our overall quality of life for momentary pleasure and convenience.
Exercising is a keystone habit. While eating well is actually more important than exercise, exercising usually causes people to begin eating well, and not the other way around. For this reason, we recommend starting your daily vital habits with exercise. Commit to five days a week of some sort of exercise. There are so many options available, something can work for your schedule.
We find early morning exercise works best for a few reasons. First, waking up and moving has a huge positive impact on the level of energy you bring to subsequent activities. Second, your body continues to burn calories once you are done and throughout the day. Third, if you block off time in the morning, there is less opportunity to be sidetracked by other obligations.
And, of course, always consult your doctor.
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT vital behavior. We can live without food for a few days. We cannot live without sleep. It has been shown over and over in studies that 98% of the population requires 7-8 hours of sleep per night to function at peak efficiency. Any less, and we lose the ability to remember things properly, become irritable, and cannot process information at the same level as when we are well rested.
There is increasing evidence of long-term detrimental impacts from less than 8 hours of sleep. Depression, inability to concentrate, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and more. It has been found that the brain does some critical housekeeping while we sleep. It sweeps away toxins that build up throughout the day.
In the end, the extra hours we gain from staying up late or sleeping less actually hurt our ability to function at optimal levels and makes us less effective. Get your sleep. Be your best while awake and you won’t need those extra hours.
Drinking plenty of water helps our bodies operate. It has been said that most of us walk around dehydrated on a daily basis. Water helps our bodies digest food, our cells operate, and plays a key roll in flushing toxins and waste out of our systems. Drinking plenty of water also helps in weight loss in helping us feel full and keeping our metabolism at peak levels.
Your goal should be a minimum of half of your body weight in ounces. That means, 50oz per 100lbs. Sound like a lot? It may be for you. It may mean you give up that diet soda.
Reading about 30 minutes per day is a game-changer. We’re not talking about novels here. We mean non-fiction books that teach you something. A skill, motivation, or about yourself. Books help us gain greater insight into what is going on in the world around us and how we interact with it. Read a book for 30 minutes a day, 6 days per week and it will change you.
There are plenty of ways to make this work for you. Watch TV 30 minutes less per day or read before going to bed instead of scrolling your phone. You can listen to an audiobook in the car through a service like Audible. You can find time to read and it will be worth it.
This last vital behavior is highly subjective. One person’s positive interaction may not be for another. This behavior is one of awareness. A reminder to observe ourselves interacting in the world, with the people around us, and trying to be the positive side of the equation.
What good are you bringing to your interactions?
Aim For 6/6
The more you vital behaviors you can complete each day, the stronger your foundation for tomorrow.