80 Short Habits for a Better Life

How do I live well? It’s a desire as old as time. The search for a better life is universal. Many great thinkers have written extensively about it. You can learn how to live well from others. I’m learning daily from people who have figured out how to live.

These are a few of my favourite lessons and habits from ancient wisdom. From the stoic virtues of resilience to the Eastern principles of flowing like water, listed below is a collection of diverse philosophies, principles and subjective rules for better living. Hopefully some of them will guide you as you purse a meaningful life.

  1. Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge informs, wisdom guides.
  2. Prioritise ruthlessly. Needs over wants.
  3. Reflect and refine your actions.
  4. Plan with purpose, execute with discipline.
  5. Empathy improves perspective.
  6. Choose quality over quantity.
  7. Fuel your mind. Read, learn, engage. Growth keeps you sharp.
  8. Difficulty wakes up the best version of yourself.
  9. “The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.” — Bertrand Russell
  10. Listen deeply: Give others your full attention. It makes a difference.
  11. Declutter your mind and space. Your mental clarity depends on it.
  12. Time is your ally, not your enemy. Do more of what’s working.
  13. “Don’t just exist, live!” — Unknown
  14. Move your body, nourish your mind. Start with 10 minutes walks.
  15. Less is more. Simplicity brings clarity and focus.
  16. “Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” — Robert Louis Stevenson
  17. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Let go of minor annoyances.
  18. ‘Better a diamond with a flaw, than a pebble without.’ — Confucius
  19. Spend time alone. Get to know yourself in quiet introspection.
  20. Simplify Complexity. Break down complex tasks into manageable steps.
  21. “Your emotions are not you. You have emotions.” — Eckhart Tolle
  22. Life is happening now. Value the present over the past or the future.
  23. Embrace the discomfort zone, one step at a time.
  24. Silence is golden. Listen more, speak less.
  25. “To find yourself, think of others.” — Mary Robinson
  26. Embrace nature. Spend time outdoors. Let the beauty soothe your soul.
  27. Nurture deep connections over superficial ones.
  28. Laugh often. It’s the best medicine.
  29. “Don’t dwell on what went wrong today, but focus on what you can do better tomorrow.” — Maya Angelou
  30. Embrace your shadow. Acknowledge and integrate your darkness.
  31. Forgive and let go. Holding onto grudges hurts you most.
  32. To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering. — Friedrich Nietzsche
  33. Read something new every day about a topic you care about.
  34. Review your sources of news once a month.
  35. “Wherever you go, go with all your heart.” — Confucius
  36. Set small, achievable goals. Progress, not perfection, fuels motivation.
  37. Rest and recharge. Sleep well, practice mindfulness. Give yourself downtime.
  38. “Change is the only constant.” — Heraclitus
  39. Recognise and counter unhelpful thought with logic and evidence.
  40. Use the habit of journaling to reflect on thoughts and experiences.
  41. Choose virtue over comfort. Do what’s right, even when it’s difficult or unpopular.
  42. All time is quality time. Invest your life wisely.
  43. Identify your values. What guiding principles are most important to you?
  44. “The only way to have a friend is to be one.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  45. Listen to your intuition. Develop your inner compass.
  46. Challenge automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) like “I’m not good enough”.
  47. Connect with your emotions. Don’t suppress them, understand and express them.
  48. Spread kindness and gratitude. Be generous with your words and actions.
  49. “Stop and smell the roses.” — Anonymous
  50. Start with “I”. Share your feelings without blaming or accusing.
  51. Focus on the process, not the outcome. Enjoy the journey.
  52. Contemplate shortness of life to appreciate life more.
  53. “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
  54. “If you are lonely when you’re alone, you are in bad company.” — Jean-Paul Sartre
  55. Read with purpose. If you are aiming for knowledge, read slowly.
  56. For every action, start with why.
  57. “When life throws you a curveball, swing for the fences!” — Babe Ruth
  58. Find humor in challenging situations to maintain perspective and lighten the mood.
  59. Move your body daily. Walk, run, dance, anything!
  60. Focus on what you can directly influence, accept what you cannot.
  61. Nurture true connections. Invest time and effort in those who matter.
  62. Disconnect to reconnect. Put down the phone, be present in the moment.
  63. “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” — Chinese Proverb
  64. Seek experiences over possessions. Invest in memories, not material things.
  65. Make time for hobbies. Play, explore, have fun. It fuels your spirit.
  66. Let your inner child roam free. Don’t take life too seriously.
  67. “Not all storms come to disrupt life, some come to clear the path.” — Paulo Coelho
  68. Anticipate potential obstacles to strengthen your mental resilience.
  69. Ask “Why?” instead of “What next?” Find purpose in your every task.
  70. Challenge your self-image. Is it an accurate reflection of who you truly are?
  71. Hydrate with intention. Sip water throughout the day, feel energized.
  72. “Happiness is not a destination, it’s a way of life.” — Buddha
  73. Plan a mini-adventure. Break the routine, keep life exciting.
  74. Be more aware of your emotions and acknowledge them without judgment.
  75. Challenge your assumptions. Question everything, even your own beliefs.
  76. Become a diverse reader. Challenge your usual preferences, and actively engage with the content.
  77. “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” — Epicurus
  78. Prioritize travel, learning new skills, and trying new things.
  79. Amor fati. Embrace all aspects of your life, even the challenging ones.
  80. “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” — Melody Beattie

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Categorized as Life