When it comes to fitness and health habits are king to success. Most people fall victim to the quick fix or some sort of 6-week workout challenge they found on Facebook to get fit. But, I think we all know by now that there is no quick fix. Think about it for a second.

How long did it take you to get to a point where you felt like you needed to get healthier and shed a few pounds?

It wasn’t after a week of being inactive; it was after years of inactivity, possibly even decades. For the typical person, they go to college, play sports, go to the weight room, go for runs, hikes, bike rides, you name it. Then, you go off into the real world, get a career, get married, have a few children, and then out of nowhere, you’re in your early 40s, and you don’t remember the last time you touched a dumbbell. This moment is when you realize you need to get healthy and start moving and eating a little better. Doing a 6-week challenge isn’t going to undo years or decades of poor exercise, diet, and lifestyle habits.

You need to start from scratch and follow through consistently to see the change you’re hoping to have. But, the good news is, it won’t take as long as you think. As long as you’re consistent and passionate for your health, you’ll get to your goals and more!

Today’s blog is dedicated to the seven healthy habits that healthy people follow on a daily basis and is the sole reason why they are successful. Not only will these habits help you in the health department but also in everyday life. When your health improves things like work stress, life stress, and anything else that’s thrown at you, you’re able to deal with with a higher capacity, as exercise raises our metaphorical ceiling for stress.

By following these eight simple habits in your daily life, you’ll start to notice changes quickly, and you’ll thank yourself in the end.

1. Sleep!

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep duration tend to weigh significantly more than those who get adequate sleep. In fact, short sleep duration is one of the most influential risk factors for obesity. In one extensive review study, children and adults with short sleep duration were 89% and 55% more likely to become obese. The effect of sleep on weight gain is believed to be mediated by numerous factors, including hormones and motivation to exercise.

Many sleep-deprived individuals have a bigger appetite and tend to eat more calories. Sleep deprivation disrupts the daily fluctuations in appetite hormones and is believed to cause poor appetite regulation. This disruption includes higher levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite, and reduced levels of leptin, the hormone that suppresses appetite.

Most people tend to forget how important sleep is, and in reality is the cornerstone of health.

2. Exercise!

Exercise improves both the strength and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system to get the oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. When your cardiovascular system works better, everything seems easier, and you have more energy for the fun stuff in life.

Not only does exercise help your cardiovascular system, but it also improves your overall strength.

Staying active keeps muscles strong and joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible, allowing you to move more efficiently and avoid injury. Strong muscles and ligaments reduce your risk of joint and lower back pain by keeping joints in proper alignment. They also improve coordination and balance.

3. Eat Grown-Up Food

Remember when you were a child and your mother would always make you eat your vegetables? Well, she was onto something when it came to your health, but for some odd reason, as we become adults, we’d instead go through a drive-through and eat something that doesn’t follow the lines of “real” or whole food.

So what’s so good about healthy whole foods? For one, they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They also contain phytochemicals, the general name for natural compounds in plants. While thousands of individual phytochemicals have been identified, countless more remain unknown. They help in different ways. Some are antioxidants, which protect cells against damage.

Eating whole and real food daily, will over time improve bodily function and help fuel your body for daily activities.

4. Water

Simple right? But you’d be surprised how many of you are probably dehydrated daily!

Your brain is heavily influenced by hydration levels. Studies show that even mild dehydration can impair many aspects of brain function. In one study, fluid loss of 1.36% after exercise impaired both mood and concentration and increased the frequency of headaches. Another similar study, this time in young men, showed that fluid loss of 1.59% was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.

Water is more important than you think and has a lot of influence on our health and daily function.

Make sure to keep a water bottle nearby!

5. Morning Routine

We only have a certain amount of energy and willpower when we wake up each morning, and it slowly gets drained away with decisions. This is especially true if you’re making hundreds of small decisions in the morning that mean nothing yet will affect how you make decisions for the remainder of the day. Try to have the first hour of your day vary as little as possible with a routine.

Avoiding mental fatigue is why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same thing every day. Knowing exactly how the first 90 minutes of your day looks like is powerful, as it helps you feel in control and non-reactive, which in turn reduces anxiety and ensures your more productive throughout the day.

6. Following A Schedule

Some of the greatest men and women in history have kept impeccably scheduled routines: everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Arianna Huffington.

Not only do you save time by not simplifying decisions, but you can also decide once and for all which habits you want to keep and which hold you back. It often takes a change of routine to eliminate nasty habits, as it requires structured planning to integrate a daily workout or some personal quiet time to your day.

By making a concerted effort to refine your habits and setting yourself on a challenge to keep your routine, then you are only making yourself available to a better, healthier life. To get all you want out of your day (and get rid of what you don’t), schedule every task and activity for your first few weeks.

7. Reward Yourself

One thing to keep in mind is the distinction between internal and external rewards. External rewards are things or experiences that you might treat yourself to – such as a day off, a nice meal, or a holiday. On the other hand, internal rewards refer to something within you – your emotions and states of mind.

Make sure you take the time to reward yourself and don’t fall into the trap of constantly “working” and not taking some time to realize how far you’ve gone since day one.

By following these seven habits daily, weekly, monthly, and eventually for life, you’ll notice the quality of your life improve not only in the health department but as a whole.

The key is consistency and patience, and with these two skill sets at hand you’ll be able to achieve any goal you place in front of you.