What Healthy Habits Have You Maintained the Longest?

Out of the many ill-advised things I do (mostly involving food–I eat like I still had the metabolism I did when I was 20 years old), I’ve maintained 3 healthy habits for over a decade:

  1. I’ve flossed nightly since 1999. I decided my freshman year of college that I didn’t want to wear dentures when I got old, so I started flossing, and I’ve kept it up ever since.
  2. I’ve eaten a baby spinach salad as part of every home meal since around 2004. I read a long time ago that spinach is really healthy, so I started eating it every night.
  3. I’ve written a daily blog post (5 days a week) since 2007. 

It’s that last one–the blog posts–that inspired today’s blog post, as I recently got my annual reminder that I wrote my first blog post on LiveJournal on June 5, 2007. At the time, a few college friends were using it as a way to stay in touch, and I was trying to get into the habit of writing daily.

I didn’t know how much I’d use it, but pretty quickly I found myself writing every day. I got into a pattern–3 days a week for a while, then up to 5 days a week–and simply stuck with it. I haven’t been 100% perfect, but I’ve probably only missed a few dozen days in all those years.

I love healthy habits. I find them incredibly difficult to start and maintain, but I love that once I really fall into that pattern, it’s unnatural not to continue.

Hopefully these won’t be my only 3 long-term healthy habits. In fact, maybe now is a good time to try to pick up another. It should probably involve exercise, for which I’ve found a bit difficult to fall into a true daily pattern due to back issues. But it always feels good when I get into a good rhythm.

What about you? What healthy habits have you maintained the longest?


11 Responses to “What Healthy Habits Have You Maintained the Longest?”

  1. tmac80 says:

    Congrats on another year of blogging! As a long-time follower, can I list reading a daily blog I thoroughly enjoy as one of my daily habits? Also, I’m genuinely curious to check in with other regular followers–do you experience genuine disappointment when there isn’t a new post on Jamey’s blog on a weekday? (Then again, perhaps they all have blog posts set to be delivered via feed, which I do not. For me there’s a bit of a Christmas morning sense to going to a blog or website I enjoy to check for an update/new content.)

    Also, I have to ask–did we experience a first on June 4, 2018? There have been a handful of times when a weekday hasn’t included a post (most of which are usually explainable due to travel, etc), but on June 4, when I opened the blog, there were TWO new posts from the SAME day! How many times has this happened in the history of the blog?

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Trev: June 4 was a little weird. I wrote and posted something the previous day, but that night, my web dev for this site and stonemaiergames.com ran an update that temporarily broke the site, and he had to revert to a backup of the site made on June 2. When I realized it impacted the blog entry I had written on June 3, I tracked it down in my feed and posted it on the blog. Then, a few hours later, I wrote my regular June 4 entry. 🙂

  2. joepunman says:

    8 months ago I started a keto diet after seeing my wife experience quick results from only a couple weeks. Since then I have lost 50 points (wife has lost 40), and I’m getting into pants sizes I haven’t seen in 20 years.

    Unfortunately I don’t have many long healthy habits, but I’m hoping to keep this one a while

  3. Joseph E. Pilkus III says:

    Jamey,

    I guess mine fall into a few areas…oral hygiene, fitness, and snacks.

    Since I joined the Air Force in 1995, I’ve brushed my teeth twice a day and have flossed for the past eight years with almost religious fervor. Now, as we’re a few years away from it being a decade, I can’t believe that I’ve flossed for so long…it certainly wasn’t something I did as a matter of course. When my dental hygienist did the probe and called out the numbers, I gleefully listened to the 1s and 2s, but as she started saying a few 3s and gasp, a few 4s, my heart sank. I asked what I could do…and her response, “Floss!” Since then, I’ve had all 1s and 2s ~ a pretty proud achievement as I know folks in their 50s who have lost their teeth to bad care.

    In the area of fitness, I’ve always done something and as of late I’ve set yearly goals. Last year, having turned 50, I wanted to do what I did when I turned 40…run 1,000 miles. Which I’m glad to say I completed in early Dec. This year, in addition to other activities, I’ll complete 100 sit[ups a day, taking off only, usually, on Sundays.

    Finally, I’ve not had a full can of soda since 1999. Don’t get me wrong, some soda still works as a mixer, but by-and-large my consumption of 12 oz cans consisting of 26g of sugar and 150 calories are from a time gone by.

    Cheers,
    Joe

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      1000 miles! That’s awesome, Joe. Congratulations.

      I reserve soda for eating out and movies, but it’s still too much.

  4. This is about quality rather than quantity (i.e., longevity) of my habits. I find that all the habits I maintain connect to something specific I care about and actually experience, or have experienced, rather than a general idea such as that a habit is good for me.

    Regarding health
    Exercise: I have never had an exercise regimen, but have exercised a lot because I love the activities involved—basketball, tennis, badminton, volleyball, tennikoit, biking, surfmatting, hiking, and walking. That’s been enough to add up to sufficient exercise.
    Diet: I’m of the Julia Child school of thought: eat moderate portions of whatever you want.
    Accident prevention: I always noted early minimal signs of light-headedness in the shower, but on one occasion failed to heed such warning enough to exit the shower in time to avoid slipping and breaking my ankle in three places. One such experience is all it took. Now I always heed such signs and exit immediately, even if I haven’t finished my shower routine. I also wear an Apple watch on a cord around my neck as a lifeline. So far, I’ve maintained the habit of transferring the watch from its hook in the shower back to my neck.

    I’m fortunate in being able to put most of my faith in my longevity genes. My father made it to 89, and my mother to 97.

    Regarding work: When I’m at loose ends and am procrastinating rather than tackling a particularly challenging or tedious step in a work project, I remind myself that if I just start, the task will take over, time will fly by, and I’ll feel better. Since that always turns out to be true, telling myself that to get going has become a habit.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      “eat moderate portions of whatever you want.” I like this philosophy! 🙂

    • Counterpoint
      I’d find it interesting to read a daily account along the lines of: ‘I did only what I felt like doing (within the law) for a week/or month.’ Would the person follow their usual habits? Would they miss them if they didn’t? If so, would they miss all habits or just certain ones?

  5. Hmm my two longest would have to be reading and meditation. For the last ten years I have read at least 1-2 books a week. These range from professional development all the way to young adult fiction. I think it is important to read for a variety of reasons, like creativity and relaxation. Meditation I started about 8 years ago, and I try to do it at least 3 times a week. It started as something to help cope with depression, but even when I’m not depressed I find it helps me manage stress and go into the day with a clear focused mind.

    I’m working on adding exercising daily and blogging at least 6 times a week. I am hoping by adding these two things I can round out physical and social health as well as mental/emotional health.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Mackenzie: I’m impressed by your reading pace! I read for about 30 minutes before bed each night, so for longer books it can take me months to read one. That’s great to hear about meditation too–I’d like to add that routine.

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