What are some good habits a 14-year-old should cultivate now?

Man, first of all, it’s amazing that someone as young as you has the foresight to think about this. Trust me, I wasn’t worrying about my habits when I was 14.

With that said, here's a list of 10 habits I believe everyone should have to make life better.


  1. Make your bed – start the morning off right and make your mum proud
  2. Meditation – being mindful
  3. Journaling – writing down your thoughts
  4. Eat Breakfast – give yourself energy for the day
  5. Single-tasking – stop multi-tasking and get things done faster and better
  6. Positive thinking – gives you confidence and courage to make your dreams come true
  7. Exercise – take care of your body
  8. Eat family dinner – spend time with those you love and be social
  9. Express gratitude – realize no matter how your day went, there's plenty to be thankful for and happy about
  10. Daily planning – focuses you and let's you know what you need to achieve the next day

Hope this list is helpful. The reason why I recommend these because they’re Keystone Habits.

By focusing on keystone habits, and you can breed a successful life because they’re a platform off of which other habits can grow.

They have the power to rewire your life. Identifying your keystone habits can set off a chain reaction of awesomeness that will make you much more productive, healthier, and happier.

Understanding how to harness these keystone habits can start you down the path of living the life you deserve and want.

Good luck cultivating habits!

If you want to learn more about habit change, keystone habits, and how to create a life you'll love,

  • Check out my blog

You can also get my latest ebook about the 10 most common habit mistakes holding you back for FREE.

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19 Replies to “What are some good habits a 14-year-old should cultivate now?”

  1. Okay – there are several things that are important over the next few years:

    1) Learn to do all household chores – (cooking, cleaning, washing, washing up [by hand and dishwasher if you have a dishwasher], vacuuming, how to recycle – and putting together at least two pieces of furniture). These are life skills and when you leave home you're going to have to know how to do them – so learn NOW and save pain later, if you can do at least one or two household chores a day OTHER than keeping your room clean/tidy (although do that too) then it'll help you get into the habit for when you have your own place. Ask your parents or guardian to help you learn all of these things and to teach you the bits that you don't know.

    2) Learn to budget – you need to know how much is coming in and how much MUST go out. You need to learn how to pay bills, rent, tax, how to file yearly taxes, how to calculate monthly budgets (weekly if you really want to) and how to deal with being paid only a small amount of wage, paid irregularly or paid a great deal (having a lot of money is as crippling as having little if you don't know how to budget it). Also ask your parents or guardian how to do this – you can also ask teachers or librarians (although for librarians you may want to ask for books on personal finance).

    3) Read EVERYTHING – There are AMAZING books out there, and its important to read. There's books on non-fiction that are important (First Aid, Personal Finance, Cookbooks (and ones labelled 'Cooking on a budget' or 'Student's Cookbook' are really good because they're aimed for those without a great deal of money to spend). There are books on survival for if you get into that 1-in-80,000 chance extremely bad situation (but they can be useful to know anyway; I personally like the SAS Survival Guide from 'Lofty' Wiseman because it has tips for urban survival as well). But fiction books also hide away little pearls of wisdom – so don't forget to read those too, learn to cultivate a love and enjoyment of reading and you'll learn from books better.

    4) Learn to Sew – Sewing (and knitting if you can swing it) is incredibly useful. It doesn't matter what gender/sex you are or how old you are – you do not lose a man card for learning how to sew – it's a skill whole families used to know and how they got their money as well as clothes (seriously – men used to walk around the streets knitting and absolutely nothing was said – they were still 'bad ass'). From sewing on buttons to fixing seams learning to sew saves money and is incredibly useful to learn, both hand and machine. While many embrace this only as a hobby – it can be a life skill (and if you need it to be all butch and manly for inspiration — men in the army, even today, learn to sew).

    5) Learn Yourself – You really need to know yourself and who you are. What time of day are you really incredibly awake and productive? Do work then – learn to manage your time around that. Learn your limits and which ones you really want to push past. Learn what you're good at- learn what you're bad at – and pick which ones you want to develop (if what you're bad at is a life skill – please put time into developing that – however if it's optional – then put time into developing what you're good at). What brings you real joy doing (and watching TV doesn't count)? Develop your skills in that as much as you can. Learn who you are – and keep relearning because people can change.

    6) Be Kind/Be Honest – Don't bully others, don't hurt their feelings, if they're struggling help them, learn not to assume that they're in that position because they deserve it, treat people and yourself honestly and kindly. "Tough Love" is something that RARELY works ever and should be used unbelievably sparsely. You have to get to know a person to know how they'll respond to "tough love" before you even try to go there. Don't seek revenge – if people are not kind or honest with you – that's their problem, but it's better to be remembered as the guy who was kind than the guy who was in it to get himself ahead and no others.

    7) If You Can't Stop At One, Don't Start At All – When it comes to drinking it can, to a degree, be healthy for your heart. But the healthiness of drinking stops at one glass and so should you. You should never go beyond one glass a week (Really – WEEKLY – your kidneys would thank you for that being your max), it doesn't matter what others suggest or say around you – One is the Limit – Don't even go near two – ONE is the limit. If you try it and you can't stop at one – don't start at all – just don't drink. (Oh – and never smoke; nicotine, marijuana – it doesn't matter – Don't smoke, don't do drugs).

    8) Keeping Healthy Is More than Weight – If you want to live a long and healthy life you need to get healthy habits, which means a balanced diet, knowing what your body needs, and Docs tend to recommend about half an hour a day of an exercise that makes you short of breath. Don't obsess about your weight and what you look like – health is NOT about what you look like, it's based on things on the inside.

    9) Never Be Afraid To Ask For Help – At school, at home, at work, do NOT be afraid to ask for help from those above you. Don't care if people try to tease you for it – it's the people that ask for help that get ahead. If you don't understand something, ask about it, if you kind of understand it but can't translate it to the page – ask for help. Don't try to suffer in silence, yes it's important to learn to be independent but you can't learn to do that without learning the tools of how and you can't learn those if you don't ask for help. You need to know who you can ask for help from and where to find them – all throughout your life because no one ever stops needing help.

    10) Learn To NOT Assume Success – We all have plans for our future where we plan that we'll do this-this-that-and-then-this and it'll all work out beautifully. Until you get into a car accident. Or until the person next to you gets the job/college place/team place instead. It is important to plan and work ahead to your future – but learn to plan 4 times over, have redundancies – have plan B through K at least. Life is not set up to give you everything you want so plan ahead and know ALL possible options from if there is failure straight out of the gate to if there is failure 5 seconds from the finish line. Always have an out/safety to go to. Don't assume that your first three safeties are going to work out either – You need to be prepared for fighting as hard for a spot at your fourth safety school as you were fighting for your favorite pick -same with jobs. No one hires the kid who looks down on them – so they best not think you are even if they aren't where you wanted to be. You are never going to just "walk it" – life just isn't like that.

    Hope this was helpful, some of the advice comes from life experience that was fairly painful and I'd like you to avoid my mistakes.

  2. I am going to tell you what I would have told myself if I was 14 years old.

    Good habits to develop for 3 areas of your life:

    Body

    • Play some sport.
    • Do regular exercise.
    • Learn martial arts.
    • Learn life survival skills.
    • Wash your dishes.
    • Learn to cook.
    • Make your bed daily.

    Mind

    • Learn to be smart.
    • Learn to handle your money – Make a monthly budget for your income and expenses.
    • Learn to speak foreign languages.
    • Put time into your hobby.
    • Read good books.
    • Have role models, and mentors, and emulate them. If you don't have any live ones, find dead ones from books.
    • Start doing meditation for 10 minutes everyday.  Increase it by 5 minutes as you get older.
    • Learn to take life's up and down with the same attitude.

    Spirit

    • Pray before every night. Or better, journal every night and write down how you felt and what you learned from that day.
    • Have dreams and pursue them through S(specific)M(measurable)A(attainable)R(realisitc)T(time-related) goals.
    • Learn to speak only the truth.
    • Never ever give up on your dreams.
    • Treat people who deserve your love and respect with love and respect.
    • Learn to identify good humans from people who aren't worth spending your time with.
    • Learn to see yourself in everyone, and finally for the golden rule:
    • Treat others how you would like to be treated yourself

    You will never get back your time, energy and attention. So treat them as precious quantities in your life.

  3. Thank you for A2A

    Some good habits a teenager should cultivate:

    1. Maintaining good physical health and hygiene – Eat good food, sleep on time and exercise.
    2. Maintaining good emotional health and hygiene – Accept your emotional highs and lows as just a transition phase and keep your cool. Yoga/Pranayama helps you immensely.
    3. Despite all the ups and downs happening in your system where you have mood swings etc., all the physical changes you would undergo… Don't be hasty to jump into anything you would regret a lifetime for. Keep your cool and know that all of this is just a passing cloud.
    4. Don't be hasty in getting into a relationship… Most importantly a physical relationship.
    5. Learn to become responsible and independent. Learn to cook, manage your finances and also prioritize.
    6. Maintain good/healthy friendships where you grow in each other's company and are not bogged down by comparison, jealousy, insecurities etc.,
    7. Try and accept yourself the way you are with all your shortcomings and strengths. Build your confidence and sense of self-worth.
    8. Be empathetic towards parents, friends etc.,
    9. Don't waste a lot of time on social networking, partying etc., and focus on building a successful career, whatever career suits you best.
    10. Pick up a hobby.

    To sum it up… Enjoy yourself but at the same time protect yourself from anything unpleasant which you might land yourself into.

  4. HEALTH:
    1. Brush and FLOSS your teeth.
    2. Have a sport or activity you love to do.
    3. Nutrition yourself with actual food.
    4. Sleep.

    SCHOOL:
    1. Ask when you don't know
    2. Ask the appropriate authority, not random people on the internet 😉
    3. Don't get angry with yourself because you're not learning something as fast as some other person. Just learn it as fast as you learn it. No worries.
    4. If you learn something particularly easily, count yourself lucky and help other people.

    RELATIONSHIPS:
    1. Value your friends; don't lose track of them
    2. Treat people as you'd want to be treated
    3. Notice what's going on around you
    4. If you see someone struggling, ask them if there's something you can do to help.

    Finally, take care of your own day-to-day survival whenever you can. By the time you leave home you should be able to take care of your clothes, your food, your transportation, and your work processes.

  5. It its never too early to start finding room in your schedule for exercise.  Believe me, it is easier to keep fit than it is to lose weight.  Society will always treat heavy people poorly, because we're mean creatures underneath it all, and fat people and rednecks are the only people left that it appears to be okay to treat like garbage.
     
    Take good care of your teeth and especially your gums.  Poor oral health can lead to many physical problems.

    Tell people you appreciate them.  Acknowledge the little things people do to help you.,

    Don't rely on a look to define yourself.  Gosh, hippies, punk, emo, goths, hipsters, they all want to assert their individuality yet all dress alike.  Define yourself with actions, not with the latest skinny jeans and scruffy beard.  Do something fantastic that the rest of the kids aren't doing.  Make your mark on the world by unique ideas or uncompromising passion.

    Read everything you can get your hands on.  Stick with math and science as much as possible in school. 

    Be fluent in more than one language, and NEVER treat a person that is serving you badly because they have  an accent.  They put a lot of effort into learning English so they could communicate in your first language.  You never really appreciate how difficult it is unless you took the initiative to become fluent in a second language yourself.

    Volunteer if you have a way to get there.  It looks awesome on a resume.

    For some people it is not enough to just not be a bully.  My biggest pride in my life, is my 9 year daughter.  She was bullied out of her school  before Grade 1.  She is no longer bullied, but she is also one of the first to get in a bully's face if he is bullying someone else.  Not egging on a bully is good for most people.  Some people are happy by not encouraging a bully, but wait until the bully is gone before they help the victim gather up his belongings and making sure he is okay.  If you can be the kid that stares a bully down, and show the bully that it is not one bully  vs one victim, but rather one bully vs. every kid that has gathered around, be that guy!!!

    Do not talk about people behind their backs.  Shut that kind of behaviour down ASAP.  The people you are trash talking with now, will be the ones trash talking you he next time you aren't present.

    Take what you feel you need to learn from criticism.  Some of it is petty and baseless, but there usually is a lesson in there.

    Make diverse friends.  You add as much to their life as they do to yours.

  6. I second Jaqir's comment.  Read everything you can find that is of any interest and try to branch out a little as well.  I found my calling after raiding my father's book shelf and finding a book about anxiety disorder.  I was 15, had no idea what that was, but the book was so interesting that I wound up seeking out more an more information.  You never know where your brain will lead you if you give it a chance.

    And open yourself up to friendships and acquaintance with all sorts of people.  At 14, it's easy to fall into the trap of being part of a group and adhering only to that bunch of people or the ones they "approve".  If you have a chance, do some volunteering.  Help out people who are less fortunate.  If your school allows students to help with the handicapped classes (the one where I taught did not, but several others nearby did), do that.  Join a club that is geared toward helping others.  Take classes that are outside your field of interest.  If you're a math whiz, try taking a class in metalwork or woodworking or cooking. 

    Study a foreign language.  Ask for Rosetta Stone in the language of your choice as a gift for your next birthday.  It's fun, easy, and before you know it you'll have a new outlook on other cultures.

    Exercise, sleep a full 9 hours a night, and eat real food (McRibs may only be available once a year for a reason).  You have a wonderful future ahead of you if you're this interested at 14 in how to carve the best path.  I'd be pleased to know you.

  7. 14 is a young age to start thinking about 'the world' and 'habit's to buid'.

    The biggest thing to consider is what I'd consider FOUNDATIONAL HABITS

    So it's the one's you would expect:

    • Reading
    • Books
    • Fiction
    • Non Fiction
  8. Blogs
    • Pertaining to anything you're interested in
  9. Quora
    • A good place to learn as well of course
  10. Creating
    • Anything you want
    • Music
    • Art
    • Food
    • Dance
    • An App
  11. Exercise
    • Everyday if you can
    • Make it something you enjoy
    • A sport is great

    On reading: This more broadly translates to LEARNING. Love to learn.

    On creating: Since you're there – aim to become the best in the world at whatever you do. Model yourself on the world's best

    On exercise: Pick a sport. Try and see how accomplished you can become.


    The moment it stops being fun. Stop doing it.


    For more advice catch my guide here.

  12. Such a good question I saw 😀 Thank you for asking to answer Quora User

    14 year kid is 6th or 7th standard child. An age when parents need to keep eye on their child activities. So for good activities, you need to see where his interset falls or if thats in bad direction you need to gbring him on right direction.

    How to do it? I have few suggestion of activity a 14 year kid should develop in case you find them beneficial please try him/her to involve in them –

    • Bring them books as the part of their free time activity
    • Get the gadgets like Video games than letting them play with neighbors kid – reason behind in this age children adapt bad habits through friend. Better keep them in front of you most of the time.
    • Get the bicycle for their physical growth which a child can run alone.
    • Get the experimental books – which will be fun for them and also bosst their scientific knowledge
    • Ask them to write down their fav part of day and the worst in a notebook
    • Ask the to give you atleast half hour for sharing their day
    • Make them learn how to greet people and specially women 🙂 even if you are making your girl child learn.

    Hope this may help you Quora User

  13. Discipline yourself to do the things you don't feel like doing – whether that's mundane chore-type stuff (taking out the garbage, doing your homework, etc.) or things you avoid because they make you anxious or afraid (speaking in front of a crowd, talking to the opposite sex, etc.).  Don't procrastinate, ever.  Make it a habit to face whatever the unpleasant task is and just get it done, straight away.
     
    Adulthood is all about doing the things you need to do, whether you feel like doing them or not.  If you can conquer the tendency to avoid or procrastinate at young age, your life will be far easier and more pleasant in the long run.

  14. One thing I would strongly suggest is reading. Read, read and read a little more. Find a interest and read on it. It might eventually be a career choice.

    Another habit is stay honest. Always remember you are watching yourself.

    1. Read as much as you can
    2. Be patient which will help you become a better listener
    3. Listen to others before giving your view and try not to interrupt when a person is talking
    4. Learn to code, even if you are not serious about a profession in computers
    5. Learn to be social among people. Aka, learn to approach people without any anxiety or nervousness. Helps you get friends and contacts.
    6. Smoking and Drinking was/is/will never be cool. It's always dangerous.
    7. Remember there is nothing wrong in crying your heart out to someone or yourself.
    8. Stay in touch with your friends from school. You will have good memories when you guys meet.
    1. Master all the basic everyday tasks – cleaning, cooking, fixing things etc.
    2. Take up a physical discipline that will develop your mind as well as your body and that you can see yourself doing the rest of your life.
    3. Meditate.
    4. Read regularly and widely.
    5. Talk to a wide variety of people – different ages, social classes, religions, ethnicities etc.
    6. Learn to organise your time so you have more time for goofing off.
    7. Goof off. You're fourteen, remember 😉
  15. Craftsmanship.  Whatever you do, you will need to practice and perfect your craft.  Find ways to excell at what you already do we as a practice of refining craftsmanship.  As in the Abraham Lincoln quote,  "Whatever you are, be a good one."

  16. A2A

    Learn to meditate and spend 10 minutes twice daily quietly with yourself.  It fits nicely with our busy schedules yet gives long term lasting benefits.

  17. What about learning on a different level than others (highest reading level, good at math when I understand it, everything ect..) and others have trouble with things so im just sitting in something ive learned outside of school or something ive already picked up?

  18. If I were you, at the age of 14, and given the opportunity as I now know, I would invest my time, effort, and money to learn, acquire and practise the 12 Core Human Skills as put forward by Josh Kaufman,  brilliant learning expert and author of two great works, Personal MBA' and 'The First 20 Hours', so as to attain a fast and early head-start while traversing the Highway of Life:

    Do You Have These Core Human Skills?

  19. Learn a skill of any sort that you can be passionate about and also one that you can do even when you move out into the working world. I see a few friends of mine who have played the piano since they were much younger and even though they dont play all the time they find an escape in it where they can just be alone and appreciate the music even for 5 minutes. It's something I've always been jealous of because after even playing 1 song they just seem to totally have their heads screwed back on and find their flow again.

  20. Here are 7 key skills for a 14 year old:

    1. Learn to be a  true friend.
    2. Learn community service by doing it.  (Understand its importance)
    3. Learn how to fail.  Learn what winning and losing feels like.
    4. Learn oral communication.  The art of conversation and telling a story.
    5. Learn written communication.
    6. Learn the power of commitment and dedication to a project.
    7. Learn character by doing it.
  21. Talking to strangers.

    Not a habit I've managed to master, but definitely one that would be useful and will make your life a whole lot easier. I concur about reading, though plenty of others beat me to it.

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