7 Habits of Highly Healthy People


by Maria Dorfner

Powerful Principles of Personal Change

One of the things I love about the book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey is it’s a principle-centered paradigm. Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value — they are fundamental. I realized these same exact principles for career success can also apply to HEALTH. It even begins the same way, as any other success. It begins with commitment.

  • Every year, I hear reporters say the number one New Year‘s Eve resolution Americans have is to get fit. So many books.  So many tapes.  So many fitness gurus. So many fitness gadgets, yet people STILL need help. Why?

My theory is people are too focused on their bodies; shift in habits first begins in the mind.

I don’t subscribe in short-term fads, do not wear any fitness gadgets or go on diets, yet I’ve managed to stay fit since childhood with no aches or pains, and excellent physicals, so I must be doing something right. 

I’ve talked to countless healthy individuals and there is common ground in terms of their daily habits.When I was a kid, someone  told me if you want the same results someone else is getting learn about their daily habits. So, I did.

I’ve studied health all my life. I found some habits to be extreme and unhealthy long-term.

I look for ones that include good nutrition and exercise one could sustain all their life, even with a busy schedule.  I’m not a fan of exercise videos that exhaust you just watching them. They’ actually discourage people, because it’s difficult to sustain if you lead a balanced life with time for family, friends, work, travel and hobbies.

Unfortunately, those are the ones mainstream media loves to show people. I was a fitness participant in one on ABC’s Good Morning America. We taped for an hour with a trainer from Women’s Health.  It was called, “Fitness for Every Decade.” Although it was fun, boy was I sore the next day. So, I welcomed returning to my usual sustainable routine.

Below are kinder, gentler ways to stay healthy and fit for a lifetime.


Habit 1.  MeditatiON

Habit 2.  HydratiON

Habit 3.  NutritiON

Habit 4.  MotivatiON

Habit 5.  ActivatiON

Habit 6.  CreatiON

Habit 7.  RelaxatiON

Habit 8.  ModeratiON

  • I added an 8th habit. Covey did too.  Start with a commitment: The rest will flow.
  • Anything of value in life takes commitment.  Without that, all else is lost. That goes for entrepreneurial pursuits, jobs, work, projects, relationships, hobbies and your health and well-being. Great health is a choice. A lifestyle.If you’re not willing to commit to something you’re what my parents call, “A Good Time Charlie”.  A Good Time Charlie is the type of guy or gal that walks around the gym dressed like they’re going to work out, but they just walk around looking like a fashionable ad for Nike. Only they don’t “Do It” or the person that loves telling people they bought a new elliptical machine, only to end up hanging their laundry on it later.
  • Good relationships, good health & life begin with having your priorities & values in order. There’s no such thing as I have no time. People prioritize and make time for things (or people) they value.

Health should be a top priority.  Without it, all else can fall apart.

  •  If you think about each item on this list, visualize them and incorporate them into your daily life, I can assure you that next year when New Year’s Eve rolls around you won’t be back to the same old resolutions regarding your health, wellness and fitness.Short-term goals are frustrating, because you’re aiming for perfection, “the evil of good.” You need patience. Go slow. Do things today for long-term benefits.
  • These 7 simple principles have kept me fit and healthy since I was a kid.  Again,  I don’t believe in extremes. I don’t believe in fads. While those things can be fun, I believe that ultimately it’s your daily habits that define how you feel long-term, both in your mind and body.  Covey says private victories precede public victories. He’s right.
  • If you can get through this checklist in one day, that’s a private victory. Do it again the next until you get through a week. Before you know it a month has gone by.  Tell me how you feel after a month. Too many people give up after a few days or a week. When you start out, avoid wearing tight clothing and being critical of yourself. Don’t focus on how you look. Focus on how exercising daily makes you feel. Your mind will be sharper. You’ll be able to focus. You’ll have more energy –not less. Extreme things do the opposite. They exhaust you or cause pain, which will cause you to avoid doing it again.
  • While making the list, I couldn’t help but notice each chapter title ends with the word ON. I don’t believe that’s an accident. It’s because you need to turn each habit ON every day in order to achieve a long-term healthy lifestyle. The key is waking up with the right mindset to set your healthy intentions for the day.

MeditatiON comes first. That means you don’t wake up screaming, rushing or doing anything.  Don’t look at your phone, computer or TV.  Instead, wake up calm. Breathe.  Focus on gratitude for being alive and other things you are grateful for in your life. Don’t rush out of bed. Set your intention for the day. One or two items you want to check off your list professionally and personally.  If you’re just starting, make it one thing. Be proud of yourself at the end of the day for accomplishing it.

  •   AppreciatiON
    You close your eyes for a moment and fill your mind with positive thoughts about your new day. I don’t care if you only 2-minutes to do this –that’s enough time to make difference. Give appreciation for being alive, breathing, a new day, nature, life itself. A Nike says, “Just do it” and wake with a smile of gratitude for it all.


Most people wake up thirsty. You have a choice of how to start your day.  It can be coffee, orange juice or any other type of beverage. The. healthiest choice? WATER.

Starting your day with hot water and lemon cleanses your system and activates your metabolism.  Water hydrates you.  Coffee dehydrates you.  And with all the sugar in creamers it will also make you crash. There’s no crash with water.  Your energy level remains steady throughout the day.

If you love coffee, this will take time to get used to, but it’s worth it long-term. It will feel like mud is out of your system.  Coffee makers spend a lot of money advertising it to you saying 2 cups is healthy for you, but I don’t know anyone that stops at two cups. They drink it as an energy boost, but it’s quite the opposite –and it can make you anxious and jittery.

  • NutritiON since a lot of people ask me what I eat every day.  I’ll share that in my next post.  I understand how it’s gotten to the point where you can walk into a grocery store and feel overwhelmed, not knowing what is good or bad for you anymore.  There isn’t one meal plan that is right for everyone, as I don’t know your medical history. The best advice I can give you is IF you do have a medical condition, say Kidney Disease — google Kidney Disease and Nutrition. Do that for any illness and you’ll find foods to heal you and foods that make your condition worse. If you’re healthy with no conditions, you will benefit from following foods and snacks I love. I’m bot into the DIE part of DIEt, and don’t subscribe to anything, but non-processed foods that provide energy and make you feel good, even if you overindulge in them. You don’t fall into a food coma if you eat too much good food, and there’s a reason for that.  It’s good for you.

             MotivatiON. ActivatiON. CreatiON.

  • Motivation requires pumping yourself up.  Affirmations are a great way to do that.  They seem silly, but they work.  Your mind is a sponge. Negative in. Negative out.  Make sure what you feed your mind is Positive. That includes self-talk. If you have to write down I am healthy. I am fit. I am worthy. affirmations and tape it to your computer, do it.
  • Surround yourself with people who see the best in you and celebrate you.  Be that person for yourself AND for others.  I’m not talking about fake compliments or flattery. Be genuine at all times. When genuine, give compliments freely and openly. There’s another great saying by outstanding Leaders. It’s Praise Publicly; Criticize Privately.
  • Today on Facebook, John Assaraf, a dear friend and favorite self-help author posted a sample affirmations you can use daily. That affirmation is:  “I live each day with passion and purpose. I am a success in all that I do. My life is now filled with prosperity and abundance. Day by day, in every way, I am better and better.” – from his book, “Having It All”
  • Start with the Meditation.  Hydrate with water.  Fuel your hunger with nutritious foods. Fuel your mind with positive thoughts. After you do this for a while your motivation will kick into take action. Action involves moving, which gets your heart pumping.  It will release natural feel good hormones in you.  It’s a natural pain reliever.  You will feel and move better throughout the day and sleep better at night.
  •   Those feel good hormones are the ones that fuel creation.  Suddenly, your mind is clear.  You can think.  You can create.  Never underestimate a good night’s rest every night, which is why I add relaxation to the list.  Goal should be between 8 and 10 hours a night.
  • I’d like to talk about Activation a little more as it involves being active.  My favorite exercise is walking. That’s right. Plain and simple. I once read about the habits of geniuses in history and they all had a habit of walking and talking while having meetings. Lots of Centenarians who live to 100 and beyond credit walking with their longevity as well. Walking is sustainable. You can do it anywhere. Indoors or outdoors. And it’s free. What’s better than that? Every day make a commitment to walk at least 30 minutes until you can get that up to one hour. You can break it up  into four 15-minute intervals. That’s all. It’s that easy.  Here’s a secret. At 45-minutes into a brisk walk, your brain works better too. Walking is also something you can do at your own pace until you find yourself able to go longer.  It’s a great way to clear your mind and if you’re outdoors, appreciate nature.
  • At the end of the year, you will be amazed at the long-term change.  You don’t have to belong to a gym.  Walk around the block.  Walk to the store to get water.  Walk around the house. Walk around your kitchen counter.  Just walk.  Stretching and walking are amazing and my primary modes of exercise. Anything else I do like swimming, running, skiing or bike riding which I enjoy, are icing on the cake. Running can be rough on your knees and joints, like soccer, which I did in my youth. So, I prefer swimming when I can, and am a Certified Aerobics Swim Instructor, where we do low-impact pool exercises to fun music.
  • If you review Covey’s list for being highly effective, you will notice not only can they all be applied to. your Health, but the first one is be proactive. Second says to begin with the end in mind. That’s why gyms have photos of fit people hanging on the walls. That’s why your WHY needs to be long-term, as in next year, rather than next week or next month. You’re more likely to quit then.
  • The third says put first things first which is about priorities.  You can’t function at your best if you haven’t gotten enough nutrition, exercise, hydration or rest. First things first. Think win-win can be applied to your health because you being fit means you’ll have more energy to give to others. When you feel better, your mood improves, your work improves and people around you are happy to be around you. Your relationships with your colleagues, family, friends, significant other and spouse dramatically improve! That’s a wonderful WHY motivator right there. Stop thinking they are the problem, when maybe you need to improve YOU.

“But until a person can say deeply and honestly, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” that person cannot say, “I choose otherwise.” – Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

STEPHEN R. COVEY is a best-selling author, speaker, international entrepreneur, father of 9, and grandfather of 44.  He doesn’t just talk the talk. He walks the walk. He is as committed in his personal life as he is professionally.  Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you’re saying.”  When you think of Covey it’s the opposite. Who he is speaks so loudly, he doesn’t even need to speak.  That defines presence. 

  • If you’ve never read Covey’s book, here’s a quick refresher.   The 7 Habits are: 1. Be Proactive 2. Begin with the End in Mind 3. Put First Things First 4. Think Win-Win 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood 6. Synergize and 7. Sharpen the Saw.  Again, notice they ALL apply to health as well.
  • Clearly, I’m not the only one influenced by this book. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey is recognized as the #1 most influential book of the Twentieth Century.  It has sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages since first publication. Covey is recognized as one of Time magazine‘s 25 most influential Americans.  Every person can truly control their destiny with profound, yet simple, straight forward guidance.

Apply these same principles to your HEALTH   

  • Whenever I scan the bookstores for health and fitness books they all appear to be a bit gimmicky. They make you change who you are to achieve what you want.  If you are not a gym rat, you’re not suddenly going to become one. You’ll do it with gusto for a while, but your old habits will kick back in.But, if you follow these 7 Habits of Highly Healthy People, the change will begin from the inside.That’s what you want. You will get to a point where you wake up and are mindful of what you do.  Your mind is connected to your body.  Start each day with positive intentions. When you have a super busy day, walk 15-minutes. See the graphic below for the health benefits of walking for just 15-minutes a day.  It’s not about weight. It’s about how you will feel afterwards. Your brain releases powerful feel good endorphins which spills over into every other area of your life, and your heart, bones, joints, immune system and blood pressure will benefit in the long-run.


Stay Healthy!

Maria Dorfner

Related: Part 1 of 2

Part 2 of 2


6 thoughts on “7 Habits of Highly Healthy People”

kPad says: EDITGreat post on how our daily habits create our destiny. Especially when it comes to health (mental, physical, spiritual). Enjoyed reading it.REPLY

mariadorfner says: EDITThank you for the follow and your kind comment. I appreciate it, especially coming from FounderZen.REPLY

Pingback: Healthy Blogging by Maria Dorfner « MEDCRUNCH EDIT

Pingback: Healthy Start-Ups by Maria Dorfner « MEDCRUNCH EDIT

clotinc.com says: EDITI’m really impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout
on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing,
it is rare to see a great blog like this one these days.REPLY

mariadorfner says: EDITThe blog is a free labor of love to empower people to live healthier lives. It’s a free layout, which I designed. Thank you for your kind words.REPLY


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