Feeling down in the dumps? Is life not going the way you planned it?
Life is full of twists and turns, which is what makes it so fun. But your daily actions will influence whether things work out for the best or the worst.
If you’re unwilling to wait for “New Year, New Me” territory, here are some daily habits you can embrace now to begin improving your life (and none of them include a gym membership!).
1) Make your bed
Most morning routines discuss eating superfoods for breakfast and getting up at 4 a.m.
But I don’t like getting up at 4 a.m. or agonizing over my breakfast. Instead, this is the most potent morning ritual I’ve ever adopted.
Based on a speech by U.S. Admiral William McRaven, he says, “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day.”
And that’s powerful. Even if you have the worst day, you’ll return to a task you did and did well. It’s a confidence booster like no other and one I practice every single day.
2) Adopt the 80/20 principle
The 80/20 rule, or The Pareto’s Principle, is where 20% of tasks yield 80% of the results. In other words, this is a productivity hack.
Spend more time on the tasks that create the biggest impact. For example, jump on a sales call instead of spending your morning answering emails.
Rather than wasting 30 minutes trying to align the stars, jump in and get started. Or, in other words, eat that frog!
3) Read, read, and read some more
No, reading alone doesn’t make you smarter. Yes, there are many ways to learn. But reading has bonuses that make it so powerful.
Firstly, it’s a chance to disconnect from the digital world. Secondly, you will develop new ideas and get motivated. But the third and most important benefit of all is that, according to the Academy of Professional Excellence, reading has a similar calming effect as meditation.
So, whether you prefer a thriller novel or a biography, make some time to pick up a good book. And, speaking of which, here’s something else you can do.
Meditation isn’t about vibrations, nirvana, or religion. Forget the hippie-dippie spiritual bent and look at the practice in isolation.
You don’t have to be spiritually minded to enjoy the benefits of meditation. Just take ten minutes daily in a quiet room to silence your mind and put your monkey brain back on ice.
You’ll become calmer and more confident. Speaking of which, read on for another practice to accomplish both.
5) Stop trying to multitask
Multitasking is the bane of your existence. Did you know that only 2.5% of the world can do it effectively?
Regardless of gender, we’re not equipped to multitask. It remains the least efficient way of going about your life.
Don’t believe it? 30 Rock created seven seasons out of a main character whose comedy primarily originates from attempting to multitask.
Of course, if you are one of the 2.5%, carry on, you lucky, lucky soul!
6) Eat your greens
It turns out mom was right, and you should eat your greens. When it comes to health, our bodies mirror our minds.
An unhealthy body will always result in an unhealthy mind. But rather than going through the annual charade of buying a gym membership you’ll never use, start small.
Adding some spinach to an omelet or kale to your pasta can dramatically affect your health. Little ways to bring healthier foods into your life can make a world of difference.
7) Set yourself deadlines
Ask a hundred people what they say is holding them back from doing something, and most will say they lack the time.
Most of us don’t truly lack time. We waste most of it due to procrastination. What’s an extra coffee? If you do it daily, five days are lost yearly.
Try holding yourself to account instead. Create a schedule, set deadlines, and stick to it.
8) Get up and move
It’s no surprise that you’re lacking energy if you’re a couch potato. Our bodies were made to move, so get up and do it.
It doesn’t have to be an entire workout session. A walk around the block, taking the dog out for an errand, or even just dancing in your living room is all exercise.
If you’ve started working from home, this is even more essential. Here’s another small change you can make right now.
9) Stop apologizing
Some of us have an awful habit of apologizing for every little thing in the world. Although this might seem like a good thing, it’s not.
It’s a subconscious insight into how we feel about ourselves. So, be kinder to yourself. Rephrase those apologies and make them mean more.
Try a variation of “Thank you” instead of “Sorry” and shift your mindset.
10) Don’t leave it until the morning
Laundry piled up on a chair? Dishes in the sink? It’s easy to leave the clutter until the following day but stop.
I always believed I was anally retentive because I ensured those little tasks were done before bed. It was only later in life I realized why. Apparently, clutter prevents us from being fully relaxed. It’s always in our subconscious minds.
And that’s why I’ll never apologize for running the dishwasher or wiping the kitchen counters before bed again.
11) Spend money based on joy
It’s no secret that many people spend their money just to keep up with the Joneses. Designer clothing, expensive restaurants, and fancy cars are great for your Insta feed, but you’re strangling yourself in the long term.
Take a different approach to your spending habits. It goes a little like this: Spend money based on the items and experiences that bring you joy.
Before making a big purchase, ask yourself why you want to make that purchase. Put your credit card away if it’s anything other than your personal satisfaction.
12) Appreciate more
Our society is based on buying more stuff and climbing the greasy pole. But amid the rat race, we easily forget what we have.
Take some time to express gratitude for your life. It takes five minutes to think about your circumstances and what’s great about them.
Plus, if you’re easily jealous, this practice will help you to disengage and get some perspective.
13) Surround yourself with positive people
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
– Jim Rohn, American entrepreneur
In other words, surround yourself with crack addicts, and you’ll probably be a crack addict. Convene with the most miserable crowd in town, and you’ll likely be miserable.
Consider who you’re hanging out with the most and what they bring to the table. Your closest confidants should be lifting you up, not bringing you down.
Here’s one habit that can help you with your social life.
14) Talk less, listen more
Communication is the foundation of what it is to be human. Society only works because we can communicate, but many people miss out on the listening aspect.
Pay attention to what others are saying and focus on whether you understand the other person. The goal isn’t to monopolize the conversation but to extract value from it.
Practice active listening and take a mental note of any non-verbal cues you come across. It might seem like a lot, but eventually, it’ll come naturally.
15) Take a social media detox
Social media has its uses, but spending too long on it is like microdosing with arsenic. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer Twitter or Instagram. Social media is the most toxic place on the planet.
It’ll make you angry, jealous, and bitter if you let it. One study even linked Facebook use with higher rates of depression.
Try switching off for a day or two. Leave your phone at home for an hour or two and reconnect with the real world around you.
Finally, here’s the best thing you can do to improve your life right now.
16) Invest in your self-care
No matter how high you’ve flown or how strong you think you are, we all need some “me” time.
Taking time away for your mood, mental health, and self-confidence is essential to being the best version of yourself.
Do at least one good thing for yourself every single day. It could be buying that double chocolate Frappuccino, learning a new skill, listening to music, or just having a nice dinner.
Either way, find some time for yourself. You deserve it!
Self-improvement begins today
Countless souls invest their time, energy, and money into programs that claim to improve their lives. But you already have the tools inside of you to make incremental improvements to your life.
All it takes is a willingness to change and a few good friends to support you every step of the way. If you’re stuck in the mud, make today the beginning of the next phase of your life.
How are you investing in your self-improvement?