New York Times bestselling author, John C. Maxwell, once said that:
“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
And while making big changes like moving across the country or getting a new job can alter your life in some ways, it’s really the simple things you do every day that add up to the most impact.
Once you understand how powerful your daily habits are, you can structure your routine in a positive and life-changing way. Through consistency and effort over time, you’ll find that practicing daily habits has an immense impact. Here are a few simple habits you can incorporate into your day to truly change your life for the better:
Exercising your body is a great way to boost your mood in the short term and boost your health and self-esteem in the long term! Health and wellness are a huge factor when it comes to our ability to focus, stay productive, and keep a balanced emotional life. Work on staying consistent with exercising every single day to see results quickly. Not only will your physique and well-being improve, but so will your mental clarity!
Journaling has a boat load of positive benefits, including helping you deal with difficult emotions and situations, helping you remember happy memories, and helping you visualize and strategize your goals. Journaling for just five minutes every day can reduce stress by offloading difficult emotions. Plus, it improves your focus in the present moment and helps you prioritize your day. When we take a moment to reflect, we save ourselves lots of time in the future!
A daily gratitude practice can go a long way towards improving your overall positivity and mental health. Start a simple gratitude practice in a journal, on your phone, or anywhere else you like. The point is to simply write down a few things you are grateful for. They don’t have to be big – you could simply be grateful for your toothbrush. But as you practice gratitude every day, you’ll come to realize that there’s actually a lot more to be grateful for than you originally realized. By focusing on all the positive things in your life, you’ll get a better outlook on your situation. Plus, rereading your gratitudes later can give you a huge boost!
Meditation has been proven to have a myriad of benefits on your brain and emotional health. Just meditating for 10 minutes a day, either when you wake up, halfway through your day to de-stress, or even right before bed to wind down, helps train your brain to find peace and balance. The more consistently you meditate, the more you’ll find yourself focusing on the present moment, naturally relieving anxiety, and dealing calmly with high-pressure situations. Try any of the many meditation apps to get started!
Make your bed
An untidy house is an untidy mind. Often, when your bed isn’t made, it’s easy to let other things slide, too — the laundry you need to fold, the papers you need to put away. So, when you wake up in the morning, make your bed first thing. This will make you feel like you’re ready to start your day and it will keep things organized. Make sure your home is in order, and the rest will follow.
Just like working out is exercise for your body, reading is exercise for your mind! Reading just 10-20 minutes a day is a fantastic workout for your brain. It has long-lasting benefits such as improved brain connectivity and vocabulary. Plus, if you read non-fiction, you’ll learn more about topics you’re interested in. Reading forces us to slow down – instead of mindlessly scrolling on the internet – and has similar benefits to meditation. Reading also improves your creativity and can help you make new connections you hadn’t thought of before!
Do something outside your comfort zone
If you could do something just a little outside your comfort zone every day, how much more confident and self-assured do you think you would be in just one month? A year? Five years? Pushing yourself just a little bit to say hello to someone you don’t usually talk to, message a friend you haven’t seen in a while, or apply to a new job exercises your ability to deal with rejection – and you may end up gaining some amazing opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise! Working on expanding your comfort zone is an important daily habit to overcome anxiety and expand your life.
Turn Your Phone on Do-Not-Disturb
One of the simplest ways to improve your life is to turn your phone on do-not-disturb during the day. Social media apps work by activating our dopamine receptors, causing us to want to stay on the apps for longer, to scroll longer, to keep getting little hits of dopamine longer. Unfortunately, this means that we can get stuck on our phones for hours at a time, truncating our productive hours. But if you put your phone on do-not-disturb, you won’t be inundated by notifications demanding your attention and forcing your focus back on your phone. Turning off your notifications allows you to put your attention where it matters most – on the activities you’re doing, the people you’re with, and the present moment.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
It’s great to celebrate what you’re grateful for, but it’s also a good practice to celebrate all your accomplishments. Every time you have a win – no matter how small, keep track of it either on your phone, in a journal, or some method that’s easy to get to. Did you finish a project early? Celebrate it! Did your boss like your project proposal? Celebrate it! Did you ace a recent test? Celebrate it! Did you get out of bed today even though you didn’t feel like it? Celebrate it! Keep a log of all your accomplishments and make sure to pat yourself on the back regularly for everything you do. This helps you focus on the positive and remember just how far you’ve come!
Enjoy the little things
Little moments make up our lives – a chat with a friend, a quiet moment to ourselves, your walk to work. Every day, take a moment to simply enjoy the little things in your life. Don’t let them slide past you before you forget to enjoy it. When you make it a habit to enjoy the little things in life, you’ll find joy in all kinds of unexpected places. This will keep you motivated, calm, and give you a positive attitude that will radiate out into every aspect of your life.
As Aristotle once wrote:
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.”
Choosing your habits wisely and intentionally is the first step towards achieving that excellence. Try incorporating some of the habits in this video for just ten or fifteen minutes a day and watch as they compound over time to create lasting changes in yourself and your life.
Because if excellence is a habit, as Aristotle claims, then excellent habits are the first step towards an excellent life.