It’s part of our nature to want to improve our lives and the good habits we build is the cornerstone of designing a life we want.
It’s one thing to think about changing and improving your life, quite another to take action.
An easy mistake to make when we want to do things differently is to change too many things at the same time.
The result is that you quickly become overwhelmed and disillusioned and before you know it you are back to your old patterns. And sometimes even worse than before!
But fear not, there are ways to start good habits to improve your life AND make them stick.
Not all new habits are created equal or demand the same level of effort. Think about drinking a glass of water each morning as you wake up, vs. working out to get your body back into shape.
Good Habits to Improve your Life
The trick is to start with new habits that are easier to establish. This way you are strengthening your habit-building muscles, setting you up to go after bigger goals, and ultimately practicing good habits to improve your life daily.
There is a quiet beauty in being consistent and noticing small results.
Even taking the smallest action creates change. And taking these small actions consistently is what helps us hit our goals to transform our lives.
Habits to Improve Productivity
1. Plan your day
Planning your day basically means that you have a series of small goals to hit. I find it extremely satisfying to do what I set out to, as I’m sure you do too.
Just don’t make the mistake of trying to plan your day up to the second (see below). What works for me is to have an overall *big picture* of what I want my day to look like.
2. Schedule important tasks
Even though I love planning and scheduling, I love being flexible too. I tried time blocking specific tasks in my calendar for every day, but it totally freaked me out when I looked at my calendar afterward. No space to breathe. (But. There is a
To start this new habit, choose ONE most important task for the day, and write it down where you can see it.
3. Declutter your desk
Or at least throw away all the rubbish lying around on it. We all have different tolerance levels when it comes to what we perceive as clutter. However, there is enough evidence to show that being distracted by the things around us, impacts our productivity and efficiency.
Get started with this habit by taking 5 minutes to clear your desk at the end of your workday.
Habits to Improve Wellbeing
4. Do some stretches first thing in the morning
Our bodies are stiff from lying still for 6-8 hours and doing a few stretches gets the blood flowing into your body AND brain. Plus, when you combine your stretches with focused breathing and get your heart rate up a bit (like when you do yoga), you’ll also release some feel-good endorphins into your bloodstream #win!
To start this new habit, get some help online. Youtube is gold when you are looking for videos with morning yoga or stretches.
5. Meditate, contemplate or reflect
Even something as simple as sitting (or lying) down with your eyes closed for 2 minutes while you focus on your breathing will do wonders to help you ease into the day.
It goes without saying that you can also make this part of your evening routine before you go to bed to help settle you, and prepare you for a good night’s rest.
6. Make self-care part of your life
Having your nails done once a week is not the kind of self-care I’m talking about, although it is fun.
What I mean is to take care of your Inner Self. Start paying attention to your emotions and feelings. Lean into them and allow them to be, rather than resisting them or silencing them with food, alcohol or mindless activities.
Habits to Improve your Mindset
7. Focus on solutions, not problems
A knee-jerk reaction is to get caught up in negativity when faced with challenges in life. Focusing on failure and problems stumps our growth.
Rather use failure as a lesson of what doesn’t work and tackle the problem from another angle.
Start this new habit by taking some alone time, and thinking about your situation and let you mind brainstorm possible solutions, don’t hold back. You might even surprise yourself with your creativity.
8. Challenge yourself to be less than perfect
Perfectionism is a terrible habit that always makes you feel as if you are not good enough. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I can easily say that the best thing for me was to get rid of my perfectionism tendencies. It holds you back in so many ways and severely limits your chances of creating the lifestyle you really want.
Whenever you find yourself procrastinating or wasting time on insignificant details (or whatever your pattern is), tell yourself that good enough is good enough and stop what you are doing (or start).
9. Focus on what you can control
The easiest way to feel helpless and like a victim is to get stressed out, angry or scared about things that you have no control over.
This is one habit which I have personally been working with a lot since I can worry about absolutely everything if I let myself!
This new habit asks that you focus on the things you can control such as your actions and responses, whether your flight is delayed, you’re stuck in a traffic jam or you’re dealing with a frustrating colleague.
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The most important thing
Consistency is the most important thing when you start a new habit. Your habit will take time to get hardwired in your brain.
To help with being consistent, set reminders for yourself. You can link your new habit to something which you already do to help trigger you. Think about when you get up, go to sleep, brush your teeth, have breakfast, get home or take a shower.
You didn’t become the person you are today overnight, and you won’t change to someone else overnight either. But you can be intentional in who you want to become, and how you want to live.
Each small action you take and each (good) habit you start will improve your life and help