You are what you repeatedly do. (At least according to Aristotle.)
That’s why making small changes in your everyday life can lead to big increases in your happiness levels and inner peace.
(Conversely, if you keep doing the same things over and over, you’ll get the same results.)
If you’re feeling inspired, here are 20 simple changes that can transform your life.
1. Create a morning routine
You only have a set amount of mental energy to spend each day. By creating a morning routine, you reduce the number of decisions you have to make, saving your mental energy for bigger, brighter things later in the day. Consider yoga, stretching, meditation, writing, reading or anything that makes you feel centred and calm.
2. Begin with a positive mindset
Your first thoughts of the day can shape the rest of it. If you spend your morning dwelling on negative thoughts, life headaches and anxieties, you’ll carry this energy with you when you walk out the door. Instead, spend your first waking moments contemplating what an amazing gift it is to be alive. Feel gratitude for all of the beautiful people and things in your life.
3. Eat mindfully
Have you experienced ‘disappearing food’? This happens when you’re so preoccupied clicking on articles and typing out emails, you fail to notice the food you’re scoffing down. Try eating more mindfully. Slow down, tune out distractions, and pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth – the crunch of an apple, the sweetness of a chocolate tart, the fluffy texture of rice.
4. Keep your to-do list out of your head
Your mind is an incredibly capable, intelligent and creative machine. Don’t weigh it down by asking it to remember a long list of trivial things, like your grocery list, haircut appointment, bills to pay and other daily tasks. Keep a written or electronic to-do list (there are a bunch of great apps for this) and free your mind up for more important things.
5. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is one of the sweet shortcuts to happiness. Count your blessings, not your problems, and you’ll experience an instant increase in feelings of happiness and fulfilment. You’ll also start to notice simple joys and beauty all around you. A simple way to start is to list five things you’re thankful for at the end of each day.
6. Read before bed
Are there piles of amazing books you want to read, but you just can’t seem to find the time? Make it a habit to read for ten minutes before switching the lights out. You’ll be surprised at how many books you’ll get through each month.
7. Connect with your senses
This is a great way to centre yourself throughout the day and bring your mind back to the present moment. Connect with your senses – sound, sight, touch, taste, or smell. If you’re washing the dishes, feel the warm soapy water on your skin. If you’re walking past a coffee shop, smell the faint scent of roasted coffee beans in the air. If you’re sitting in the park, feel the sunshine on your back through your clothing. Soak it up. Feel fully alive.
8. Express appreciation
If you feel appreciation for someone or something, express it. Tell the barista your coffee hit the spot today. Message your friend to say thanks for throwing a fantastic party. Leave a positive online review for your favourite bar or restaurant. You just might make someone’s day.
9. Apply the two minute rule
If something comes up that you need to action, and it will take less than two minutes, remember what Nike says: just do it. Don’t put it off. Don’t carry around the mental weight of knowing it still has to be done. Shoot off that email, pay those bills, make the phone call. You’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed from too many things piling up on you.
10. Go on solo dates
You need time alone to catch up on ‘updates’ from the person you really need to stay in touch with: yourself. When you’re surrounded by friends and family, work, chores, your inbox, phone, crowds and traffic, it’s too noisy to hear your inner voice. Go on solo dates – to your local café, to the park, to the beach. Spend time alone unpacking your worries and anxieties, and getting back in touch with your deepest desires and life dreams.
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