I am spontaneous and free-spirited so routines are difficult for me. I often feel like they get in the way of having fun and ‘living to the fullest’. But then I have to remind myself that this is far from the truth. Because without daily habits, we cannot live a healthy life. To live healthy helps us to live happy. So routines are happiness (or at least this is my mantra to trick myself into being responsible.)
Below are habits I’ve greatly benefited from by introducing them into my life. Do I do them all everyday? No! I am a wildling, remember? And it is natural, if not a habit in itself, for me to fall out of practice.
The most important recommendation I can give in this post is to keep trying, always. This is the biggest difference between successful people and those who fail. Those who succeed do it. On the other hand, I do not believe anyone is a failure for trying, but only if they never try at all.
Before You Do Anything, Drink Water
I’m not upset when told to drink water for the same reason I would not be upset if told to put more chocolate chips in my cookies. The best advice deserves to be repeated. And I’m here to say you should make a habit to drink water first thing every morning.
I picked up this habit last year. It gives me yet another reason to love my H2O! I put a reusable bottle full of water on my bedside table before bed. (If I use a glass, I place a napkin on top to protect the contents from dust.) When I wake up, I don’t allow my feet to hit the floor until I consume anywhere from 8-16 fluid ounces.
This is the most important time in the day to fill up as our bodies have likely gone 6-8 hours without hydration. Prepare for an energy boost. I am not a morning person, so this made a big difference in my routine! This habit almost immediately brings me positive vibes, ready to face the day in ways that coffee can’t compete. (*Gasp*)
And of course we need to continue to hydrate throughout the day. Remember, vital organs are nourished first. We need to drink lots to nourish extremities like our hair, nails, and skin. Water is an energy booster, mood changer and beauty product in one so drink up.
It’s possible to drink too much water so do some research and experiment to see what’s best for you. I aim to drink 80-100 oz a day.
[Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst]
Turn a task into a kindness and give thanks.
This is a habit that will help you get through the day more easily and full of gratitude. Getting stuff done makes us feel good and can offer a sense of self-worth. However, many of us gain so much affirmation in finishing the to-do list that if everything on the list is not accomplished, we sometimes feel the opposite of good. We may feel frustrated or even unworthy. This is the wrong mentality.
So why not turn every individual task into an affirmation? This may sound a little strange, but it really is very simple and will make sense soon enough.
One way to encourage change in this behavior is to remember the reason we perform these tasks beyond “because I need to finish the list”. Then let thanks follow! All those little tasks suddenly look less daunting when seen as ways to show love and give gratitude.
For example, you may try thinking to yourself while cleaning your home, “I thoroughly dust my living space, wipe all surfaces and sweep the floors because I deserve to live in a healthy environment with clean air and I thank myself for regularly taking the time to maintain my well being” or perhaps while juggling professional and parent life if you have children “I pick up the kids from school everyday immediately after a long day at work because my presence in their life plays a part in the adults they will become and I thank myself for teaching them a positive work-life balance through example.”
This may sound cheesy, but sometimes we need to be our own cheerleaders! If you can’t think of a reason that a task serves you or your family, it’s probably best to let it go and then give thanks that you did.
When we make it a habit to create a positive work mentality, we are more likely to get through the day stress-free. As we chip away at our to-do list, we’re building up our “Well-Done!” list which is a list full of reasons to give ourselves a hug! Hooray for living with intention!
Time Out to Take Note
It’s always a good idea to pause to retrace your steps. This is a tip I carried with me after a conversation with my sister. She explains how it’s easy to be distracted with whatever is next and disregard the little moments of the past. (I feel this especially applies to my millennial generation.)
To remedy this, she will at any time in the day take 5 to 30 minutes to reflect on every interaction and response, given and received in the day so far. By doing so, she hopes to enhances her awareness and gain a strong understanding of how her actions are cause for effect.
In practice, you might ask yourselves questions like: Who did I interact with today and what was our conversation about? How did their words make me feel? How else could I have responded and what are the possible outcomes of each? And let the productive thinking fly!
This is simple enough and can be a powerful exercise. The results are different for everyone. Just be careful not to go too far down the rabbit hole. Approach this with an open mind. Try writing down your findings in a notebook and see if it helps.
[Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst]
Or perhaps try incorporating this into another exercise such as yoga. I feel this works best when there are no other distractions, but I’m a big fan of efficiency and I have definitely incorporated this theme into my practice before. I wrote a post about mindfulness in yoga here that you may enjoy checking out.
More regularly, I prefer to do this while winding down for bed (and pouring my water: hint). I find processing actions and emotions from the day quiets the mind for when it’s time to tuck-in and thus encourages a good nights sleep!
That’s all for now, folks! Be sure to subscribe to my email list to receive more tips like this!