There’s this underlying sentiment, subtly propagated through media that we first need to achieve something notable, to prove that we’re ‘enough’ and happy.
But the biggest breakthrough we could ever make in our lives is to cultivate the habits, which allow us to move deeper into embracing our present.
It’s only then, that we’ll be in a better position to experience great breakthroughs.
1. Make Yourself Feel Good Every Morning
Your daily morning routine is the foundation for your life. If you start off each day by cultivating the mental, spiritual, physical, and emotional areas of your life you’ll head into your day with a spring in your step.
Whether you read, exercise, journal, meditate, take a cold shower, or else — a sign that you’re moving in the right direction is that you practice what puts you in peak mental and physical state each day.
2. Mostly Eat Healthily
Anyone can eat a couple of fruits and vegetables per day. Anyone can eat one protein-rich meal per day. Anyone can skip the soda and make sure they drink enough water.
Eating healthy is not a pursuit of perfection, it’s just about feeding your body more of what it needs, and less of what it doesn’t.
Yet, in a world where companies are spending billions of dollars on marketing processed foods, it’s okay to slip up on occasion. But by feeding your body more nutritious foods most of the time, you’ll down-regulate part of the lure processed foods have over you.
3. Exercise Daily
Exercise isn’t just about accelerating your physiques development; it’s also a way to improve your physiology. Similarly to fine-tuning a car, your body needs the right intervention to operate at its best.
If you’re exercising in some form every day (even if it’s just taking a long walk), then you’re also leveraging all the areas of your life closer to their full potential.
4. Laugh Whenever You Can
Based on a whole library of research documented by Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, people who laugh often are happier, and likelier to achieve more in their lifetimes. As children, we used to laugh hundreds of times per day. As adults, that number got whittled down significantly.
Humour is our primordial philosophy, but we only cultivate it through being mindful of the looking-glass we navigate our lives with.
5. Love More of What You Do
Each day is precious, finite, and fleeting. Yet, because it is given to us freely, it’s easy to forget that. It should be our aim to suck the marrow out of each day, quietly embellishing ourselves in its full possibilities.
A day spent in drudgery is a day that hasn’t been lived fully. While a day that’s been experienced with an underlying sense of play can make the most seemingly ordinary days an adventure.
In the myriad responsibilities of work and life, you can make the most out of your day by imbuing as much of what you do with a sense of love. And you can go further by cultivating your creativity through an art form each day.
6. Communicate with Your Family and Friends
It’s so easy to let our social and familial lives slide down into a small corner of our lives in favor of our work lives. Because of our goals and “responsibilities” we’ve been taught that it’s okay to focus on staying “busy”.
Yet, strong relationships have been shown in numerous studies, to be the strongest predictors of life satisfaction. When you express yourself with a couple of different friends every week, you give yourself the best chance of being happy.
Life then doesn’t seem like it’s all about this solitary pursuit, but more like an experience, you’re cultivating to the benefit of everyone around you.
Based on the longest study on happiness by a group of Harvard researchers, a major finding was that the quality of your relationships — determine the quality of your happiness. According to positive psychology, that means you’re likelier to move in the right direction in every other area of your life.
7. Travel Somewhere Every Year
While life may partly be about the hustle, it’s also about having a holistic life that makes you feel energized to be the best person you can be. Going away allows you to come back home renewed, ready to fire on all cylinders.
Travelling is about much more than taking the time to have some fun and relax. It’s about going on adventures that disconnect you from your existing culture — so that you see yourself with a little more clarity.
It’s about enriching your life, with unique, memorable experiences. If you’re not able to travel abroad due to circumstances, even trips to different cities in your country can have the same sort of positive effect. A change in the environment creates a change in perspective.
8. Realize That Everyone is your Teacher
Everyone you meet knows something you don’t. Every person you come across is a potential teacher or mentor.
Marcus Aurelius, the famous Roman Emperor, in his book, Meditations wrote:
“the span we live is small — small as the corner of the earth in which we live it.”
To make your view of the world clearer, and life larger, you have to: be open, ask the right questions, and continually test out new ideas. You need to reach out to potential teachers, and look for the gems in what they share with you.
9. Read Books that Broaden your Horizon
If you realize that everyone is your teacher, you’ll naturally gravitate to books. Reading them will shape and mold your character. They’ll make you consider possibilities you would have never otherwise considered. And they’ll allow you to lead a more intentional and aware life.
Sometimes, the most profound insights you have in your life will come through reading one sentence, one quote, in one book.
10. Invest in Yourself
Countless people similar to you have made mistakes and often pass on their decades of experience — so that you don’t have to always learn things the hard way.
Warren Buffett, the world renowned investor, once said:
“It’s good to learn from your mistakes. But it’s better to learn from other people’s mistakes.”
Having the willingness to let go of your ego, by investing in yourself through education, will cut your learning curve. Just because you’ve finished your degree doesn’t mean your life education is over. In fact, it’s always just getting started.
If you don’t invest in yourself, then who will?
11. Reflect on the Direction you’re taking
You only ever have so much energy to give, and every once in a while; you need to take a pit-stop to reflect. You can do this by writing a journal, or simply calling a friend or family member to reflect on your year so far.
Your reflections will give you the clarity needed to act on hard truths — so that you can make huge strides in your development.
12. Save Money Every Month
If you don’t have money under control, you don’t live as freely as you can — and you’re not preparing for the future. Brian Tracy, one of the most prominent self-improvement authors, in his book, the 21 Secrets of Millionaires, wrote:
“If you don’t save money, the seeds of greatness aren’t within you.”
Making a saving plan doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to calculate how much you automatically spend every month, and then set a monthly saving goal that you can easily commit to.
13. Be Mindful of your Media Consumption
Be the director — by being mindful of the quality and quantity of information you allow to flow into your life. You decide whether you want to experience the better part of the thrills you seek, through a screen, or your life.
With a flick of your fingers, you can get access to a whole variety of entertainment on streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Based on a 2015 International Communications market report, the average person in America consumes an average of five hours of Television per day!
Zig Ziglar, in his book, How to Stay Motivated, mentions that the average Chairman of a board only consumes four to eight hours of television per week. Even if you’re not chairman of a board, you can apply the same principle.
14. Put Yourself out of your Comfort Zone Each Day
The Stoics practiced a form of voluntary discomfort in their routines. They would take fasts on occasions, wear “the scantiest of fare”, and sleep on the floor — to absolve themselves of everything they feared from being taken away. Ryan Holiday, in his book, the Daily Stoic, mentions:
“We must fight our biases and preconceptions: because they are a liability.”
Doing what may seem unfathomable to the average person, whether it’s part of your routine or something that you muster up the courage for, will open you to up to a new dimension of gratitude and fulfillment.
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