Each day I’m becoming more and more aware of how much I have changed in the past few years. My goals in life have changed, as well as my priorities, so step by step I started getting rid of everything that is not aligning with the person I want to be and with the life I want to live. With time I also established a lot of new habits which I will be talking about today – 8 habits that have improved my life. There are certainly more than 8, but let’s focus on the main ones, shall we:
”Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” – Barbara Hemphill
For me the easiest one, but in the comment section of my previous minimalism posts, I noticed a lot of people struggling with it. I guess it’s just a matter of a habit. I started getting rid of clothes, electronics, makeup, then sentimental items etc. Once you get into a habit of decluttering (getting rid of everything you don’t need anymore), you clear up your space equally as your mind.
You start applying the same mindset to everything. Even your to-do lists start becoming more focused on what is important/urgent, rather than consisting of every little thing you could think of and scheduled it for the day ahead. So yes, begin with physical items and see how you’re progressing from that.
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Minimalism for beginners – how to get started
2. Sunday review
It wasn’t until I started doing weekly reviews that I saw my productivity level growing rapidly. If you feel like you’re not getting closer to your goals or you’re feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed, I’d highly suggest getting into a habit of weekly reviewing. Basically what I do (and I make a whole ritual of it because I enjoy it so much) is making myself a cup of tea, opening my weekly, daily and monthly planner and reflecting on the week that has passed. I ask myself did I accomplish everything I had planned, reflect on what went well, what didn’t go as planned and why – so that I can come up with a better system for the next week. Then I plan out the week ahead. You can read all about my Sunday routine here.
3. morning & night routine
Having some time early in the morning and at night to yourself is crucial in my opinion. We constantly rush through life so having that time to ourselves to enjoy peace and quiet is necessary for our overall well-being. During the past few months, I had a habit of easing into the day, having a morning routine about an hour long that included reading, drinking tea, meditation etc. But recently I realized that that is my most productive time. So my morning routine lasts about 10-20 minutes lately and then I sit at my desk and start working. Whatever the case may be, having a morning and night routine gives structure to your day and I suggest developing some sort of your own routines, according to your lifestyle.
4. gratitude list
”This is a wonderful day. I have never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou
Since I started implementing gratitude into my daily life, my whole perspective on life has changed. I think I started with this practice a year or two ago, probably after reading some Law of Attraction book where one of the main points that are always highlighted is – the more gratitude you show, the more things you’ll have to be grateful for. The thing about gratitude lists is that you start focusing only on the positive, and soon it becomes your second nature. No matter the situation you find yourself in, the good or bad, you will always be able to find something positive in it. The way I do this is:
1. as a part of my morning routine. I always enjoy taking a few moments and think to myself what am I grateful for that day. It may seem weird since the day practically hasn’t even started yet, but things that I often mention are my health, the opportunities I have, nice weather (which, as I’m writing this, I realized how I always think the weather is nice. If it’s raining, I’m thankful it’s not too hot. If it’s hot outside, I’m grateful that it’s sunny… And that’s actually what this is all about when you think about it – seeing the good in everything)… You can always keep it to the basics and think about why you’re grateful for those things.
2. as a part of my night routine by thinking of the best 3 things that have happened to me that day. Instead of watching the news at night and thinking about the negative things that are presented to us, focus on yourself and what made that day a good one. And then be grateful for those moments, don’t take them for granted.
5. waking up earlier
I remember while I was in college I had often overslept the first few classes. After that my thoughts were: ”Well, if I missed these first few, I’ll just skip everything today.” I can’t remember if there was one time I was genuinely excited to go to my classes… Now, on the other hand, I enjoy having early mornings. And I also enjoy the time after that. I enjoy what I’m doing. If you’re struggling with getting up from bed in the morning, reevaluate the way you’re spending your time and find something you’ll enjoy.
Of course, if you prefer having late nights rather than early mornings, there’s nothing wrong with that. This is just my personal preference and waking up earlier has led me to have more structured days, being more focused throughout the day and more productive. It has improved every area of my life, essentially, so I can only suggest to try it out for yourself and see how you’ll feel.
Starting the day by having a mini heart attack when your alarm clock startles you and then prolonging that by snoozing 10+ times is probably a habit you might want to replace for a peaceful morning.
6. focusing on the solution vs. focusing on the problem
”Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” – Tina Fey
Too often I see people thinking about a certain situation (which is always neutral, until you fill it with negative thoughts – then it becomes negative), seeing only the negative in it, calling it a problem and then just complaining about it. You won’t solve a problem by complaining about it, that’s just a waste of time and energy. You will solve it by trying to find a solution.
There are a few approaches you can take when a ”problem” comes up. Hopefully at least one will be suitable for the next time you start complaining and blaming the external circumstances or yourself for what happened:
1. Ok, this happened. What can I learn from this so that it doesn’t happen again?
2. Ok, this happened. Which direction am I going to take from here?
3. Ok, this happened. What are 3 positive things in this situation?
You may have noticed that in every approach I started with acceptance. Only when you accept the situation and stop fighting it, you can change it. Otherwise, you’re just running in the circle of blaming – complaining – stressing out yourself and others. Things happen in life. Things also always pass. No matter the situation, it will pass. Everything always goes away. Don’t waste your time attaching yourself to the negativity of the situation. Think of it as a learning experience and move on with your life. Yes, you have the complete control over your reactions.
7. accepting my feelings vs. fighting them
”Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay
The number of articles with (repeating) lists of the things you can do when you’re feeling anxious/sad/lonely/unmotivated/lethargic/angry is growing daily, and I used to rely on those articles from time to time. The feeling would go away, sure, but it would come back in a blink of an eye. I thought I was handling those feelings well. I thought that the goal is to not feel that way as soon as possible and forget about it. Only recently I realized that the best way to deal with those feelings is to actually let them be. Accept it if you’re feeling bad, don’t fight it. As long as you fight it, it will keep happening.
I realized that feelings are like waves. Sometimes you’ll feel like you’re surfing on those waves having the full control over your life in your hands. And sometimes you’ll feel like you’re crushed beneath the waves. It’s all life. Accept your feelings as they come and when you feel bad think about the reason behind it. Focus on the solution, a long-term solution, and move on with your life. Sure, if you’re feeling stressed watching your favorite movie will help for a few hours, but nothing is being really solved with that.
8. taking action
”Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and start being excited for what could go right.” – Tony Robbins
You can start implementing this habit into your life by getting rid of snoozing the alarm first thing in the morning. As I’ve said multiple times, the way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of your day. I got more in-depth on the whole taking action part in this post, so I won’t perpetuate it now, but this is the habit that has improved my life in many ways. I have started noticing new opportunities all the time, I have started reaching out to people more and it I have become more aligned to who I want to be and what I want to be doing.
This is surely a matter of practice and you can start simply by getting rid of the snooze option, as I’ve said, and although it doesn’t seem like much, it will definitely get the ball rolling and help you keep that same mindset about other things in life. When you master waking up on time, which for many of us can be such a struggle, you’ll soon realize how you’ve become better and more action-oriented in many other things, as well.
And thus concludes the habits that have improved my life. That said, I’m curious to know – what are some habits that have improved your life? Let me know in the comments.
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Have an amazing day,