Practical Daily Habits
#1 Learn something new everyday
I used to think that the ability that students had to learn and retain large amounts of information all in one day was just bananas. Even though I’m out of college and I do not have a syllabus explaining to me in black and white what I have to retain in 3 months anymore, I still make it a point to learn something new every day. There is just so much knowledge in this world about absolutely everything that has ever existed not to take a piece of it. We have books, podcasts, journals, and the internet at our disposal to learn about anything we desire. We do not have to go as far as reading a whole book on the subject, but if we are curious about the color of a vegetable we can do a quick 1-minute Google search about “Why is Broccoli green?” And bam, we have our next fun fact (or Dad fact) ready-to-go.
#2 Morning Meditation
The first thing most of us do in the morning is reach out and grab our phone. We spend anywhere from 5-minutes to an hour scrolling on our phone to check all those notifications that pinged on our lock screen while we were getting some shut-eye.
Instead of overstimulating our brain within the first moments of waking up, I trade that phone time for a little morning meditation. This can sound a bit off-putting because the idea of leaving your bed is too painful or you do not want to get up and roll out that yoga mat (if you happen to own one) but good news, you can do this quick meditation from the comfort of your warm bed. You can either practice in silence or with the guide of a video (like here).
Who knows what the day is going to bring and how all of that is going to affect your mood, so taking some time out in the morning just for yourself (aka meaning just you, not you and your phone) to balance out your energy and find your inner chill can be just what you need to have a great day.
Trust me, the Earth will not shatter if you check your phone 5-minutes later.
#3 Put away your phone during meals
A few years ago when I forgot my phone at my apartment and I was at lunch with a friend, I noticed something that shocked me in a “I just got slapped” kind of way. Being without my phone forced me to take note of my surroundings that was filled with friends, couples, coworkers, and family members that were spending their lunch interacting with their phones instead of the person across the table.
Then it dawned on me that the message we are sending to the person across the table is that our phones are more entertaining and more important than they are. We make plans in the name of friendship but we participate in isolation. And we do this every goddamn day.
Since then, I made it a point to turn on that Do Not Disturb function and put away my phone during meals because the person that I made plans to spend time with deserves my time and full-attention. Both of which should not be mutually exclusive. I think that in this digital age when we have multiple emails linked to our phones and all our notifications turned on from Instagram and Facebook, it is so easy to get lost in the constant stimulation of media that we forget to engage in our present with the people that we care about.
#4 Clean As You Go
For some reason when we are pressed for time and really stressed out, we think that washing dishes or putting away clothes from the night before will take a large amount of time that we do not have. But I find that once I walk away from the mess, I am a hundred times less likely to clean it later. In fact once I have made my peace with one pile of clutter, I find myself becoming okay with more pockets of clutter until my house looks like a crime scene (all of which will take me longer to clean later).
While I agree we do not always have those few minutes to spare, when we do have those few minutes (which is most of the time) we are able to clean and declutter a lot more than we think. In 3-minutes I was able to wash dishes, reorganize the living room, and put away some clothes. Cleaning as we go can save us a lot of time that we may not have in the future and can help balance out our mood and energy especially after a long day. I mean, who doesn’t like coming home to clean house?
#5 Finish that Thing
Every single one of us has a project, goal, or item that we have left unfinished. For whatever reason we walked away from the task for so long that it has been buried in the archives. So for 2019 dust off those cobwebs and finish that book, finish that painting, finish that class, finish that training, finish that home beautification project because finishing something that you once held to the highest priority will bring an enormous amount of confidence, satisfaction, and happiness. There is something to be said about the act of completing something, and you deserve all the warm, fuzzy goodness that comes with that.
#6 Make that gratitude list
From reading my blog you may believe that I am a very positive, happy, and optimistic person but I’m actually naturally very negative and pessimistic. For that reason I work actively, every single day to go against my natural inclination and replace those thoughts with ones that are more positive which aligns with what I choose to truly believe. We can always come up with reasons for why we are currently unhappy with our lives but we hardly do the opposite.
A physical action that I take to work towards a more positive mindset is to make a gratitude list.
I do not do this every day but I make sure to do this on every bad day or when my mood is just falling into that pessimistic grey-area. I write down 3 things that I am grateful for that happened that day (but it can be related to anything) and this just helps put a positive sheen on what could have been a bad day or a day where I was just not feeling myself. It can really just help you gain some perspective, look at things in a different light, and just assure ourselves that everything is going to be alright.