You can ensure your own success over the priorities of others by doing these things for yourself every single day.
“If you don’t design your life, then someone else may just design it for you, and you may not like their idea of balance.” — Nigel Marsh
Successful people know the importance of taking care of themselves first, and don’t let their lives get so off track that they aren’t constantly improving. You owe it to yourself and to those around you to be the best version of yourself, and let’s be honest; we could all use a little improvement.
Here are a few super-simple habits and routines that are easy to implement but could dramatically improve your life this year:
1) Start practicing a gratitude attitude.
“Be thankful for what you have, you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you do not have, you will never have enough”. — Oprah Winfrey
Adopting a gratitude attitude is really about changing your perception of the world around you. If you find yourself believing that opportunities are far and few and unlikely to come across, this attitude adjustment may be just what you need.
Having sincere gratitude allows us see endless possibilities and realize that we are actually surrounded by opportunities. In order to achieve your dreams you need to believe in it; gratitude allows you to believe in your dreams and visions which eventually allow you to reach your full potential.
2) Take a breather.
During a hectic day, taking a break is usually the last thing on our minds. But even champion athletes need some bench time every once and a while, and so do you.
According to Sharon Salzberg, the author of Real Happiness at Work, “without some breathing space in the face of constant demands, we won’t be creative, competent, or cheerful.”
The little time taken off from work is well worth the investment. For starters, put everything down for a few minutes and take a walk.
It might not seem like a big deal, but according to Shawn Anchor, author of The Happiness Advantage, taking the time to get outside can be very advantageous and by spending only twenty minutes outdoors you can enhance your mood, expand thinking space and improve your working memory.
I promise, whatever you were working on before your little breather will still be there when you get back — and you might even have your next big ideawhen you return.
3) Make time for meditation.
If you haven’t already jumped on the Zen Bandwagon, it’s about time you stop making excuses and just start meditating.
Studies have shown that meditation can help to reduce depression and anxiety, increase memory and awareness, may grow your empathy for others and can boost your immune system.
How and when you meditate is completely up to you; do what works into your schedule and what you are most likely to be able to develop into a routine (remember, the easier the task, the easier it is to make it a habit). The Conscious Life is a great resource for beginner meditators, answering questions like what to do if you find yourself falling asleep, explaining various breathing exercises and suggestions on time of day and surrounding environment. The best part? You can actually do this while sitting at your desk in the office.
4) Design your life around happiness.
Happiness can seem like such an abstract concept. After all, a Hallmark card or Dove chocolate wrapper doesn’t exactly give you a concrete way to create a happier life.
But according to Stanford’s famous “Designing Your Life” class, you can actually home in on what happiness means to you, and restructure your life around it. Instead of just abstractly chasing happiness, they suggest you journal it daily.
Start by writing down the specifics — when you were happy, what you were doing, why did it make you happy, etc.). If you notice reoccurring themes or patterns, start changing your goals or routines to incorporate them.