Knowledge is a lot like your shadow. Once you know something, the knowledge follows you everywhere just like your shadow on a sunny day. The bad part is, you can’t decide to leave your shadow behind, it’ll follow you everywhere you go like a nagging thought. That’s the same with knowledge; once you know something, especially a concept that you can use to better your life, it will nag you until you either use the knowledge to your advantage, or agree to live with the regret of never knowing how awesome your life would have been if you did.
I’m however fully convinced that you’re here reading this blog because you chose the former; to accumulate knowledge, then go ahead and make your amazeballs! This gives me the pleasure to give you not one, but 13 practical ways to improve your life on daily basis because hey! growth is, and should always be, a non-stop process.
Before you retire to bed, journal on ‘what I’m I proud of today?’
Make this a daily habit. This habit will communicate to your brain to focus on working on things that make you proud and to stay disciplined while at it. It feels great to retire to bed having accomplished a few things that you are proud of. With time, you will notice that you’ll be happier and your self-esteem will skyrocket. Your esteem rises when you’re disciplined.
I borrowed this concept from one of the greatest writers, Haruki Murakami who is also a marathon runner. He uses this journaling concept every day to write down his thoughts on his running routine. Daily, he writes on what he did well when running such as proper breathing, distance covered and time taken. He also writes on what he should have done better and uses this knowledge to continuously improve his running skill.
Imagine how beautiful this process of modelling your best life through improving the person you were yesterday would be for you too!
Habit to develop: Journaling
Focus on a single task till it’s complete
As much as multitasking often looks like a super power, it turns out, it doesn’t work. Multitasking affects your productivity. Instead, learn to focus on a single task, work on it until it’s complete, then move to the next one. Unfortunately, we live in a world full of distractions, the most dangerous one being social media addiction.
To learn how to focus and also beat procrastination, I used the Pomodoro Technique which involves using a timer to break down your work into 25 minutes intervals, separated by short breaks (5 and 15 minutes). The intervals are referred to as Pomodoros. With time, I have developed a strong focus habit and can easily do an hour uninterrupted work. The idea is to start small and to build up to a level where you can do deep and meaningful work for long periods of time.
Habit to develop: Focusing on a single task for at least 25 minutes.
Make self-love a part of your daily or weekly routine
When you feel good and love yourself, it’s easier to be motivated to work harder. The self-love pushes you to worker so as to make a better future for yourself. In that case, make self-love a part of your lifestyle just like sleeping and eating is. Create a self-love/care routine that you undertake often as a way to remind yourself that you love yourself deeply, you’re your biggest cheerleader and that you want the best for your future.
These activities can be as simple as signing up for a dance class, a pedicure, manicure or like me, hiking a hill/mountain every week.Sunday from 7 pm to 10 pm is also marked on my calendar as 3 hours of self-care. I do facials at home, make my self some spicy tea and watch my favourite films. Make a list of activities that fill you with loads of happiness or laughter; then deliberately add them to your schedule.
Be very specific about this. Complete this statement ‘On X and X days, I will do X for X amount of time as a way of showing myself some mega love. It’s important to do this as what gets scheduled, gets done.
Habit to develop: Intentional self-love and self-care.
Reward or punish yourself when you do/don’t follow through with your commitments
Let’s face it, we’re no longer children so there’s no more time out from mummy. As much as this is an awesome thing, it can also be a bad thing if you don’t actively take charge of your progress or failures. Some time back I read the book ‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari’ by Robin Sharma and it talked about this guy who’d punish himself by stepping on ice cold water for a few minutes every time he didn’t follow through with his commitments. I’m not advocating that you do the same, but you need to find a way of punishing yourself when you don’t live up to your commitment. Personally, I deny myself a cappuccino (I’m a serious caffeine addict) from my favourite coffee shop when I fail to do my job! Consequently, reward yourself when you do a stellar job! Make it a habit which will communicate to your brain on what is right and what is wrong. With time, it’ll be easier to work on your goals. Parent yourself!
Habit to develop: Reward and punish system.
Demand better from yourself
I often summon weekly meetings between me, myself and I to discuss my progress, to celebrate my wins and to remind myself that I can do better in areas where I’m failing. How about you steal this awesome habit from me? See how awesome you’ll be after a few months reminding yourself that you can’t keep half-assing your life. Go. Do. Be!
RELATED: How to invest in yourself
Copy people who inspire you
Don’t try to figure out every direction in life when you have compasses around you in the form of successful people. They’ve figured life out, why suffer? Steal their habits with pride. Are you interested in investing? Read Warren Buffet’s books on the same. In fact, I’d advise you to copy people who are reachable or accessible. Your family, workmates, neighbors, friends. The easiest way is to ask them about the productive habits they’ve cultivated to get where they are. You’ll see how easy it’ll be to get free and quality advice because people love talking about their favorite subject; themselves!
Get a productive hobby
The easiest way to make fast progress is to make learning a normal and daily habit. Learn a language, join a Zumba (or any dance class), learn how to draw, learn a new board game. Whatever tickles your fancy; just make sure your brain is being put to work.!
Apart from being in good shape, preventing many diseases and feeling energetic, exercise will leave you feeling better and happier. When you feel better, you do better. You take life a bit more seriously.
RELATED: How to restart your exercise habit.
Jump out of your comfort zone
You can’t afford to walk or crawl out of your comfort zone. In fact, you can sprint out of it, the better. You don’t have the luxury of playing small with your life this year. I wrote an excellent article on the same. Have a pleasant read!
Habit to develop: Take up more challenging tasks.
Ask for feedback, and listen
Do you want to improve a certain are in your life? Do you want to improve your writing skills? Reading skills? Want to better manage your money? Get a promotion at work? Cultivate a new habit? Get an expert and ask for feedback. Then sit still and listen. Don’t ask for feedback then partially listen with the intention of answering. This is especially useful in a work setting where you want to be better at navigating the work environment and climb the ranks of leadership or responsibility.
Habit to develop: Listen to understand and to learn. Don’t focus on replying. You learn more through listening.
Get a mentor
We’re lucky to live in a world where technology means you can get access to people who are miles away. In this case, you can reach out to a mentor online and connect with them via email or other social media platforms. The point is, get yourself a mentor either in real life or online. This tip is very much related to the fact that you shouldn’t struggle to figure everything on your own if you can get the life hacks from other successful people. The beautiful thing about this is that successful people are pro other people’s success. Which means they’ll propel your success even further than you could have imagined.
Habit to develop: Speak to an expert when you need help or when in need of a second opinion.
Take charge of what you read
People in the media are in the business of writing stories that sell, no matter how controversial the stories are. We are living in a dangerous era of click baits which means that if you don’t take charge of what you consume online, you’re bound to consume trash. You are what you read. And reading affects how you think. Research on the authors that you read, check their online ratings and if you can, take it further by challenging the author through coming up with your own thoughts on the topic.
Habit to develop: Read a few pages of a book every day. Check online to see what people say about the author. Take care of your brain by consuming the right stuff.
Come up with a list of affirmations that you use when the going gets tough
Sometimes, life won’t be rosy. It’ll be hard, sometimes so hard that you’ll think you won’t survive through the storm. During such times, you will need ways to remind yourself that you’re still a strong, gorgeous human who can survive through the toughest times. Come up with a list of these affirmations. For example, you can use ‘I am awesome’ ‘I am strong’ ‘I am the world’s greatest’ ‘I will live through this’. Be your greatest cheerleader and believe in yourself!
Habit to develop: Look at yourself in the mirror every day and remind yourself of how strong you are. Affirm yourself and remind yourself that you can live through tough times.
You can create beautiful routines/systems or habits that will lead you towards a fulfilling and productive life. How about you start today? Tell us in the comment sections which of the above tips worked for you!