Maybe I should try drinking that warm lemon water like so-and-so… Next month I’ll get up at 5 every morning… I really should take a walk on the trail behind the office during my lunch break. We all have those nebulous “someday” ideas that we never quite get around to (I bet you could name a few right now!). This week, let’s put the excuses aside and actually test out some small but significant practices that promise to make each day just a little bit better.
Each day, pick up one new habit, still practicing the one from the day before. So on Wednesday, you’ll meditate, have your alarm set for 10 minutes earlier than Monday’s alarm, and begin your gratitude journal.
Spend five minutes meditating
This Cambridge dictionary definition of meditation is a good one: “The act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.”
Set your alarm for five minutes earlier
There’s something wonderful about getting a jump start on the day and not only to get more things done; having the extra time to yourself before other people are up and about and having the luxury of not having to rush are well worth the temporary “pain” of earlier rising. Plus, with a gradual change, you’ll hardly notice the difference and the chances are greater that you’ll be able to stick with your new habit.
Write in your gratitude journal
Getting into the habit of spending a few minutes a day to focus on what you’re thankful for will make you healthier and happier. This doesn’t have to be a big change, just a small addition to your day. Try to incorporate it into something you do daily anyway. For instance, if you write a checklist of items that need to get done or update your calendar daily, jot down a couple things you’re grateful for right in the same space.
Unless you make a point of it, it’s pretty rare for most of us to spend time outdoors aside from walking between buildings and the car. But there’s a serenity to be found in being outside, away from everything else. Silence your alerts and take a morning, midday, or evening stroll, paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, try earthing.
This one is a gift to your future self. At the end of the day, go through the camera roll on your phone and delete duplicate and unnecessary pictures. This accomplishes two things: It offers you a way to process your day, and it saves you the trouble down the road of being bogged down with thousands of excess pictures.
Implement a five-minute pick-up routine
In the same vein as the daily delete, a daily practice of clearing clutter on surfaces keeps it from accumulating and rescues you from a longer stint of picking up the house. Orderly surroundings help promote and maintain a calm, orderly mind.
Make to-do lists for each day and star your top three tasks
Facing the end of the day and wondering what you did all day is a real downer. By writing down your tasks, focusing on getting them crossed off, and zeroing in on the most important, you will not only accomplish what you need to get done, but you’ll feel productive. This feeling builds momentum and soon you’ll be zooming through your tasks without getting sucked into non-urgent or time-sapping activity.
At the end of the week: Reassess where you are and how you’re feeling
Feel like you found the perfect wake-up time? Stick with it. Love your daily pick-up routine? Keep going and make it a forever habit. Not so thankful for the gratitude journal? Let it go.