- Train Vigorously
There is very little that a good sweat can’t cure. Discover your never-fails, go-to movement practice. Is it running, power yoga or dancing it out in your living room? Whatever the discipline, make it a priority to move your body every day. Everything from your outlook to your organs will thank you.
- Share Your Story
We say that every person is unique, but we’re quick to discount what we have been through and its significance, because it’s familiar to us. But the challenges we pull through and the insights we gain are gold to someone else. Stories unite us and sharing them makes the world more interesting for us all.
- Get Obsessed
About something, and then master it. Competency and mastery of a subject matter have direct correlation to your self-esteem and confidence. It doesn’t matter if it is building an app, decorating dressers or the yoga acrobatics you have always admired. Mastery is a never-ending process; it’s a daily and regular dedication and discipline to keep growing and learning and progressing.
- Meditate Daily
It’s commonly understood that meditation improves your health, well-being and your ability to manage the flow of life’s challenges. The good news is that meditation itself is self-defined: there are many ways to meditate, many styles, many techniques, many reasons and many benefits. Discover your unique approach by experimenting. Give each technique a good sitting chance — at least a month or so until you decide if it’s right for you.
- Relax Religiously or Relax Rigorously
This is one of the sweetest parts of the day — and strangely, the part we take the least time to treasure. Carve out your downtime, and protect it like the gold it is. Block vacations, weekends, your mornings, your evenings and maybe even time for a proper lunch. Time is the new luxury and how you replenish your energy and enthusiasm will impact everything you do.
- Read and Learn
We are limited only by what we have yet to discover and learn for our lives. One of the fastest shortcuts is reading about other people’s experiences, ideas or inspirations from their lives. Make it a priority and set aside reading time every day.Don’t forget you can add listening time, and use audible books and podcasts to expand your mind further.
- Check Your Work
We’re not advocating perfectionism, which usually distracts us from starting or finishing the things most meaningful in our lives. No, checking your work is about pride, saving time and the boost to your self-esteem. The benefit is that this habit becomes a characteristic and lets you see details that others might miss. Your increased self-confidence and self-efficacy cross over into the rest of your life, when you keep calm and check your work.
- Say What You Mean
Suppression makes us feel bad and the person we are communicating with also knows it. Conversation happens not only with the word we share, but the energy we bring. Hard conversations are just hard, but they are easier with transparency, especially when they have been thought through and then delivered with kindness and true presence of mind.Start with little things and get creative with how you say it in the best light… but say what you mean.
- Hold the Email
Your morning routine makes or breaks your day. The most productive (and happy) people in the world are masters of the morning, and they don’t start the day stressing over their email. Most take an hour or two before duty calls, to prepare to be their best — they move and train their bodies and then refuel with nourishment, master their mind and spirit with reading, meditation, prayer or reflection. Design your morning routine to be the ritual you need to win the day before it even begins.
- Spend Time In Nature
Even if it’s just a few minutes a day or for your weekend warrior adventures, there is proven and real benefit to our immune system, our mental health and our life satisfaction from taking a walk, spin or seat in the great outdoors. Even if you are in a concrete jungle, some sunshine or light rain on your face will invigorate you on a cellular level. Walking profoundly impacts how we experience the world and connects us more deeply to the places we inhabit.
- Breathe More Deeply
Breathing deeply clears the mind, resets your blood profile and improves your mindset. But your respiratory capacity is diminished by faulty breathing patterns, postural dysfunction and repetitive environmental and mental stress. The food you eat and weight gain affect your breathing as well. The good news is that breathing consciously is free and it’s a quick start to success, as well as a deeper inhalation and fuller exhalation.Master four or five breathing techniques to use whenever you need one.
- Write Down Your Thoughts
They are informative to your process and a testament to your experience. Journal each day or use your planner or calendar to track ideas, projects, problems, things that moved you and things that irked you. It’s enlightening to return to your written word later in your life, and your loved ones will appreciate it. And there’s real benefit in the cathartic process of clearing your thoughts from your psyche.
- Sleep It Out
If our daily sweat matters, then our sleep is sacred. It’s the ultimate reset and the key to physical, emotional and mental well-being, yet most of us don’t get enough. The only way to fit in more sleep is to move other things off the list and move your bedtime ritual up. Give yourself a sleep makeover with new sheets, a special water glass, even new sleeping clothes.Log off and shut down at least an hour before bed for stretching, breathing, meditating, reflecting or reading. Bonus: snuggle with those you love.
- Stretch Your Courage
Brave people command and deserve our respect. But they didn’t get there by way of fearlessness: they were willing to feel the fear and go through it. Courage is a muscle to strengthen, and it has cross-training benefits for all of our other character traits including confidence and self-efficacy.Make it a practice to deliberately do something each day that scares you a little or maybe a lot. Reflect on the experience and notice how you begin to change for the better.
- Eat Right
What you eat does matter, but also, when, how and even what your mood is when you do. Pay attention to what works for your unique body, and you’ll move closer to your goals. Notice what you eat, where it comes from, how it is prepared and how you feel and perform after consuming it. Better? Worse? Keep that in mind the next time you take a bite. We all need more greens and clean food in our lives, too. It might take a little effort to plan and make it interesting, but the return on the investment in eating right will feel right.
- Make Your Bed
There’s been recent controversy around this daily chore, arising from research suggesting that making your bed might foster dust mites and contribute to poor breathing and health risks.Bed-making supporters countered that a made bed boosts productivity, feelings of well-being and positive relations. Our take: make sure you wash your sheets often, let them air out while you get ready for the day, then make the bed and leave it ready as a beautiful sight and a sweet sanctuary waiting for your arrival that evening.
- Drink More Water
The more we learn about water, the more astonishing its properties. Too many of us are dehydrated literally and figuratively. As we begin to devote ourselves to self-care and drink more water and designate days to refuel ourselves, we feel better, have more energy, are less hungry, look younger and add positive energy everywhere we go. Make a commitment today to drink half your bodyweight in ounces of fresh, filtered water each day — more if you’re active, in hot environments or need to detox from your environment.
- Foster Creativity
We don’t really understand how the firing of neurons creates rich subtleties that transform into ideation. Scientists can map where the hunch comes from as we can map mental processes, and verify that creativity is a state of mind characterized by an increase in beta brain waves (13-30HZ). It’s not necessarily an inherent talent, but instead a way of making new connections and realizations about the world until a pattern emerges. While creativity has many triggers, it’s to be cherished and fostered.
- Say Thank You
Gratitude is a keystone habit. Make it a practice, every day, all day to say thank you. For the big things, like having a job and food and no bombs falling on your head, and also the little things like the person who let you go ahead in line, and the janitor who waters the plants at your kids’ school. Say thank you to yourself when you show up fully, and for those who give of themselves to you. You’ll notice how abundant you feel and how many great things happen in a day. That is the universe’s way of saying thank you for listening.
- Be Early
The habit and courtesy of being on time is unique these days and builds trust, reduces stress, and increases our well-being.A recent study shows that 15-20 percent of Americans are consistently late and many suffer from low self-control as well as chronic anxiety. Train yourself to be early to the appointments in your life, whether a moment with your child, a meeting with your boss, or showing up at yoga class. Being early lets you indulge in a few extra minutes to daydream or people-watch. And you can show compassion for stressed-out, guilty late arrivals.
- Invest In Your Relationships
An investment requires strategy, and maximizing one of the most precious resources in your life — the people around you — requires best practices and a plan. Start with an inventory of the people you treasure: family, friends, extended family, colleagues, community. Find out what they wish, what they love, what they stand for. Then, show up for them: be on time, put the phone down. Finally, make time for them: quality and quantity are important in this best practice for an epic life.
- Stand Up
Sadly, at any given moment there are multiple crisis points bubbling in the world and endless opportunity for giving of our time, energy and financial support. But our health and well-being flourish when we are generous. Studies show that volunteering at least once a week yields improvements to our well-being equal to a salary increase of $50,000. What’s more, research has shown children are happier to give a gift than to receive when given the option to choose. Those who practice serving others had health profiles with reduced risk for diabetes, cancer and other conditions. Giving is good for us all.
- Train for Happiness Threshold
Why are some people unhappy even when something works out, while some people are happy for no reason at all? There is no universal answer to the question, “Can I be any happier?” What we do know is that we all have a default level of happiness and a baseline requirement for feeling satisfied with life. If you want more, you have to raise your expectations and address the things you tolerate that keep you from meaning, pleasure or satisfaction. As your happiness threshold increases, your capacity for joy will come along as well.
- Wiggle Regularly
Even if you work out every day (good for you!), we are designed for constant activity, and our bodies and long-term health suffer when we sit the rest of the day at work. The solution is simple: get a standing desk, a carafe of water, and a timer. Alternate between standing at your desk or sitting… or sit on a physio ball chair. Set your timer for 50 minutes and get up and move. Take a lap around the office and say hi to someone who looks miserable, do a few stretches, take some deep breaths, refill the carafe of water, and when the 10 minutes are up, refocus at your desk. You’ll feel better, and your physiology and psychology will sync for optimal results.
BONUS: Manage Your Attention
It is said that “health is wealth” and “time is money,” yet the greatest and most valuable currency we have is our attention. Where attention goes, energy flows and how we direct and spend the energy of our lives dictates everything else. Giving power to your attention to what you think, eat, your breath, the person in front of you, and focusing and doing one thing at a time creates more space between what happens and your response. Attention is your gift, your present — and it can fill you up and feed you with the things that matter most.