As we are programmed for growth, our natural inclination is to improve things in our lives. It could be through new goals or projects, aiming for new experiences or just wanting to feel the best we ever have.
While it is easy to wish things just improve, the reality is unless we are actively doing things differently, we will experience the same types of thoughts and feelings, which will lead to similar behaviours and actions, which in turn, will produce the same type of results we have always produced.
It should not be a surprise that in order to achieve new or better results, we must start doing different things. The best place to start is by evaluating our daily practices or rituals because they have a major effect on the types of results we produce. If we can start our day with healthy, empowering practices, we will be more focused, alert and have higher energy levels throughout our day.
My favourite daily practice is giving myself some quiet time to get centred, mentally strong and think through how I want my day to unfold. I do this through meditation and visualisation. It is extremely rare for me to start my day without some form of quiet time, however on those occasions when I have not done it, especially when I am travelling, I can certainly notice a difference in my energy levels and how I feel. On such days, I don’t operate at my best which is why I now ensure I give myself some time at the start of each day to get centred and composed.
Here are five practices to consider integrating daily so that we can start off each day in the best possible manner, and have a better chance of being at productive and effective.
- Make yourself the first priority at the start of each day. If we’re habitually starting our day dealing with other people’s priorities or demands, we’re not giving ourselves the opportunity to start off our day in the best possible manner. Giving ourselves some time at the start of each day to get ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally ready will help us serve those we need to even better.
This is especially important for busy parents who often put themselves last, which tends to build stress and lead to feelings of being overwhelmed and stuck. Ideally, we should aim to give ourselves an hour at the start of each day to get ourselves ready for our day.
- Be intentional with your words. The language we use is a reflection of how we view the world and our daily experiences. The words we use shape our future and also shapes our reality. The more we can start paying attention to our language and use more positive and empowering words, the better our daily experiences will be. Just setting an intention to be more mindful about our language will inevitably improve the words we use and how we use them. Expressing appreciation daily is a simple, yet powerful way, to improve our language.
- Be in action 80% of the time. If we apply the 80/20 rule, 80% of our time should be spent taking action towards our goals or projects, and 20% of our time should be spent preparing, planning or learning what we need to. It is easy to fall into the trap of continuously planning, which is just another form of avoidance and procrastination. That leads to delays, which in turn, can lead to frustration and unnecessary stress.
- Cultivate joy every day. Happiness and joy is not something that automatically comes to us. It is something we have to cultivate. This is why having a joy list, which is simply a list of things we love to do, is so valuable. The more things we can identify that gives us joy or brings us pleasure, the more options we’ll have to choose from. The best part about this is usually the things we enjoy are usually easy to execute and often does not cost us anything.
- Give yourself quiet time during the day. Every hour of our schedule does not have to be full. In order to be most effective, we must have time to have a break, reflect and recharge ourselves. It is okay to have periods during the day where we are just “being” rather than continuously “doing.” These quiet periods can be 10-15 minutes, four or five times a day. If we have the opportunity to have a couple of longer breaks, between 45 minutes to an hour, then that will be even better.
Making the choice to apply these daily practices will result in an improvement to how we feel, our mental attitude, and will also lead to more joy and happiness. If we just hope we things will get better without intentionally applying something different, then we will be left feeling disappointed. These practices are not difficult to apply — it just requires a commitment from us that we will apply them.
Question: What daily practice has made a big difference in your life?
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