Alyssa has studied psychology, philosophy, religion, and the arts. She loves sharing her thoughts, ideas, and papers with the world.
The countdown of a sparkly ball high up in the air is quickly approaching. Many are looking forward to saying farewell to 2020, in a not so polite manner, expecting the new year to magically take the world back to what was once considered normal. Unfortunately, reality doesn't work that way. While people will still be setting the same old resolutions, the fact remains that there will continue to be challenges in the months ahead.
Here is a thought to consider: you don't need to wait until January 1 to start working toward goals. It doesn't have to be a Monday, a new week, or a new month either. The truth is, the right time to start is when you decide you're ready for a change. Why wait? There's nothing to be gained by postponing. Why not start today? Imagine how much closer you'll be to reaching your goals by doing so.
Another thing to consider is this: the foundation of any goal and the success of reaching it, is built upon good habits. Start incorporating daily actions into your life that support your individual goals. Stay consistent and transform those actions into habits. The more you do something, the better you get at it and the more natural it becomes. This helps eliminate excuses and gives you a better chance at succeeding.
Below I've outlined important, life-changing habits. I'm a big fan of the KISS method and I've found that small, simple changes add up to big results. These habits align with those thoughts: they are straight-forward and easy to incorporate into any busy lifestyle. Instead of, or in addition to, your resolutions, I invite you to incorporate one or more of the following habits. No matter what you're trying to achieve this year, there's something for everyone on this list.
8 Habits for a Better Life:
1. Set up a daily routine.
2. Practice gratitude daily.
4. Make time for activities you enjoy.
6. Get outside.
7. Go off the grid.
8. Practical goal setting.
Set Up A Daily Routine
Organization is an important key to success in all areas of life. There's no better way to stay organized than by having a solid, daily routine. This is important for everyone: children, those who work from home, retired folks, stay-at-home moms and dads, and those who are still reporting to work every day.
Everyone's routine will look a little different. Here are some suggestions to building a routine that works for you and your family:
- Get up at the same time every day. If you want a little more freedom on weekends or days off, that's perfectly fine. But try not to sleep your entire day away.
- Keep a to-do list or calendar with everything that needs accomplished. Review it each night before you go to bed.
- Maximize your free time and make yourself a priority. Instead of checking your notifications, use this time to work on your goals or an activity you enjoy.
- Create a weekly cleaning schedule.
- If the kids are home for online learning, keep them on a schedule. Set up ground rules for technology and other distractions. Do the same for yourself if you are working from home.
- Prepare things the night before: pack lunches, set up your coffee pot, lay out your clothes for the following day, etc.
- Have a set bedtime.
It may take a little trial and error, but once you have a routine down that works for you and your family, you'll find that life runs much smoother.
Practice Gratitude Daily
Attitude and mindset are everything. How you view and approach life, in large part, determines whether you triumph or fail. Practicing gratitude daily is one of the best ways to set yourself up for success, and it goes far beyond a polite thank you. Pause for a moment and think about who you have in your life: a partner, children, friends, family, pets. Then think about what you have: a roof over your head, a mode of transportation, a means to make money and pay your bills, food to eat, access to the internet, access to clean water, electricity, heat or air conditioning. Go beyond that to the simplest of things: the first sip of your morning coffee, a beautiful sunrise or sunset, birds singing, the quiet of a gentle snowfall, the silvery glow of the moon and the twinkle of stars.
Learning to appreciate even the simplest of things in life, helps shift your perspective. This comes in handy when challenges arise. Instead of focusing on the bad, you try to find the good, and redirect your energy toward a solution. It's not about ignoring the negative and viewing the world with rose-tinted glasses. Life is not always sunshine and rainbows. Having a daily gratitude practice is about taking responsibility for yourself, your choices, and your life. It's realizing that you control your own happiness, appreciating everyone and everything you have in your life, and choosing a mindset that helps you grow as a person. It isn't always easy, but with conscious effort and daily practice, it becomes more natural. Gratitude is a powerful tool that will improve your life and your happiness.
Being healthy is more important than ever. For a strong body and a sharp mind, be sure to fit in some form of exercise every day. It doesn't have to be an intense workout nor does it have to be for a weight loss goal. Choose a physical activity you enjoy and just move!
- Go for a walk at the park or around your neighborhood.
- Put some music on and have a dance party.
- Go outside and play a game with your kids.
- Practice yoga.
- Stretch or do some simple calisthenics.
If you have set a fitness goal for the year ahead, set yourself up for success.
- Have a strong why - your reason for wanting to accomplish your goal.
- Choose a workout program that is enjoyable, but challenging.
- Start small.
- Don't get caught up in minor details.
- If you're joining a gym, have a back up plan.
- If you've chosen a new diet program, make sure it's something practical that you can stick with for the rest of your life.
Make Time For Activities You Enjoy
Busy is a word that gets thrown around like a badge of honor. Everyone is busy and there never seems to be enough time. People are running this way and that, rushing from one task to the next, from sun up to sun down. Busy is a convenient excuse to get out of anything and often the reason for not pursuing the things people say they want to accomplish.
If you truly want something, you'll find a way to make it happen. It all comes down to time management and prioritization. The time will never magically be set in your lap. You have to create the time.
When you're creating your daily routine, be sure to set aside time for an activity you enjoy. Whether it's playing a sport or game, writing, working on a hobby, relaxing with a good book, or winding down with a favorite TV show, it's important to engage in activities that make you happy. It doesn't necessarily have to be every single day, but at least once a week. This helps release stress, reduces burn out, and is great for your mental health. Life should be enjoyed.
Learning to be still and comfortable in the presence of your own company are valuable skills. Mediation can do that and so much more. A daily meditation session can reduce stress, help with mindfulness, teach you how to quiet your thoughts, and improve your health and happiness. Choose a good app or YouTube video to follow or find a comfortable position in a quiet place for a few minutes. Focus on your breathing and try to be still. Relax your shoulders, allow your thoughts to come and go, and be present in the moment. It's helpful to follow a pattern of breathing. Try inhaling for a count of four, pause and hold the breath for a count of four, and slowly exhale for a count of eight. Repeat this as many times as you'd like, eventually letting go of the counts, and just allowing the breath to be. There's no wrong way to mediate. Experiment and find what works best for you.
Resolve to Evolve - 10 Min Meditation | Yoga With Adriene
There's nothing like the feeling of warm sunshine on your skin and a gentle breeze ruffling your hair. A quiet hike through the forest, the sense of wonder and perspective from staring up at the night sky, the way a lake or ocean can inspire and calm, nature is certainly powerful. Life can be hectic at times and there's no better cure than getting outside. In addition to the long list of physical health benefits, getting out in nature is also a great way to destress, refocus, and unwind. Find time to get out daily if possible. Go for a walk, visit a park, sit on the beach, or just play outside in your backyard. Lay on the grass and gaze up at the clouds. Listen to the birds singing, take in the sunrise or sunset, or stare up at the moon. Repeat daily for best results.
Go Off The Grid
Set aside some time each week to be offline. Put your phone away and shut off your computer. Be present in the real world for a while. Use this time to:
- Work on a project or hobby
- Teach your kids a new game or skill
- Play with your pets
- Have a family game night
- Call a family member or friend
- Go for a walk
- Tinker around the house
- Read a book
- Write a letter
- Volunteer in your community
Practical Goal Setting
When you're setting goals, it's important to be practical and realistic. Make sure that what you're setting out to do is achievable. Get clear on what it is you want to obtain and why you want it. Once you have the result in mind, create doable action steps that will help you get there. Then get to work. Return to your why when you find yourself slacking. Hold yourself accountable. It's helpful to reflect and review your goals monthly. Set aside a half an hour to an hour one day a month to assess your progress. If you're still headed in the right direction, pat yourself on the back, and keep up the good work. If not, ask yourself what happened. Why aren't you moving forward? Revise your goals or action steps if necessary and get back to work. The last thing you want to do is write down a list of goals and forget about them. Keep your list where you can see it every day. Remind yourself of what you want to accomplish and why you want to accomplish it. Doing these things will ensure success.
GOAL SETTING & RESOLUTIONS | Video #1
© 2020 Alyssa
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on December 11, 2020:
Thank you so much Liza!
Liza from USA on December 08, 2020:
I have no objection to the list, Alyssa. Everything looks great, and I am certainly practicing some of the habits from your list. I think we all need to be able to do something that we love, especially we are spending more time at home these days. Thanks for sharing!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on December 08, 2020:
What a wonderful way to start the morning, Pamela!
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on December 08, 2020:
Alyssa (author) from Ohio on December 08, 2020:
Thank you, Bill!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on December 08, 2020:
This is an excellent article with great suggestions, Alyssa. I am also a fan of the KISS method.I follow most of those suggestions already.
I like a quiet time when I first get up, so I pray, and I am also reading the book of Mark in the Bible as there are 24 chapters and you finish on Christmas eve.
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on December 08, 2020:
All useful advice for leading an organised and systematic life. It’s important to follow them to live well and healthy.
Thank you for sharing this useful article.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 08, 2020:
No wonder my life is so good. I do most of these. :) Great article, one I can certainly endorse from practical experience. Have a fantastic Tuesday!