I’m forever in search of habits, hacks, and practices pursuit of becoming my happiest, healthiest, and best self. That means adopting habits that make me feel good, being kinder to myself, practicing grace upon grace, and accomplishing some big goals (because honestly, we deserve to have it all). That being said, I wanted to share some habits that I wish I’d found earlier–because they are that GOOD. So here’s my 7 easy habits that I wish I’d adopted years ago……
Structuring My To Do List Based on Life Goals
Making a to-do list is not a game changing hack, but how are you setting priorities when you’re reviewing what has to get done every day? Before making your next to-do list, ask yourself where you want to be in 5-10 years and what your long term goals are. Everything on your to-do list should be taking a step (even if it’s tiny!) toward achieving those long-term goals. For example, when I strategize business growth, then I focus on spending 30 minutes taking an online class or plotting out two hour long writing sessions for the week. If my goal is to be more active , then my work outs get scheduled in daily. In other words, my to-do lists of even the simplest tasks could have a long-term perspective when I set them up with this intention.
Making your to-do list with goals in mind help show me areas where I should be spending time and areas where I could be spending less time. Of course, I know I’m always going to have the mind numbing house chores or tedious tasks like picking up the dog food, but I can be strategic about figuring out where I can outsource these items. Then, I can prioritize what will get me closer to my goals first so I can make sure to get those things done (yes, that means fitting in a Pilates session or the creating the media kit I’ve been putting off).
It would be amazing if I could just check out of my real life and focus all of my time and energy on my goals. Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of leaving my very real life to create the next iteration of my life. I’ve got to find time to schedule in the dreams, the hopes, the evolution, and the growth. Structuring my to do list around my life goals helps me keep my eyes on the end goal.
Giving Myself Deadlines
I know from my college all-nighters that if there’s a deadline I have to meet, I’ll find a way to get it done. What I’ve found is that what makes a project assignment my boss gives me or an assignment from the magazine editor different from a personal goal is that I don’t usually assign a deadline to motivate me to accomplish it by a certain time. No matter how small or specific (like replacing my guest room comforter, organizing all of our photographs into digital albums, establishing a vacation fund, or running ten miles), I’ve learned to give myself specific and realistic deadlines.
Pro tip–if you have trouble sticking to goals because you know your deadlines are “flexible” since you’re the one setting them, sign up for a marathon, announce the launch of your passion project with a release date, or let a trusted friend or family member know your deadline so they hold you accountable.
Saying No More Often (Especially When You Mean It!)
I don’t know how many times I avoided saying “no” when I really wanted to. I used to find myself stretched so thin from doing favors for others, showing up for other people, and generally overextending myself in a giant display of people pleasing. Do you pick up slack for coworkers even when you’re too busy, say yes to plans you’re not excited about, or hang out with friends to avoid FOMO (even though what you want more than anything is a chill night at home)? One of the most powerful things I found is to say what you mean and be true to what you need. The dang people pleasure in me was constantly bending over backwards to show up, cheer on, hype up, and meet everyone else’s needs at the expense of my own. A habit that’s been key for me is mastering the art of saying “no.” Say, “I’d love to help you, but I can’t give the time and effort to this task that it deserves,” or “I need a night to recharge, but let’s get coffee this weekend instead,” whenever you feel the (overwhelming) need to please.
Manage Your Money Based on What Brings You Joy
I’m probably the last person who should be giving financial advice. I definitely never took a finance course in college, and the extent of my money knowledge up until about 10 years ago was how to budget for Starbucks and being able to add the guac at Chipotle. But one piece of financial advice I read really clicked for me: Money is your life’s energy. I began to understand money in a different way when I realized money was just an exchange of value for the effort and energy we’re giving about 40 hours every single week.
So now I am very thoughtful about how I want to spend my hard earned “energy”; does it really bring me joy to go grab coffee with that friend is actually a little bit draining or to buy the top is super trendy and probably will be out of style in a month? Managing my money based on what does and doesn’t bring me joy will make sure that I do have the money to spend on the vacations, investments, and experiences that I truly love. Also, I’ve made a point to spend money investing in myself: I make a point to spend money on supplements, a gym membership, and an online writing course. I’ve realized that I’m the most important thing I can invest in–so spending money on things that will keep me healthy, happy, and give me energy are a sound investment.
Unfollowing Anything That’s Not Bringing You Joy (Online and IRL!)
Unfollow or mute all the accounts that do not make you feel inspired, happy, or confident, and then bonus points if you do the same thing with your very real life. Surround yourself with other people whose careers you admire, only follow accounts that bring you positivity, engage with people who are are actively doing impactful things out in the real world, and mute all the rest. You have complete autonomy over who you get to do life with–make sure that the people you choose to do it with are GOOD people. This has been probably the absolute biggest game changer in my life.
Full transparency, you don’t have to do life with crappy people. You don’t have to engage with online trolls. You don’t have to put yourself in situations that are toxic. You don’t have to put yourself in environments where your peace, mental health, or happiness is put in peril.
Another key thing that I wish I realized earlier is……rethinking whether the bloggers, celebs, and brands I’m following are providing me with inspiring content, or if their posts just make me feel bad about where I am in life. If I found myself constantly feeling bad about myself when I consumed a fitness bloggers content (instead of feeling motivated and empowered) then I would unfollow them. If I found myself falling into the comparison trap with a super successful author, then I would mute their account for a bit. Taking a break and evaluating what I’m gaining from my social media interactions has brought a ton of clarity to my life–your big, bold, beautiful life is actually outside the tiny little phone screen. Go live it.
Moving Your Body
Your health is single handedly the most important investment you can make in your life. And what’s even more important is the realization that your overall health is not created in the hour long session on the treadmill but the other 23 hours of the day. Taking the stairs instead of the escalator, parking a bit further away from the grocery store, adding in some supplements, and going to bed a half hour earlier will add up over time.
If you find that you’re stressing out about fitting in a workout session at the gym because your schedule is jam packed, it honestly might be hurting your health instead of improving it. It’s time we stop thinking of “exercise” as an hour-long kickboxing class and make it about living more actively by moving whenever and wherever we can.
I’ve made little impactful changes to my life in an effort to improve my energy, health, vitality, and longevity:
- Drink tons of water
- Hit 10k steps
- Get plenty of sleep
- Take my personalized supplement stack
- Red Light Therapy
- Time outside
- Cold Plunges
- Eat primarily a high protein whole food based diet (I use the 80/20 rule!)
Taping Your Mouth When You Sleep
Full transparency, you’re going to look like a weirdo. But you will never wake up so energized. Trust me.