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Daily Habits Make a Difference.
The small things we do consistently make up our days and shape our lives. If you consistently brush your teeth, you’ll have clean teeth. If you consistently overeat, you’ll be oversized. If you consistently clean your house, your house will be clean. While this seems like common sense, we so often wonder: “How did my life turn out like this?” or “how is this happening?”. Tell me of your problem and I’ll show you how the actions you’re taking daily have gotten you to where you are. Let’s reverse engineer that. Here are 8 things you can do every day to live a life you love. Start doing any one of these each day this week. Add another next week. Get back to me in 8 weeks. I 100% guarantee you’ll feel like a different version of the woman you are today.
1) WAKE UP:
Start your morning in a successful way by getting up when you say you’ll get up. This means don’t hit snooze. I haven’t dug into research on this but pushing the snooze button is a confidence buster. Why? Because, when you set your alarm at night, you have the intention to do something and then, by pushing snooze, you’re breaking your word to yourself. In your first action of the day! You’re sending a message to yourself first thing in the day that you don’t do what you say you’ll do. That you can’t depend on yourself. Reverse that by waking up when you say you’ll wake up. Choose to do what you say you’re going to do. Keep your word to yourself. Do what you say you’re going to do. Click To Tweet
2) BOOKEND YOUR DAY:
Set your day up with bookends to feel better today. When your day has a framework, the things that happen in the middle have less potential to de-rail us. Intentional action and planning allow us to be our best selves; the best moms, the best partners, the best workers, the best friends, the best US that we can be! Choosing how we start and stop our days sets us up for success. Read my blogs on Morning Routine, Evening Routine, and 5 Things Happy Mom’s Don’t Do for more specific ideas.
Taking bookending to an even more powerful level, now address the middle and plan your days. Writing down a plan for our days moves us from living a reactive life to living an intentional life. Get out your calendar and look at what your next day holds. Write down any tasks you must do in a time slot. I repeat: write down the things that must get done in a time slot. Why must we write them in a time slot? Because those “must dos” are usually the things we put off and we usually get to the end of your day without them done. What happens then? We beat ourselves up for not doing them, feel like crud, and then do one of two things. Either do them then (when our brain is tired and it takes us twice as long) or, we put it on our list of things to do tomorrow (not quite believing that we’ll get it done). I suggest picking one thing you want to get done each day and focusing on that. No, I’m not living in a fairy land. Like you, I have 400 things I could get done on any given day. But I have trained my brain to prioritize and act on what must get done today. I ask myself: “What task can I do that, tonight, when lying in bed, I’ll feel happy?” I then schedule that in my day at a specific time. I choose to not let myself down. I choose to do the hard things and I encourage you to also. Put them in your schedule first thing in the morning and then move through your day with confidence. This is one of the most powerful tools of mindful living. The more conscious I am with how I spend my days, the more time slows down. The more deliberately I live my life, the less I feel like a crazy woman running around putting out everyone else’s fires. Click To Tweet Plan your days or they will plan you. Here’s a worksheet on scheduling that has helped many.
Yep, stop. Stop in your days. Preferably right in the middle of your day. Stop for 10 breaths or for 10 minutes. Find time each day to stop doing and relax. Close your eyes. Breathe. Focus on the air coming in and out of your nose. Whoa – hate to tell you, but you just meditated! Meditating is all about slowing down, connecting with your body, and your experience here on earth. About two and a half years ago I made the commitment to meditate for 3 minutes a day. Nothing has changed my life more. I’m often asked by people who may want to meditate, what meditation gives me. Where to start…. It has given me self awareness, self compassion, the ability to complete a task, calmness when parenting, stronger relationships, and a better ability to manage my emotions. What has it taken from me? Stress. Anger. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Confusion. I now meditate between 10-20 minutes a day and just passed my 500 consecutive day mark (yay me!). If you’re interested in learning how to start, I put together this handout just for busy moms. Start small but please start.
Yes, in one moment I tell you to stop and sit still and in the next, I tell you to move. Truth. Our bodies are meant to move. Let go of the rules on how to move your body (it doesn’t have to be for a certain amount of time or in a certain class). You are given this one body and when you wear it out, it’s over. Begin your day asking: How can I treat my body with respect today? A body at rest stays at rest (and aches and hurts). A body in motion stays in motion. We can continue to increase our flexibility and physical fitness until the day we die. Stretch. Go for a walk. Bend. How can you move your body today? Go do it.
6) EMPOWER YOUR BRAIN:
One of my most important daily tasks is to manage my mind. I do this in three ways. One, by paying attention to the thoughts I think. I do this through journaling, meditating, and body awareness (recognizing when my chest feels anxiety tight or my jaw is anger clenched) Two, by paying attention to the directions I’m giving my brain. More than 40 billion pieces of information cross our brain’s path each second. Each second!! Have you heard the quote: What you focus on expands? This is because we can’t consciously process all that information and so the brain filters out what we tell it is important. If we tell it “I’m lazy”, the brain goes to work finding evidence of that. If we tell it “today’s going to be a great day”, the brain goes to work finding evidence of that. I direct my brain by asking powerful questions: “What will be great about today?” and also, if I’m triggered by something or someone, I ask my brain: “What’s another way that I could view this?” or “What’s else might be going on here?” Finally, when managing my brain, I take complete responsibility for what information I’m feeding it. Do I have the TV on in the background? Do I have news radio on? Do I have alerts turned on my phone to distract me from what I am doing? I read the trash headlines of the magazines in the checkout stand? Do I hang around negative, complaining people? No, no, no, and no. There’s a lot I’m not able to control so I choose to control the things I can. I pour messaging in my brain that will uplift me and set me up for a successful day. How about you? How do you direct your brain to think positive, empowering thoughts?
GTP stands for grateful, thankful, and proud. At some point in my day, I pause to send a message of gratitude and thankfulness to my brain. I remind my brain of all that is good about my day and all that is good in my life. I do this because, of those 40 billions bits of information, it’s a nice thing to focus on and also because of how our brains work. We have a negativity bias meaning our brains naturally hold on to the negative pieces of our day instead of the positive. I disrupt that pattern with this GTP practice. At different times during the day, I stop to think of my GTPs. My suggestion for starting this habit is to start it at a specific time each day, like dinner. I love going around the table and hearing of the pieces of our day that my family is grateful, thankful and proud of (GTP). Try it and let me know if you notice a difference.
At some point in your day, pause to celebrate you and what you’re doing. What has gone well today? What have you done that you’re proud of? Where have you helped someone? Our brain is wired to hold on to negative experiences but we can override that by reflecting for 5 seconds on what I call a “Yay Me” moment. We are exceptionally good at UN-celebrating ourself and our gifts. Pausing to say: “Yay Me” is an important tool to help raise our overall level of content with life. What have you accomplished? How far have you come? Which of your actions can you celebrate?
There you have it, 8 habits that habitually make my days outstanding. In making them routine, I routinely have days that feel fulfilled, slower-paced, and meaningful. I am often asked, Do you need to do these things every day? No, you don’t. Don’t do them on days when you want to be productive or to feel confident. Certainly don’t do them on days when you want to feel sorry for yourself or be grumpy. I do suggest you do them on days you want to feel alive, empowered, and energized. Are you ready for this one amazing life you’ve been given? Sign up for one of my programs. I offer money back guarantees on everything I offer because I know they change lives. Let’s go warriors!