“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” -Aristotle
My article 24 Daily Habits has been an amazing success, so I thought I would follow it up with another 12 Daily Habits that I try (I’m not perfect!) to do and that you may consider incorporating into your life.
1. Stretch: I was inspired to write 24 Daily Habits by my discovery of the benefits of exercising everyday. Every so often I can’t find time to exercise, but at the very least I stretch. Some benefits of this include: reduced muscle tension, increased flexibility, and increased energy levels (from the increased circulation of blood).
2. Write: I normally spend time each day writing articles for this blog. I find writing very therapeutic as it allows me to clarify my thoughts and feelings about a number of issues. If you don’t have a blog, try keeping a journal or writing a long email to a good friend each day.
3. Listen to Music I Love: its a simple pleasure we often take for granted. If ever I want to relax, get pumped, or simply just have fun its quite likely I will put on some music to accompany my mood. I rarely listen to the radio though – I want to choose the tunes!
4. Exercise My Brain: exercising your brain is as important (if not more!) than exercising your muscles. In the past year I taken to Sudoku and Kakuro as ways to stimulate my brain and have fun. Other suggestions are crosswords, quizzes, and brain teasers.
5. Sharpen My Memory: this could come under the above habit, but I think it is worthy of its own heading. I haven’t always been kind to my brain in the past, and I recently started to notice how this was affecting my memory. Each day now I try to sharpen my memory with simple techniques such as remembering names and telling stories (ie recalling events).
6. Drink Plenty of Water: drinking plenty of water each day is essential to good health. Among other things, water flushes toxins out of vital organs and carries nutrients to cells. I try to take a water bottle with me wherever I go.
7. Drink Green Tea: I love my cup of coffee first thing in the morning, but when it comes to the afternoon I find that coffee over-stimulates my brain and makes me edgy. Instead I drink green tea in the afternoon which still contains caffeine (important to help me make it until 5pm!), but does not give me the negative effects of an afternoon coffee.
8. Under Promise, Over Deliver: this is a great way to impress people. The last thing I want to do is make promises which I won’t be able to keep.
9. Smile: ….. and the world smiles with you. Well not always, but I find that a smile is a great way to break down barriers with people.
10. Celebrate My Successes: I find its so important to take time each and every day to celebrate my successes. This doesn’t have to involve opening a bottle of bubbly (or in my case cracking open a beer). A mental pat on the back will often do. If you need some ideas I recommend reading 75 Simple Pleasures to Brighten Your Day from ZenHabits.
11. Meditate: as part of my routine of winding down each day I try to spend 10 – 15 minutes meditating. Benefits of meditation I have noticed include relaxation, energy, and perspective on my life. This article from PicktheBrain has some good tips on getting started.
12. Have Fun: one of my life philosophies is that we should enjoy each day. I consider many of the habits I have listed in this article to be fun (eg sudoku, listening to music, and celebrating my successes). Importantly, though, I always try to have some spontaneous fun each day.
Photo by Thomas Leuthard