Photo by lululemon athletica
“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us” – John Dryden
I have previously written about how the habit of exercising every day has helped me tremendously. Doing something every day is such a powerful way to form a habit that I thought I would make a list of 24 habits that are worth doing on a daily basis. Note: I have divided these into morning, day and night although some could obviously be under different headings.
1. Wake Early: I am a big fan of waking at 5am and spending time working on myself before going to work. I have written more about this habit here: How to Wake Early When All You Want to Do Is Sleep.
2. Exercise: when I had the goal of exercising 4 times a week I found it was very easy to tell myself I will exercise tomorrow instead. Setting the expectation of daily exercise removed this as a potential excuse and I have since reaped the benefits of this daily habit.
3. Review or (even better) Rewrite Your Goals: each day I try to get closer to achieving my short, medium and long term goals. Starting the day by reviewing or rewriting my goals means that I have better awareness of them throughout the day. As Robin Sharma says:
“With better awareness you can make better choices and when you make better choices, you will see better results.”
4. Read and/ or Listen to Motivational Material: in the morning a whole day of endless possibilities lies ahead. I motivate myself to play my best game by reading and listening to inspirational books/ audiobooks. For audiobooks I recommend the free introductory offer from Audible.
5. Visualize the Day Ahead: I like to take a few minutes to shut my eyes and visualize what I want happen in the coming day. It’s amazing how often my desires become reality when I do this.
6. Write a “To Do” List: I like to write out a list in my diary of the important tasks I need to do that day. As they are completed I put a line through them. So simple, yet so effective.
7. Check the News Headlines: I think it’s important to have an idea of what is happening in our community and the world. Also if don’t at least check the main stories, I find it is easy to feel left out of conversations throughout the day. Having said this, much of the news is negative and I’m careful not to spend too much time digesting it unless there is a particular story of note.
8. Blog: I find there are many benefits to blogging. Starting a blog can help you gain clarity, be creative, make new friends, and may even generate you some income. If you would like to start a blog I recommend Squarespace.
9. Take Time to Look Good: it’s a reality of life that people judge us by our appearance. I take a few minutes each morning to ensure I go out into the world looking the best I can.
10. Smile. You’ve probably heard about the importance of smiling, but as the saying goes “common sense is often quite uncommon.” I try to carry a smile with me on throughout the day. I find that not only does it make me happier, but it can make other people smile and open the door to conversations with people I haven’t talked to before.
11. Put First Things First: I try to avoid having my day controlled by tasks that are urgent , but not necessarily important. The habit of putting first things first is about organizing and executing your life around your deepest priorities.
12. Under-Promise and Over-Deliver: at work I try to go the extra mile on my projects, especially on the details many people might miss. I set reasonable deadlines for myself and, when possible, try to get them done early.
13. Be Proactive: being proactive means showing initiative and taking the responsibility to make things happen. Whenever I want to get something done, I ask myself: “what can I do to make this happen?”
14. Snack Well: I substitute the chips, candy and chocolate with fruit, vegetables (carrots and celery are great to chomp on) and nuts.
15. Connect with Nature: I find spending time outdoors in nature is great for my sense of well-being. On work days I like to go for a walk during my lunch break.
16. Ping a Friend: I try to send a quick email or text to a friend each day. It’s a great way to stay in touch with friends when I am extremely busy.
17. Save: I save at least 10% of each paycheck. A great way to find the money to save is to break it down to a daily amount, for example $10-15. By taking account of the Latte Factor I find it easy to save this much.
18. Have Family Time: I believe it’s important to be present most evenings. Family time is about quantity and quality.
19. Take Time for Myself: I also believe it’s important to spend a little time each day just for me. Some things I like to do: read, write, meditate, yoga, play music and/ or visit the gym.
20. Tidy Up: a cluttered house can lead to a cluttered mind and fuzzy thinking. I find it’s best to stay on top of things by tidying up each day.
21. Wind Down: I try to switch off the computer and the TV about 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime and let my brain have some down time after a long day. I sleep far more peacefully when I do this.
22. Review My Day: I find this is a great way to hold myself to account for taking action throughout the day. Did I get closer to achieving my goals? Did I complete my to do list? Did my day go as planned? If not, why not?
23. Say I Love You: don’t just assume that your family members know you love them. I say these words to my wife and sons at least once per day.
24. Go to Bed At A Reasonable Time: the first habit of this list (waking early) begins by going to bed at a reasonable time and getting a good nights sleep.