Waking up with a plan and a purpose helps in achieving all the things you need to achieve in a day, which ultimately helps you achieve your bigger goals in life.
And, sometimes, you need to make a few changes and implement a few things in your daily routine to help you achieve that purpose and those goals the best way you can.
Since I started adapting those 5 habits, I have become a lot more productive, and I feel a lot better about myself and about life in general.
1. Start a workout routine
I know that we all know that we should workout, but sometimes you just need someone to remind you that you really need to start doing this. Like, now.
Working out first thing in the morning can seriously change your entire day. You will start with so much positive energy and willingness to do more and so you will become much more productive.
This doesn’t need to be anything extensive or heavy. Simple morning stretches for 20 minutes, a 15-minute walk, or some light yoga will all do you just fine.
The point is to help your blood flow faster through your body and your brain, which will give you the energy boost you need to start the day right.
If you still need a little bit of convincing, you can read about the many other benefits of working out in the morning.
There are plenty of workout routines that you can adapt which you can do at home and with no equipment.
I personally used to follow a fitness program designed by Alexa Jean, which was very effective. However, at some point, I got lazy for a while and stopped doing them.
A few months after, my body became as stiff as a concrete wall, which made me feel generally unhappy with myself. But I was still too lazy to get back on those serious exercises. So I just started doing some light morning stretches and yoga poses for my back, which was a good warm up to get me back on track of developing this habit again.
Then a few days ago, I found this lovely person named Tyler on Twitter and she was starting a workout challenge, which gave me the push I needed to start getting on with some serious work out routines again.
You can either look for such challenges online if you need something to give you a push to start, or go for a designed program by a fitness coach like the Alexa Jean one, or simply search Google or Youtube for a workout routine that maybe targets a specific area that you wish to work on, such as your abs or your back, and start doing that every day.
However, make sure when you choose a workout, that you pick something easy and beginner level and then gradually increase the level as you grow accustomed to it. This is especially important if it has been a while since you did any workout.
And that is for two reasons, first so you don’t exhaust your body all of a sudden which in some cases can actually cause damage, and second so you don’t feel overwhelmed or too tired from your first try that you give up on the whole thing. We’re trying to build a habit here.
2. Exercise your brain
Your brain is much like your body, if you don’t exercise it, it will become stiff and will not work to its full potential.
Exercising your brain helps enhance your memory, your problem solving, and your ability to perform in your every day life. Since, you know, we use the brain in every thing we do, every decision we make, and every problem we need to solve.
In fact there are studies made that show how exercising your brain can enhance your functioning and your brain’s ability to perform better as you age. And it helps you increase your mental capacity by challenging it to learn and think more.
A brilliant study was made to compare between the brain cells of taxi drivers and bus drivers.
A taxi driver is forced to take different routes every day and they have the ability to memorize an entire city’s map and use that knowledge to navigate through the streets. Unlike a bus driver who only takes the same routes they take every day and therefore are not using the full potential of their memory.
It was found that taxi drivers have a larger volume of gray matter in the hippocampus–which is the part responsible for forming and accessing knowledge and memory. And that is because it is exercised and challenged to form and learn more information every day.
Exercising your brain is like hitting a refresh button to wake those parts of your brain that you weren’t using. And apart from the fact that it does help improve your brain’s performance, some activities would also help you gain knowledge in areas that you probably wouldn’t have gained if you weren’t actively looking.
You can do that through reading a book, learning a new language, or even solving puzzles. You may also choose the exercise to perform by deciding which part you need to work on more, such as sharpening your focus, your memory, or your problem solving skills, etc, and then find a brain activity that can help you work on that.
3. Feed your soul
The purpose of this one is to fulfill your soul’s/spirit’s needs. How you do this can differ from one person to the other.
One way you can do this is through meditation or praying or both. It depends on what your beliefs are and what you are more comfortable doing.
For meditating, you can do this at the beginning of every day to have a fresh and peaceful start of your day, or before you go to bed which can help you have a peaceful, deep sleep, or you can do them twice! They both have their merits.
Another way is through doing a selfless act; giving someone a helping hand or a charity or a simple “thank you” note, because even though it is called a “selfless” act, we do gain a lot of satisfaction by doing it, one that we wouldn’t feel any other way.
You can find more activities to feed your soul here.
Regardless of what our beliefs are, I think most of us can agree that we have a soul. And often times this one gets neglected, mostly because the damage done to it is not as physical or as obvious as it would be for our body or our minds; even though, it is the essence of our existence!
So when you think of ways to take care of yourself, don’t forget your soul.
4. Say NO to negativity
Stay away from negativity and negative people at all costs.
Negativity is all around us that sometimes if feels as if people are competing on who can be more negative. And if you don’t become proactive and consciously decide to avoid it, before you know it you will be sucked into this toxic cycle.
It can be in the form of toxic people constantly pulling you into unpleasant conversations or arguments; or it can be people who just generally have a negative mindset (about their life, about work, about the world, etc..) and trying to push their negative thoughts onto you, through constant venting or complaining, for example.
This type of people can be everywhere you go, they can be your colleagues at work/college, a family member, or online on social media.
And I don’t mean that you should have no empathy towards other people or that you should turn into some cold-hearted person. But there is a difference between comforting someone who is in a tough time in their life and knowing that someone is constantly complaining about something all the time, or that someone is simply always looking for a fight, or someone is always looking to criticize you and never has anything nice to say, etc.
When you know that this person has that kind of habit/attitude, you can try and help them see things differently, but if they refuse to see that then do not get dragged into this conversation.
Once you feel that a certain person is pushing you towards an unpleasant conversation, politely dismiss it. You don’t owe anyone anything. And you have every right to keep your mind as clear and peaceful as you can, because this will affect everything else you do throughout your day and, ultimately, your life.
You may also want to read about how to stop negative people from affecting your life.
But beware that when you are avoiding negativity, this does not necessarily mean that you should only feel good and positive and happy all the time, because, realistically speaking, that is not possible.
However, when you are conscious about how you feel and are aware that you need to stay away from a certain feeling, you will bounce out of it faster and you will not let yourself get drawn into that cycle indefinitely.
Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.
5. Make lists
This one should help you do everything else on this list and a lot more.
Making lists has been very, very helpful in organizing my life and getting things done.
There are all kinds of lists you can make for everything you need to do in your life, from a daily to-do list to your annual goals. I share here some of the lists I make that help me organize my life.
In this one I add the things that I do every day as part of my routine.
For example, if I have things that I want to do every morning when I wake up, such as workout, meditate, and feed birds, I add all of that in order in the routine list as my “morning routine,” and same thing goes for my evening routine.
But you can add all kinds of other routines you have for yourself, such as your workout routine, cleaning routine, etc.
If you have trouble getting house chores done, then you may need this list.
To be completely honest, doing house work is not my strongest asset (some would say I suck at it), and I didn’t imagine how helpful this list would be before I try it, but now I can definitely say that it has been godsend to me.
This is a list where you write down all the different house chores that you need to do, like mopping floors, cleaning fridge, or doing laundry, and then assign a certain day of the week for each one of them.
When you do this, you make this chore part of your routine, and so it won’t take as much effort or thought on your part to get on and do them, you know, as it normally would if you were only cleaning when things look dirty or doing laundry only when there’s no more clean clothes to wear…. (sad true story).
It will also help you have a clean house all the time (which is probably how it should be..).
Annual Goals List
Here is where I add things that I need to have achieved by the end of the year. This helps me be focused on the bigger picture.
As important as it is to have a daily to-do list, it is important to always know what you are eventually aiming for, so that you know when, and if, you need to make a change, in case you find that you are doing something that is somehow hindering you or taking you in an opposite direction of what your main goal is.
Daily To-do List
This list is the one where I write everything that needs to be done today, from the house chores, the morning/evening routines, any appointments, and things I have set earlier to help achieve my annual goals (which is discussed in the 8 steps to achieve anything you want in life).
I have read a lot about how important it is to write that list before you go to bed, but I kind of had the attitude of “couldn’t be bothered,”and so I used to write this list when I woke up in the morning, and it was okay, it helped me be organized throughout the day.
However, recently I thought I’d make a change and started writing that list before I went to bed, and I only wish I did that earlier.
Now I wake up with an already organized mind. I know exactly everything that needs to be done in the day. So, once I get out of bed, I start working on that list.
This has saved me a lot more time and has helped my productivity overall, since I now always wake up with an aim in mind, which is also a great way to start the day.
I have adapted the super helpful lists of chores and routines from a brilliant entrepreneur called Gillian Perkins; if you don’t know about her, you can find her website here.
And this sums up the 5 habits that have increased my productivity and improved my life overall. Hopefully, they will do the same for you.
Till next week, happy days!
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