By Alanna Ketler / 12.05.2016
It’s fascinating how often we resist doing things we know are good for us. I know I’m guilty of this, and many of you probably are too.
Rationally we might know that going for a walk in the morning is a great way to start our day, but somehow we still give in to that other person inside us who would rather stay under the covers for an extra half hour. Likewise, we know we could probably benefit from some form of physical exercise, be it yoga, sports, or aerobics, but we push it off to the side, push it off for another day. We’d all like to eat healthier too, yet so many of us find it so much easier to reach for that sugary muffin or extra cup of coffee than to make a nutrient packed green juice or smoothie.
Why is that? Shouldn’t we want to do everything we can to ensure we are living a healthy, mindful, and vibrant lifestyle? Sometimes we see others doing it and think, I wish I could be like that. Well, the great news is, you absolutely can! It’s just a matter of sticking to it. It will be uncomfortable in the beginning, as all changes are, but eventually it will become so natural to you and offer you so many benefits that you will be excited to do it. It’s just a matter of getting started.
1. Wake Up an Hour Earlier Every Day
Waking up an hour earlier in the morning can give you some precious “me time.” It’s time where you can focus on yourself rather than the needs of your kids, your partner, or even your pets. Use this hour to go for a walk, meditate, plan out your day, or just drink your morning cup of tea or coffee while being fully present in the moment. Perhaps you’d like to do some light yoga or stretching, or even a sweatier workout at the gym. Whatever you decide, find something that brings you joy and give yourself that opportunity rather than rushing out the door every morning.
2. Keep a Food Journal
Many of us feel like our diets are good enough already, but if you are like me, you tend to only remember the healthy, nutritious choices and leave out the more unhealthy ones, and then wonder why you aren’t feeling tip top. Keeping track of what you eat is an effective way to see what you are actually consuming on a day-to-day basis, and it allows you to determine from there what you could eat more of and, perhaps more importantly, what you could be consuming less of. This will help you to incorporate more nutritious choices into your diet in the future. And with apps like MyFitnessPal, for example, tracking your meals has never been easier.
3. Track Your Spending
Sometimes it is easier to just put everything you buy on a credit card and then, when the end of the month rolls around, just hope that you have enough money to pay it all off. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the money and that is a very easy way to end up in debt. And you may not even realize exactly where it is that your money is going.
By keeping track of your spending, even for just a few months, you are able to see where most of your money is going and how you can make adjustments moving forward. You may find that a lot of your money is going toward things you really don’t need, and this can be a great wake-up call to stop the unnecessary spending in its tracks. Of course, this may also help you to save more, which is always a good thing!
4. Question Everything
This one is important. Do not take the information that is presented to you at face value. Question everything. If you see something on the news but a little piece of you has some doubt, look into it further and do your own research. Do not just believe everything you read, even if it’s an article on Collective Evolution! Look into things further and form your own opinion.
If you are having a discussion with someone whose views are different from yours, do not just dismiss them as being wrong; delve deeper into the conversation by asking questions to broaden your perspective. Always keep an open mind.
5. Be Honest
This one is definitely very uncomfortable; as we all know, the truth hurts, right? Well, not only can this be one of the most uncomfortable things you have to do, but also the most valuable.
Are there people in your life that you need to say something to? Chances are good there are, and likely more than one. To get the ball rolling, write down a list of all the people to whom you have something to say, whether it’s good or bad. Honestly write down what you feel you need to convey to this person in a letter, and then actually give it to them.
It is important to note how this experience affected you and the other person. If you are speaking from your heart, I’d be willing to bet it will be a positive experience for everyone involved.
6. Pick One Thing to Master at a Time
In our quest for self-betterment, we may think the best route to take is to pick a thousand different things that interest us, start doing them, and then only continue with what we like and feels good to us, picking just one thing to focus on at a time can be more beneficial.
If you are constantly changing your interests, you’ll never see your own internal progress. Pick just one thing at a time and get really good at it before moving on to the next. This will allow you to actually stick to a goal, track your progress, and appreciate how far you’ve come.
7. Accomplish an Almost Impossible Goal
Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do in the back of your mind, but dismissed as impossible? Now take a moment to consider, it really impossible, or is it just going to take a lot of hard work and effort to get there?
I’m guessing it’s the latter, in which case, consider setting and achieving a goal that’s harder than anything you’ve ever done. It may be uncomfortable, but most things we think of as impossible to achieve really just require a little perseverance, dedication, and willpower.
According to Rizwan Aseem: “You will have to use all your mental and physical strength to actually get yourself to achieve this goal. But here’s the thing: Something very cool happens in your mind, your physiology, your internal makeup when you actually do this. You become invincible. You will be able to set any goal for yourself and then achieve it.”
8. Practice Public Speaking
Surveys about our fears show that public speaking consistently ranks at the top of the list, even before death, and I have certainly had my fair share of horror stories in this realm. Realistically though, the only way to gain confidence in this area is by practicing it regularly. Maybe you don’t have a job that requires you to speak in public, but you never know when the time might come when this skill could really come in handy – that big speech at your best friend’s wedding, for example.
One fantastic way to practice this skill is to make some videos that you share with your friends and family. After that you can move on to less familiar faces. Consider telling a story in a group and asking everyone to sit down and give you their undivided attention so that you can practice effectively. Another great option is to join an improv group in your community and really break out of your comfort zone!
9. Incorporate Some Form of Meditation Daily
A lot of people brush off meditation or feel it is beyond them. I can’t make my thoughts stop, they complain, and give up after a few tries. Luckily, this isn’t the goal of mediation; as many of us know, it’s impossible to tell your brain to stop thinking. What meditation aims to do is remove your attachment to your thoughts, not the thoughts themselves. (And you don’t need to be sitting cross-legged on the floor to do it, either.)
Meditation can be as simple as going for a walk, focusing on your breathing, listening to some beautiful classical music or mantras, or even drawing a picture — anything that offers you a break from the woes and worries of day-to-day life can be a form of meditation. Consider adding this practice into your daily routine.
Do you have any uncomfortable but necessary things that you would like to add to this list? Please do so in the comments section below!