Life is a journey, and the path to a fulfilling and successful one often lies in the simplicity of our daily habits.
We’re not talking about climbing Everest or inventing the next big thing; nope, we’re here for the everyday stuff, the things you can do without needing a motivational speech or a life coach on speed dial.
These are the habits that quietly shape the contours of our lives, the ones you can start right now.
From the age-old wisdom of “do the hardest thing first” to the zen-like practice of mindful eating – it’s all right here in this article. Let’s begin.
1) Do the hardest thing first, or “eat the frog”
Have you ever heard “do the hardest thing first” being bandied about as a simple life hack? If so, there’s a reason for this. It works.
Tackling the most challenging or difficult task at the beginning of your day or when you have the most energy and focus is a powerful life habit to form.
By addressing the most challenging task first, you’re likely to be at your freshest and most alert.
This allows you to tackle the task with greater efficiency, potentially completing it more quickly than if you were fatigued or distracted later in the day.
Successfully completing a difficult task early in the day can give you a sense of accomplishment and boost your confidence.
This positive momentum can trickle down into other tasks, making you feel more capable and motivated to tackle more of life’s challenges.
Also, getting the hard stuff done first can free up much-needed mental bandwidth.
When you know the hardest part of your day is behind you, you can approach the rest of your tasks with greater clarity and focus.
Overall, doing the hardest thing first is a habit that can enhance your productivity, time management, and mental well-being.
It empowers you to take control of your day, rather than letting challenging tasks loom over you like a dark cloud.
Plus, there’s another clever way to put it.
American writer Mark Twain once famously said:” If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” Wise words, indeed.
2) Approach eating with mindfulness
Mindful eating is a practice rooted in Buddhist teachings that emphasizes a deep, intentional awareness of the food you eat.
It encourages people to form a connection with the act of eating, building a healthier relationship with food.
Mindful eating involves being fully present and engaged with your food. It means setting aside distractions like TV or phones and instead focusing on the act of eating.
When sharing meals with others, it’s great to practice mindful listening and conversation. Engage fully in the social aspect of dining without losing awareness of what you eat.
When it comes to the actual eating, it might feel strange at first, but pay attention to the sensory aspects of your meal. Observe the colors, textures, and smells of your food. Take the time to savor each bite and appreciate the flavors that unfold.
Make a habit of chewing your food slowly and thoroughly. This not only aids in digestion but also allows you to fully experience the taste and texture of each bite.
Another way to approach eating with mindfulness is to pay attention to your body’s signals of hunger and fullness.
Eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full. It’s best to avoid eating out of habit or for emotional reasons.
Mindful eating is an incredible habit to keep as it can help you break free from unhealthy eating patterns, reduce stress around food, and promote a more balanced and enjoyable relationship with eating.
Across the course of your life, this practice can lead to better digestion, improved overall well-being, and a greater appreciation for the simple pleasure of eating.
3) Stay mentally active with puzzles and hobbies
Some of the world’s oldest people cite the habit of staying mentally active through hobbies, puzzles, and conversations as a way to prolong life.
And the research backs it up. Research has found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities encourages the brain’s cognitive function and prevents cognitive decline as one ages.
Further research has also found that regular mental activity has also been linked to a lower risk of cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Challenging the brain through puzzles, learning new skills, or engaging in intellectual discussions can help keep the mind sharp and resilient.
Mental activity isn’t just about cognitive health — it also has many emotional benefits. Engaging in hobbies and social interactions can boost mood and reduce feelings of isolation or depression, which can contribute to better mental well-being.
4) Keep a regular journal
Journaling is a fantastic habit that has enriched the lives of people throughout time.
Many have turned to the practice of keeping journals or diaries for a number of reasons, finding it to be a powerful tool for personal reflection, creativity, and productivity.
Take the Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci, for instance. His legendary notebooks were more than just records, they were the very essence of his artistic, scientific, and inventive thoughts, filled with sketches, diagrams, observations, and ideas.
Similarly, the celebrated English author Virginia Woolf turned to journaling as a lifelong practice. Her journals were not just diaries of daily occurrences but rather served as a creative haven and a blank canvas for introspection.
Woolf’s journals became a source of inspiration for her novels and essays, fueling her creativity throughout her life.
The practice of journaling is a versatile and profound habit to have as it can be tailored to suit your various needs and purposes, whether it be for self-reflection, brainstorming, goal setting, or simply recording the fleeting moments of your life.
For example, I like to keep a journal to record my daily gratitudes, so I can create a deeper awareness of all the things I can be thankful for.
5) Set clear goals for yourself
Whether it’s in your personal or professional life, setting clear and specific goals is a fantastic habit to have for life.
Bill Gates owes much of his success to setting early goals, with one being to have “a computer on every desk and in every home.”
If you’d like to know how to set a clear goal, begin by imagining what you want to achieve in the long term. Your vision should be broad and inspiring, reflecting your ultimate aspirations.
Gates’ vision was not just about selling software but transforming the way people lived and worked through personal computing.
Once you have your vision, break it down and be specific. Instead of a vague goal like “improve my career,” define it as “earn a promotion to senior accountant within three years”, as an example.
You might find that you have many goals, in the vision-setting stage, which is wonderful. Just remember that not all can be pursued simultaneously.
Prioritize them based on their importance and impact. Consider which goals align with your vision and can lead you toward it.
Complex goals can be pretty overwhelming. So, it’s a great idea to divide them into smaller, manageable steps or milestones, and make a habit of working on these and tracking your progress.
You might find that assigning deadlines to your goals really helps as it creates a sense of urgency and accountability. Gates had a timeframe for his goals, which provided a real push for Microsoft’s revolutionary work.
To sum things up, while grand aspirations and big dreams are essential, it’s the small, consistent habits that can make a profound, lasting impact on our lives.