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My 10 Daily Habits

April 3, 2009

It is not the big things that we do in life that brings us the greatest reward, but the small daily habits we implement that seem so miniscule, but over time they can greatly change the trajectory of our lives.  

I have compiled my list of small daily habits that have made a huge impact on my life.  Granted, they are not huge feats, but habits that seem so small, but over time, have made me a much better person.

My Daily Habits:

1.Gratitude Journaling

I started journaling several years ago to express gratitude for my blessings, both large and small.  What I have found is that in the presence of gratitude, negativity cannot abide.  When I’m feeling crappiest is the best time to journal.  After just a few words, my spirits begin to lift.

 

2.  Reading

Not a day goes by that I don’t read something.  I always have at least one book in my possession, which comes in handy when I’m waiting in lines or have a spare minute.  Reading broadens my life perspective.  I read everything, from Greek mythology and Buddhism to political manifestos and memoirs.  Dr. Seuss said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”  Reading  is exercise for the mind, and making this a daily habit has made all the differenc in my life.  

3.  Writing

Learning to connect words to create prose is not a gift only allotted to a few, but it is a craft that must be practiced every day.  Whether a paragraph or twenty pages, I write daily to become a better writer.  Some days, it’s junk.  Other days, I surprise myself.  Regardless, I write.

4.  Exercise

Daily exercise is not an option; it is a necessity. I don’t exercise to fit into a six 6 or reach a certain number on a piece of metal. I exercise because it is a gift.  In addition, I don’t exercise because I’m motivated (trust me…motivation does not come to my house at 7 a.m.); I do it because I’m committed to myself.   If I have an excuse (and I often do), I write it down and then I exercise.  From many years of exercising daily, I know that I always feel better afterwards.  

5.  Laughter

I try not to take life too seriously.  Sometimes this can seem difficult, especially when dealing with circumstances that are less than ideal, but hey, we all have them.  Find something humorous in the difficult.  Find something to smile and laugh about.  Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.”  Why not give your soul a much needed break, lighten up, and laugh a little.

6.  Eat a Healthy Diet

Sure, I eat chocolate and pizza occasionally, but what I really crave are good whole foods, such as fresh veggies and fruits.  I love how my body feels when I feed it good food.  By eating a healthy diet daily, with minimally processed foods, I am giving it the gift of health.  

7.  Act like a Kid

There is nothing more freeing than acting liking a kid.  Fortunately, I have an eleven year old daughter who inspires me to be more kid-like.  Thanks to yoga, I can still do backbends and cartwheels.  I know the latest hip-hop songs.  I pretend to be a star on “Dancing with the Stars.”  Today, my husband, daughter, and myself engaged in a snowball fight.  Being a kid is really a condition of the heart, and practicing it daily brings me joy and laughter.

8.  Forgiveness

Every day presents me with an opportunity to forgive.  Sometimes the forgiveness is targeted towards a stranger and other times, it means forgiving myself.  The more I can forgive, the more space I create for love and compassion in my life.  

9.  Stay in My Business

This has been the hardest daily habit to implement.  For some reason, I had a belief that my husband or daughter’s business was automatically mine, but this usually leads to more pain for myself.  Bryon Katie writes about three kinds of business:  your business, God’s business, and everybody else’s business. When I step outside of my business and start meddling in other’s affairs, I basically leave myself. By working daily on staying in my own business, I am more peaceful, and I have so much more time and energy to focus on what’s important to me.  I am so happy to now say, “I’m sorry, but that is none of my business.”  

10.  Meditation

When I first started meditating, I would have all kinds of sabotaging thoughts.  “This is a waste of time.  I’ll never be able to do this.  I should be doing other things.”  However, I committed to twenty minutes a day of quietly sitting with myself and my crazy thoughts.  This daily practice has slowly decluttered my mind.  Knowing how to stop, question my thoughts, and clean up my thinking has been a result of my meditation practice.  

 

Coaches Challenge:

Look at your daily habits.  Are they bringing you closer to the person you want to become or are they taking you further away? Like a boat, the smallest change of trajectory can put you thousands of miles away from where you are now over time.  Where do you want to go and are your daily habits going to get you there?

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