We are constantly on the look out for ways to improve our lives, ourselves, our bodies, and our minds. No matter how many hacks there are to implement, things to learn and to ponder upon, there are a few simple things that if we learn to start doing now and everyday, they will become valuable habits for a lifetime.
1. Learn to control impulse spending
Buying shoes because they’re on sale. Grabbing that shiny gadget because it’s just come out and you’d look cool being the first to have it. Splurging on alcohol simply because… err… you’re already drunk?!?
How much would you have saved if you could actually control your impulse spending every time the urge occurs?
The ability to subordinate an impulse to a value is the essence of the proactive person.
- Stephen R. Covey
When you get rid of the desires to buy things you can live without, you will feel more in control and life will get easier. After all, a lot of the time when we feel life is hard, it’s because we haven’t managed our finances well enough - we’ve bought too much clothes, spent too much on the weekend, ate out too often, and simply just have a bad habit of spending beyond our means. Once we learn to stop impulse spending and make it a natural part of who we are to realize that “less is more” and enjoy minimal living, life will feel a whole lot easier and 80% of the stress we have in life will be eliminated.
2. Always be active
When you start working out consistently, you’ll notice increase in your energy level. And just like how it takes us several weeks and months to build a good habit, the mind and body also do the same.
When you work out, your metabolic rate goes up, your blood gets pumped up, and your heart muscles get stronger. The adrenaline rush and the sweat also help you get rid of stress and recharge your brain.
Isn’t heart the most important organ in our body? You bet.
Here’s my theory on exercising,
Exercising without an adrenaline rush is like having sex without reaching an orgasm.
Moreover, when we are active, we feel fit and confident from within which helps us get more things us and feel better overall in all areas of life. When we feel fit and fresh, we speak more confidently, hold better posture, and become more productive at work too. Isn’t that just wonderful?
3. All the hard work will be worth it
There are two main reasons for this;
Everything you are good at now, you were a beginner at one point. Soccer? Guitar? DJing? Rock-climbing? Golf? Making sales? Writing? Building a website? Managing staff? Public speaking? Analyzing data? Not as much fun in the beginning…but it will definitely get more enjoyable and easier as the days go by. It’s all about how you look at it.
They make you stronger. All the emotional tiresome you have to go through in the initial stage of doing something new, the tedious long hours you trade in for something else you want, the willpower you have to build, the motivational phases you keep pushing yourself with — all of these make you stronger.
4. You are what you eat
Sometimes we forget and overlook these things we studied since primary school. We don’t just need food to give us energy to get through the day — this is why a lot of people eat junk food.
We need vitamins and minerals because our bodies cannot produce these. They are vital for the functioning and growth.
Therefore, we must obtain them from food.
Hence, JUNK FOODS DO NOT GIVE YOUR BODY ANY OF THESE!
Let’s see what these vitamins and minerals are for;
Vitamin A = hair, skin, and vision
Vitamin B = blood
Vitamin C = teeth, gums, and muscles.
Vitamin D = bones and teeth.
Vitamin E = blood, eyes, skin, liver, and lungs.
Vitamin K = blood to clot when we get a cut.
Calcium = bones and teeth
Copper = iron, blood, transportation of oxygen
Germanium = immune system
Iron = red blood cells, energy
Magnesium = heart, blood pressure, and nerve function
Manganese = bones, the metabolism of enzymes in the cells, protein and amino acid digestion and utilisation
Phosphorus = synthesise protein for growth, maintenance, and repair
Potassium = fluid balance, blood pressure, cell functioning
Zinc = immune system
Now, does this make you want to forever stop eating junk food with no nutritional value? ;)
5. Do one thing that makes you happy — every day
Whatever it is that makes you happy, take time to do.
Sometimes we’re bombarded with responsibilities that we forget to give ourselves joy. Happiness in every day can be derived from simple things like cooking, sitting down with a nice cup of tea reading a magazine, relaxing with your partner, playing with your kid, reading a book before bed, having a glass of red while watching your favorite show, playing football with the boys, or going to a comedy show.
Bills and responsibilities are to be taken care of. But don’t forget, that ‘YOU’ come first — you, your health, and your happiness. Take at least 10 minutes to an hour a day just to simply enjoy you.
6. Minimize drama, anger, and negativity
Drama and anger are sometimes somewhat inevitable as created by someone else in your life. What you can do is to try your best to put your mind at ease and let it go. Shift your focus. Learn to become resilient and handle the flame.
Stop associating with people who shove drama and pessimism down your throat.
7. Question how something can be done better
There is always an alternative to achieving something. Make it a habit to ask yourself question “How can this be done better?”.
This could be a process at work, at home, or just in one’s self.
How can I finish this task in a more efficient way? Can I create a new way of doing this? Can I come up with a better way that delivers the same or even a better result?
How can I get from point A to point B on a different path - different from what everyone else is doing? Is there a way to hack this?
How can I accelerate my personal growth? How can master this skill before everyone else does?
Write down your goals. Big goals. Big aspirations. Big dreams. Then think about how you can achieve those goals — via route A, B, C. Question everything and every process to find a better way of doing something. Google is your best friend. Ask questions. Ask better questions. Because the better questions will give you the better answers. Stay curious. Do your research. Give it a go.
8. Learn from experiences and mistakes
Throughout our lives, we will make several of what might seem like mistakes and failures. The secret is this — failure is not a failure. Failure is a part of the process. Without mistakes and failures, you don’t learn anything. You can protect yourself by learning from others’ mistakes. But what if your way of doing things was a new way? What if no one has done it before so you can’t learn it from others’ stories?
It’s not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts us.
- Stephen R. Covey
Think about this….
- You don’t know what feeling “satisfied with food” feels like until you experience “hunger”.
- You don’t know what “joy” feels like if you’ve never been “sad”.
- You don’t know how painful a “heartbreak” is if you’ve never been in love.
You need to go through the bad to appreciate the good.
Behind every mentally strong person is a struggle and strong willpower that has been consequently built upon it.
Learn from those experiences. Don’t simply just move on. Give yourself a pause. Learn what went wrong.
9. Learn from people you encounter
Every new person you encounter teaches you something or get you to see something in a slightly different way because everyone is different. The new friends you’ve met over the year — What have you learned from them?
Make it a habit to be open-minded and really listen.
- Did you learn something about their hobbies or interests?
- Did you learn something about their work?
- Did you learn something from the way they do things?
- Did you learn something from the way they think?
- Did you spot any differences in perspectives, attitudes, and beliefs? Could this spark any interesting arguments or shed some light?
10. Take time to self-reflect
I have been a strong believer in the Inside-Out approach since my father gave me The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People book to read. It is one of the best paradigm-shifting books that has influenced me until today.
We must look at the lens through which we see the world, as well as at the world we see, and that the lens itself shapes how we interpret the world.
The key to self-mastery is self-discover. We try to change habits. We try to do things better. But at the end of the day, it all starts from the way we see things. Because the way we see things affects how we feel which affects how we behave.
We can only achieve the quantum improvements in our lives as we quit hacking at the leaves of attitude and behaviour and get to work on the root, the paradigms from which our attitudes and behaviours flow.
At the core what we do, act, and show to the world is our paradigms. They are the foundation that hold everything we are up. They are the source of our attitudes and behaviours. We cannot act with integrity outside of them. We simply cannot maintain wholeness if we talk and walk differently than we see.
No matter how busy your life is, take some time off to reflect.
With self-discovery at the core of self-mastery, you can feel complete and whole from within — from the inside out, rather than outside in