If you’re like the vast majority of New Years resolutions makers, your resolutions for 2014 lasted about as long as your “I will love you forever” said to your junior high school sweetheart when you were 13-years old. Even with good intentions, our commitments don’t always stick.
Don’t beat yourself up over any resolutions that have fallen off your radar. Instead, take up this new challenge:
that can change your life for the better. If you already practice these habits, awesome. You’re ahead of the curve. If you lack any of these habits, don’t jump on all of them. Rather, pick just one and work it. Good habits take time to stick, unlike bad habits that tend to cling to us like toilet paper on the sole of a wet shoe.
Think Routine, Not Rut
Our bodies function better on regular routines. That means going to bed at the same time, getting up at the same time. It means eating foods that our bodies can convert readily into fuel while making us feel good…and not just feel good while they’re in our mouths.
So many people have a great schedule during the work week, but then they “reward” themselves over the weekend by staying up late, sleeping in, and eating junk food. Then they wonder why they feel like death when the alarm goes of Monday morning.
Strive to go to bed and get up within an hour of your normal time. Feel free to binge a little on snack foods and other high calorie foods outside of your typical diet, but be cautious that “once in a while” doesn’t become your every weekend norm.
Put First Things First
I’ve noticed that people who succeed at work are not always the smartest or most productive. But they are the people who get the right work done.
Do you tend to start your work day with the easiest tasks, build up momentum, and then launch into the more challenging work? If so, you know that more often than not, you get so caught up in the joy of making easy tasks disappear that you never quite get around to the more challenging work.
If you’re going to put off something, make it procrastination.
Work the items on your TO DO list by prioritizing those with the biggest pay offs and highest impacts first. Hit them while your mind is fresh and while there’s still time to allow for unforeseen problems along the way.
Write It and Leave It
I used to suffer from bouts of insomnia and mini anxiety attacks because at a time when I should have been relaxing my mind for sleep, I would spin, obsessing over the things I had to get done the next day. The cure had nothing to do with medication or even meditation; it had to do with WRITE IT AND LEAVE IT.
Before leaving work—and that means before leaving your work mindset—behind, write down your goals and deliverables for the next day. Do it while the work is fresh in your mind, when you have a very clear understanding of what’s been completed and where you must start the next day.
This simple tip provides you with reassurance that you’re NOT forgetting anything. That translates into giving yourself permission to take 100% of your outside-of-work time for yourself.
Let Me Say ‘Thank You’
Before going to bed at night, review your day looking for highlights. Pick three things that you are grateful for, and express your thanks. It doesn’t matter if you share your gratitude with your kids, spouse, significant other, cat, God or to the mirror, the results speak for themselves.
According to multiple studies into happiness, well-being, and engagement, people who express gratitude regularly and frequently report higher levels on the things we all want in life:
- positive emotions
- life satisfaction
At the same time, grateful people report feeling more rested and suffer from lower levels of anxiety, depression and stress.
While I’m far from perfect in practicing these 4 habits, I manage to follow them pretty consistently. But while writing this, I feel compelled to do an even better job saying “Thank You.” I’ll start now: I am grateful for those of you who read my blog and write comments or send me private emails. While I write in order to help myself, it’s always nice to know when I’ve helped someone else. Thank you for being there.
How about you? Do you feel compelled to make improvements on any of these 4 habits? I’d love to hear about how you make these part of your life.