At the start of every year, almost every one of us has a long list of resolutions to do better and be better.
But you know what? You don’t have to wait for New Year’s to do that. You can do it anytime, as long as you have the desire to be the best version of yourself.
So, in the spirit of supporting you in your personal growth journey, I’d love to share my top ten daily habits that keep me centered and always moving forward, no matter what happens in my life.
Let’s dive in!
1) Get the basics right
All right, let’s get the basics out of the way. And by basics, I’m talking about the routines that will keep your mind and body running smoothly. After all, you can’t be a better person if you aren’t physically and mentally well.
That means making sure you’ve got the following incorporated in your daily life:
- Exercise: even if it’s just 30 minutes a day or a daily walk, keep moving your body. It keeps your heart healthy and is the perfect stress-buster!
- Eat a nutritious diet. As the experts say, you can’t outrun a bad diet.
- Get adequate quality sleep. Your body needs it for healing and restoration.
All of this might sound like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many of us sacrifice it in the name of convenience, busyness, or lack of discipline.
And the result is, we’re crankier, more foggy-headed, less able to give more of ourselves.
I definitely still struggle with this some days, but I think of the long game. I think about how I’d love to enjoy traveling and being healthy even when I’m in my 80s!
2) Win the morning with a solid routine
Have you ever heard of the saying, “Win the morning, win the day”? It’s so true, and it begins with a morning routine that’s as steady as the sunrise.
I remember when I was still a “snooze-sleep-wake up in a panic” person. My days back then always started on the wrong note. I didn’t have the time to breathe in and appreciate the new day.
For more than a decade now, I’ve been waking up on time – which for me means I’ve got a few extra minutes to:
- Stretch languidly in bed and get my blood flowing
- Get up slowly and make coffee
- Sit and do deep breathing and meditation for 10 minutes
- Read a poem while drinking coffee
That’s my morning routine. Yours might look different, and that’s okay. The point is to start the day on a calm, focused note.
Believe me, those extra minutes will be absolutely worth it. You’ll start your day with a clear mind and a positive attitude. Definitely much, much better than your “snooze-wake up frazzled” self!
3) Talk to yourself kindly
Having a positive attitude includes being kind and compassionate to yourself.
When you fail at something, do you tell yourself things like, “Ugh, I’m so stupid!” Or, “Man, I just can’t do anything right!”
Well, let’s replace that with these:
- “I might have failed, but I did learn something new.”
- “I’m so proud of myself for trying.”
- “Can I do this? Of course, I can!”
Look, being a better person starts with self-belief. And if you keep talking to yourself unkindly, you’ll always be in the same place.
So talk to yourself like you would a friend. I’m pretty sure you’re supportive of them, so why not show yourself that same kind of support?
Remember, the mind is powerful. As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”
4) Eat mindfully
I know I’ve already mentioned eating a nutritious diet earlier. But I want to go a step further and remind you of the power of mindful eating.
The power of savoring your food instead of wolfing it down on your lunch break.
You see, mindful eating acts as a mini-meditation session nestled within your day. That means your lunch break can be an oasis in the middle of a hectic day.
Not only that, but it trains your brain and develops your observational skills. Which you could then apply to other situations.
You might begin to notice things you didn’t notice before, such as the way the wind blows through your hair on your walk home, people’s reactions, and even your own feelings.
Simply put, it really develops your self-awareness, which is always a key factor in becoming a better person.
5) Write in a journal
Another way to develop self-awareness is to get into journaling.
It might sound tedious, especially for people who’ve never tried putting pen to paper on a regular basis. But it can be an incredibly powerful tool in your self-improvement journey.
Let’s say you’ve had a tough day, and you’ve got no one around to talk to. That notebook can be your faithful companion. Write down your thoughts and feelings and feel the heaviness in your chest lighten somehow.
And it doesn’t have to be just for the bad times. Journaling is a very effective way of developing gratitude (more on this later) and looking at the positives in your life.
Or it can be a place to put down your goals and record your progress as you move forward inch by inch.
Basically, your journal can hold anything you want it to. Whatever you put in it, the process will help shape you to be a better person by facilitating reflection. It’s absolutely therapeutic!
6) Practice gratitude
As I mentioned above, journaling is one way to practice gratitude. Why is gratitude so important in our quest to be better people?
It’s simple: gratitude unlocks the expansiveness of our hearts. When we see how much we already have, we can’t help but see life in a much more open and positive way.
And it trains us to be more generous. All because it shifts us from a scarcity mentality to an abundant mentality. Meaning, we feel more abundant and less attached to our possessions or accomplishments.
When we see our lives as full and rich, we’re more likely to feel secure and content, which then makes us more willing to share what we have with others.
It reduces the fear of scarcity and helps us realize that there’s enough to go around.
7) Constantly learn new things
Well, I think you already have this in you. You’re here after all, seeking ways to be a better person.
That’s fantastic. Because as long as you have a growth mindset and are learning new things, you’ll get to where you want to be!
That’s especially important if you want to keep up with the demands of today’s fast-paced world. As the Theory of Evolution states, in order to survive, we must adapt.
And of course, the more you know, the better you can adapt.
Even just 15 minutes a day of learning something new, whether it’s a language, a tech skill, or a hobby, is a wise investment.
As an avid reader, of course, I can’t have a personal growth list without recommending the habit of daily reading.
This is a secret weapon that successful people often use to drive their knowledge and creativity.
And the beauty of it is, with just 20 minutes a day (or however much you can devote to reading), you can travel the world, learn a new skill, or dive into a mystery, all from the comfort of your living room.
I credit my lifelong habit of reading for my appreciation of diversity. It has opened windows to the world for me, so my tiny corner has become so much larger.
It has taught me that there are millions of people out there who are different from me, and our differences are something to be celebrated, not feared.
Which brings me to my next point…
9) Choose to think the best of people
Have you ever had someone behave differently from what you expected? Did you jump to conclusions that weren’t exactly positive?
I’ve been guilty of this. I once worked on a project with a coworker. At first, she was super enthusiastic about it, but then after a few weeks, she was faltering on deadlines.
Naturally, I assumed that she was just one of those types who’d pretend to be gung-ho initially but run out of steam quickly.
I would find out much later from another coworker that it was all because her partner had left her and she was reeling from grief.
So, self-righteous me was mortified and ashamed. And rightly so. I had the chance to reach out and ask her what was really going on, but I chose to think the worst of her.
That’s why these days, I always choose to think the best of people. We never really know what’s going on behind the scenes. They might just be hanging on by a thread and we’d never know it.
However, I want to stress that thinking the best of people doesn’t mean ignoring their disrespect or wrongdoing.
I just mean that it’s always wise to remember that we are all complex creatures who shouldn’t be judged by a one-dimensional yardstick.
10) Do simple acts of kindness for others
Not judging others – that’s a basic act of kindness we can do. And there are thousands of other things we can do for them.
There’s no doubt about it – being kinder means you’re being the best version of yourself.
When you choose kindness, you’re not only improving the lives of others but also your own well-being.
In fact, the Mental Health Foundation says that “the more you do for others, the more you do for yourself.”
So go ahead, do something nice for someone else. You just never know how much they need it!