A life well lived is often built upon the small habits we instill.
That means making the things that are good for us a daily occurrence.
So if growth is your goal, consider incorporating these simple things into your everyday…
It gets very noisy up in your head.
That’s not some kind of judgment about you. It’s a universal truth. Our brains are usually total chatterboxes.
It’s surprisingly challenging to learn the art of quietly sitting and doing nothing. But that’s exactly why it’s so powerful.
You aren’t seeking out distractions. You are forced to stay present in the moment.
It’s not easy to reign in unwieldy thoughts. The inner voice can be loud and overpowering.
But meditation teaches us stillness and awareness to counteract it.
We train our brains to slow down and it creates a deep state of relaxation in the process.
Mindfulness can help you to focus, improve memory, reduce stress, and improve mental focus.
But on top of all that, some meditation styles — such as self-inquiry meditation—even help you gain a better understanding of yourself too.
2) Keep asking questions
Never take things at face value. Always strive to learn more.
Curiosity is a fundamental building block of evolution. Both on a grand and small scale. That’s why our own progress and success rests upon it.
Try to find things that spark your interest. Dig into them and ask questions about them.
This keeps you open to new ideas, new thoughts, and new opportunities. All of which are bound to bring with them growth.
Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know the answer. It’s a far wiser person who is humble enough to do so.
3) Take cold showers every morning
Before we go any further, I’m going to own up and admit:
Because I take a very cowardly approach to cold showers and ice baths. Yet there’s no denying the evidence of their many benefits.
According to research, they can not only boost your immunity, reduce inflammation, combat depression, and relieve pain — they can also do wonders for your self-development.
The same reason I avoid them is the exact reason why they can help us to toughen up.
That’s because it demands a certain amount of mental toughness to face your discomfort. And that builds resilience.
Let’s face it, life isn’t always a piece of cake. So the more we can encourage ourselves to be courageous every single day in little ways, the better.
4) Lean on routine
I have a strange relationship with routine.
Part of me strongly resists what can feel like a curtailment of my freedom.
I hate the imposition of what I “should” be doing. And so like a naughty child, I rebel against anything that attempts to strictly dictate my schedule.
But on the other hand, routine offers stability, security, and structure. And there is no denying that these are significant when we need to get things done.
During these times, routine is what helps me to see things through.
That can be things like:
- Getting enough sleep or creating specific bedtime/wake-up times
- Moving your body or exercising every day
- Eating a healthy diet
- Creating a to-do list based on your biggest priorities
- Making time for breaks
When it comes to routine, the trick is getting the right balance.
Rely too heavily on it and you become rigid and unadaptable. But it’s undoubtedly helpful to regulate the things you know will support you.
5) Count your blessings
I’ll level with you:
Sometimes I get tired of preaching the impact of a daily gratitude practice on our overall well-being.
That’s because so wide-reaching is its magic, it has to feature on pretty much every guide to cultivating greater happiness, success, and growth of any kind.
It’s super simple to do, but just as easy to neglect for that same reason.
The point is that it doesn’t matter what you have, what you know, what you’ve achieved — if you can’t stop and recognize it.
Without appreciation, nothing feels significant to us.
It doesn’t even need to be daily…
Making a list of who and what we are thankful for several times a week is enough to increase positive emotions, help us relish good experiences, improve our health, better handle adversity and build stronger relationships.
6) Pat yourself on the back for a job well done
You could see this one as a form of gratitude towards yourself.
When we overlook all our efforts, we can quickly get down on ourselves.
But self-praise should not be saved exclusively for those occasions when we are brimming over with pride.
It really should be an everyday kind of celebration.
Look back at the end of every single day and think about what went right.
Was there something you tried your hardest with? Did you show up for yourself emotionally or practically in some way? Did you tick off things on your to-do list?
Even after the toughest or shittiest of days, there are always things to acknowledge.
Forgive yourself for the things you’ve fallen down on, recognize what you have achieved, and start afresh the next day.
It’s this that gives us the motivation and self-worth to keep on going.
7) Read a little every day
For many of us, reading is a luxury. It’s something we only find the time to indulge in on vacations.
But the truth is that it shouldn’t be.
Because not only is reading entertainment, but unlike many other things we turn to in order to unwind (like TV or social media) it’s often more enriching too.
- It exercises your brain
- It expands your imagination
- It improves your concentration
- It increases your general knowledge
- It lowers stress (by up to 68%)
- It improves sleep
- It can boost your empathy levels and emotional intelligence
Setting aside just 15 minutes a day can open you up to this long list of benefits.
Of course, making the time may mean cutting back on other less enriching time consumers…
8) Limit your time-wasting and energy-zapping activities like social media
Come on, we all do it. Modern technology makes it almost impossible to resist.
I’m not even talking about becoming more productive in its place.
I’m just suggesting monitoring our use of down-the-rabbit-hole daily indulgences like binge-watching TV shows or scrolling on Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, etc.
Because the saying ‘energy goes where intention flows’ is pretty true. And what we spend our energy on is what we’re investing in.
Which is probably one of the reasons we can end up feeling so guilty afterward. All of a sudden 2 hours have passed us by and we’ve gotten pretty much nothing out of it.
Let’s be realistic, it’s hard to cut out entirely. A bit of light relief isn’t a crime.
But we have to do it consciously. Otherwise, it ends up not only robbing us of our time but often our peace of mind too.
Setting daily limits, deleting some apps on your phone, and taking extended mental health breaks away from these sorts of things can really help.
Journalling isn’t your typical “Dear diary”.
Rather than just cataloging your daily experiences like a diary does, journaling delves deeper than that.
I guess the biggest difference between the two is its intended use.
A journal is a space for you to keep a record of your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and reflections.
That’s what makes it very insightful for self-inquiry.
This is yet another of our “daily habits” that don’t need to be so rigid with either.
If you’re moved to do it daily, great. But it’s equally useful to turn to as and when you need it most.
You can use it as a place to:
- Consider your stumbling blocks and any potential solutions
- Think about your feelings and why you feel certain ways
- Give yourself a pep talk and act like your own motivational coach
- Contemplate your options and work through ideas
10) Pay it forward
Whilst everything else on our list has taken an internal approach, this one is more outward facing.
It’s a reminder that a key factor in our overall life contentment is our relationships with others.
Perhaps that is why research shows that when we do something for others, it makes us happier in the process.
It gives our brain a boost by activating parts of the reward center, and that feels good. It’s also a great way to minimize your own problems.
We can contribute to our growth whilst simultaneously making the world a kinder place.
It doesn’t need to be grand gestures, it’s the everyday things that matter just as much.
- Give sincere compliments
- Offer thanks and appreciation
- Offer to help someone
- Give your time begrudgingly
- Use your skills to support someone else
- Share advice with someone who needs mentoring
- Be considerate and mindful of the feelings of others
We can end up growing in far richer ways when we’re less self-absorbed and shift the focus from us onto others.
Growth doesn’t have to happen in leaps and bounds…
…And 9 times out of 10, it doesn’t.
It’s the small and persistent efforts that we put in every day that count the most.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Many of these daily habits on our list can offer you some firm foundations to build upon.