10 ways to instantly improve your life
Before I start work with a new coaching client, I send out a comprehensive questionnaire to help me to understand and meet my new client exactly where they are at. One of my favourite questions to ask is...
Why now? What's stopped you from making change or getting support before?
One of the most common responses I get is that making change seems too big a task. There is too much that needs to change, or it will take years to see any results.
The truth is that some of the work I do with the women I coach does require time - it's deep, soulful work that needs to be allowed to take hold and develop. But there are also some small actions that you can take to instantly live a more mindful life.
1. Wake up with the sun
It is so much nicer to wake up naturally than to the sound of an alarm. Tuning in to the natural rhythm of the day feels deeply gratifying - I'm not a morning person by nature but on the days when I do get up early I love how it makes me feel. I'm inevitably more productive and I tend to head into my day in a more relaxed state.
2. Make your bed
Not only does making your bed mean that you have done something productive before even living your bedroom (#win), it also helps set the tone for your day. It's such a tiny thing, but the small act of making your bed each day requires you to focus and means you begin the day feeling more 'together'.
3. Drink more water
Yes, you've heard it before but drinking more water really does make a huge difference. Our bodies are made of 70% of water and being dehydrated even a tiny bit results in a decrease in brain function, focus and memory capacity.
4. Express gratitude
Whenever I do mindfulness work with clients, I almost always start with gratitude. Why? Because gratitude helps us to see the world differently. Instead of pushing and striving, gratitude helps us to slow down and remember the beauty of the everyday. Not to mention that gratitude has a ripple effect, so the more you express gratitude the more open you are to receiving.
Try starting a gratitude journal or make it a goal to show your appreciation to one person each week.
5. Create a daily practice
Dedicating the first part of your day to yourself may sound indulgent, but it's actually a great way to improve your productivity, relationships and health. When we tend to our own needs (physical, emotional and spiritual), we are better able to show up for others. The key to creating a daily practice is to find something that works for you - meditation, movement, journaling, reading... be curious and explore different things to create a routine that works for you.
6. Practice acceptance
A lot of the struggles we experience in life develop because we are unable to accept that there are things beyond our control. We push, strive, manipulate and control - all of which keep us struggling. By practicing acceptance and understanding that there is so much outside of our control, we open the door to greater freedom and peace of mind.
Mantra --> Nothing stays the same, everything changes.
7. Spend less time consuming and more time creating
Be honest here - how much time do you spend aimlessly scrolling on social media? If you stopped to add it up, how much time do you actually spend looking at Twitter or browsing Pinterest? If you're anything like me the answer is probably too much.
We are constantly consuming information through social media, blogs, webinars, Youtube, livestreams etc. The problem is that when we are constantly bombarded with content, we can end of feeling burnt out.
- Take regular social media detoxes - switch for a day, weekend, week or month
- Schedule time for social media - I only allow myself to check social media once on a morning and then in the evening
- Limit the number of channels you use. Do you really need to be on every social network or could you narrow it down to a few select ones?
- Set a goal to create 1 new thing a day - it might be a blog post or piece of content, a photo or even a meal you prepare using a new recipe. Tap into your creative energy
8. Clear the clutter
Whether it's that drawer in the kitchen, paperwork on your desk or your email inbox, dedicate a little time each week to work on clearing clutter. When our environment is tidy and organised, we are less likely to be distracted. If de-cluttering seems like a daunting task, break it down into small segments that you can spend 30 minutes a day or week working on.
9. Take a walk
Movement and being in nature are great mood boosters. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, restless or anxious - try getting outside for a walk. Even just 10 minutes can make a huge difference to your overall wellbeing. Don't be tempted to multi-task by listening to a podcast or making phone calls, use the time to really anchor into the present moment. Take time to notice your surroundings.
10. Focus on one thing at a time
I don't know about you, but I grew up being taught the value in being able to multi-task. In my corporate career, I was expected to be able to work on multiple projects at a time and often I would find myself feeling stressed and overwhelmed. When we have too much on our plate at once, it can have a negative impact. Try working through your to-do list by focusing on one task at a time. Devote yourself fully to that task before moving on to the next. You might be surprised by how much your productivity improves!