It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of thinking that living well means what society has conditioned us to think, and that’s constantly being able to check off the ‘big’ or lavish things in life: The fancy gourmet meals, expensive car, dream wedding, 5-star holidays and designer wardrobe.
Don’t get me wrong—there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting or having these things.
But if you’re always stressed out, anxious and dissatisfied with life because achieving the major, ‘mind-blowing’ stuff is all you’re focused on, you could be missing out on the little joys that come with simply being alive.
So what can you do to be happy, healthy and satisfied without falling into the trap of thinking that first, you must tick off that list of (mostly) superficial goals that everyone else has created for you?
Plenty. And often, the best place to start is to aim really, really small.
Here are 12 tiny things that you can start doing right now (and they’re probably not what you expected):
- Walk more. And whenever possible, take the stairs. If you’ve been meaning to start working out but don’t know how, this is the perfect place to get going. Plus, it takes all the complication out of getting enough exercise. I’m keeping track of my daily movement goals with an Apple Watch, which also reminds me to stay active throughout the day,
- Sleep an extra 30 minutes. Or go to bed 30 minutes earlier. It’ll help you feel sharper, calmer and more prepared to take on the challenges that will inevitably come your way, the next day. Oh, and did you know that getting enough sleep can also help trim down your waistline?
- Add an extra tablespoon (or more) of vegetables to your plate. The more nutrient-rich, low-calorie greens you have on your plate, the less room you’ll have for the nutrient-poor, high-calorie stuff. Brownie points: More greens keeps you fuller for longer (read: Bye-bye in-between meal snack cravings).
- Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Tricky to do, even among the best of us, but so worth it. Why? It’ll help make your life less stressful and complicated by stopping you from saying “yes” when you actually mean “no”. Done consistently, it’ll also help build trust with the people in your life.
- Stop eating when you’re no longer hungry. Not easy to do at first, but with practice, it gets easier and nips overeating (and that growing waistline) in the bud. Being able to master this habit is the key to losing weight and keeping it off without having to go on another restrictive diet, ever again.
- Start your day with 2 glasses of water. Helps ‘wake’ you up and hydrates your body after a night of fasting. If you’re used to starting your day with a glass of OJ or sugar-infused latte, swap it for water and your waistline will thank you for it.
- Connect with someone you care about every day. Just call to say “Hi”, ask a friend how she’s doing, or meet her in person to give her a hug. One tiny gesture of care and concern can make all the difference in their day…and yours.
- Wear clothes that help you look and feel good. Don’t jump on the latest fast fashion trend just because it’s the popular thing to do. Instead, invest in fewer, higher-quality and consciously-made pieces of clothing that flatter your body (a favorite of mine is Everlane). You’ll spend less time worrying about how you look so you can focus on the things that truly matter to you, with confidence.
- Keep your ego in check. Learning how to leave your ego at the door is essential for living a good life. It’s easier to learn and grow when you don’t think you know everything, and it’ll make every area of your life better: At work, at the gym, in social settings, in your personal relationships. It’ll also make you more likeable.
- Think of something you’re grateful for the minute you wake up. Gratitude is the cure for jealousy, bitterness and discontent. Even better, write down three things that you’re grateful for and why, every single day. It’ll change how you see life and everything you have.
- Whenever you have a negative or stressful thought, question it. Worrying can lead you down a destructive path of negative thinking, anxiety and irrational fears, stopping you from living in the present. You are not your thoughts, yet your thoughts create your reality, so choose them wisely.
- Learn how to cook a nice meal for yourself. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal that you know you’ll love. Go learn a new recipe that will rock your taste buds and recreate it. Then when you’ve mastered it, try adding a twist of your own. Voila! You’re your own chef. My favourite go-to for easy-to-follow recipes that taste good? Jamie Oliver’s Happy Days With The Naked Chef.
These may not seem like much when you’re just starting out, but when compounded and done consistently over time, can add up to a life that’s filled with more ease, good health and contentment than you could ever imagine.
And that is a good life.
If you’re too busy surviving, chances are, you’re not thriving. You’re feeling tired, unhealthy, unmotivated and just plain worn-out from life. I created my FREE Daily Self-Care Ritual Workbook just for busy folks like you who want to take back their health, peace of mind and happiness. Get your very own copy of the workbook HERE. No spam. Just helpful, good-for-you stuff. Pinky swear.
Originally published at www.michelelian.com