Remember how long you’ve been putting this off, how many extensions the gods gave you, and you didn’t use them. At some point you have to recognize what the world it is that you belong to; what power rules it and from what source you spring; that there is a limit to the time assigned you, and if you don’t use it to free yourself it will be gone and will never return. - Marcus Aurelius
Simple works, complex fails – Tim Ferris
We all know we should be drinking more water, but it's often a challenge to get started. The solution, make it so easy, that not doing it, is the difficult option. Buy a water bottle, fill it up every morning and carry it with you throughout the day and drink whenever you feel thirsty. Don't aim to drink the full bottle, just aim to drink when you feel like drinking, that way you'll always win and as we learned before, a small win is better than nothing. This positive reinforcement will eventually lead to betterÚ behaviour. Since it's always with you the harder option would be to get up and find another drink, this little bit of friction will make drinking water a lot easier.
- If you haven't got one, buy a water bottle
- Fill it up every morning. Drink throughout the day.
- Notice if you feel happier/healthier
- How do you feel after drinking more water?
- What benefits have you started to notice?
- How would you persuade others to drink more water?
2. Thoughts, Feelings, Actions
Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him – Jesus
Being sad isn't just a feeling. We think 'Why does no one like me?' 'What did I do wrong?' ;Why do I hurt so much?' and create lists of reasons why we should feel sad. We become lazy, we do nothing and lose our sense of meaning and purpose. The opposite is also true. What are your thoughts like when you feel your best? How much more gets done when you feel your best? When we start viewing all three as connected we are able to quickly change states.
We've all experienced being in a bad mood only to go to sleep and wake up feeling a lot better. We procrastinate until our thoughts or feelings move us into action. How good do you feel before and after you exercise?
When we think positively, act right and feel great our lives get filled with more and more greatness. When we choose to think negatively, not act and linger in those negative feelings they'll grow too, until you're stuck in a hell of your own creation. Choose to be happy, think positive and do what needs done.
For the next three days, notice your feelings before, during and after these tasks
- Exercise for 15 minutes each day
- Write down 5 positive things about you/your life
- Walk in nature
- What thoughts moved you into action?
- What actions led you to feeling great?
- Where did your feelings lead you?
- What leads you to feeling your best?
3. The Best Future
Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant. - Robert Louis Stevenson
Where we're going is more important than where we are. Where we're going determines everything: our thoughts, actions, and our mood. When life's going to hell, we think negatively, act accordingly, and feel rubbish. When things are getting better, we think clearly, our actions keep pushing us forward, and we feel awesome.
We unconsciously know this. We feel, think, and act differently without realizing why, only to look back later, connect the dots, and see that life was moving in the wrong direction. To become more conscious, visualize the best and the worst possible futures. If you notice yourself feeling, acting, or thinking negatively, ask if you're moving towards the best or worst future, then make the changes needed to get back onto the right path.
Spend 10 minutes visualizing your best and worst futures.
Where are your current actions moving you?
What one thing, if stopped, would move you closer to the best future?
What one thing, if stopped, would move you towards the worst future?
What did you do today to move you closer to the best future?
What's leading you towards the worst future?
Are you proud of where your life is heading?
4. Reflect On Death (Others)
The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one. – Seneca
When the time comes and our loved ones part from us, what would be the best state for us to be in? I believe it to be a state in which we have no regrets. A state where we are proud of how much meaning we gave to their lives and how much they gave back. A state in which we believe they smiled, thinking of our time together as they passed. So how do we make that goal more likely?
We pause before we speak and act and ask ourselves, "Will I regret saying/doing this?" We plan and attend events that will create memories. We take in as much as we can when we are with loved ones – the sights, sounds, smells, etc. We make sure that regardless of what happened, you both leave every situation happy. People don't remember specifics, but they do remember how you made them feel. Make them feel great.
Pick any loved one and
- Imagine the future without them. What's it like? What do they add when they are there?
- What memories do you focus on when remembering them? How do they make you feel?
- How much do our grievances really matter?
- How will this reflection change my actions/feelings towards them?
- With whom did you make new memories this week?
- Whom will you show your appreciation to tomorrow?
- With whom do you need to make amends?
5. Spread Joy
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. ― Aesop
Think of the last time you made someone smile. How did that make you feel? Pretty good, right? That's because making others smile is one of the quickest ways for us to feel joy ourselves. Seek out different ways to make others smile, and with it, you'll be on track to live a happier life.
How I seek to make others smile:
Jokes, sharing useful knowledge, compliments, inviting them to events, asking for their expert advice, talking to them.
For the next week,
- Write out five different ways you could make someone smile.
- Perform one of these actions each day.
- Did they smile? How did it make you feel?
- If they didn't smile, try to make someone else smile.
- How did you spread joy today?
- How did that make you feel?
- How will you spread joy tomorrow?
6. Fix The Small Problems
Problems are the price you pay for progress. - Branch Rickey
Problems can seem so big that there are no solutions. This sends us into depression, and when we're in that state, things slowly just get worse. In order to avoid this state, seek solutions to small problems.
Do you expect to lift the heaviest weights the first time you enter a gym? Of course not. You start small and work your way up. Don't expect to change the world if you can't change your clothes. By starting small, you learn that you can solve problems. You learn that not only can you find solutions, but you can also take action to solve them. What small problems can you solve now?
- Look around you. What problems can you see that you can solve?
- Take action and correct the problem.
- How do you feel knowing that you helped make the world a little bit better?
- Repeat this task daily.
- What small problems have you solved?
- How did you feel after solving them?
- What small problems can you solve tomorrow?
A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow. - Charlotte Bronte
We all know the importance of good sleep, but sometimes getting that is easier said than done. Lying in bed, overwhelmed by thoughts, has kept everyone up at some point in their lives. How do we clear our heads, so we can sleep? You meditate and clear your head.
But it's not always thoughts that keep us up. Sometimes we have too much energy stored up inside us. Being active throughout the day will minimize this. Stretching before bed will serve as a 'cool down' and rest your body. Not only will it rest your body, but stretching also improves your physical performance, decreases your risk of injury, and helps your joints move through their full range of motion.
Stretch and focus on your breath before bed. If a thought enters your head, return focus back to your breath. Stretch from your head and work your way down to your toes.
Notice how rested you feel.
Notice as your head gets less cluttered each day.
Notice how quickly you fall asleep.
After stretching, do you go to sleep faster?
How do you feel after stretching?
Do you feel calmer throughout the day?
Remember, it is not enough to be hit or insulted to be harmed; you must believe that you are being harmed. If someone succeeds in provoking you, realize that your mind is complicit in the provocation. Which is why it is essential that we not respond impulsively to impressions; take a moment before reacting, and you will find it easier to maintain control. - Epictetus
Words can be as powerful as a slap in the face if we let them. If an idiot said, 'Pigs can fly,' we'd dismiss it, so why do we trust their judgment on us? Maybe we're not upset at their judgment but are upset at our own judgment of ourselves. Do beautiful people feel insulted when called ugly? Smart people when they're called idiots? Healthy people when they're called fat? No, the insult only hurts when we see ourselves in the same light. If you want to be immune, be awesome, do your best, and only repeat good thoughts about yourself. You know yourself better than anyone. It's the one field where you're the world expert. Does it make sense for a world expert to get upset over a fool's observation?
- Next time you feel triggered, pause and take a breath.
- Reframe the situation.
- Choose not to be offended.
- What situations have you chosen not to take offense to?
- How did you prevent yourself from taking offense?
- How does choosing not to be offended make you feel?
9. No Complaining Challenge
Don’t be overheard complaining… Not even to yourself. - Marcus Aurelius
Complaining makes our sorrows grow. We complain to get recognition for how we feel. But why would you want agreement for these negative feelings? If you aim to be calm and happy, stop complaining.
Seek solutions. It may be as simple as looking at the situation from another perspective. You might need to take action. If you're scared, ask yourself, "What's scarier, taking action or living with this problem indefinitely?" Taking action may lead to conflict, but that dies fast, and beyond that chaos awaits a happier life.
Is it your job to make sure your neighbor's dishes are cleaned? What if they are really upset about the mess? We often assume others should fix OUR problems and script a narrative around why it's THEIR problem, forgetting that it's only a problem if it bothers you. Others won't fix your problems; assuming they will will only bring you more anger and dispersal. Your problems are YOUR problems. It's up to you to solve them.
- Don't complain for a week. This includes complaining on social media, to others, and to yourself. If you complain, start over. *Asking for help is allowed.
- Notice how much better you feel.
- Have you managed a week without complaining?
- Who could help you solve your problems?
- How has seeking solutions, instead of complaining, improved your life?
10. Music Is Hypnotic
One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain." - Bob Marley
Music speaks to our subconscious. How often have you noticed you've been tapping away to the beat of a song you weren't paying attention to? Music moves us. Lyrics repeat in our minds throughout the day. We act as if what is repeated is true. Watch how the music you listen to moves and reprograms you.
- What type of life do you want?
- Does the music you listen to reflect this?
- What music would help you grow?
- What lyrics are you focusing on?
- What would your life look like if you were happier?
- What type of music do you listen to?
- How does it affect your thinking?
- How does it affect how you act?
- How does it make you feel?
- Is it improving your life?
Then check out my two guidebooks towards a happier life.