Written by Kalysa Law | August 28, 2020
Up·grade (verb, /ˈəpˌɡrād,ˌəpˈɡrād/). To raise (something) to a higher standard, in particular improve (equipment or machinery) by adding or replacing components.
When the phone in your hands start responding slower and slower, you know it is time to upgrade to a new one; however, when our daily routines starts to get out of hand, a new purchase will not magically fix the problem.
There is no “upgrade” button built into our system for us to hit whenever we need a boost, unfortunately. When the grey, heavy clouds of procrastination and chaos hover over our heads, it is time to examen our daily lifestyle habits that contribute to the bad weather. “We become what we repeatedly do,” said Sean Covey in his book, The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teens. Certain actions become habits after the decision is consciously and continuously made by us for an extended amount of time. Be your best self and make healthy lifestyle changes by developing good habits to have daily. Slowly, use small and healthy habits as building blocks to create the lifestyle we envision.
1. Start Small, Be Consistent
Motivation and ambition are like rainbow sprinkles to your dairy-free ice cream, the chopped herb toppings to your gluten-free pasta—it is nice to have but not an absolute essential. A message that really stuck to me is when I asked an accomplished fitness trainer for her secret to consistent workouts and a healthy diet, she told me that to achieve any goal, the key factor is discipline, not motivation. While motivation and ambition is definitely an instant boost in any journey, it is not a reliable source of fuel to keep us going. Setting up big goals is easy, however, the disappointment also comes fairly quickly. Instead, start by making small changes. Put your mind to consistently making the right choices in smaller areas in your daily routine, after all, only habits that last can truly make an impact.
2. Declutter Your Space
A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. Cleaning can be extremely daunting and tedious if done only once in a while, however, it can easily be maintained if done in small portions. Any space can go into disorder, including physical, digital, and mental space. To maintain a tidy physical space is fairly straight forward—fold your laundry instead of letting it pile up, clean your dishes before going to bed. Have a set rule allows you to keep your physical area tidy. Either you prefer to put away everything before bed, or to wake up and clean first thing in the morning, always make sure it’s done some time or another to prevent the clutter from building up. Not only will that take away the stress from doing a deep clean, it also gives you an enjoyable space at all times!
While we spend a lot of time physically sitting in the office, our minds are often stuck in the screens. To manage your digital space, it is important to utilize the right tools. Create a system that is tailored to your personal needs and stick to it. Keeping back up forms of important documents and filing away paperwork accordingly will ensure that you always find what you need without panic and also minimize unnecessary distractions.
Our minds go miles per hour while realistically we are only physically capable to focus on one task at a time. To ensure no precious ideas slip and no appointments are missed, daily planners, reminders, to-do lists, note taking softwares are easily accessible and often very user friendly. By delegating the responsibility of memory and keeping track of tasks to your planner of choice, you can finally let your mind relax knowing that when you wake up the next day, everything you need to know will be right where you left off.
3. Feed Yourself Positivity
Feeling upbeat and cheerful might not always be a default while being in the midst of a jam-packed day, however, it could easily make your busy day go by a lot faster and enjoyable. While physical health is important, your mental wellness cannot be overlooked either. Sometimes it takes spoon feeding small bites of fun and sparkle to yourself to keep the smile on your face. Take advantage of your commute, the five minutes waiting for your coffee to brew, or while completing the boring tasks like cleaning, the small empty slots of time where you cannot avoid during the day are perfect for a small music or podcast break. Put on your favorite album or a new podcast and enjoy an instant mood boost. Although listening to music or watching fun videos might not intuitively feel “productive”, it is important to introduce new ideas and creativity, and who knows, it might give you a brilliant idea unexpectedly!
4. Make Smarter Purchases
We can’t all be financial experts, but we can all commit to having good money-management habits. Before we reach any long or short term goals, it is important that you first examine how you spend money. Retail therapy can be an instant fix or stress relieve, but often times we are not proud of the outcome of an impulse purchase. “Quality over quantity” is a rule of thumb to follow while making any purchase. Not only is it healthier for your bank account, it is also more environmentally responsible. It is always smart to invest in better quality items in comparison to multiple short-living items. Making smarter purchases will not only take away the decision fatigue that often comes with shopping, it will actually save you money in the long run.
5. Appreciate Little Joys
While all the life hacks above are important and valid, the easiest yet most effective tip to a happier daily life is not to fulfill all the supposedly missing parts, but to simply appreciate what’s already there. The crave for wealth, social status, recognition, or self fulfillment is often what pushes us to go forward, but the ultimate goal to live your best life always seems out of reach. By shifting your mindset from wanting more to appreciating what is already there, you will notice that you are already living your best life. While there will always be space for improvement, there is no reason to wait until all your goals are met to actually start feeling happy and fulfilled. Through meditation, journaling, or simply slowing down and looking around, take notice of the lovely people around you, the wholesome food you are enjoying, or little joys that brighten your day. It is proven that “by consciously practicing gratitude, we can train the brain to attend selectively to positive emotions and thoughts, thus reducing anxiety and feelings of apprehension.” Make a habit of giving the little joys in your daily life more attention and appreciation, not only will it change how you view your current lifestyle, it can also make a long-lasting impact on your mental health.