10 Tips You Can Immediately Use for Health, Wellness, and Life Success
2013 is now fully underway and as people worldwide are working hard to stick to their resolutions, many others have already lost their focus and given up on the goals they set just a few weeks ago. As the famous author M. Scott Peck said at the start of The Road Less Traveled, “Life is Difficult,” but I would argue that while that is certainly true, life doesn’t have to be impossible!
While there are no “quick fixes” when it comes to life happiness, health, and productivity, there are a number of things we can do that will lead to immediate psychological and physical improvement in all three areas. The following list of tips, ideas, and strategies consist of many of the same things I routinely discuss with my clients who struggle with their level of life satisfaction, mood state, emotional intelligence, and overall mental toughness:
- Exercise – Yes, I know, this one is a no-brainer. Interestingly, I should have replaced “exercise” with the word “move,” as you might be surprised at the benefits of simply making your body move a little more each day (this could be by taking the steps instead of elevator, etc.). In fact, walking is a terrific way to lose weight and immediately feel better — and this might be the best option for people not quite ready for a full-go exercise routine.
- Examine your “circles” – Often when I meet with clients who tell me they are depressed, we quickly see where the root of their depression is and this might surprise you — it’s the people they spend the most time with each day! Do you have work associates or other friends who constantly complain about everything? If so, it might behoove you to spend a few less minutes around them each day — for example, do you need to have lunch with the same Negative Nellie everyday, or can you spend your time better elsewhere (like walking!). The point here is that misery does in fact love company, and often our mood states cycle downward over the long grind of listening to the same people spew their negativity in our company.
- Set specific goals – Rather than setting goals like “to get healthy” or “to find a better job,” try and become more specific and identify precise targets. Using the weight loss example, how much do you want to lose, and by what date? How will you lose the weight by then (whats your plan)? Similarly, what type of job do you want? How will you find those potential opportunities? How many phone calls and resumes will you need to send out each week? These are all examples of how being specific plays into effective goal setting.
- Cultivate a hobby – Enjoying “downtime” might be the best battery recharge in the world for humans, and what better way to enjoy downtime than to enjoy a hobby or some other enjoyable venture? Sadly, as we age we sometimes get away from many of the “fun” things we used to do – like reading, painting, playing games, and woodworking. Engaging in a hobby allows for so many good things to happen – it reduces stress, increases creativity, and improves our overall sense of self.
- Prioritize downtime – Yes, you heard that correctly – don’t just wait around until you can “find some time,” but instead make downtime a priority. This does not mean you blow off important things that must be done (like going to work), but instead suggests that you critically examine where your time goes each week and build in breaks similarly to how you build in other responsibilities. Your downtime might only be 30 minutes, but you will be amazed at how quickly that “reset” will increase your energy and galvanize your resiliency.
- Learn – Our minds love to take in new information, and learning new things is one of the best ways to “stay fresh.” Think about new subjects you would like to learn more about – sports, politics, geography, world history – then take advantage of the internet and begin your new pursuit. In this day and age of technology, learning acquisition couldn’t be any easier!
- Be creative – We all have a creative self, even if some people are very surprised to know that. For as long as humans have been on planet earth, we have left behind our writings, paintings, sketches, and all kinds of other creative recordings. Unfortunately, after childhood we are rarely encouraged to continue to cultivate our creative selves, usually because the “real world” responsibilities seem to take precedent. Make this year the year you re-ignite your creative self and watch how quickly your mood state will improve, too.
- Take control – Arguably the best way to fight stress is to take control of your life. In fact, research studies have shown that when we are in control (or even when we feel in control, but really aren’t) we experience far less negative stress. Taking control means doing the things in life that help us with happiness and success – this might include developing a daily schedule, prioritizing events in our lives, and taking care of responsibilities we once blew off in the past. Want instant life relief? Take control of your life and enjoy the results!
- Set parameters around technology – Yes, we all have technological devices we seem to be tethered to (phones, ipads, etc), and while these tools help us in many ways, they also prevent us from doing many “real life” things. Put down the text messaging and have a real-life conversation with someone! Better yet, block off time each day where you get completely away from your hand-held device (like when you are having dinner). You might be surprised to learn that a lot of the stress we experience each day is a result of the things we don’t do (but should be doing) while playing on our devices.
- Read an autobiography annually – We all need a “pick-me-up” from time to time, and powerfully written autobiographies can do just that. When we read about other successful people and the stress, frustration, adversity, and failure they experienced while on their path to greatness, it gives us the motivation and resiliency needed to do the same.
Looking for even more to help you jump start 2013? Then check out Optimal Balance, designed to give you the tools to help maximize your happiness, health, and life productivity!