For years I hung on to bad habits that made my life a lot harder than it needed to be. While I was a positive and optimistic individual, I continued to cause myself a lot of discomfort and suffering because of my habits.
I started living a better life when I replaced negative habits with positive habits. I had to change my ways and practice healthy mental, emotional, and physical habits every day to get to a place where life was pretty great- even when things weren’t going my way. Sure, I still have some good days and some bad days but these days there’s more good than bad and the bad aren’t usually all that bad.
I’m going to tell you what worked for me, but feel free to come up with your own positive habits that improve your life. It’s not too late to start creating positive habits in your life.
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11 Ways to improve your life today!
01. Be grateful
Gratitude is the cure for what ails you- no matter what’s going on in your life. If you pause the hustle and bustle and be thankful for the good stuff you realize your life is actually pretty good- even great! There’s always something to be thankful for.
02. Be happy
Think you need life to go your way to be happy? Think again!
Often simply making the conscious choice to be happy makes you feel a little happier. So does smiling! If you want to be happy, smile more.
03. Be kind
Do you feel like you’re usually at odds with the people in your life? Being kind is a wonderful way to improve your relationships. Everyone deserves kindness- don’t you?
Kindness towards others is sure to improve your mood, too!
04. Mind your business
A lot of suffering you cause yourself happens when you worry about what everyone else is doing or not doing. You cause yourself pain by trying to advise, convince, and control other people. Focus on living your own best life and you’ll suffer a lot less.
And while you’re minding your business- stop worrying about what everyone else is thinking and feeling, too. Ninety percent of the time what someone else is thinking or feeling has absolutely nothing to do with you or what they think about you. It’s not about you- really, it isn’t!
05. Do something different
You’re never going to get different results by doing the same thing. If you don’t like how your life is going, try something new!
Say “no”, say “yes”. Ask for help, ask for more responsibility. Speak up, shut up. Whatever you would normally do, try a different approach- you never know what will happen if you haven’t tried it!
06. Don’t judge
People label life events as positive or negative but many situations are really neutral- neither good or bad but your judgment makes it so.
Cut off on the highway- so what? Why is your life suddenly deemed bad because of this minor annoyance? Your co-worker was late for work again? How is this really your problem unless you make it your problem?
That goes for pre-judging, too. You know, when you decide how something will go before it happens? What, you’re psychic now? Remember, a positive outcome is just as likely as a negative one.
07. Stop complaining
The more you focus on what’s wrong, the more life feels all wrong.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- stop complaining. You’ll be so much happier, I promise!
08. Put yourself first
You deserve a good life and the only person that can make that happen is you! The way you make it happen is by putting yourself first.
Now I’m not talking about putting yourself first at the expense of others, but you can take good care of yourself and meet your own needs before the needs of others.
09. Take care of yourself
Self care is the most important thing you can to do create a great life! People often look to others to meet their needs but that never really works, does it?
Yes, you need other people sometimes, but if you can’t be what you need for yourself then chances are no one else can be that for you. For example, if you don’t love you, you can’t really accept love from others.
10. Be confident
Confidence doesn’t come from being perfect or getting it right the first time; confidence comes from doing your best and making progress.
11. Just be
Sometimes you have to stop and just embrace this moment. Yeah, you have goals and ambitions and you want to improve your life- great!- but it’s okay to just be. After all, you’re a human being, not a human doing.Join the Conversation
Conflict happens regularly in life. Conflict often arises when minor disagreements go unnoticed or unaddressed and become larger issues. In other cases we experience unnecessary stress over perceived conflicts because we have been conditioned to focus on negative experiences.
How we deal with conflict has a significant impact on our health, happiness, and success in life. By overcoming emotional attachments and self-defeating attitudes we can manage conflict more easily.
No really, it’s true! At least, it’s true for me. I wouldn’t say managing conflict is easy but it can be easier than we make it. I don’t fear or avoid conflict the way I used to because I’m confident and compassionate in how I address conflict in my life today. As a result of my changed attitudes, my personal and professional relationships are greatly improved as I’ve learned to positively deal with conflict.
When it comes to conflict, here’s how I roll:
How To Deal With Conflict
“Be kind. Everyone you meet is carrying a heavy burden.” ~Ian MacLaren
You can’t go wrong with kindness. Always be kind. Be kinder than you might feel.
It’s not all about you
Other people have a right to their thoughts and feelings, just as you have a right to yours. Respect the other person’s position- at the very least recognize they have their own life to consider.
Some of it IS about you
In some situations you may defer to someone else completely but this approach isn’t helpful or healthy, either. You have a right to express yourself and address your concerns- just not at the expense of others. Just be honest about your position.
Take responsibility for yourself
The rest of the world doesn’t exist to make you happy- that’s your job! If you blame someone else for your experience you’re probably going to be unhappy most of your life.
Your happiness is up to you! In a conflict don’t expect someone else to make things right for you.
Don’t take responsibility for others
Just as your happiness is your responsibility, someone else’s happiness is their responsibility.
If you’ve done someone wrong by all means own up to it and let the other person take it from there. Make amends and let it go, even if they can’t let it go- you can’t make it right for them.
Respond, don’t react
Do you go on the defensive when facing conflict and react instead of responding? Don’t react- take a few moments to consider how you want to respond.
Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to and you don’t have to respond to every verbal jab.
Use emotion to inform, not define
Facing conflict is an emotionally-charged proposition. Use your emotions to inform your position and avoid allowing your feelings to determine your actions. Just because you feel anger doesn’t mean you have to act out in anger.
Is your response to the conflict Thoughtful, Honest, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind? If not, it may be helpful to stop and re-THINK your position.
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All too often we fall into the trap of letting our external circumstance determine our internal circumstance. I see it all around me- whether or not friends and co-workers have a good or bad day depends on what happens during the day- it doesn’t have to be that way. Life can be so much more than what happens to you.
Regardless of what happens you can make the best of today. When you make the best of each day you make the best of your life. When you make the best of your life you can manage the ups and downs of life a little easier. When you make the best of your life you can be happy, healthy, and content.
Years ago I lived a reactive life. My life was determined by my circumstances- either bad or good in my mind. Despite being a generally positive person, I let everyone and everything else set the tone for my life.
I wasn’t living the life I wanted so I sought new ways of interacting and engaging in my life. Making the best of each day is just one way I turned my life around and began to respond instead of react to life. It really makes every day a little easier. Scratch that, a LOT easier. And not just easier, but more enjoyable, too. Today, in my life, more good stuff happens than bad and even the bad doesn’t feel all that bad.
5 Ways to Make the Best of Today
01. Live in today
Don’t carry yesterday’s sorrows into today. What happened yesterday happened yesterday, not today. Practice leaving what happened yesterday in the past.
You can try journaling about what happened, or even just jotting a note on a slip of paper, and leaving the past on the page instead of in your heart and mind.
And on that note, let tomorrow happen tomorrow. Anxiety, anticipation, and excitement for tomorrow robs today of it’s joy. Take a deep breath and open yourself to this day.
What are you doing right now? Are you going through the motions or being actively involved in today? Practice mindfulness in the moment.
02. Do good work
Whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, productive activity is good for the soul. Take on small, easily accomplished tasks and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done! You can break up bigger projects into smaller parts.
The important thing is to get something done- something you can be proud of.
03. Have fun
A good life isn’t all work- get out there and play! Find ways to add fun to your day!
Yes, you can have fun at work, even if your day-to-day job isn’t all that fun. And no doubt you have plenty of ideas to have fun in your personal time. Are you having fun outside of work, too? Get out there and play!
Adding fun to your day helps you keep a balanced perspective on your day and your life.
You need work, play, and rest to live a full and balanced life. Ideally you’ll have a little of all three each day.
Get a good night’s sleep. Take a power nap.
Even a 5 minute break can be restorative. Stop what you’re doing and do nothing for 5 minutes. Just sit there and breathe for 5 minutes. Let your mind wander or focus on your breath- as long as it restores you.
Find some way to relax and recharge today!
05. Rock this day!
Embrace an attitude of awesome and rock this day! Whatever happens, know that you’ve got this. Make a choice to rock this day! Oh yeah, you’ve got this.
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Do you wake up every morning ready to face the day? Are you generally happy? Do you feel engaged and excited to live your life?
I do. Every day I practice living an intentional life I experience happiness, engagement, and excitement just to wake up and greet the day.
My life isn’t perfect and yet my life is great! My day doesn’t always go the way I want but I learned long ago getting my way isn’t the secret to loving life. The secret is living intentionally.
What does it mean to be intentional?
It means you are purposeful in word and action. It means you live a life that is meaningful and fulfilling to you. It means you make thoughtful choices in your life.
Being intentional means you actively interact and engage with your life. You wake up every day and ask yourself, “how am I going to make this day great?”
You respond instead of react. You love instead of fear. You embrace instead of expect. You accept instead of resist.
Why be intentional?
Be intentional because you want to do more than just get by. Be intentional because you dream. Because you aspire. Because you care about something- anything! Because you live.
Sure, it’s easy to do what others do.
It’s easy to complain about Mondays because Monday is the most lovingly loathed day in our society.
It’s easy to live to work because we buy into the idea that we have to have more- more money, more credibility, more authority, more success. How often do we want these things because we think these things will make us happy?
It’s easy to trudge through life cursing the things you don’t like but staying stuck there. Is that the life you really want to live?
How to be intentional in all you do
What’s important to you? What do you love to do? Which people are meaningful to you? What motivates you? What lights you up? Do more of that! As much as you can do.
Strive to grow and improve but don’t expect yourself or anyone else to be perfect. Embrace being perfectly imperfect and enjoy every minute of it!
You’re a human being- not a human doing. Be just who you are today and go from there.
Discover your choices
You may feel stuck sometimes but the truth is you have unlimited choices. Widen your perspective. Consider all the possible choices from the irresponsible and painful, to the inspiring and honest choices.
Make a list of your choices- even those that you would never choose. Sometimes just knowing you have choices frees you to make the best possible choice you can.
Declutter your life
Get rid of the habits, attitudes, situations, and people that you don’t fully embrace. Rid yourself of those things that hold you back from living a purposeful life.
If something doesn’t have meaning or value in your life, if it doesn’t add to your life but takes away, why are you hanging on to it?
Forgive yourself and forgive others for past wrongs- those things are in the past. Holding onto resentments holds you back.
Live in the moment
Life isn’t lived when…. when you get the raise you deserve, when you have the car you always wanted, when you find love.
Life is lived in this moment, enjoying what you have here and now- not what will be in the future, what is today.
Stop worrying about everyone else
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing. What matters is what you do!
It doesn’t matter what anyone else is thinking. What matters is what you think about you!
Keep living the good life!
The good life is the life you live today. Live it today and do it again tomorrow.
Keep practicing. Keep learning. Keep exploring. Keep thinking. Keep choosing. Keep living. Be intentional in all you do!
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Are you feeling worn out? Burned out? Beat down? Let’s face it, sometimes life is tough. When times get tough it’s especially important to take care of ourselves.
I’ve been dealing with a particularly difficult work situation the past few months. The intellectual and situational stress of my job have taken a toll on me. I’m doing my best to take care of me but, I’ll be honest, it’s not enough. I’m suffering from job burnout. I’ve taken steps to improve my situation and in the meantime it’s more important than ever to be kind to myself.
An added benefit of being kind to myself is an increased and natural capacity to be kind to others. Don’t we all deserve a little kindness? Yes, we do!
33 Ways To Be Kind To Yourself
01. Adjust your expectations
Sometimes I need to adjust my expectations. I enjoy life more when I am mindful of what I do, not what I get. One leads to happiness and the other, more often than not, leads to frustration. I control what I do, I don’t control what happens next.
02. Let one thing go
I admit it, I care. I care about all kinds of things. Sometimes I care so much I cause myself a little bit of pain. But for all the cares I pick up throughout the day, I can always put one thing down.
03. Set boundaries
I get in trouble every time I fail to set boundaries. Without boundaries I am stressed out, burned out, and unhappy- that’s no way to live! Boundaries are the ultimate form of self-kindness. I can set boundaries any time, any day.
04. Get a good night’s sleep
I don’t know about you but I barely function without a good night’s sleep. When times are tough I need sleep more than ever! Yeah, I’ve been known to go to bed at 9pm every night. What? Girl loves her sleep!
05. Listen to music
I choose music to suit my mood- mellow, happy, relaxing, energetic- whatever I’m feeling I have a favorite track that imbues good feelings.
06. Be happy
I don’t need everything to go my way to be happy, all I need is to celebrate whatever happiness exists in this moment. I can cultivate habits of happiness that carry through to difficult days. Happiness is always there, whenever I choose to embrace it.
07. Be silly
A little silliness is the best medicine when I’m taking life too seriously. I might make run around in circles, wave my arms, do a funny dance. I can be spontaneous, be ridiculous, and just plain silly!
08. Take a nap
You already know I like my sleep, and some days being well-rested takes more than a good night’s sleep. Some days a nap is in order to get me through the day. When I nap I wake up refreshed and clear-headed.
I hold my stress in my body. My jaw clenches and my shoulders tense. Moving my body regularly breaks up the tension and provides and outlet for my stress.
I can ride my bicycle, take a walk, or dance along to a favorite tune. Exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym- just moving my body!
10. Know yourself
A little self-reflection goes a long way. Before I can decide what I want, what I need, or what needs to be done I must first know myself. Even just a few minutes of thoughtful mediation or journaling can give me insight into myself.
I love to read! Curling up with a good book is a wonderful reprieve from the stress of the day. Reading a favorite blog can motivate and inspire me. Not a bad way to spend a few minutes of my day.
12. Catch up with a friend
There’s nothing like catching up with a good friend- it’s good for my soul! Isolation, on the other hand, is undoubtedly bad for me.
13. Take a break
Taking a break is not only rejuvenating- I actually get more done when I take breaks than when I don’t. Plus, taking breaks is a really nice way to be nice to me!
14. Ask for what you need
I’m not a mind reader and I have to assume no else in my life is, either. Whatever I need, I have to ask for it.
I love to write! Obviously, I write this blog, right? Before I wrote this blog I kept a journal. My journal was actually my inspiration to start blogging.
It doesn’t really matter what I write, only that I get my thoughts down on paper instead of keeping them churning about in my mind.
Every day I stretch my smile, stretch my body, stretch my heart, and stretch my mind.
17. Get inspired
I try to get a little inspiration every day. Sometimes I inspire myself by writing my blog post. Other days I read something inspiring, collect inspiring quotes on Pinterest, or get out there an be inspiring.
18. Do more of what you’re good at
I do something I’m good at every day. Maybe it’s sharing a smile, helping another person, crafting, planning, organizing, giving hugs, or writing a blog post. I get energized when I do more of what I’m good at.
I’ve got to have my “me” time. I might catch up on a favorite show, re-watch an old favorite, snuggle with my dogs, snuggle with my cats, or simply do nothing at all!
20. Say no
Kindness is saying no when I want to, when I need to, and when I mean it.
Laughter is life’s best medicine for whatever ails me. When all else fails me, there’s always Grumpy Cat.
22. Eat good food
When I eat well, I feel well. Eating good food is kind to my body!
23. Accept and love yourself exactly as you are
Right here, right now, I love me just as I am today. I’m not perfect and I never will be. I’m doing the best I can in this moment and that’s enough.
24. Be gentle with yourself
I can be hard on myself but, really, that gets me nowhere good. On the other hand I make more progress when I am gentle and caring with myself.
25. Celebrate your success
Every day I muster all my awesome in whatever I do. Even better, I celebrate each day’s success- from small to big. (By the way, today I won 2nd place in my Toastmasters club International Speech Contest. Woo hoo!)
26. Say yes
Sometimes I need to say no, and sometimes I need to say yes.
27. Have fun
There’s a little fun in every day! All I have to do is enjoy it!
28. Eat ice cream
There’s nothing wrong with a little self indulgence, is there? Like the ice cream sundae I enjoyed just now. mmmmmm…!
29. Do what’s right
All I really have to do is the right thing. What’s the right thing? Well, that depends on the moment. When I take a deep breath and quiet my mind I usually know what’s right. When I focus on simply doing what’s right, everything else seems to fall into place.
30. Adjust your attitude
What I experience is up to me. When I’m struggling I can often find relief by simply adjusting my attitude. I don’t have to be stuck in negative thinking, I can choose to think positive instead.
31. Express yourself
Failing to express myself will undoubtedly cause me frustration and pain. It’s important that I’m honest about what I’m thinking and feeling.
Even though I don’t have to believe everything I think or everything I feel, it’s important to recognize those thoughts and feelings exist.
I don’t necessarily have to take action- just acknowledging and expressing myself is enough. I don’t even have to tell someone else what I’m thinking and feeling- I can write it down and put it away until later.
32. Respect yourself
I used to put other people’s opinions, needs, and expectations before my own and that way of living was quite unkind. I have to believe in myself and trust myself to live a happy life. I have to respect myself so I can be someone I’m proud of, someone I admire.
33. Try again tomorrow
Some days are difficult and it’s all I can do to somehow muddle through- that’s okay, I can try again tomorrow.Join the Conversation
We tend to measure success by the results of our efforts. Did I get what I want? If I got what I wanted I might say, “life is great!” What if I didn’t get what I want- does that mean life isn’t great? Is my measure of success based on life going my way and only my way? No way!
What I’ve learned is success happens when I simply do my best and forget the rest. My success isn’t measured by where I end up but how much I value the experience of getting there- wherever there happens to be! And when I do my best every day, success is the natural result of my actions.
The yoga principles of abhyasa and vairagya have taught me to be purposeful in my practice and let go of my attachment to the results. In yoga this might look like being mindful of my breath, proper alignment of my body so I don’t injure myself, and the joy and release I experience in pose. Not attaching to the results suggests I don’t judge myself for how far I can stretch into the pose, and this encourages me to simply do my best and let go. These principles help me be my best in life as they do in yoga. A deeper stretch will come with practice.
Focusing on doing your best is all it takes to be successful. Don’t believe me yet? Here’s how it’s worked for me.
Taking it one day at a time
I’m living this moment. Doing my best is making the best of this moment.
When I take life one day at a time I experience all there is in the present and enjoy it for all it’s worth. I’m not thinking about what will happen tomorrow, I’m living today to the fullest. I’m doing what I can with what’s in front of me today.
“Doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment.”
Accept yourself as you are
I can only do what I can do. I may aspire to be more but first I must accept myself just as I am today. I literally can’t do more than I’m capable of right now.
If I want more than I have right now I must first know and accept myself just as I am today, and make the best of the person I am today.
“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Practice makes progress
The more I focus on results over actions, the more frustrated I feel when the results don’t happen how and when I want them to. But when I shift my focus to doing my best just for today, I make progress on my goals.
Practice makes progress. I can enjoy the process when I do my best today and let go of the result.
“You are doing your best only when you are trying to improve what you are doing.”
Great results come from great actions
Before I can get results I have to do the work. Ah, so great actions come before great results. All I have to is my best at the work in front of me and the results will follow in due time.
”Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”
All you have to do to be successful in life is wake up every morning and say, “how can I do my best today?”
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