Now’s the time to start implementing small changes, ie easily duplicatable habits of successful women and men, to yield big results.
Moderate lifestyle tweaks that’ll positively affect your personal and professional lives, as well as your health and wellness. Start with the first 3-4 habits of successful women per month and growing from there.
1. Wake up at the same time every day.
Why does it matter to wake up at the same time every day? VeryWell.com explains, “Think of your wake time as the anchor to your day. Our bodies follow a circadian rhythm and this relies on consistency. There are many things that you do at about the same time every day, not the least of which is sleep. Anchoring your wake time in place is a cue to your body about when you should be awake and when you should be asleep.”
It’s important to take time out to calm your mind every day. Breathe in and out, clear your mind of your thoughts, and just be present. Download a useful meditation app like Headspace or Buddhify (check out a full list of the best meditation apps for 2016 from Heathline) to start with guided meditations and then graduate to whatever works for you.
3. Donate items you don’t use to charity once a quarter.
Clutter is one of the easiest ways to not want to spend time in your home. You don’t need to become a minimalist, but purge your closet of items you haven’t worn in the past year. Not only will you find and consequently utilize items that’ve been lost in the shuffle, but getting rid of old things will make room for new things to come in to your life! Also, giving back can reduce stress, combat depression, keep you mentally stimulated, and provide a sense of purpose. Even donating the most trivial items, like every day period products, can sincerely help others in need.
4. Recite affirmations daily.
Repeat 3-5 positive affirmations in the mirror every day. This will dramatically start improving your relationship with yourself through CBT, aka Cognitive Based Therapy. An example for me would be, “You are loved. You are worthy. You are enough.” If you have trouble coming up with things to say, make a list of all the things you like about yourself next time you’re feeling particularly proud or accomplished and refer to it in times of self doubt.
5. Draft a professional mission statement.
Inc.com explains, “Personal mission statements are an important component of leadership and personal development. They force you to think deeply about your life, clarify its purpose, and identify what is truly important to you. Personal mission statements also force you to clarify and express as briefly as possible your deepest values and aspirations. It imprints your values and purposes in your mind so they become a part of you. Integration of your personal mission statement into your weekly planning is also a way to keep your vision constantly in front of you.”
6. Develop SMART action plans for your goals.
Making an action plan is the number one secret to effective goal setting, regardless of what your goal is. Entrepreneur magazine advises, “Break your plan down into baby steps and attach a realistic deadline to each step. Determine how to measure your progress; these measurements will be your reality check. Then, define your investment. How much will each step cost, in terms of dollars, time, research and energy? What resources can you draw from and what additional resources will you need to acquire?” Also, ensure that your goals are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely), and frame your plan in a way that allows you to measure your progress, track activity, and stay on top of deadlines.
7. Keep a journal.
Document daily or weekly reflections in a feelings journal or diary. Since the start of the new year. You can do it any time, just try to make it a ritual during the same time each day. When you’re feeling lost or confused, re-read the entries where you felt proud or at peace for comfort. Re-read entries for business ideas or to re-ignite a passion that may have dwindled out of tribulation.
8. Plan out your day in advance.
We all know the old adage– if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. Effective planning is super important, and contrary to popular belief, doing more isn’t always better. Quality of tasks will always outrank the quantity of tasks. Pick the top three most important tasks you need to accomplish in a day, and focus only on those three things. If you happen to finish your list, you can start working on other items. If you don’t, put the remaining tasks on your list for tomorrow. Designate your tasks the night before, so there’s no thought involved when you sit down with your coffee in the morning. Just get to work.
9. Set specific times to check and answer emails.
Oh, email– the silent time killer. Since most of us communicate professionally through email, we can’t simply shirk the responsibility altogether. Set designated times (ie thirty minute slots at both 9AM and 4PM) to check and respond to urgent emails. It’s easier than it sounds, since I’m personally tempted to check my inbox for important messages multiple times every hour. However, this restriction is a change I’m devoted to making in the new year, since my productivity really takes a toll when I’m not responsible with my email time.
10. Use apps to block distracting websites.
Just like emails, Facebook and Twitter literally suck valuable energy of our workdays. Stay focused with a productivity app that’s designed to keep you on task by blocking tempting websites during designated work hours. My boyfriend Kyle is a writer, so he signed up for WriteRoom and F.B. Purity a few months ago. He loves it. Other alternative apps (recommended by Mashable) are Freedom, Anti-Social, RescueTime, and Dark Room.
11. Cook your own meals at least one night a week.
Similarly to committing to using and drinking clean water, remember that you are what you eat. If you want to feel you best, you need to eat food that makes you feel your best. Commit to eating fresh food at least once a week. You can always expand from there. If you’re anything like me, you may find cooking much more therapeutic than you ever thought possible!
12. Give “Meatless Monday” a try.
You may have heard of Meatless Mondays, and it’s actually not just an un-researched internet fad. Studies show that reducing your red meat may lower your risk of cancer and heart disease. According to their website, which you can judge for yourself, going meatless once a week can also fight diabetes, curb obesity, and improve the nutritional quality of your diet.
13. Create weekly meal plans.
We have enough stressors in our daily life. Don’t make food one of them. Every Sunday or Monday (or whatever day you designate), plan your meals for the week. Make a grocery list and get all the ingredients in one fell swoop. You’ll save time, energy, and the most valuable asset of all, your sanity.