Leadership

5 Habits to Improve Your Life

Cary Register

Fitness and Leadership Editor

Self improvement can be a difficult task, and you might be struggling on where to start. I wanted to share 5 things that I do on a daily basis that have greatly improved my life. Any one of these things can make a profound difference in your life, but the accumulation of all five have led to my life being better than i could have ever imagined. Here are five habits that you can do every day that will change your life.

1. Make Your Bed

Making your bed might seem like a menial task, but it’s actually a strong indication of your discipline. If you have enough discipline to make your bed in the morning, then you have the discipline to accomplish other daily tasks.

On the flip side, if you can’t handle the simplicity of making your bed then you cannot expect to be able to handle life’s more difficult challenges. It’s the little things that make us, and making one’s own bed is a sign that you can handle the little things in life. If you can handle the little things, then the big ones are much easier.

I’m not alone in this assessment, many leaders advocate this daily chore, from military leaders to CEOs. Plus, it’s nice to come home to a nicely made bed. If all else in the day fails you at the very least did something right. Discipline isn’t made in a day, and what better place to start than to make your bed?

2. Pray

While this might be a foreign concept to the secular, starting the day off in prayer is a fantastic beginning. Just taking a few moments to thank God for your blessings helps bring about a sense of gratitude. I usually pray just after waking up, and my prayers consist of thanking God for my blessings, asking him to be with me today, and to free me of my selfish nature and to help me be of maximum service to others.

My prayers rarely focus on route memorization, but are more personable and feel more like a conversation. If prayer is something new to you or you are unsure of where to start, I recommend getting on one’s knees and speaking to God like you would a respected mentor. I find that regular prayer in the morning helps me feel more spiritually grounded and centered in my thinking. Prayer is impossible to do wrong, and however you do it is the right way for you. 

3. Journal

I find that the regular use of a journal is similar to prayer, in that it helps me center myself and focus on the positive aspects of my life. I like to journal in the morning and evenings just before bed. I start by listing three things that happened within the last 24 hours or so that I am grateful for. Then I pick one and expand on it. This helps put me on a more positive stream of thought and better appreciate life’s many blessings.

It’s hard for me to be negative or depressed when I’m focusing on the good things in my life. In the evening I like to journal about my day, and if anything bad happened I usually write about it. I find this to be quite cathartic. Once I get my thoughts down on paper, I feel as if whatever it was I wrote about is no longer hanging over me.

I have been using a journal regularly for several years now, and I feel as if it helps me to clear my thoughts and focus on the good things in life. Other people I know who journal express similar results and they also seem to be more positive people. While I don’t claim to be a ray of sunshine all the time, I have noticed that I am much happier since I have taken up the habit, when before I was much more apt to focus on the negative.

4. Exercise!

Whether it’s walking or hitting the weights, regular exercise can benefit you regardless of your current fitness level. For me, exercise helps to clear my head. My thinking becomes sharper when I exercise regularly, not to mention the superior body image I now have of myself. I find that exercise is essential for me both for my physical and mental well being.

It’s easy to become intimidated and give up on regular exercise, but I implore you to start slow and gradually build up from there. Remember that nobody came out of the womb with the perfect physique and that we all have to start somewhere.

If you are unsure of where to start I would recommend walking. Gradually add in other things like stretching and body-weight exercises. Take it slow, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You might find that your body and spirit begin to change. Don’t believe the myth that your too old or too overweight. Studies have shown time and again that regular exercise leads to a longer life and healthier lifestyle.

It is important to note that exercises such as weight lifting or other methods of resistance training are usually much harder in the beginning. It takes some time for the body to adapt to a new routine, and you might find yourself to be extremely sore and weak. This is natural. Keep working at it, and I promise that your body will adapt and exercise will become fun and challenging rather than grueling and impossible. 

5. Eat Better

Last but not least, diet. You are what you eat, and if you eat like garbage then you will feel like garbage. Diet is important for almost all aspects of your life not just your waist line. A poor diet can cause depression, fatigue, brain fog and of course weight gain. A poor diet makes for a poor life. But, there is a solution. Just eating one healthy meal can make a difference in how you feel. There are a plethora of healthy choices, but to make it simple stick to whole foods.

I find a good rule of thumb is to eat anything you find on the outside of the grocery store and avoid everything else. I like to focus on a high protein, high vegetable diet, but whatever works for you is best. Just avoid fat food and focus on whole foods should be enough to make a profound difference in your life. It took me years to develop a healthy eating lifestyle, and it’s important to remember that building this habit takes time.

Any one of these habits can make a profound difference in your life. I find that combining them has given me a life well worth living and full of joy. I feel as though I am becoming the man I am supposed to be, and all it takes is a few habits. A few things done everyday is enough to make a difference.

These habits aren’t the gospel of a healthy lifestyle, but they sure have changed my life. I think that this might be as good a place as any to start, and if you find along the way that other things work better for you then by all means. Just remember that habits take time to develop, and it’s about the journey not the destination.

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