You don't have to take huge steps to see major change in your life. It's the small, consistent habits you develop, which have the biggest impact on your overall results.
Follow my 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life Today to start building a life of total wellbeing.
Without a doubt, the actions from my 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life Today, were key stepping stones for my own emotional, physical and financial mindset shifts. It’s never too late to change anything in your life. However, with the internet providing thousands of tools, processes and instructions at the end of our finger tips – the problem is knowing where to start.
I say, keep it simple and keep it free!
Begin with actions you can control this very minute, without too much resistance from your current mindset. Habits when done on a daily or weekly basis, start to form part of your identity and open up even more opportunities to learn and grow. Actions you can take without having to leave your house, spend money or rely on anyone else. My ideal form of self improvement!!!
My personal journey is focused on changing my thinking, health and financial situation. When I started exploring ways to change in 2017 I was trying hundreds of new things. I felt overwhelmed and disheartened. Three years later, I understand that focusing on a few simple actions to any new challenge, is the only way to build momentum and form new habits.
The 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Life Today are the perfect starting blocks to take a step towards a life of total wellbeing.
LET GO OF GRUDGES
I’m a Cancerian so I know all about holding a grudge! If I’m honest, before I started working on myself, I could’ve held a grudge for decades and totally dismiss someone from my life if I believed they did me wrong.
What a lot of wasted time and energy!
I’m sure the person I had the grudge against had no idea I felt that way or couldn’t care less! But still, I would be going about my day and the thought of them would pop up in my head. The emotional connection would fire up as if the incident just happened. I would re-live the event in my mind and vow to keep the grudge burning strong.
It took a while for me to learn that holding on to negative emotions about someone, was doing more harm to me than that person, (who is probably going about their life not even thinking of me!). I had to make a conscious decision to prioritise the emotions I wanted to feel in order to release the negative feelings towards them. Giving me my power back.
Understanding that forgiveness is not for them – it’s for me, was a total ‘eureka’ moment. You see, much of the time if we are hurt by other peoples actions, we start to question our own identity. Things like “What is it about me that made them think it was OK to do that?”. “Why didn’t I stick up for myself?”. “How did I find myself in that situation?”. All questions our mind will replay over and over again.
The thing about the mind is that if you ask the wrong question, it will still give you an answer.
Usually, the wrong question provides disempowering answers like, “because you deserved it”. “You are not worthy”. “Things like this happen to people like you”.
Challenging my thoughts and asking the right questions about my grudge released me from the guilt of any powerlessness I felt during the situation. This breakthrough made it easier for me to forgive myself for all the times I had messed up or made others feel bad. My life significantly improved when I let go of the grudges I held against myself.
READ ONE BOOK A MONTH
I think I stopped actively reading for pleasure when I finished Uni. With most things, I can’t pin point the exact reason, but I wish I’d kept up the habit all through my twenties and thirties. I may have learned some lessons a bit sooner! Now my passion has re-ignited, I can’t think of a better way to spend my time. I’m reading an average of 20 books a year on all types of stuff. What I’ve learnt has changed my mindset, habits, how I use my time and the way I eat. Ultimately it has changed the direction of my life!
I began to cultivate a solid reading habit when I could no longer ignore the messages I kept receiving online during my mid-life crisis. Each and every podcast, life coach, and wellbeing guru shouted about the importance of reading. Hell, even the most financially successful people of our time attributed reading as a significant reason for their success. So who was I with my overweight, broke ass, procrastinating self to argue? Obviously they knew something I didn’t!
The initial struggle about starting a reading habit is the excuses we give ourselves about ‘time’.
I was so used to my mantra “I have no time”. It became a reason for me not to have time to do anything other than eat, watch TV, search the internet or sleep. (Sounds familiar?). But the reality is, we make time for the things that are important to us. So, just as having a shower and getting dressed are fundamental aspects of my life, so is reading.
The key thing about starting a reading habit is finding ways to make it easy. It doesn’t matter what you choose to read; fiction, non fiction, self-help, autobiographies. The point at the start is finding a subject, person or genre you are interested in.
(For total transparency – not all the books I read are hand held books. I also listen to a lot of audio books when I’m in my car, cooking dinner or cleaning the house. Heck I even listen to them when I’m in the shower! And you know the best bit? All the books I have listened to were free on YouTube! You have no excuses.)
Once you have found your sweet spot, it’s important to make it as accessible and friction free as possible. For me, this meant keeping the book I was reading in full view on my bedside table. Each night, I would tell myself that I will read two pages – that’s all! Two pages was my rule because my brain needed to believe that it was going to be easy to do! Of course, once I started I would sometimes read a whole chapter. But it’s the getting started that needed to be easy, so I had to set my rules to ensure I would ‘open the book’.
Now, because I can see how discovering new ways of living, thinking and being have impacted my life, you will find me reading up to three books at the same time. The one on my bedside table, one I may have in my handbag and an audio book whilst I’m out and about.
Reading is fundamental for your total wellbeing.
START A JOURNAL
This was huge for me! I used to keep a diary when I was a teenager (still have them now), but stopped writing in it once I got to about 18. I must have thought I had it all figured out! However over the last few years I have started journaling again.
I’ve actually got two journals. These are a little different to what I did as a teen. When I was younger, I would write about what happened during the day and how I felt. But now my morning and evening journals have two different functions. My ‘Future Journal’ which I write in the morning and my ‘Gratitude Journal’ which I write in before I go to bed.
Each serve a different purpose for my overall emotional wellbeing. My ‘Future Journal’ is full of all the goals I want to manifest in my life. At the front of the journal are my one, five and ten year goals. Each morning I chose something from the list and write about it in the present tense.
Believe it or not, the brain does not actually know what is real and what is imagined.
All it does it take the information it is receiving and linking them with the emotions you are feeling. (eg. When you watch a movie and it makes you cry or scared. You know that you are sitting in the cinema eating popcorn, but the brain is receiving information from the screen and linking it to the emotional response your body is producing.) Detailing the emotions I’m feeling about having accomplished that goal, effects my physiology and emotional connections. It does amazing things to my mindset first thing in the morning and sets me up for a positive day.
Sometimes if I feel there are things I’m struggling with emotionally, I will write in the present tense how I want to feel, beginning with I Am. DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ‘I AM!’
My gratitude journal is just that! All the things I am grateful for in the present time. I love doing it in the night as I reflect on how my day was. Even if I’ve had a difficult day I always find between five to eight things I am grateful for.
My entries are not always profound. Hell, do you know the amount of times over few years I have been grateful for pomegranates. (I am addicted!!)
My two journals create the perfect balance for me to feel the excitement of all the things I want, whilst being grateful for all the things I currently have.
My Struggle is ‘REAL’!!
Whether you keep a Gratitude Journal, Future Journal or one where you record your day and emotions, they are all important habits to start finding balance in your life. Giving you the opportunity for reflection and direction.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
I don’t know about you, but I came to this late! FAR TOO LATE!!! Unlike my mum, I never really cultivated the habit of saving. As I got older, there was increasingly more month at the end of my money. I was resigned to the mindset that I was not someone that could save money and continued to live pay cheque to pay cheque. Robbing Peter to pay Paul.
When I made the commitment to get out of debt, I still had a negative money mindset. How could I possibly pay off my debts and save money? Then I came across the instruction from David Bach: ‘Pay Yourself First’.
Really? You can do that?
The basic principle to ‘Pay Yourself First’ is to ensure before you pay any bills, debts or anyone else you owe – pay yourself! Put it in a separate account and give it a name. My account is called ‘You deserve it’ and it’s automated. Each month – on pay day, a portion of money is automatically transferred to a savings account with a different bank.
For decades I was so concerned with keeping up with the bills, and paying for life necessities that it never occurred to me that ‘I’ needed to be a priority in my financial payout.
I didn’t start with large amounts or a set percentage of my income. £30 per month was my baseline starting figure. At the time it felt like a huge amount. I still had the mindset of ‘being broke’. It took a while to be comfortable with the idea! How sad it that! Working all month and not thinking you deserve to be rewarded directly for your effort. Slowly but surely I did get comfortable with the money being directed to ‘me’ and started to increase the amount each month.
Even though I am still moving towards being debt free, the fact that I have a sum of money saved for financial emergencies makes me sleep so much easier. I no longer consider myself ‘broke’!
I’ll be doing a few detailed blogs over the coming months about my money habits and how I paid off the majority of my debts and saved money. But as a starter point – if you have no savings – this will kick start your saving habit and improve your money mindset.
FIND A MENTOR
One of the wonderful things about the internet is that it gives you access to just about anyone in the world – including the people you admire the most.
At the start of my journey I really thought I would have to reinvent the wheel to discover the holy grail of my happiness. It never occurred to me that I could just seek someone who has experience or knowledge for the answers I needed. All from the comfort of my home using my smart phone.
Over the years, I have made connections with some amazing people who have mentored me during my journey. Without them, I know I would be stuck back in 2017 mindset, still trying to work things out for myself.
Because I was working on several areas of my life, I needed experts in those specific fields. Would you like me to introduce you to my famous four?
@melrobbins was the first person I encountered that really showed me to how to take action. I continue to be mentored by her as motivation to keep on going. Her book The 5 Second Rule was a game changer!
@jimrohn is my ultimate guru when it came to organising how I would go about achieving my goals. Each time I added a goal to my life, I would consult Jim to work out the best way to go about it.
@garyvaynerchuk was my obsession for over a year. I would digest everything he had to say about business, mindset and just not feeding into the bullshit of everyone around you. It was liberating! (I also got the opportunity to meet him!)
And of course @tonyrobbins has been the biggest influence. From changing my mindset, setting my values and understanding why I did the things I was doing. His guidance has been one of the most significant reasons for my growth.
These are my mentors. However, you have the opportunity to find your own for any area in your life and use their knowledge and advice for you to work out what you need to do to push your life forward in the direction you want.