I believe that regardless of what you want to improve in your life, there are some key elements that you need to cover in order to proceed on more complex goals.
These are the Essentials. You may neglect the impact they have, but you can’t escape from the long-term consequences of not taking care of these areas of your life.
When you create a habit of practicing them on a daily basis then everything else starts to fall into place.
Taking care of the essentials is like building a solid foundation for a house. If you overlook this process then the whole construction is more likely to fall apart.
Something similar applies to goals.
Developing small and simple habits will serve as a foundation for big goals later down the road. By continually doing these small things you learn about two core elements of achievers, namely discipline and willpower.
1. The glass is always half full
It’s up to you whether you use your current situation as an excuse for doing something or not. The fact is, if you expect something more from your life, then you can’t wait until the glass is completely full because it won’t happen by itself.
Fooling yourself that you will start once you have more time, money and motivation is procrastination at its finest. Start today and see that it’s not that hard to do the first step. Soon you will wish you started before.
We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it.Jeff Goins, The Art of Work
Key takeaway: don’t wait until tomorrow for circumstances to change.
2. Eat well
Food is one of the basics responsible for your performance and well-being. Then again, plenty of people treat food as a pure entertainment, completely ignoring the side-effects.
Many of us have also tried various diets, but it’s often hard to stick to them for a long time.
The problem with diets is their purpose. You do it to loose weight, so once you achieve your goal you tend to get back to your past habits.
More often than not, it’s a sprint, but the right attitude is preparing for a lifelong marathon.
Your approach to healthy eating shouldn’t be aggressive and sudden. Going small and doing tiny changes one by one works a lot better, as you have more time to adapt.
I didn’t go from Point A to Point B. It’s more like Point A to Point Z, with lots of points in between.Leo Babauta from Zenhabits
Key takeaway: each day is the right one to make healthy choices and improve slightly by every bite you take.
3. Sleep enough
I know how tempting it is to work till late at night when you feel excited about a particular project. Then again, when you take a look from a long-term perspective then it’s beneficial to stop where you’re at and start fresh tomorrow.
I used to underestimate the importance of sleep. I was aware of the benefits, but it wasn’t until I was frustrated with the side-effects until I finally changed my attitude.
Insufficient sleep eventually makes you:
- emotionally unstable
Not to mention several health issues.
Sure, you may move forward to a certain point supplementing lack of sleep with coffee or caffeine drinks. But to thrive you have to sleep like a baby. There is no way around it.
Key takeaway: get enough sleep and ideally stick to a sleep schedule.
4. Take a walk outside
Walking, as simple as it gets. Just get up and go. The best ideas come to your mind when you are relaxed. If things are not going according to your plan, it’s good to get some fresh air and a little activity. It will help you to look at it from a different perspective.
Also, sitting too much at home or in your office might be quite overwhelming in the long run.
Taking a walk is so simple you can’t say no. It’s like a low-impact form of exercise, but you don’t need any special equipment or abilities to do it.
Explore different places and find walking companions, so that you can’t wait until the next time.
Key takeaway: make every effort to schedule 2 x 30 min walking sessions in your daily plan.
In today’s world, it’s pretty common for people to be inactive and find excuses for their laziness. Barrack Obama is not one of them.
He starts his day with a session of weightlifting or cardio. President of United States is undoubtedly a busy person, but he obviously recognizes the importance of working out.
It’s not only about staying in shape but also about treating your body the right way. We don’t have legs and arms by accident. They were designed to move, run, lift, throw and climb. Not to type on the keyboard and move to the kitchen for a snack.
The body is not just an extension of your mind but an inseparable part of it. Neglect one and both will function poorly.
Health is the vital principle of bliss, and exercise, of health.James Thomson
Key takeaway: As long as you are in a physical condition sufficient to exercise, you should do it daily.
We don’t read many books anymore. We don’t even skim. Books used to be an entertainment, but they got replaced pointless and mindless garbage.
Is it because a funny cats compilation is an easier to absorb? Maybe. Watching these unpredictable creatures doing crazy things is fine, I do it too. But I read a few books monthly as well.
Many people ignore the latter. They soak up plenty of information. They don’t learn and grow though.
Confucius said that you can’t open a book without learning something. Actually you can if you are forced to.
I used to see reading as a chore at school. It’s because none of my teachers asked. Every of them dictated. When you are forced to do something you don’t enjoy it. You rebel.
But now I understand the power of reading. It stimulates your mind and fills it with new facts and stories.
Never before has my English improved so much and so fast. The more I read the more words I’m exposed to. In consequence, my vocabulary expands significantly.
Key takeaway: read at least 30 minutes a day.
7. Sit in silence
You rush and dush. Acting under pressure of unmet deadlines and completing every line of your to-do list.
Take 5 minutes of your time, switch off every device that interrupts you. Literally try to cut off from the world. It won’t hurt. You won’t miss out on anything. Just try it.
What will come is a storm. Storm of thoughts fighting for your attention. They attack all at once and one after another, sparing no effort to destroy the silent moment.
The more you practice the better you are able to see through the blizzard and find the right direction.
Silence is a source of great strength.Lao Tzu
Key takeaway: Once you wake up, don’t rush. Sit in silence for a moment.
It requires some willpower to start practicing these daily essentials then again it’s worth it. Don’t put it off for later. Begin today, continue tomorrow. There will be no better moment to start.