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Wednesday
Jul122017

My gratitude A-Z and other simple ways to get your life zooming ahead

What can you do starting today to get more out of life? Most of what I am going to suggest you incorporate into your day may come under the heading of the blindingly obvious - but I would hazard a guess that you are not as successful as you want to be - and these simple but powerful suggestions may help you get more, be more and achieve more. I know they work for me, and I know they can help you too.

Sleep: 

One of the first and most important parts of your every day. But are you getting enough shut eye?

When I have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep I have found a particular useful trick to quiet my mind so that if I can't get some zzzz's I can at least rest my mind. So what do I do, well first of all I no longer worry about the fact that I can't get to sleep or stay asleep regardless of how tired I am. I used to and that made everything worse.  I lie, snuggled in my bed and starting with the letter A I list all the things I have to be grateful for. When I run out of A's I move on to B's... But that would keep me awake - you would say... Maybe. I know that i've only ever gotten to Z once and went back to the beginning - typically I find that by the time I get about half way through the list I am usually asleep. If for some reason I still can't sleep I do get up and go to my desk and write down everything that is bothering me or needs sorting - then I go back and try again. Failing that I read. But these are now rare times for me. Sleep and rest are vital - you can't do that if you are constantly tired and stressed about being tired. 

Walking / Exercise: 

Some of the most successful people use walking and other forms of exercise to get their days off to a good start - and most of these, do their exercise first thing in the morning. It is a non-negotiable part of their day and it should be a non-negotiable part of ours as well. If you wait until the end of the day - you can find all sorts of excuses not to do something. When i am busy I used to find one of the first things that disappeared out my life so I could make time for everything else was exercise. When in reality I should have found time to do more not less. You all know the benefits of exercise so I won't go on about the bone health or keeping our weight under control - but will remind you that in terms of improving your mental health - exercise has got to be one of the 7 wonders of the modern world. 

Read: 

Expand your mind and your vocabulary. Keep up to date with what is going on in the world and your industry. I know some people who are quite proud of the fact they haven't picked up and read a book since they left school. These are also some of the same people who watch a lot of main stream television and then wonder why they work in a dead end job. Read - something, I don't care if its the nutritional label on the cereal packet - actually do read that label and then decide if you really want THAT much sugar going into your system on a daily basis... I'm sure you get my point - change is happening all the time, and you can't rely on main stream media - no really you can't. Successful people question everything, then they research and work it out and then put into place the changes they need to make. 

Clutter: 

One of the biggest things stopping most people is their living and working conditions. If you can't find something you can't work on it. That goes for digital clutter as well as physical stuff. The second problem is that most people think they need to clear all the clutter in one go, causing more stress which means it doesn't get done. You don't. I move things from where they've been put, to the places they need to be. I'm terrible with books - they're everywhere. My kids "hide" crockery and don't let me get started on socks. My son and his girlfriend have moved into their own place. Their room is now empty, but you'd be amazed just how far and wide their belongings spread. Until recently I had a couple of boxes sitting on a desk - and whenever I found something that belonged to them it would go in the box. But I didn't scream through the house and find every thing in every corner over the course of a single weekend. I've been going through the piles of stuff that we've accumulated over the years and working out what we want to keep. As you know I made that decision after we got back from the USA - note I am still not buying anything unless what I've got has run out or needs replacing. Why should you bother doing this - well I can now put my hands on everything I need - and quickly. I am not bogged down pawing through piles of stuff trying to find what I need to find. It's made me a far more efficient and effective person. 

Food: 

You are what you eat so say the t-shirts and the many jokes that go around. But a healthy diet is vital for your health and well being. What makes a healthy diet? For me it's incorporating more plant based materials into my diet. Cutting out what was left of the sugar intake and reducing my portion sizes. Everything in moderation - you bet. Food can be something we take for granted in the modern world. When every day can be a feast day we may end up over eating, so be mindful - if you over eat you will feel sluggish and tired most of the time - how are you going to conquer the world if you need a snooze after lunch? 

Water: 

"if you don't need to pee, you aren't drinking enough" so said a soldier medic to one of the people in his platoon. The line is from one of the many books written by Tom Clancy that I've read over the years. And it's something that has really stuck with me - obviously. The more water I drink the better I think, the clearer my skin and eyes are and my innards work better. Given that we are made up of water and lots of it, I would hazard a guess that most of us are dehydrated most of the time - and what is the solution... the solution is the solution. You may not have considered water to be one of the keys to excelling in life. But I would challenge you to double your water intake for a couple of days and see if it makes the same kind of difference to you as it did to me. So how much water do I drink - a minimum of 3 liters a day. More if it's hot and / or I am exercising.

Mindfulness / Spirituality: 

My final choice for getting more out of life is the practice of mindfulness. Now I am a complete novice at meditation, I find my mind wanders all too often - ooh look something shiny. My colleague calls it her Dory fish moments. So how come if I am totally useless at it would I be recommending you add this practice into your life. Well it's simple, I find that if I am stressed and feeling hurried or rushed, I stop and take the time to step back. I will deliberately take deeper breaths (reduces stress almost immediately), and then make a study of what I can see / hear / feel and touch. It takes a couple of minutes and I am then able to get back to whatever I was doing - but in a calmer, more focused way - which means I can get more done.

I find that once I have these things sorted and in place - the daily tasks and the things that I do to ensure these things are achieved, which in turn gets me closer to achieving my goals become easier to accomplish.

Of your daily habits, what are working for you and what do you honestly need to look at and change.