12 Great Ways to Improve Your Life!

Haven’t blogged in a while (oops!) but I’m back on track for my health and fitness goals in a HUGE way and I can’t wait to share everything with you! Until then, I will leave you with 12 tips I wrote today for the Wellness Newsletter at the college I work for.

1. Get organized! Life is hectic enough without trying to remember where you left your keys or where that receipt went. Take some time to create a system to keep yourself organized so when you’re short on time you can check your priority list and get things squared away without creating more stress in your life. Here are 10 tips for keeping your desk clean and organized.

conclusions 2. Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s easy to assume the negative in new and different situations but often times we can spend so much time assuming what “might” happen that we forget to look at the reality or the bigger picture. This can lead to actions that can hurt relationships or create unwanted anxiety in our lives. Create open communication with those around you and try to focus on what can be done as you go instead of dreading all the ways something might fail in the future.

3. Start a project to feel good about yourself. Often times we get so caught up and busy with work and aspects of home life that we forget to take time to be proud of ourselves. Starting a project can not only get your mind in the zone and away from negative thoughts but it will also make you proud of your accomplishments in the end. A few ideas to start, even if you don’t know how to do something yet, you can learn!

  • Find a volunteer group and make a difference
  • Maximize home storage or clean out your garage/spare room you’ve always wanted to
  • Buy an old piece of furniture and jazz it up with paint, fabric, etc.
  • Learn to play an instrument
  • Find a friend who has a hobby you’re interested in and agree to teach each other your skills
  • Start an exercise program and commit to it
  • Create a recipe book or collect your favorites and plan a weekly or monthly meal schedule
  • Learn to change your own oil in your car
  • Plant a vegetable garden
  • Head to the Good Will or Value Village and see what kind of outfit you can find for under $15 or find      parts and try to build your own home stereo system

4. Make fun and rest days a part of your routine schedule. I hear so many people planning their workouts or when they are going to do homework or housework. Hardly anyone plans days for fun or for sleeping in. Make these priorities, too! I find that if I plan days to relax, not hit the gym, and eat nachos, I’m more likely to stay on track with the rest of my goals. Feeling like you need a day to just veg out in front of the couch and watch TV? Make a date with yourself to do it and you won’t feel like you should be doing something else because it’s planned!

5. Take 10 minutes every day to think about what you like about yourself. This might sound silly but it’s important to remind ourselves why we’re awesome. Try to get in the habit of thinking only positive thoughts when you look in the mirror instead of focusing on something you want to change. Be proud of what your body can do instead of just what it looks like. Praise yourself for your accomplishments, even if it’s something like getting that report in early.

thankfuljar6. Create a what-I’m-thankful-for jar. Wouldn’t it be great when you’re feeling down to reach into a jar and pull out a piece of paper with positive reinforcement from yourself? Take scraps of paper and get in the habit of writing down good things that you accomplish, that happen for you, or that others have said/done. We all take time to vent to others about what annoys us but forget to be happy about things that go well in our lives. It can even just be quotes from the day or something you heard that really resonated with you. Think of ideas as you go and remember to go pull from the jar again at a certain date. You could also do this with your significant other and make jars for what you like about each other. It can be as simple as the following statements:

  • “Today I put $50 extra towards my car payment”
  • “The bus driver saw me running on my way home and held the bus for me so I was able to make it home on time”
  • “I had the MOST amazing meal at this Seattle restaurant that I need to go to again”
  • “My friend said the FUNNIEST thing today….”

7. Remember that your thoughts and emotions aren’t always facts. When something upsets us, it can be easy to let that lead to a slippery slope of bad feelings, assumptions, and unwanted thoughts. If you train yourself to take time to observe your thoughts before you act on them, you can choose which ones you agree with and which ones you’d rather throw out. A simple idea but something that has changed my life completely.

8. Don’t make unnecessary rules for yourself. How often do you say “I should” do something a certain way? Most of the time we set standards for ourselves that are way above and beyond what we would expect of anyone else. For example, I remember when I started working out; I would tell myself that I “should” be working out every morning at the same time and what happened when I didn’t? I felt like a failure for the day. Instead of making rules for yourself that end up making you feel guilty/anxious, make realistic goals. Now when I say I’m going to work out the next day, I will plan a time but don’t punish myself with negative thoughts if something changes; if I can’t workout in the morning, I’ll go at lunch or after work. Life happens, be flexible with yourself.

optimism-19. Keep optimism at the forefront of your mind. What happens when you constantly expect things to go wrong or to feel unhappy? You find it! It’s the core of self-fulfilling prophecy. Even when you have bad days or moments, try to remember that what you look for is what you will find. If you think about what you want in life and how you are going to feel right now and tomorrow, that’s most likely what will happen. Set the pace for your own positive expectations. Here are 60 quotes that will change the way you think.

10. Get out of your comfort zone. How many successful people do you know that always did the same thing, never took any risks, or never ventured down new paths? Yeah, me either. Anything from trying new foods to finally attempting to do something you’ve never done can get your mind working in new ways and create new experiences to bring happiness to your life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA11. Remember the little things that make you happy. Ever see someone post an old photo of you from back in high school or see a toy or a food that you totally forgot about from when you were little? How happy do you feel in that moment? Little things in life like this make us happy but we forget to acknowledge them. I love getting up and making coffee in the morning or hearing my favorite song randomly on the radio.

12. Be honest. We all know this but how often are you truly honest with yourself and what you really want or need? I can think of plenty of times when I went to go hangout with a group of people when really, all I wanted to do was stay home and scrapbook. It’s important to be as honest as we can with others and remember that no one can read your mind.

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