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Note: This is a guest post from Jake O’Callaghan of Slowchange
Small, simple life changes can be powerful. Implementing some of these changes can literally change your entire life.
How do you change? Take on one change at a time, and go slowly. Implement each change consistently so that it becomes a habit. Don’t do too much too fast.
What follows is a list of changes that are simple, yet incredibly powerful. Some are obvious and some aren’t. I hope they serve as reminders of useful changes.
1. Walk daily
We humans aren’t supposed to be sedentary human beings. We are born to run, but even more so to walk.
Walking every day is good for your physical health. But more importantly, it’s good for your mind. Walking is a joy. You are outside without distractions. You may even see people. And there’s few better ways to boast your mood.
2. Wake early
If you asked me what’s the best change you can make this instance, I would say “wake early.” The early morning is peaceful – there are no interruptions and no noise. You can wakeup and go for a walk. You can meditate. And you can create.
And waking early is the most productive thing I’ve ever done. I often get more work done in a couple hours in the morning than during the entire day.
3. Eat less
Many of us overeat. Let’s stop. Eat slowly, and eat until you’re full. Eat so that your belly doesn’t bulge.
4. Stop watching, start doing
Watching is easy. Anyone can watch someone. Spectating isn’t inherently bad, but I believe we do too much of it. Instead of watching, do something. Or better yet, create something great.
5. Go slowly
Our culture tells us to go fast, to sprint and win the race. Problem is, the race never ends. When you choose to go slowly, you are choosing peace and happiness.
Clutter whether mental, physical, or virtual takes a toll. The only way to get rid of clutter is to get rid of stuff. Deal with bad thoughts and be done with them. Delete unneeded files. And get rid of unnecessary items.
Then when you feel like adding something, ask yourself if it’s necessary. For the most part, it will just contribute to clutter.
7. Become stronger
There are many ways you can become stronger. You can refuse to back down because of fear. You can stand up for what’s right. And you can become physically stronger.
All do one thing, increase your confidence. Gradually become stronger, and the world will open up.
8. Drink water
Often, I used to feel like crap just because I wasn’t hydrated. Drink water, and it will make you feel better. Soda and most other drinks often make you feel worse.
Drink water and only water (besides maybe some tea or coffee). Drink it with meals and drink it throughout the day.
The incredible benefits of meditation are well-known. But most people don’t practice it because it seems complicated. The truth is, you don’t need to shave your head, or sit with crossed legs to meditate.
The simplest way to meditate is to just sit and breathe. Focus on your breathe. Or focus on the sounds around you.
10. Let go of expectations
Expectations are completely pointless. Try it for yourself: think of how something will be in advance. Most of the time your expectations aren’t met or are exceeded. Or your expectations create negative results.
Live without expectations, and you won’t be disappointed. You won’t have to worry about things you can’t control. You will just flow and accept things as they are.
11. Live in the moment
The past is yesterday and the future is later. The present is the only time we are truly living.
So instead of analyzing the past or worrying about the future, live in the moment.
12. Forget goals
Goals look nice on paper. They provide order to your life. They aren’t necessarily counter-productive – people have done great things using goals.
However, I think they’re useless. Instead of focusing on a goal, focus on the moment. Do things that you love, and do things well right now. This will get you farther than an arbitrary thing that you can check off.
13. Focus on what’s important
Too often, I used to let the little things get in the way. Now I forget the trivial and focus on what’s important.
What is important? It’s up to you. Family, writing, reading, and playing soccer are all important to me. I clear away distractions and do the important things.
14. Change things up
A routine can make you a zombie. Instead, change things. Often you will find that a change makes things more exciting.
Don’t be afraid to change things up.
15. Wait before you buy
Often we think we need something, but it ends up in the basement – unused. Before you buy something, wait a month. If you still believe it to be useful, then you can but it.
Understand that every time you purchase something, the cost is more than just monetary. You are taking on this item. You must put it somewhere, you must protect it, and you must maintain it.
16. Stop judging
Judging is easy. It’s also stupid. It’s impossible to fully understand others. You don’t know what they’ve been through.
So why do we judge? It’s harmful to your own peace, and it’s harmful to others.
17. Stop interrupting
Let people finish their sentence. You aren’t in such a hurry that you need to interrupt.
Let people speak. You might learn something.
Everyone has something they can add to the world – something they can create. Spend time everyday creating. You are capable of creating something life-changing – even if it only helps one person.
Multi-tasking is a myth. We can’t multi-task – our brain can only switch between two tasks. So multi-tasking is actually less productive; not to mention stressful.
Instead, focus on a single task. Move on when it’s finished.
We are too serious. Laugh and goof off sometimes. Forget being judged, and let loose.
We aren’t so different from children – only we try to hide our play. Forget maturity. Forget working for now. Play. Enjoy life.
Jake O’Callaghan is passionate about teaching and helping people change. Slowchange (slowchange.net) is his blog on making simple, lasting change. zenteen (zenteen.net) is a blog he created to help teens simplify and deal with the crazy teenage life.
Photo by Per Ola Wiberg