20 Daily Practices That Will Change Your Life
Real change happens from the inside out, not the outside in. Here are 20 practices to start welcoming change into your life.
1. Ask Ourselves What We Want
This sounds simple, but many times we get so caught up in our routines, our responsibilities, and our relationships that we don’t stop to ask ourselves, “Uhhh…is this even what I want?!”
What do you want? If you struggle to answer this question, try asking yourself, “What would I do if I could not fail?” Be prepared for your answer to this question to change often. Know that that’s okay.
2. Believe That it is Possible
We are what holds us back from actualizing our dreams. We must believe that what we want is possible; that it can happen and we can do it.
3. Live Life on Purpose
We must decide what we want and then focus our actions to support it. By doing everything—eating, speaking, breathing, behaving—with purpose, our actions become sacred rituals that yield intentional results. Eating something because it’s what we actually want to eat to nourish and please our palates and our bodies. Saying something because it needs to be expressed and heard. Breathing in a way that supports our thoughts, feelings, and movements. Behaving in a way that makes us feel proud of who we are.
4. Set Intentions
It’s easy for us to drift from our purpose with distractions—not only within our own minds, but those from the world around us as well. We can stay focused on our purpose by beginning each morning with one clear intention: concentration, generosity, gratitude, peace, joy, energy, clarity, balance, or anything we want to harness in our lives. Throughout the day, we should remind ourselves of this intention and bring ourselves back to it often. The more we remember our intention, the more effortless living it becomes.
5. Think Positive
People say this all of the time, but how do we actually put it into practice?
The more you practice, the more automatic positive thinking will become. Try shifting your self talk to a positive, kind, supportive dialogue. Our thoughts become our actions and our actions become our lives.
6. Be Selfish
How often do we give others compliments and gestures of kindness? How often do we give that treatment to ourselves? We deserve to feel healthy and happy and no one has the power to offer us that except ourselves. Do at least one thing every single day that is completely, absorbedly, selfish. Take a long soothing bath. Sit in a chair and read a book. Wake up in the morning and do yoga, not to burn calories, but to feel good. Prepare a beautiful meal and enjoy it alone.
7. Become Aware of Our Breath
Our breath is our life. Without it we would cease to survive. It literally moves life energy throughout our body affecting every function of our being. By gaining awareness of our breath and learning to control it, we can control our physical and mental state. Check in with the movement and pattern of the breath. Allow its supportiveness. When life feels stressful and we feel out of control, we can calm our breath. Slow it down. Deepen it.
Remember: as long as we keep breathing, we keep living. And nothing is ever as serious as it seems.
8. Drink Water
Drink clean, pure, fluoride-free water. Drink a huge glass first thing in the morning. Drink it throughout the day. Carry a big bottle of water wherever you go as a constant reminder to drink, drink, drink!
9. Feel More, Numb Less
Sometimes feelings are intense. Pleasure, pain, sadness, joy, anger, anxiety, fear, hope…it can all be overwhelming. In our society we have created so many tools designed to make us feel less. We escape the intensity of sensations with food, alcohol, drugs, television, the internet, small talk, violence, sex.
Why are we so afraid to just feel?
When I feel an uncomfortable emotion creep in (especially loneliness or boredom), I notice that, suddenly, I have an urge to eat something or get online. However, the same way a throbbing headache is a signal that our bodies need something, boredom is a signal that our spirits need something. Our bodies are not telling us they need a pill the same way our spirits are not telling us they need distraction. We must stop quieting these signals and instead start listening.
10. Eat Healthier Meals
Eat a big, satisfying, crunchy, varied, balanced meals every single day and, trust me, you will feel amazing!
11. Move Our Bodies
Run. Jump. Dance. Move. Sweat. Our bodies are filled with energy channels; let them flow! Somehow we’ve adopted this mentality that movement is about calorie burning and weight loss. It has become a chore and a “should” rather than a “want.” Moving our bodies is detoxifying, liberating, energizing, relaxing, and it’s downright fun. We should do it because our bodies want it and because it feels damn good!
12. Start Setting Boundaries
When we feel taken advantage of, taken for granted, or generally out of control, the chances are we are not setting boundaries in our lives and in our relationships. It is each of our responsibilities to define what makes us feel respected and communicate that to others. If we don’t want to loan our favorite sweater to a friend, we should respectfully say it. If we are too busy to volunteer at an event, we should be honest. If something makes us feel uncomfortable, we shouldn’t do it. We can never expect others to behave in accordance with our wants or expectations. However, we can absolutely determine what we are willing to receive and kindly express what is and is not acceptable to us.
13. Don’t Take Things Personally
Did you know that nothing is ever personal? Really. Nothing. What someone says or does that strikes an emotional chord with us is always a reflection of our own insecurities, values, and perceptions. Therefore, the way that someone treats you is the mirror image of what they are personally feeling inside. Knowing that nothing is personal, release the burden of what other people think and how they behave. Know that really, it’s not us. It’s them. In turn, when we find ourselves judging or mistreating someone else, we need to look within and ask ourselves what our thoughts and our behavior say about us.
14. Put Things Into Perspective
Sometimes, the best way to move on from our problems is to simply put them into perspective. Things are rarely life or death, everything will always be ok and nothing is ever good or bad unless we think so.
15. Spend Time Alone
With the internet at our fingertips, many of us are never alone.
Take a long walk by yourself (without your iPod). Go out to dinner and sit at a table alone; don’t bring a book or your phone. Sit by yourself in nature and just stare at what surrounds you. Notice what you feel in your body. Notice where your thoughts go. Realize that you are not only capable of maneuvering the world with your own strength, you are cable of maneuvering your thoughts and your feelings. Find freedom when you realize how good it feels to be alone.
16. Lead With Your Heart
When we experience completeness within ourselves—alone—we may forget about the outside world. Lower the walls we’ve built to protect ourselves. Be honest with people about how we feel. Take a chance on love. Trust people knowing that we might get hurt. Leading with our hearts means being true to ourselves. When we are true to ourselves, we can live without regret.
17. Learn the Words Yes I Can
This simple phrase embodies the most beautiful philosophy I have ever known:
‘Everything is good, life is beautiful, go with the flow, surrender to what is, let things go, enjoy your life.’
Learn these words and live them.
18. Seize the Day
The best time to take a step toward what we want is when the idea is fresh in our minds and the motivation is strong in our spirits. Live in the now. Tomorrow may never come, so do it today. Do it now.
19. Make it a Habit
To actually change, you must practice consistently. This is why drastic shifts, like moving or leaving a relationship, seem to affect us in the biggest ways: the aftermath of these actions have results that remain consistent day after day. For anything to really change we need to do it often enough that it starts becoming a habit or a pattern. Choose something that we really want and do it. Every. Single. Day. Practice discipline. Do it until we don’t have to remind ourselves to do it anymore. Then keep doing it. Again. And again. And again.
20. Let Everything Go
Perhaps the most transformative practice of all is the act of letting go. In order to change, we must first make space to allow growth to happen. Let go of our expectations. Let go of our past pain. Let go of who we were yesterday and who we think we might be tomorrow. Let go of everything that is not making us better individuals right now. Most importantly, let go of thinking that we need to be perfect by adhering to anything.
And that includes this list.