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Leading a healthy, happy, and successful life is something we all aspire to have, but sometimes it can seem as if having all three at once is impossible. Unlike most things in our world, a fulfilling life can't be obtained with the click of a button or the swipe of a card, and this is why it can seem difficult or even impossible—but by putting in the time and determination, the results are infinitely rewarding.
Although the process of breaking old habits and introducing new ones may seem daunting at first, within the first couple days, the change in your lifestyle will feel exciting and fulfilling—a feeling that you will crave keeping.
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” —Carl Bard
Monday: Habit One - Goals
Set goals. Make lists. Create expectations for yourself. Then write them down.
The human mind needs challenges to thrive and to be healthy, and it is a proven fact that writing down your goals makes you more likely to accomplish them. Stick your weekly goals on a piece of paper on your fridge. Or put sticky note goals on your desk. As you accomplish the goals you can rip off the sticky notes. Make lists and cross the items off. There are a wide range of apps that allow you to make realistic, cross out, check-markable lists on your phone.
Set achievable goals. There is no use telling yourself that you will go to the gym five times a week if you barely even go once. Although it may sound ridiculous, a lot of us set non-realistic goals and then end up disappointed or frustrated when we don't achieve them. If you were, however, to make a goal of going to the gym once a week, Monday after work, you could slowly increase the number of times you go the gym until you reach a sustainable amount. This is applicable to anything: Start with small goals that you know you will achieve. Once you build your confidence and start crossing goals off a list, you will feel motivated to make more goals and to achieve them.
Give yourself a time limit. There is nothing worse than something that you've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to yet. Give yourself a time limit to complete your goal, and if you don't respect it, break down your goal to make it more achievable.
Now write down one goal for the next week on a piece of paper. Keep it somewhere meaningful, be it your wallet, the outside of your fridge, or a whiteboard. This will remind you of the expectation that you have set for yourself. Remember to keep the goal small and achievable at first, and when you reach your time limit, you will be pleasantly surprised when you discover that you have completed your goal.
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Tuesday: Habit Two - Money Matters
A source of unnecessary stress and misery, living in debt is avoidable. It might seem obvious, but don't spend money you don't have. So many of us live in debt, dreading the credit card bill that will come each month, increasing the amount of money we owe—money that we don't have, all because of a couple poor choices. At the start of the month, set a budget—and respect it. This is a visual way of tracking how much money you have and how much money you should be spending.
Change has a way of accumulating itself in pockets, on tables, in the car or at the bottoms of purses and bags. Don't let this spare change become lost money. Gather it all and keep it in one place—like a mason jar or a coin purse. Use it to buy little things that you would normally charge to your card—a pack of gum or a coffee. Not only does this reduce transactions on your card, but it can prevent you from spending money on unnecessary things. At the end of the week deposit all the unused change into your bank account or use it to buy yourself a rewarding treat!
Although it can be tempting to buy that coffee and bagel every morning on your way to work, you can save tons of money by limiting that morning spending. Invest in a cute and trendy mug or thermos, and make your tea or coffee at home—at least for two mornings out of every week. You will be amazed at how much money you can save in just five days!
"Never spend your money before you have it." —Thomas Jefferson
Wednesday: Habit Three - Staying Hydrated
Water makes up about 60% of our bodies composition and our bodies need to replace about two litres a day—or half a gallon—so it is important to stay hydrated. Buy a reusable water bottle and refill it several times to ensure that you are drinking enough water throughout the day.
Benefits of drinking water:
- ncreased energy
- boosts metabolism
- encourages weight loss
- maintains clear complexion
- improves the mood
- flushes toxins
- shinier hair
- radiant skin
- reduce anxiety
- natural fatigue fighter
- improve sleep
- muscle fuel
- help kidney functions
- help concentration
- be more alert
- prevent pain
- fight sickness
- clearer thinking
- ...it's free
"Water is the driving force of all nature." —Leonardo da Vinci
Thursday: Habit Four - Taking Pleasure in the Little Things
The sunlight peeking through the mountains and streaming through the window as I am forced awake by the unwelcome sound of my alarm… the drive to work in the morning with my steaming mug of coffee and my favourite songs playing in the car… These are the moments I appreciate throughout my morning. Take pleasure in the little things in life and you will become familiar with the feeling of continual joy rather than the quick spurts of happiness that seem so fleeting. Challenge yourself to find as many little "joys of life" as you can in a day and write them down. When you're feeling tired and unhappy remember to appreciate these joys.
"Notice the small things. The rewards are inversely proportional." —Liz Vassey
Friday: Habit Five - Treat
Don't be afraid to treat yourself. Although you shouldn't forget to take pleasure in the little things during the week, the weekend can be the time to reward yourself with whatever you didn't have time to do during the week. Making sure that you are well rested is the key to going back in ready for the next week—ready and motivated. Take a bubble bath, go out for drinks with your friends, or stay at home and watch a movie—when it comes to rewarding yourself, the possibilities are endless.
"I've usually found that the greatest rewards in my life come from taking on things that are a little bit scary." —Ashton Kutcher
If you have followed these habits of mine, you will consistently lead a successful and fulfilling week. However, it will take time. And the journey is not yet finished. Don't despair! Maintaining and strengthening these habits until they are instilled within you makes for not just a rewarding week, but for years of happiness, success, and health.