Many things in this world are a waste of time. I find myself wanting to maximize every second of my day--from the moment I wake up to the minute I fall asleep. Unfortunately, this high motivation creates a problem--discerning worthwhile habits from practices that don't contribute long-term meaning.
As a life coach and licensed therapist, I've worked with many entrepreneurs and executives who have similar mindsets--always looking to maximize productivity and improve themselves. They, too, have difficulty adding meaningful non-work-related tasks into their lives, because by the time they have a second to catch their breath, the demands of family are in full force. One thing that has become clear in our work together, however, is that certain life practices are invaluable to creating happiness and fulfillment.
Each of the habits listed below helps successful people sustain productivity while making their lives more meaningful and enjoyable. These 10 things are worth the time investment and only continue to add value to your life.
1. Improving your physical health by consistently exercising, eating an appropriate diet, and prioritizing sleep
These three practices are fundamental to your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. While you can't expect perfection, paying special attention to what you eat, ensuring that you get adequate sleep, and staying physically active will go a long way toward increasing the health and vitality you'll want now and later in life.
2. Intentionally building meaningful, long-term relationships with people who add value to your life
When personal and professional lives get busy, it's easy to lose contact with people you care about. However, when people are dying, most say that the most important part of life is creating meaningful relationships with others. It's imperative that you are intentional about maintaining relationships with people you love--even if it takes effort and planning.
3. Staying committed to your passions--no matter what
Regardless of what you love--whether it's creating music, writing, painting, or something else entirely--make time for it. When you're building a career and part of a family, it's easy to overlook the things that once brought you joy, but returning to these practices fosters creativity and reconnects old parts of yourself that need expression.
4. Engaging in a legitimate self-development practice like therapy or coaching to work through emotional barriers that prevent lasting happiness
Every single one of my clients who were ready to engage in serious personal work had transformative experiences. Even the most productive and successful people need an outside perspective to work through their emotional barriers, because it's impossible to do alone. When you invest in your self-development, you're buying stock that only appreciates over time.
5. Practicing gratitude for what is already present in your life and allowing yourself to appreciate the small things
If you can't be happy right now, then you'll never discover lasting joy. No matter what you achieve, it'll never be enough to quench your thirst--which is why you need to celebrate the small things. Allow your heart to smile.
6. Finding an appropriate balance between the disciplined routines that build wealth and the spontaneity needed to enliven your heart
Consistent discipline helps you attain material success, but belongings don't create happiness. Complete immersion into the present moment, something that spontaneity invites, is what generates happiness and the motivation you need to achieve your goals. Balance is everything.
7. Building compassion for yourself and others when people fail to meet your expectations
Turn down the volume on that hypercritical voice in your head. It not only creates suffering for you, it also lashes out at others when they fail to meet your (unrealistic) expectations. When you increase the compassion you feel toward yourself, you increase empathy for others, which makes the world a better place.
8. Being determined to learn from your inevitable failures and shortcomings so you can continue growing as a person and professional
Mistakes aren't an exception, they're part of the learning process. Stop giving them more power than they deserve and start understanding them for what they really are--opportunities to refine your knowledge.
9. Traveling and spending time in nature--away from work and constant stimulation
No meaningful life is complete without traveling and disconnecting from modern pleasantries. It's important to reset your mind by immersing yourself in something other than phone calls, emails, and Netflix series.
10. Practicing nonattachment to ideas, plans, and expectations--knowing that flexibility creates adaptability, which builds happiness and sustains success
Businesses that fail to adapt to an evolving marketplace don't survive. Similarly, people who fail to adapt to inner and outer changes live unsatisfying and unhappy lives. To continue growing as a person and professional, you need to practice nonattachment and maintain mental flexibility.
Don't continue wasting your time practicing bad habits that don't contribute meaningful value to your life just because others do them. Instead, discover the practices that build wealth--both material and emotional--and invest in yourself so that you reach your full potential.