What 10 things can I do now to have a better life? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
1. Make Lists - Be it a 'To Do' list, 'To Buy' list, or even a 'Honey, do' list, writing down what needs to be done provokes you to actually get it done. Physically writing the list (or typing if you are tech savvy), implants the idea that activity is not an option. It is a proactive start to the rest of your life.
Likewise, a wise woman once told me to write a 'To Do' list every night before I go to bed. It traps all of those little thoughts flying around your brain, and finally allows your brain to relax. Making a list improves your sleep.
2. Make Your Bed - Making your bed every morning starts your day with with a small routine. This routine puts your mind into 'go mode.' Once in 'go mode' you have the rest of the day to function at your highest caliber. Who needs coffee anymore? Okay, maybe make your bed then get your morning coffee? :)
3. Ask Questions - Asking a question is always a nerve wracking experience. They say there is no such thing as a dumb question, but that doesn't stop people from thinking you are forgetful, not paying attention, or, I hate to say it, dumb. Putting yourself out there takes nerve. But the more you ask questions, the more you'll learn. Picking the brains of your social network will expand your understanding exponentially.
Keep in mind. The more you ask questions, the easier it will get. Practice makes perfect, right?
4. Call A Relative - Keeping up with your correspondents keeps your heart happy. Your grandma loves hearing from you. Even though it isn't always the most fun experience, the way you feel after makes it worth it.
Not to mention, your family consists of many different people who have a variety of stories, knowledge, backgrounds, and perspectives. Many different people who you can use as resources. Many different people who all have your best interest at heart.
5. Go For A Walk - There is nothing better than some fresh air. It does a body good. One of the underlying benefits is the effect on your psyche--it lowers stress levels and releases endorphins. You could go to the nearest trail or you could just go to the end of the block. It doesn't matter. Just get out there.
I highly recommend going on a route you've never been before. Explore your neighborhood or community. Just walking and noticing your new surroundings really is something special.
6. Add Something Healthy to Your Diet - Many fad diets are all about cutting out--cutting out sugars, cutting out carbs, cutting out happiness? Instead of depriving yourself of something, try adding an extra helping of fruits or veggies. Making a healthy choice will always make you feel better in the long run--physically and mentally.
7. Sign Up For Something - You could sign up for anything--a community service project, a sports team, a race, a class, etc. Whatever it is, it will add to your life. It will add purpose. It will add structure. It will add productivity. Motivation. Wonder. Fun. Comradery. I know putting yourself out there is not always the easiest, but you will meet many new people and learn new skills. Try it. You won't be sorry.
8. Laugh - This is not always natural. But fake it until you make it. Laugh even when you don't really feel like it. That action of laughing causes a change in the brain. It creates a positive spin. If you keep yourself laughing, then eventually it will be real. Smile. Laugh. Enjoy life.
9. Reflect Often - It is important to reflect on your day. If you do not reflect, then you do not have the self awareness to make educated decisions. You know more than you think you do, you just need to reflect in order to learn from your experiences. If not, then you will keep moving aimlessly though life. Think about what went well and what went poorly. Think about how you can recreate your greatness and avoid repeating mistakes.
10. Write Thank You's - It seems kind of weird, but expressing gratitude can significantly affect your level of happiness. It is a beautiful thing. It really is a win-win. Your thank you's do not only have to be for Christmas gifts or graduation presents, but instead for actions they have done--maybe made you smile or made you feel welcome--or the impact they have had on your life.
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