What 10 minute daily activity would sharpen my mind over a year? originally appeared on Quora - the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

10 minutes is very little time, but 10 minutes every day for a year is a lot of time. If you don't have 10 minutes, you don't have a life. In fact, almost all positive activities, practice for 10 minutes a day, could sharpen your mind and change your life after a year.

To answer this question, here are the 10 daily activities I'm practicing and strongly suggest you try them out.

  1. Frame my state. I do this first thing first in the morning. It's a four-step process: (1) Reinforce the identity I set for myself by repeating an identity statement, (2) Practice gratitude by rewind things and people I'm grateful for, (3) Build up my focus on my nearest short-term goals, and (4) Visualize how I want my day to be.
  2. Read. Reading shapes my beliefs, thoughts, and perspectives. It shapes me beyond the direct influences from my close friends and family members. And it provides knowledge and insights far beyond what I have access to within my local community. The fact is, you already have access to great wisdom and information if you have access to the Internet.
  3. Write. I was never a writer, but hey, I have written 60 blog posts on my personal blog, 240+ Quora answers, and multiple articles in a few major publications. Apart from sharing my ideas and build my career as a writer, writing is by far the best way I learn. When we write, we don't just express what we know, we recite and revise the knowledge, and at the end of the day, we relearn what we already know.
  4. Attack myself. I don't mean it physically unless you see lifting weights as the same category. What I mean here is questioning my ideas, judging my own work, and reflecting the time I've spent. I don't think growth happens naturally, in fact, I believe destruction happens naturally (based on 2nd law of thermodynamic) So, spend 10 minutes every day to make growth happens.
  5. Breath. I do 20 deep breaths every morning when I woke up from the bed, and another 20 every night before I go to sleep. I'm not yet consistent with this yet; sometimes I missed it. The purpose here is to focus on my breaths without thinking of anything--to be present, to tame my mind, and to get closer to the single most important element of life.
  6. Take cold showers. I used to take cold showers when I was a kid because we can't afford a water heater, and I hated it. As soon as I got a water heater, I never take a cold shower ever again. Recently (around 16 months), I started to take cold showers again after I read a lot of materials about peak performance and bio-hacking. Cold exposure turns out to be very helpful in speeding up physical recovery, improving cognitive performance, and building mental toughness.
  7. Keep track. Keep track everything you're working on. I take notes for every single book I read. I am regularly switching my daily routine to see how they affect my productivity and performance. I write every day and lifts heavy weights three times a week. If I don't keep track of them, I can never know how effective what I'm doing. Besides, measuring my progress helps me to stay on track and delay instant gratification, so I don't fall into the trap of being impatience.
  8. Be useful to someone else. Everyone should do this. I don't have a lot of money to donate right now. So I make sure I treat my family and girlfriend well every day. I hope that answering a Quora question every day counts.
  9. Move. I need to clarify one thing upfront, I believe 10 minutes of movement in a day is not enough. However, 10 minutes of movement is far far better than no movement at all. I lift heavy weights, I sprint, I mimic Ido Portal's move. As a suggestion, do compound movements (bodyweight or with external weights), sprint, practice martial arts, or dance.
  10. Jot down key objective for the next day. I started doing this long time ago, but I can't find a good system to stay consistent with it. Last November, I stumbled across a dead-simple app with limited features (but some solid functions) called Workflowy. And it became the app I'm using every day to do this. I make a list of dates, and every day, I write down 4 to 8 things I need and want to focus on for the next day. When I've completed one thing in the list, I strike it off; when I've completed everything for that day, I strike that day off.

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