- Day 1: Start a New Hobby
- Day 2: Turn the TV Off
- Day 3: Make Lists
- Day 4: Grow a Plant from Seed
- Day 5: Take a Class
- Day 6: Recycle
- Day 7: Read a Good Book
- Day 8: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
- Day 9: Set Goals for Yourself
- Day 10: Try to Stop Procrastinating
- Day 11: Park the Car
- Day 12: Push a Personal Limit
- Day 13: Spend Time with a Pet
- Day 14: Laugh out Loud
Everywhere you turn, someone is selling some new product guaranteed to improve your life. Maybe you’ve been trying them all out, with no real luck. If you’re still looking, you have come far enough. All the tools you need for improvement are likely already in front of you.
Here are some tips to help make your life better:
Day 1: Start a New Hobby
Start a new hobby, or pick back up one that you have neglected. Having a hobby is more than just a way to pass the time. It’s a chance to clear your mind and take a break from chores and busy schedules. Whether it’s painting model cars, juggling, playing piano, or putting together a jigsaw puzzle, a hobby teaches patience and improves your ability to focus. Test out couple different hobbies. Ask a friend who you know has one if you can watch or try helping out with theirs. Find something that fits your personality and interests you. If it doesn’t really interest you, chances are you will end up putting your new hobby on a high shelf and forgetting about it before it has the chance to do you any good. If you already have a well-established hobby, then you already know the vast benefits of having one. Try picking up a different one to change things up and stimulate your brain. Invite someone to learn your hobby. Sometimes when teaching something to another person, you end up learning something new unexpectedly.
Day 2: Turn the TV Off
It’s easy to become an accidental couch potato. Especially with so many commercials these days, it can seem like you’ve only been watching a show or two, and then you suddenly realize that you’ve been sitting on the same chair for hours absorbed in the latest plots and twists. While watching TV can be relaxing and entertaining, it is important not to spend too much time trapped in front of it. There’s a whole world out there, and you would most likely feel much better about yourself and your life if you did something productive in the time ordinarily spent watching your favorite show.
Commercials are designed by advertising experts to influence your thinking and implant ideas about products in your head without you ever realizing it. Reducing the amount of time you spend absorbing useless information about products and services others want you to buy, you might actually free up more of your brain power for bigger, better things. Studies show that watching too much TV can make one’s mind become duller over time, with slower reaction times and less desire for stimulation. People led very full lives long before the TV was invented.
Day 3: Make Lists
A to-do list will organize your thoughts and prioritize the tasks you need to complete. How many times are you on the treadmill at the gym or in the middle of eating dinner with the family when you suddenly remember something you need to grab at the store, but by the time you get to the store you have completely forgotten what it was you had thought? If you make lists, this might never happen to you again. A grocery list will ensure that you buy more of the things you really need and less of the things that look so good on the shelves when you go to the store hungry. A wish list can give you something to look forward to, perhaps as a reward for completing the to-do list you made. Create a list of people who are special to you and something you can do to show them how you feel.
Day 4: Grow a Plant from Seed
Whether you have a green thumb or have never even tried, growing a plant can be a very rewarding experience. Seeing the seed slowly come to life can help remind you of the beauty of nature. When it flowers or leafs out, it is a lovely feeling to know that your plant is thriving thanks to all your caring and nurturing. Having a potted plant on your windowsill at home or on your desk at work is aesthetically pleasing. You may find your mood is improved just by the little touch of nature that your plant provides indoors. A houseplant also improves the quality of air. Plants are great natural air filters, purifying the air as they go through the processes of respiration and photosynthesis.
Day 5: Take a Class
Find out if there is a place in your hometown offering belly dancing or yoga classes. Sign up for a night class to learn Spanish. Go to a weekend beekeeping or creative writing workshop. Whatever class sounds appealing to you, give it a try. The worst case scenario is that you don’t learn anything new, but most likely you will learn many new things and enjoy it immensely. It is especially important as we grow older to continue stimulating the mind. When you learn new things it increases brain activity and self esteem. The more we know, the better we feel about ourselves and the better we can understand the people and world around us. By signing up for a class you might meet someone new or do something fun and exciting you wouldn’t ordinarily do. You never know where it might lead.
Day 6: Recycle
You will be simultaneously improving your own life as well as that of every other man, woman, child, animal, and plant that lives on earth with you. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to try recycling, but it is inconvenient for you. Maybe you think the whole “going green” thing is a ploy to get people to buy expensive products that claim to be environmentally-friendly. While some of it may be a gimmick, there is no doubt that recycling is the wave of the future if we are to have one. You can begin by reducing your waste in simple, convenient ways. Just using a reusable shopping bag at the grocery store is a small step toward a big improvement. Find out if your local trash collector offers a recycling service. This could make it more convenient for you. Many of these services even separate recyclables for you, making it no more work than taking out the garbage already is. You can take pride in the fact that you are helping prevent deforestation, pollution, and landfills from destroying the planet. Now that’s an improvement to your life.
Day 7: Read a Good Book
Reading is a very enjoyable way to relax and de-stress. By taking even a small amount of time each day to read, you will stimulate your mind and imagination, learn new things, and even lower your blood pressure. These days there are millions upon millions of books to choose from. There is literally something for everyone, and you can’t use the excuse that you can’t find a book you like unless you try.
New books are published daily in countless genres – fiction, self-help, biographies. Your local library has a stockpile of classics and newly released titles for you to browse, and if they don’t have exactly what you are looking for, chances are they can request it from a partner library. With the internet such a major part of our lives these days, you can find virtually anything you can think up. Handheld digital books that one downloads content onto are popular, and most have screens specially designed to be easy on your eyes. You may be surprised to find a new love for reading.
Day 8: Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Poor sleep habits are a leading cause of stress and fatigue for adults. People who are frequently exhausted tend to be crankier and make more mistakes. Many people find themselves laying awake at night with a mind racing as fast as modern society races in the world beyond the bedroom door. While meditating in an alert state is generally considered preferable, for the purpose of falling asleep meditating as you lie in bed can be a wonderful way to relieve an overly active mind.
Focus on your breathing and try to clear your mind of all else. Chances are you will wake up later without remembering ever having fallen asleep. There are many tips for getting better sleep. Try covering your eyes with a bandana or turning out the night light. Turn on some white noise such as a box fan, soft music, or white noise generator. Get ready for bed before you feel tired and wind down with a relaxing aromatherapy scent, herbal tea, or good book. If nothing works, see a specialist. Few single things are as important to your quality of life as being well-rested.
Day 9: Set Goals for Yourself
By highlighting specific things that you would like to accomplish, you can begin a reward system for yourself that will help you achieve more of the things you would like to. Starting a new diet or exercise regimen, striving to be a better person, or beginning to recycle can seem like daunting tasks, but if you take them one step at a time and have an established reward for yourself upon completion, you can make your dreams a reality in a quick and fun way. Try to make the reward something that encourages, not sets back, the goal. For example, don’t reward yourself for losing 3 pounds by treating yourself to a triple fudge sundae. Reward your weight loss with a new piece of clothing in your new smaller size.
Day 10: Try to Stop Procrastinating
It can be very easy to put something off until tomorrow, but you may find yourself weeks later with it still not finished, wondering how that could have happened. You will experience a boost in confidence and self esteem every time you get something done exactly when it needed to be done. Your tasks will no longer seem to pile up. By taking the time to do things now, you will free up more time later to do the fun things you look forward to.
Day 11: Park the Car
Walk or ride a bike to the store for milk. It may be less convenient, but the exercise is good for you. Take public transportation to work. Start a carpool to school. A break from your routine might offer a new opportunity you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. The environment will benefit from even just one less vehicle on the road. You will be amazed at how much money you save on gas.
Day 12: Push a Personal Limit
If you always stay in your comfort zone, you will never know what you could be capable of. Ride the elevator to the top floor and confront your fear of heights. Strike up conversation with someone you’ve been nervous to ask out on a date. Increase your workout by fifteen minutes. Whatever it is that you do, try doing it just a little more. It can build confidence and courage.
Day 13: Spend Time with a Pet
It is a well-known fact that pets can reduce stress. Having a dog might inspire you to jog more often or spend more time at the park. Petting a cat could become part of your unwinding routine after work. A simple goldfish swimming in a bowl may inspire feelings of Zen. Even if you think a pet is not for you, chances are you have a friend or family member who has one and would be delighted to share the benefits with you from time to time.
Day 14: Laugh out Loud
This does not mean only a “lol” on a friend’s Facebook status, either. Really laugh, from deep inside yourself. Think it will be difficult to find something funny enough to laugh about? There are hilarious things happening all around you. It is up to you to get in touch with the inner joy that came preassembled in your soul at birth and let it out. Someone else might start laughing, too, when they see how much fun you’re having with your life.