Quite often we get so caught up in day-to-day activities that we get distracted from thinking about how some of them may seem so simple and obvious that we don't even think of implementing them regularly. We don't realize that little habits, over time, can make a big difference in our lives!
As an example, in his book Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones, James Clear approaches the concept of small habits from a fresh, unique perspective.
He talks about the compounding nature of the long game. While most people look for the "big win," Clear points out how important small, compounded habits can make a huge difference. He writes:
"Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becomes strikingly apparent."
2. Practice Gratitude. Be grateful for and focus on the good things you have in your life. Many of us get in the habit of sweating the 'small stuff' and let it get in the way of appreciating the important things such as family, friends, good health, freedom, and the many opportunities we enjoy. When we get caught up in the small stuff, it downplays the fact that we really do have much for which to be grateful.
3. Learn something new. Make a conscious effort to keep your brain active and functioning at optimum levels. Learn a new vocabulary word or a new piece of information as often as you can. It will keep you sharp and alert.
4. Have a good laugh. Read the comics or tell a joke just to loosen things up. Laughter and a jovial attitude help relieve stress, keep things light, and change your perspective from a gloomy to a cheerful one.
5. Smile at someone. When you walk through the office, down the street, or are in a store, make it a point to smile at someone to acknowledge them. It will make you both feel good. We're usually so preoccupied and caught up in activity that we don't take time to notice those around us.
6. Give a heartfelt compliment. If you notice that someone at school/work has a new hairdo or outfit and looks especially good, or has just given a good presentation, don't hold back, give them a compliment. Everyone enjoys positive feedback.
7. Tell your spouse, family member or friend how much you appreciate them. Just as we enjoy a nice compliment now and then, it improves our mood to know a loved one appreciates us. Quite often we take those we are closest to for granted.
8. Perform an act of kindness. Do something nice just for the sake of doing it. Help an elderly person lift or carry a parcel. Clear the table after a meal if it's not your normal routine. Offer to take your neighbor's kids to the park, or the show, along with yours. It generates and promotes good will.
9. Be a better listener. Take the time to listen to another's point of view. Even if you don't agree with what he/she is saying, try to put yourself in their place and understand where they're coming from.
10. Take 10-15 minutes quiet time. Give yourself a break. You deserve time to reflect and regroup too. Even a little 15-minute catnap can be surprisingly refreshing and rejuvenating. You'll wake up feeling like you can take on anything!
These 10 little positive habits can be incorporated into your routine at whatever intervals are comfortable for you.
Being aware of and practicing them regularly will make each day more pleasant for you and everyone around you.
It's the simple little things in life that make the biggest difference!