5 Things You Can Start Doing Today to Change Your Life

by Henrik Edberg


Image by tony (license).



Everything is something you decide to do, and there is nothing you have to do.”
Denis Waitley

“If you wait to do everything until you’re sure it’s right, you’ll probably never do much of anything.”
Win Borden

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to improve your life is simply to do things. To take action and learn along the way.

Here are five suggestions for “do-habits” that are very helpful to adopt to radically improve your life.

1. Do it first thing in the morning.

How you start your day tends to have a big influence on that day. It sets the context in your mind. I believe that one key to better consistency and improvement in your life is what you do early in the day. Two ways to get a good start to your day are these:

  • Do the hardest/ most important/ most uncomfortable thing first in your day. If you start your day by doing it you will feel relieved. You feel relaxed and good about yourself. And the rest of the day – and your to-do list – tends to feel a lot lighter and easier to move through. It’s amazing what difference this one action makes.
  • Start small. To get from a state where you just feel like sitting on your chair and doing nothing much to one where you take action over and over you can do this: start small. Getting started with your biggest task or most difficult action may seem too much and land you in Procrastinationland. So instead, start with something that doesn’t seem so hard. One of my favorites is simply to take a few minutes to clean my desk. After that the next thing doesn’t seem so difficult to get started with since I’m now in a more of a “take action” kind of mode. Experiment with this one and the previous tip and see which one that suits you the best. Or mix them up as you wish.

2. Do it one more time.

Don’t give up too soon. It is very easy to give into feeling that you done something enough times and it will never work. You have tried it as many times as you would expect people to do. But these expectations I believe are often a bit unrealistic.

Society, TV and advertising tell us that there is an almost instant solution to any of our problems. You can easily lose 30 pounds within a month. Or with little work and time invested have another extra 20 000 dollars in the bank.

So it is not unreasonable to think that success will come quickly. But instead of doing something as many times as you think others have done it, talk to and read about people who have actually done what you want to do. This will give you a more realistic picture of reality.

Oftentimes you may have to do it more than one more time. But I have often found that doing it just one more time, doing it that extra time even though you may start to feel that this won’t work, can bring the results you want in many cases. I actually feel a little bit of excitement sometimes when I feel like giving up because then I remember that at this point success is often not that far away.

3. Do the unusual thing.

When faced with a choice in your daily life, step back for a minute and think. Then take the option that is and feels unusual for you.

If you often back down just don’t for this one time. If you are often get into arguments with people then just this one time don’t and instead just let it go or treat the other person with kindness. Do the opposite of what you usually do and see what happens (while using common sense of course). Do something new and something you wouldn’t expect from yourself.

This is a fun a great way to get new experiences and learn things you wouldn’t if you kept going like you usually do.

Getting stuck in the same old routine until it becomes a rut can suck the life out of you. Doing the unusual thing in small and big situations, no matter how it goes, is a great way to feel alive again.

4. Do less.

How do you find time to do what you really want? How do you not get caught up in minor tasks and fill you day with them?

By setting limits. By being a bit ruthless and cutting down on the least important stuff. At some point you will probably have to be honest with yourself and realize that you can never fit all that you want into your day or week. Something has to go. Not only because it takes up time. But also because you only have so much energy, focus and creativity available during your day. If spend it on the less important things then all of that will be gone each day before you get to the big stuff.

It may not be fun to give up a couple of those TV-shows or hanging out on Facebook. But to make room for something new you sometimes have throw out a couple of old things.

5. Do your best.

Why should you do your best? Why not coast a bit and do just what is expected?

Three reasons:

  • You get better results. Sometimes immediately. Often not right away, but as all your awesome work adds up you start to see new and exciting results.
  • You raise your self esteem. When you do what you think is the right thing – like doing your best – then your self esteem goes up. If you just coast then you tend to feel kinda lame about yourself. So do awesome work and you feel awesome about yourself. Do ok work and feel ok about yourself.
  • Deservedness. When you feel awesome about yourself you do also feel like you deserve more in life. So you go after it and you won’t self-sabotage as much when opportunities pop up.

If you found this article helpful, please share it on Facebook, Twitter and Stumbleupon. Thank you very much! =)




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{ 31 comments }

Sandra Lee November 19, 2010 at 1:02 am

I found #3 and “unusual” idea! It appeals to me and I will give it a try. Thanks for these helpful tips to help us start changing our lives.

William Tha Great November 19, 2010 at 4:58 am

Hey henrik,

I happen to be passing through, because I stumbled on your site. It is a good thing I popped up here because I wouldn’t of have the chance to read your article. Great job by the way. ( :

I like key points “doing less” and “doing your best”. Sometime you really need to cut your habits back for your own benefit. When you give your best work you give your self a much higher chance to go viral and gain exposure.

Quality over quantity.

Thanks again.

God bless,
William Veasley

Darren Poke November 19, 2010 at 7:28 am

Another great post Henrik.

This is a great list of things, I especially like the “one more time” suggestion.

If you were to make it a list of six, I would add in to write down your goals every day, ensuring that you stay focused and connected to them.

Keep up the great work!

Kevin Tyler Smith November 19, 2010 at 8:19 am

Henrik,

This is a very inspiring “take action” list
for changing one’s life.

The one that resonated with me the most was
#2 – Do it one more time.

This reminds me of an article I wrote a while ago
entitled “Uncover The Lost Path To Simple Success.”

My basic premise was, people who are able to
pragmatically transform their lives make that
extra effort to do so. They have a plan, a
mission and a direction in life.

The stubborn determination they foster has much
to do in explaining when they feel they have not
manifested their objective, they are more willing
to work a little harder.

Thanks for enlightening us today.

Stay growing,

Kevin Tyler Smith
Promethean Life

Daniel M. Wood November 19, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hey Henrik.

Some simple tips we all should follow. Starting with the first, largest commitment in the morning gets it out of the way and lets you relax during the day.

It gets you started by feeling productive and as if you are getting things done.

Once that is done the rest of the day will go like a flash.

//Daniel

Nacho Jordi November 19, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Interesting points. I’m quite on the ‘do less side’ currently, so #4 is my favorite one. Besides… I don’t know, maybe now that Christmas is rearing its ugly head, maybe we could use some extra doses of calm. Thank you for the tips.

Chris Ginsburg November 20, 2010 at 7:21 am

I like #3. Doing unusual things actually helps us to reprogram our brains as well. Even switching the hand that we brush our teeth with can create new connections in our brains. Essentially, the possibilities are endless if you keep doing small unusual things for yourself.

Organic Joy Blog November 20, 2010 at 11:28 pm

I really like the “do the unusual thing” recommendation. A book that I am really enjoying right now recommends that we imagine a new aspect of our heart’s desire each day. Doing this we can discover a new reason to remain excited while growing in knowledge and experience- very similar to doing the unusual thing.

Pair this mental focus with heartfelt action towards goals (action that you truly enjoy) and you can see progress occur in your personal “life change” goals. That book is Heart’s Desire by Sonia Choquette.

This is the kind of suggestion you can stumble upon yourself when pursuing goals and looking for ways to remain enthusiastic- as I did. But, there are many other useful tips in that resource…It paints a whole picture, which I LOVE and find exceptionally useful as well as honest. The benefits of the “unusual thing” are great :)

Thanks for the post !

Mauricio Salazar November 21, 2010 at 3:30 am

Hi Henrik.
I like the idea of organizing the day in the morning and doing the important things first. Procrastination is not good for self esteem. People don’t do the important stuff and obviously they don’t get any positive results.

Have a nice day,

Mauricio.

Evelyn Lim November 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

I enjoy tip #4. It’s really about being ruthless and prioritizing to what are the most important tasks. If I don’t make space, I will never have the time.

Big Zen November 21, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Great post. I particularly like number 3. If you want to go further than has been gone before, you can’t stop where everyone else stopped. Very simple but easy to forget!

Big Zen November 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm

-correction, that was actually number 2. Number 3 is great too though :)

Amanda@Choosing Life My Way November 21, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Good tips, and nice, simple and straight to the point. Do it now, do what is important, try different ways, and just keep trying. I like your point about the unrealistic expectations that are so easily created by popular media. It is sometimes difficult to give up the fun time-wasters like too much time on Facebook, but time is not an unlimited resource for any of us.

Thanks for a great read.

Henrik Edberg November 22, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Thank you for all the kind words and for sharing your own experiences! :)

John Sherry November 22, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Wow, simple but high octane truths here Henrik. I would also like to add ‘Do it because it matters’. All yours are uba spot on but doing something because it has personal relevence ramps up the energy to see it through. But, can’t argue with your list, especially doing the unusual down the road less travelled. Few signposts but a clear road ahead to make your way in any direction you choose.

YourFriendsToo November 22, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Hey Henrik, I loved it!!! OMG you are very wise. Thank you for sharing these great tips. For sure I’ll be changing my life. God Blessed ;-)

Make sure you visit my blog too, its coming along very well, I’m excited!!!
http://www.yourfriendstoo.wordpress.com

Kim November 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

The wonderful thoughts you share here certainly helps those who reads them . Like it always helps me ! Coming to your post , doing unusual things or the tough things first thing in the morning can definitely make one feel relaxed and more confident for the day ahead.

Grant Carter November 23, 2010 at 10:46 pm

Henrik:

A very usable list. Particularly, #1. Have recently utilized “Hardest Thing First Thing” re rehabilitation exercises for a minor knee surgery. This discipline appears to be benefitting the knee!

Alyx Falkner November 25, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Great Post. I really agree with the #1 reason. The morning is when our brains are the most active and responsive and we should really train ourselves to capitalize during this time. Hey my strategy is: get a cup of coffee, enjoy the view, take action and be inspired.

Thanks for the Post

katie kirby November 25, 2010 at 7:43 pm

great tips! Not all of them easy, especially Do Less but very true.

Gabriel November 27, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I find the key points that can be taken from here is to get warm-up and have patterns-interrupt when things don’t go your way to break your usual old-habits that are not working for you.

That Happy Guy December 1, 2010 at 1:02 pm

Really useful tips. I’m currently blogging about my experiences trying to implement a range of positive psychology techniques to improve happiness and life satisfaction.

I’ll give these 5 tips a try and see how they roll.

Thanks for sharing.

EC Myers December 1, 2010 at 7:52 pm

Am in the middle of finding more ways to make my life simpler … less distracting … Am so happy that I found your site to help guide my efforts even more. Thank you!

Amira December 4, 2010 at 2:32 pm

Seems useful and I will try not to quit easily. Life and achieving goals worth patience and tiredness .
Amira

Kristin December 4, 2010 at 6:41 pm

You are very creative. On all your posts are great and helpful ideas. Right, to do what you don’t enjoy first thing in the morning is best. You then have it behing.

Dr. R. Ahmed December 6, 2010 at 5:42 am

I really love the first point of what you do first thing in the morning pretty much determines the rest of your day – this point must be highly stressed and can never be overemphasized. Great point!
http://www.ultimatelifestrategy.com

Kath Roberts December 6, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I’ve just found your site and love the timeless wisdom and practical tips here.For me ‘less is more’ every time along with having a crystal clear of ‘why’ you’re doing it, that way, when it takes a while to perfect you’ll have the drive, courage and discipline to persist in the face of every obstacle.

arina nikitina December 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

The one thing I’d hate being stuck at is Waiting-For-The-Right-Time Terminal. That would mean trains are either cramped or spacious trains are headed to the opposite direction. LOL. But really, there’s not much wisdom in saying “if the timing is right”, that’s when you’d jump on the train. I agree with Win Borden.
I like the “do habits”, by the way. They’re easy to do mostly, the kinda uneasy ones has seas of self discovery ahead. Hmm, interesting. Presented this way, your post is really quick to grasp. Ending it with reasons why we should always aim high is perfect as well. Pointing it out like a good friend sure makes readers feel genuine concern. Keep posting!

vas jo-ne December 8, 2010 at 11:21 am

I love reading things like this. It makes us know life is about MOVING!

Sasha Berson December 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Great ideas Henrick. I recently stumbled upon your blog and enjoy your ideas.

I absolutely agree with #2 – #5. However, #1 is not my cup of tea. I don’t want to start my day by getting the hardest thing out of the way. It just creates a negative association IMHO. So, I follow a routine, habit, that helps me stay focused on my priorities (not my original idea, borrowed it from Darren Hardy).

I start the day by quick stretch and exercise and then move on to reading something positive and motivating for just 15 minutes. This gets me energized for the day.

Next, I review my goals starting from the long term and moving all the way down to week’s objectives. Set my 3 most valuable priorities (MVP’s) for the day (as well as write out a to do list) and work on them for up to 3 hours.

Once done I feel that I took care of the most important things and it does not matter how the rest of the day shapes up, because my MVP’s were taken care of.

Hope this idea is a positive contribution to your great post.

To your success!

Ashley Miles @ Improving Your Personal Growth January 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

Awesome! I really like this.

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