5 Things You Can Start Doing Today to Change Your Life

Image by tony (license).

[hana-code-insert name=’social down’ /]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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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Kim

    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.

  • 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!

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Sasha Berson

    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!

  • Awesome! I really like this.