It takes 3-4 weeks, on average, to make a new habit stick (and fortunately, the Internet is full of ways to help, including this awesome Lifehack post).
However you decide to proceed in making these new habits a permanent part of your routine, you’ll be astounded at how much more meaningful and happy your life will be as a result of doing so.
Here are five things you can do weekly for a more meaningful, happier life:
1) Rid yourself of worries.
Are you finding yourself ruminating on something that you can’t really do anything about? Is something bugging you that you can’t address immediately? Is life creating some worries for you (or are you creating some worries in your life)?
Erma Bombeck was right when she opined that worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Still, it’s hard not to worry. It’s even more difficult when you’re deliberately trying not to worry. You know what can help, though? Writing down your worries…and then getting rid of them.
When you write down your worries you take away their power. You express them, and it’s almost like giving them their own life force: they no longer have any power over you. You can set them free and walk away. And if they’re really bugging you, perhaps do as this source suggests and tear them up and throw them away.
2) Give yourself something to look forward to.
Try to plan at least two fun activities in the evenings during the workweek so that you have something to look forward to throughout the workday. It’s super-helpful and totally important to retain focus and determination during work, but that can make us feel too cerebral and attached to serious matters if we don’t get some fun into our lives. Whether it’s a special dinner with your significant other, playing fetch with Fido or planning an evening playing pool with friends, take time during the day to plan something fun that evening, and give yourself something to look forward to. Here are some ideas to start your planning.
3) Eat the same thing for breakfast or lunch, every day.
In a world where we are required to make hundreds of decisions every day, the amount of time we spend agonizing over what we eat is staggering. So for one meal every day, make it the same (balanced, healthy) meal every day. This can help in various ways: reducing decision fatigue, ensuring that part of your day will always include a healthy, balanced meal to keep you going, and knowing how many calories are going into your body from those foods every day can be incredibly stress-reducing. Check out the testimony of this world-class runner who eats the same thing for lunch every day, and check out your own diet to see if streamlining those options makes sense for you.
4) Shut off your phone for one day each week.
“Unplugging” is becoming as essential to our time management as “being plugged in” was during the dot-com boom. All kinds of information abounds, like this article and this article and this article and this one too, on the importance of unplugging. Unplugging is especially important in terms of reconnecting with yourself and your life’s rhythms. Think that managing for a whole day without your phone is impossible? Then you most definitely need to give it a shot. I promise you, the world won’t end while you’re away from your digital device.
5) You are what you consume, so input articles and books that lead to more positivity into your life.
Choose books and articles, posts and op-eds based on what you want to improve. For example, if you want to better your time management, you might want to check out David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” methodology (you can find a primer on this here). Doing so will enrich your life in a variety of helpful ways. Nobody is perfect, and pretty much anyone can identify areas they would like to improve. Take some time to consider how you want to live your best life, then find resources that will help you improve. Here’s a great list of books to check out to encourage positivity in your life.