Daily Practices to Save Your Groundhog Day

Photo by Samuel Toh

Do you get a sense that you are waking up and living every day as if it’s the same? Wash your face, prepare breakfast or a protein shake, do mindless activities that might include work, watching tv, scrolling through news feeds, get groggy in the morning and grumpy in the evening etc. Well, a day is only as good as you make it.

Making Yourself Happy

Waking up with a smile on your face is not an old wives (or husbands) tale. It takes as little as practicing gratitude before going to sleep – the last thought in the evening will be your first thought in the morning. Add a 10-15 minutes meditation practice and you’ll be able to make smarter decisions by removing some of the stress buildup.

Meditation – where do I begin?

You don’t have to go fancy with learning how to meditate. If you’re new to the practice, an app as simple as Oak can get you a long way. Ultimately is about the intention of doing better choices and building yourself up for success. A happy is a life built through discipline, trials and errors and an ongoing competition with ourselves. You can get the life you want without waiting on that lottery win. Build yourself up.

Wake Up with Intention and Take Control of the Day

Photo by Ioana Tabarcea

Are you a snoozer or a napper? Do you dread morning? It won’t come as a surprise to you that these habits are false friends that entice you with a fun activity only to later realize that it derailed you from your goals. And even more, all these sentiments, conditions and limitations that we put on ourselves are sabotaging the great work we have achieved in the day before. How?

Action requires commitment, discipline, passion and motivation. By indulging in habits that are destructive we break the chain of uplifting qualities that we’ve built the day before, having to redo it all. Neutral attitudes, such as leaving the bed with the first alarm, making yourself a cup of warm water, stretching, reading, exercising, without necessarily being over the moon, allow you to make things happen.

While waking up with a smile might not come naturally for a while, stick to routines you can build by using your environment. Build strong processes and your emotions will follow.

Focus Means Saying No to Cool Ideas

Photo by Toa Heftiba

It was more than once that I was called an idiot which at a very young age was described to me as ‘a person with ideas’. It didn’t take long to understand that ideas are worth something, so I would explore every corner of my creativity trying to impress my audience. Only later to understand that ideas that are not implemented are mere entertainment.

Focus and creativity can make a great pair, but creativity needs discipline. To complete any piece of work we need focus. We need to take out our notebook and write down our ideas. Picture a child chasing a butterfly until a more flashy, beautifully painted one comes along. Chances are that the first butterfly that was chased is at a considerable distance by the time the child realizes the distraction.

Eliminating distractions can be painful in the beginning, which is why seeing our life through the eyes of our future-self numbs the pain and allows us to accumulate uplifting decisions and actions that will bring change and rewards. Become now who you want to be tomorrow.

How to Avoid Confrontation

Photo by Trent Haaland

We raise our voice, stamp our foot and clench our fist – all signs of power that we rob our opponent from. How do we manage a conversation without feeding into this destructive pattern?

  1. We quietly listen, without interrupting our counterpart.
  2. We ask ‘how’ and ‘what’ questions – what do you think we should do next? How would you act if you were me?
  3. We treat the other person the way we would like them to treat us: with calm, respect and consideration

This is not as easy as 1, 2, 3 but I know that whenever I don’t give into the other person’s rage fit I feel better about myself. I might still not feel 100% ponies on the field tea party but I feel better than the times when I try to match anger with anger.

As a long term strategy, simply avoiding people who put all their emotions into an anger pot works better than managing constant friction. Choose your daily interactions carefully, every person we meet shapes our behavior and, to a certain degree, our identity.

‘We Are Unfinished Human BEings’

Photo by Sheldon Liu

In her bestseller book called ‘Mindset’, Dr Carol S. Dweck is committed to teaching the growth mindset. Naming humans ‘unfinished human beings’ really made me aware of what a fix mindset is about: thinking that with a degree, a place in the society, a family and a good job we are ‘settled’. We no longer need to work for things, we’ve reached our final state. Wrong.

A fix mindset keeps us prisoners to the past when the world around us is ever evolving.

It’s always striking to hear people speaking about not their wish of not having to work when the alternative brings depression and lack of self-belief. Living life with eagerness – eager to make mistakes, to learn, to move forward – is what allows us to stand out and bring value to the world.

How Is Accountability Different from Criticism

Photo by Andrea Tummons

Accountability comes from a place of love. It shows understanding of one’s circumstances and it asks for transparency on both parts. The person being held accountable would have to perceive it as a positive intervention rather than criticism. The person who takes the power must use it with respect and kindness.

Why Not Self-Accountability?

Being able to set rules and implement them in your own life is a superpower. It takes practice and discipline and putting something on the line can add to the level of commitment. We can go quite soft on ourselves when we planned to get out of bed at 4AM and we need to face the cool air. Negotiating with ourselves in the moment is challenging – because winning in the short-term is not winning in the long-term.

Here is where an accountability partner comes in. Someone who we respect for their commitment and care, for their interest in seeing us improve. It can be someone you’ve met on a forum, the hotel reception or a good friend. People care about people and that’s something we can use to our advantage to practice self-care and self-discipline.