Many of us talk about changing our lives, but few actually do it. We get stuck in the same old routine day in and day out. We find excuses like not having enough time, being too tired, not having enough education, not feeling financially secure, and the list goes on. When you know a change needs to be made, but you continually find excuses for it, you are holding yourself back from your true potential.
Do you feel like something needs to change, but you can’t quite put your finger on what it is? Maybe you know what needs to change, but you haven’t allowed yourself the opportunity to do it. Whichever it is, you can take action to create the momentum needed to start living up to your full potential.
I am not an expert by any means, but I constantly indulge my mind in books, Podcasts, and conversations on this topic. From what I have learned through research and experimented with on my own, there are certain habits that can have tremendous effects on your life. If you are searching for a change, start by incorporating the habits below and allow them to work in your life. You have nothing to lose.
Journaling- This is hands-down one of my favorite habits. Journaling is something I recommend to many of my coaching clients, and they respond one of two ways: like I am a genius or like I am bat-s*** crazy. Many people are fearful to start journaling, but what they don’t understand is that there is no right or wrong way to do it. It can be very therapeutic to write out your feelings when you are experiencing sadness, anxiety, or stress. It can also be a way for you to declare the goals, dreams, and aspirations you have for yourself. It is more likely you will achieve the things you want for yourself if you take the time to write them out. If you are new to journaling, I would recommend buying a journal that “speaks” to you and dedicate time once a week to write. You don’t have to know exactly what to write about, just sit down, put pen to paper, and allow your thoughts to flow.
Prayer- I grew up thinking that prayer had to be done sitting in a pew at church or kneeling beside my bed at night. In my adult life, I have learned that prayer can be done from anywhere and has many different forms. Prayer is not just something that is recited, it is a conversation with God. God is everywhere and within everyone. You can talk to him like you would talk to a friend. Just like journaling, there is no right or wrong way to pray. Whether prayer for you is going to church, taking a walk in nature, or having a conversation with God, your life will change when you are diligent about practicing it daily. Through prayer, I have learned to view my life with gratitude, have come to understand that I don’t have to have all of the answers, and am able to find the good, even in bad situations.
Exercise- This is just science, people. There is a true physiological response that happens in your body when you exercise–endorphins are released. Endorphins interact with receptors in your brain to reduce your perception of pain and also give you a euphoric feeling. This is what’s responsible for a “runner’s high”. The more times per week you can release endorphins, the better you will feel. Many people attribute consistent exercise to less stress, lower weight, more energy, and feeling inspired. I can’t tell you how many people have told me that they have their most ingenious ideas come to them while they are exercising!
Water- Your body is 75% water and your brain is 85% water, so it is safe to say that water is your body’s life force. When you starve your body of it’s life force, you do not function as well on a cellular level. You can experience low energy, fatigue, headaches, cravings, and more. Giving yourself ample amounts of water is key to living your best life. This is one of the first things that I work on with clients. I am sure they want to beat me over the head with their water bottles, but they always feel better within a week or two of drinking more water. Did you know that when you are thirsty, it is a sign that your body is already dehydrated? Crazy, right? As a guideline, you should be drinking your body weight divided by two in ounces per day. You can add 8-16 oz. more per day if you are losing a lot of fluid through sweat or exercise.
Sleep- Sleep is not just for beauty, it’s for sanity too. We live in a culture that congratulates you for working your tail off, burning the candle at both ends, and stuffing your life with as much as you can handle without bursting. We feel proud when we can function off of a few hours of sleep at night. Am I the only that sees something wrong with this picture? News Flash: we are designed to sleep. Our cells turnover and rejuvenate at night, our body rests itself, and our minds shut down. You can only go so long without sleep before you start to go insane, literally. Running off of fumes can mess with your hormones, cause cravings, mood-swings, and extreme fatigue. When you make it a point to get between 6-8 hours of sleep each night, you function better cognitively, are more creative, and have more patience. How would those things enhance your life?
Vegetables- Most Americans are not eating enough vegetables. With so many conflicting nutrition theories out there, the number one thing that they all agree on, is that you should be eating more vegetables. Let’s take that as a sign! Vegetables are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are responsible for immunity and disease-prevention. Start small; Incorporate one extra serving of vegetables per day. This would equate to 1 cup of leafy greens or 1/2 cup of other vegetables. That’s SO doable, isn’t it? Food matters, trust me. When you can change your food, you can change your life.
Community- Humans are meant to have companionship. Having the right types of relationships in your life can make it extraordinary. When you spend time with someone, you should feel uplifted, encouraged, and inspired afterwards. If you spend time with someone, and they continually make you feel down, it may be time to re-evaluate that relationship. If you would like to build new, fruitful relationships, start by joining a small group, trying a new church, going to group classes at your local gym, or organizing a girls night with moms from your children’s school. It can be uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but once you do, you will be so glad you did. This habit of cultivating positive relationships can truly enhance your life.
Did one of these habits speak to you? Start small, and incorporate it into your life this week. Take inventory, and see how it works for you. Once you feel like you have it mastered, incorporate another one, and so on. To change, all you have to do is start. Use these habits as your foundation. Keep on building from the ground up, and you will begin to reach your full potential. Get rid of excuses, and start living the life you dream of!