Sometimes I like to give tips on what you can do to help improve your life, so today I thought I would do just that. We all have read or heard top ten list, we have them for everything, but all to often they are hard to follow, or in truth, they are the top ten topics, each containing 10 to-do items. Well I’m not going to do that, I am going to give you a list of actual action items that you can do today, and my list is not going to be the top 10 of anything, but a much more manageable list of 7, one for each day of the week. You decide in what order they go and the priority they deserve, who knows you better than yourself, definitely not me.
You know yourself, even if you don’t think you do, so this list is going to help you, daily, define and refine yourself. Follow it with persistence and I guarantee you will see a new and better you in no time.
What you will need
- Outlook or any email that will send you notification
- Journal or Blog
- The desire to make change in your life
- A good attitude
A good Attitude
A good attitude is paramount to this plan, you must approach the daily tasks with a positive upbeat outlook, or the daily task is dead before you even begin. How we approach things is often times more important that what we are approaching. If we approach any task with a negative attitude we defeat the purpose before we even start, regardless of the task. For example, if our task is simple to clean the house, our attitude will determine our enjoyment of the task. If we look at house cleaning as a negative, we will, by our very nature, dread the task, we will clean it not because we see value in it, but because we know we must. For anyone who have children you know what I am talking about. How often do we say to our kids “If you would put as much effort into doing _____(what ever it is) as you do in trying not to do it, you would be done with it”. Be it homework or taking out the garbage. We instinctively know that how we approach any task determines the outcome.
We have all seen this in action, the person at work whom we know are not as smart or talented as us, yet they seem to get all the breaks. They seem to take each assignment in stride and with a smile. Often times, in the workplace, school or just life in general, the person who shows more initiative or “spunk” gets the choice assignments or the “break” that we, ourselves, were striving for. It’s all in our attitude, how we are perceived. So we must, if we truly want to see change, approach each and every tasks with a positive attitude, if we desire to see change.
The set up
Using your outlook or email account you will enter one task per day, setup automatic notification to be sent to you via your cell phone or email. Each morning when you check your email or your text messages on your phone you will be reminded of your daily task. To help keep you on task you will, at the end of each day, journal about you achievements. You can use the “tried and true” method of pen and paper journaling or start an online blog. I would recommend the blog for a few reasons, 1) Keeping a blog will allow you to access your journal from anywhere, and allow you to update your progress when ever you feel a need. 2) Because it is online, others can read and post comments about your progress. This can be a very useful tool, allowing you to asses the viewpoints of others. But either way is fine, what ever works best for you. Once you have the tools you need, now its time to enter your 7 tasks…
The 7 Tasks
- Read: Spend 30 minutes reading an uplifting or positive book or article. The goal is to read something that will help you improve your life, it can be the bible or self-help book or even an online newsletter that is sent to your email inbox. But set aside 30 minuets on this day to do just that, nothing else, allowing yourself to enter fully into what ever you are reading. If you do this daily, that’s ok also, but it is important to set aside 30 minutes at least once a week to “exercise” your mind.
- Give: Once a week find somehow to give back to your community, be it at your local church or outreach center or your community schools. Giving is proven to increase your health and provides the giver with much more than they gave. By giving I do not mean money, yes money is needed, but I am talking about time and talent. Find a way to give 30 minuets once a week to your community. Giving does not have to be in an official way, you don’t have to find a volunteer organization to work with, you could just call your child’s teacher and ask if there is anything you can do to help out, maybe even at home or if you can, in the classroom. Be creative.
- Family: Once a week set aside at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted family time. This means no phones no email and no TV. Go to the park, play a board game, read to your younger children. Anything that is quality time. If you have no kids, than spend the time with your wife or significant other. And if you don’t have that than your brothers or sisters or whom ever you consider family. The idea here is to create quality moments with loved ones, whom ever they are.
- De-clutter: Once a week pick an area in your home or office to de-clutter, be it your junk drawer or your office desk. Be it a small 5 minute job or a whole weekend job. Clutter in your living and working environment adds clutter to your life. Cleaning out your desk drawers will help you clean out your mind and soul. We, by our nature, are pack rats, some worse than others, but we all do it. We may think we are not, but it never ceases to amaze me that I can take a carload to Saint Vincent DePaul’s and 6 months later I have more. It seems that’s when we de-clutter the first time, we hold on to some stuff “just incase”, than 6 months later we de-clutter again and realize that “just incase” never happened.
- Beautify: Look around you and find one place, one spot that needs a “face-lift” needs to be brightened up or just given the once over. Create a container garden for the house or office. Repaint a room or paint your first masterpiece, find someway to add beauty to your daily life. We all have experienced the power of a sunset or the view from a vista that has taken our breath away, remember the feeling and recreate it in your life.
- Pamper: We all like to be pampered, so once a week pamper yourself. Take yourself out to a fancy dinner, get a manicure or massage. Fine one way each week to indulge yourself. This could be on your own or with someone else. We all know that one thing that makes us feel that something special, do it, enjoy without guilt. It could be as simple as getting that special chocolate you like or just taking a hot bath with a glass of good wine. What ever it is, find it and do it.
- Stretch: Each week find one way to stretch yourself, to take yourself out of your comfort zone and stretch. Like any exercise, we need to stretch, and changing yourself is no different. Yes, for some all 7 tasks may seem life stretching, and that may be true. But it is important to find new and exciting ways to stretch, just like in a good workout routine, you must change it up or the muscles will get use to the route, and no value will be added. If we only stick to the first 6 task, they will become routine, and that’s fine, we want that, but we also want to keep stretching, and task 7 does just that. If you don’t like public speaking, than volunteer to read to children at the local school or library one week. If you hate politics, attend a political event. What ever it is, what every stretches you, find it and do it, changing it up each week, allowing different “muscles” to be used.
So there you have it, 7 tasks to help you become a better you. So set them as daily reminders in your email and remember to approach each and everyone with a positive attitude. At the end of each day journal about it, how did it make you feel, what did you do, what did you learn about yourself and/or others. The journaling is just as important as the task itself, the process of journaling allows you to process the task, forces you to look deeper in to it and often times allows you to see things you never would have with out the journaling.
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