Yesterday I blogged about habits and the value of creating habits that support bigger goals; habits are simple actions taken on a daily basis which lead to your desired outcome. Today’s blog gives you some ideas for habits that could help us cultivate more life satisfaction. I pulled three of yesterday’s tips to use as examples of how you could build a habit that brings more of that tip into your life. This month as we fall deeper in love with our lives consider creating a new habit that will bring you more life satisfaction.
Embrace Gratitude. Gratitude is a matter of perspective; it is a choice we make. Contentment will only come when we stop saying “I will be happy/content when ___” and start saying “Thanks”. Life is a gift and filled with 1000’s of simple pleasures. Each day express gratitude for at least one of your blessings first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.
Possible Gratitude Habits:
- Wake Up With A Thankful Heart. If you are not used to doing this you will need a few reminders each morning. Some morning gratitude reminders could be the list of three things you were grateful for the day before in a place where you will easily see it first thing in the morning, picture or quote about gratitude in your bathroom so when you brush your teeth first thing in the morning you see it, or a morning meditation that includes a gratitude element.
- 3 Good Things. What are the three good things that happened in your life today? According to positive psychologist when you get into the practice of listing your three good things of every day you train your brain to seek the good in life more consistently which leads to greater happiness in life. So what are your three good things about today?
- Thank You. Each morning start with 5 coins in your right pocket. Each time your say “Thank You” to someone move a coin to your left pocket. If you catch yourself saying or thinking “I will be happy/content when ____________.” Move all the coins from your left pocket back to your right and start the “Thank You” count all over again.
- Express Gratitude. Each day give a heartfelt expression of gratitude. To your “Thank You” add the impact of the others actions on your life. For example. “Thank you Charles for letting me use that ladder, now that my apple trees are all pruned I am not worried about anything falling on my car during the winter storms.”
- Gratitude Journal. Keep a gratitude journal every day that lists the things you are grateful for each day. This is a great habit and a wonderful resource to look back over when you are feeling less than grateful.
Invest in Relationships. One of the keys to living a fulfilled life is the relationships we maintain. Invest time into the relationships that make your life better, inspire and support you, and bring you joy. Divest in the relationships that bring disruption, stress, and turmoil. Set up time each week to reconnect with someone you have lost contact with or you want to get to know better.
Treasure your relationships, not your possessions.
Anthony J. D’Angelo, The College Blue Book
Possible Relationship Habits:
- Be THE Birthday Friend. It is difficult to keep up with all our relationships, but remembering someone’s birthday is a gift in and of itself sometimes. Be the friend that never forgets a birthday and establish birthday rituals that bless your friends. Send cards, meet for happy hour, go for a walk, catch a movie, or catch up over coffee as your birthday treats for your friends and family.
- Lunch, Happy Hour or Coffee Once A Week with a Friend. This is one thing I am working on because I can go weeks without interaction with my friends who are not on my daily path, so once a week I am giving myself a lunch, a happy hour, and a coffee with a friend. This is a big change for me that I am excited to get into practice.
- Check Up on a Friend Once a Week. This is an easy thing, send a card, e-mail, text, or call a friend that you do not see often at least once a week. Especially use this when a friend is going through a difficult time in life, a simple check in is a comfort to those needing extra support. It is a great way to maintain connection and keep in touch with those you love.
- Establish a Monthly Group Meeting. This is full of possibility. Create a cooking, life makeover, knitting, gallery walk group that meetson a consistent monthly time (first Thursday of each month at 7PM) and location (Cookbook section of the downtown Powell’s Books) so there is no “Oh No it’s tonight but I don’t know where or what time so I guess I am not going.”
- Establish Sunday Supper. What if you had an open house every Sunday at 2 0’clock for supper with anyone who showed up? It could be a simple potluck and game time with everyone clearing out by 5 so you can prepare for the work week ahead. After I change some things about my house I am going to do this, I have always loved this idea.
Recognize Enough. What is enough for you? When does a child have too many toys to enjoy? When do our prized possessions become a burden, a distraction, or clutter in our homes? When does our excess turn into hoarding and gluttony? When can we part with things, be content with what is enough, and bless others with the abundance we have gained?
Nature is just enough; but men and women must comprehend and accept her suggestions.
Antoinette Brown Blackwell
US abolitionist, preacher, & suffragist (1825 – 1921)
Possible Recognize Enough Habits:
- Eliminate the Overflow. You are probably not a hoarder, but if you have watch those shows on TV they probably disturb you enough to make you haul at least one bag to the local donation center. The trend in housing has been for bigger and bigger for more and more stuff. Time to back down and recognize when we have enough. I was once asked what the number of t-shirts one should have, my response was what easily fits in your drawers and you wear within the year. If you have not worn it in the last 12 months or do not have space for them then you have too many. Share of your abundance and haul a few to the local donation center.
- Give of Your Abundance. God blesses us in unique ways; I believe this is so we can connect with others as we share our abundance. What do you have excess of? Time? Talent? Apples in the fall? Share.
- Reduce the Excess. Excess can distract us from our purpose and drain our energy. If your space is overflowing start reducing. This is a simple habit to bring into your life. Each day for 5 minutes, reduce the excess in one spot. Even if that means two shirts are placed in a donation bag that is reduction for the day. Do this every day and notice the energy you regain.
- Consume Less. We live in a consumer society. We purchase biscuits in a pop open can instead of mixing together flour, butter, baking powder, and milk ourselves. We purchase individual servings of carrots instead of growing some ourselves. When we create and make our own (not of everything, but of a few things) we establish an expertise and pride in that skill and talent. Be known for your homemade cookies instead of picking up a package for the office potluck.
- Use What is on Hand. I am terrible about this one, I work late 4 nights a week, by the time I leave the office I am hungry and tired. So I pick up take out instead of cooking what is on hand. As a result my refrigerator is cluttered with good food going back and take out containers. If this is a challenge for you, start with one thing like making coffee in the morning instead of stopping by a coffee shop every day, bring lunch once a day, or challenge yourself to eat one more night a week just from what you have on hand.
This was a fun exercise to go through. It got me thinking about what I could do in three of these areas. After doing this I am doing the one that stirred up the most positive emotion and has been pulling at my heart for a while now. I am building a new habit around investing in relationships. I am doing the weekly lunch with a friend, the monthly happy hour with the girls, and I’ll establish birthday cocktails with my girls as well. I will also check in on a friend one a week. A tiny bit of daily focus and I think I will see a positive change in my relationships.
Today’s Smile Igniter is to consider what simple daily action you can add to your life that will increase your life satisfaction and contentment. Tomorrow we will start a 21 day cycle of habit creation as we continue to fall deeper in love with our lives.
If you would like support in creating new habits that could increase your life satisfaction consider my FREE Program 30-Days to a New Habit. You can receive the 30 daily action plans via daily e-mails when you send a blank e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org