This post is taken from my answer on Quora to the question “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?”
One: Know What Energizes You and What Drains You
Pay attention to the daily things that energize you and the daily things that drain you. Be aware of what gives you peace and what stresses you out every day. Incorporate more of the energizing and peaceful things into each day, while reducing the number of draining and stressful things. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries to accomplish this if you have to.
One very simple thing I do is I don’t take phone calls from people I know who will drain my energy unless I have enough energy to give them. I usually wait and call them back when I have the energy to do so, but within a reasonable amount of time (within 24 to 48 hours).
De-clutter and get organized! Get rid of clothes you no longer wear. Get rid of devices you don’t use. Straighten up your surroundings. Make your bed everyday. Organize your schedule a few days ahead of time. Having things neat and organized creates a sense of serenity.
A few years ago I reduced my closet down to a capsule wardrobe (about only 30 garments). I got rid of 2/3 of my closet. Since doing this, I don’t have as much trouble deciding what to wear each day, and therefore I don’t get frustrated and don’t waste time trying on several different outfits. This also makes me less moody in the mornings and I get out the door on time.
Three: Treat Yourself
Treat yourself every once in a while. If you’re the type of person who never puts yourself first, you need this!
One of my favorite ways to treat myself is going out to eat with a friend.
Four: Become Uncomfortable
On the other hand, if you’re the type of person who goes overboard treating yourself, find a way to become uncomfortable. This will challenge you and build your character. Step out of your comfort zone by taking a class to learn a new language, or volunteer in a setting that makes you nervous. Do something that seems scary, like speaking in front of a group.
Maintain a balance by rewarding yourself only after you’ve done something productive or something where you’ve served others.
My personal goal each year is learn something new, serve others, and share my knowledge. While I was able to do all of the above in one week while on my mission trip to the Amazon jungle, I’ve found it easier and more manageable to spread these things out over the course of a year instead!
Five: Ask, Listen, & Apply
Ask about and learn from other people’s stories. Listen to them. Find out how they got to where they are. What have been their biggest regrets thus far? What did they learn from both their failures and their successes?
Apply what you learn from them to your life in your own unique way. I love having one-on-one conversations like this with people from different backgrounds.
Six: Break Out of Your Everyday Surroundings
Break out from your everyday surroundings once in a while. Take a drive to a nearby town and be a tourist there for the day. Or go visit an attraction in your own town you’ve never been to.
Every year I drive two short hours away to spend a weekend at a monastery where there is complete silence. They have accommodations and a cafeteria for people to come there for a silent retreat, and it only costs the amount I’m led to give as an offering. It’s one of the most peaceful weekends of my year.
Take time to reflect on what you’re truly passionate about (note: this requires some peace and quiet!). What are the things you lose track of time doing? What are things you’d do without getting paid? Incorporate these things into your life as recreation or find a way to make money doing them.
My own passions include helping others pursue their passions, writing, and stand up paddling.
How to Get Started
If all these ideas sound a bit overwhelming, just choose one or two to try for right now. Give them a long enough chance for them to become habits. Once they do, then try a couple more. Before you know it, you’ll see a major impact on your life. You’ll have more joy, peace, and positivity.
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Share Your Own Ideas
Do you have answers of your own for the question, “What are the small things you can do to have a good life?” Please share in the comment box below!