Don’t worry, I’m not about to tell you to make major life decisions or preach to you about how you have been living your life wrong. What I am going to do is tell you a few small steps that will make your life better in the long run. I honestly believe that small steps are completely underrated – we look at big life milestones and think that we can achieve them in one ‘leap of faith’, when really we should be patting ourselves on the back for every little shuffle forward towards our ambitions.
2017 is around the corner, and though I am a firm believer that you can refresh/restart your life on any day of the week, the new year brings new starts back into the spotlight. Lots of resolutions are written or spoken, but many never really come to fruition or last more than two weeks. So if you’re feeling particularly anxious about making any big changes, here are a few little ones that will make a positive impact:
1. Read more and often
Reading is meditative. It takes your mind to a completely different world, relaxes you, excites you, makes you emotional. It’s the perfect time filler and before bed activity. There is an unbelievable amount of books out there to chose from, as well as different genres to try. Depending on the book, reading can teach you a new skill, a new way of thinking, how to solve a problem, or simply spark your imagination. For me, it has made me a better writer (both non fiction and fiction), a better speller and generally more creative. I love the feeling of getting completely immersed into a book and not being able to put it down. If you’re not into reading then maybe you just haven’t found the right book yet.
2. Spend less time on your phone
To have a mini-detox from my phone (aka social media) I leave my phone at home when I’m going grocery shopping or running a small errand, turn my phone on flight mode whilst I’m out, or leave my phone in another room at home. It’s quite freeing. After a little while (because initially it can feel like losing a part of yourself), you start to appreciate your surroundings a lot more, which is lovely. I particularly like it when I see everybody around me staring at their phones, it’s as if they are the ones missing out on something rather than me.
How do all your social media accounts really make you feel? Who in your life causes more pain and drama than goodness and laughter? Keep a diary and actually write in it (I’m telling myself off for this one). Take some time to sit down with a notebook and write down what you imagine your future life to be like – basically, write down how you want to live. What are your values, your passions? Having these sorts of things on paper give you a sense of direction and a handy reminder for when you’re feeling a little lost.
4. Move your body
Running refreshes me in so many ways – my body, my lungs, my mood. Just 15 minutes makes me feel better. If you’re not into running (I never thought that I would be), going for walks, joining a fitness class, working out at home through Youtube videos – whatever you can manage will do you good.
5. Show your gratitude
Write down what things you are thankful for each day or better yet show your appreciation by spreading kindness. That best friend you have who helped you get through a hard time? Why not send them a little thank you note? Feeling particularly grateful for having fully stocked cupboards of your favourite foods? Why not donate some canned goods to your local food bank? No small act goes unnoticed, and by helping others you’ll be feeling pretty good about it. If you can’t for any reason, counting your blessings is still a great start. When you are feeling down it can feel particularly impossible to see the good in your life – so use this list to lift your spirits a little bit on your down days.
6. Indulge in childish pursuits
Doing silly, spontaneous things can be completely refreshing and super fun. When I’m feeling in need of something like this, I normally go out for an “adventure”, which could be anything from going to the cinema and seeing whatever the next film is (bit of a gamble sometimes!) or wondering around a department shop pretending I have all the money in the world/dressing up in several items just for laughs. If you’re not sure where to start with childish fun, check out this post about embracing your inner child.
What steps have you taken to make your life better this year? What do you plan to do in 2017? Let me know in the comments below!