7 Daily Habits to Keep You Moving Forward When Life Doesn't Play Ball
One of the hardest things to do when life doesn’t play ball is to keep your momentum. It’s very easy to throw in the towel, sit back, and convince yourself that there’s no point in having goals and dreams. At this stage, you’re beating yourself for even daring to think you deserved better – after all, what makes you so special?
When life isn’t going according to plan, it’s not surprising if you begin the viscous negative self-talk cycle. I know I do it when after getting up, again and again, from numerous falls, I still find myself struggling to achieve certain goals. What am I doing wrong?
If this resonates with you, you’re not alone. Life happens and when it does in an unplanned, spectacularly difficult, and challenging way, you’re left fumbling in the dark. But, what if I was to tell you that this ISN’T the time to quit? If you don't want to compromise your truth, you’ve got to keep on keeping on, no matter what.
One of the best ways to do this is to install daily habits that keep you moving forward, remain focused, and stay on the right path. Maintaining these simple but vital habits every day will help you find clarity, with an open mindset, when the time is right.
7 Daily Habits to Keep You Moving Forward When Life Doesn’t Play Ball
1. Start From the Beginning – Make Your Bed
Okay, this might sound trivial and pointless – what does making your bed have to do with achieving the life you want when it’s behaving in the exact opposite? Starting your day right sets the tone for how it unfolds and making the bed first thing in the morning does exactly that.
Here are some good reasons why you should start from the beginning and make your bed:
Improved productivity: Making your bed gives you a sense of achievement, setting you in motion for a productive day. This one simple action motivates you to complete other tasks around the home.
Boosts mood: It may feel like a small achievement but making your bed allows you to feel better about yourself and life in general. It gives you a sense of being in charge of life which boosts your mood for a happier day.
Lowers stress: A made-up bed creates a neat and uncluttered appearance in your bedroom and helps to lower your stress levels before the day has begun.
Improved sleep: When you make your bed, you’re airing out stale energies and odors that accumulate overnight. By introducing clean air to your bedding, you’re also limiting the chances of dust mites thriving in your bed! A clean and made-up bed encourages better sleep at nighttime which is essential for overall wellbeing.
Making your bed is a small task but it encourages you to complete other jobs when you’re feeling disillusioned with life.
2. Improve Your Mindset Every Day – Create a Morning Ritual
Creating a morning ritual empowers you to improve your mindset every day even when nothing seems to be going right in your life at the moment. I would be lost without my morning ritual which includes the following:
A 15-minute meditation
Prayers/conversations with my Higher Power
Reading my goal and ‘My Perfect Week”
Reciting my empowering affirmations
Reading my goal reminds me why I need to maintain action even when things aren’t running smoothly in my life. I encourage my clients to write up their “Perfect Day” (or week) which describes how they want their life to look like every day. Reading my ‘Perfect Week” every day motivates me to stay on track even when negative self-talk threatens to take over.
My morning ritual starts once I’ve made my bed, had a cup of coffee, and taken my shower. If time allows, I also take a 30-minute’ walk outside. All of these activities put me into the right mindset to tackle the day ahead and most times, everything runs smoothly despite the chaos swirling around me.
If you're wondering how to have a conversation with your Higher Power, read Neale Donald Walsch's book, "Conversations With God."
3. Cleanse Negative Energies – Smudge Your Workplace
Every morning, before I settle down to write or coach clients, I cleanse the stale and negative energies that built up in my workplace from the day before. I do this by using my beautiful eagle’s feather which I swish gently backward and forward a few times over my desk and laptop. I sometimes spray some energy mist in my office or use my feather to shake things up!
If you don’t want your work colleagues to see you waving a feather over your desk, simply use your hands and move them over your working space a few times. You could also clap your hands a few times before sitting down to work. All of these actions stir up and shift stagnant energies from the day before. Now, your space is cleansed and energized for a new day.
Another good habit to get into is smudging your home once a week. You can make your own smudge sticks and use them to dispel negative energy that has built up during the week.
4. Avoid Negative Self-Talk – Take Regular Breaks
One of the challenges of life not going according to plan is facing uncertainty every day. At the moment, we’re trying to sell our home and downscale but we couldn’t have picked a worse time to sell our property! It feels like our life has come to a standstill and facing so much uncertainty threatens to overwhelm me at the best of times.
When this happens, I default to negative self-talk which doesn’t serve me at all! I make a conscious effort to be aware of when it’s happening and to break the cycle by taking regular breaks throughout the day. The following simple tricks empower me to switch to positivity whenever the monkey mind starts to play games:
Take 20-minute breaks every couple of hours: I use this opportunity to give my eyes a break from the laptop and to look at our beautiful view from the kitchen window while enjoying a cup of coffee. Opening my view somehow shifts my perspectives to a more positive outlook.
Take a walk outside: We’ve just planted a vegetable garden and I take regular breaks to go and see what seeds have started to germinate. This instantly lifts my mood and motivates me to believe there’s still hope despite the current challenges.
Sit in the sun for 10 minutes: Not only is this good for your Vitamin D intake but it also lifts your emotions and improves your mental health.
Smile: It’s impossible to think negatively when you smile, even if you’re faking it. As soon as you catch yourself being negative, smile and watch the space! Other physiological changes such as standing or sitting up straight or puffing your chest out have the same effect.
These little habits can be implemented throughout the day and help to break the negative self-fulfilling prophecy that takes place when you engage in destructive self-talk.
5. The Power of Connection – Engage With Someone
As a remote worker, working from home, the only people I get to talk to are my coaching clients. While I love these interactions, I do need to engage with others on a personal level. Connecting with loved ones, including friends, is important for your mental and emotional health. Choosing to connect with someone special every day is a wonderful way to benefit from this power.
I make sure I send a WhatsApp message every day to at least one special person in my life. When time allows, I’ll make a phone call and Friday afternoons are kept aside for social get-togethers. This way, I can keep in touch with loved ones and have a sense of connection with those outside of my workplace.
6. Stay Present – Stop Dwelling in the Past and Avoid Future-Tripping
Living in the moment is one of the most powerful ways of keeping yourself moving forward. But it’s also one of the hardest things to do when faced with difficulties on a regular basis. When you stay in the present you don’t get caught up in all the bad things that have happened to you in the past.
You also avoid future tripping which will trip you up in more ways than one if you’re not careful!
Staying present in the moment allows you to:
Reduce your stress levels
Ground and balance yourself
Give your mind a break from overthinking and worrying
How to do it? Stop and focus on something in front of you for five minutes. Set the timer on your phone to go off every hour and take a minute to close your eyes and meditate. Take a five-minute walk outside. Dance, hold your hands under running water for a few minutes, listen to your favorite song, or simply say, “No!No!” the minute your mind starts to wander.
7. End the Day Well – Ground Yourself
When I’m done with my day’s work, I go into our garden, stand barefoot on the grass or soil, and take a deep breath. This allows me to ground myself through Mother Earth while I give thanks for another day.
Most days I do a 30-minute yoga routine before finishing it off with a 20-minute meditation. I listen to music with Solfeggio 528hz frequencies to ground and balance myself. Evening time is spent connecting with my partner and talking about our day. I might read for an hour or two before having a brief gratitude conversation with my Higher Power.
Ending your day well by grounding yourself is vital for a good night’s sleep and for waking up feeling positive in the morning. If you go to bed feeling frazzled, overthinking, or in a bad mood, you’re guaranteed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed. But, you can start fromt the beginning and make your bed so your new day begins on a good note.
When things don’t go well for me, I bring myself down to these simple but reassuring daily habits that help me ground myself and stay hopeful. Do I get it right every time? No – in fact, I’ve only just come out of a six-week slump which took me nowhere but to a place of fear and unhappiness.
I had stopped doing most of my daily habits that supported me through the good and bad times.
Did I beat myself up? You bet but I also chose to be gentle with myself and did some inner child work to allow the necessary healing to take place. Through self-awareness, I was able to recognize what was happening so I could respond rather than react (that’s the power of life coaching, by the way!)
Since picking up with my daily habits as described in this post, I’m back to feeling optimistic, motivated, hopeful, and inspired about life again even though the future is uncertain. It takes hard work but the payoffs are absolutely worth it. So, when life gets overwhelming and doesn’t play ball, my motto is “Keep it simple” and do your daily habits.
Mindpower Into the 21st Century - John Kehoe
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