When I first tapped into personal development at the age of 19, I was eager to read all the popular books and watch any motivational video I could find on YouTube.
Yet, after reading the first 50 books, I realized that the knowledge was nice but that it wouldn’t really transform my life.
That’s when I understood I need an action plan to turn those inspiring lessons into actual to-dos that will have an impact on my life.
“Resolutions work better when they’re concrete, not abstract. It’s hard to keep a resolution to “Be a more loving parent” than to “Get up 15 minutes early so I’m dressed before the kids wake up.”
— Gretchen Rubin
Especially after challenging times, it’s crucial to create a sense of stability through actionable resolutions and tiny habits that help you feel better.
And the key to feeling safer and more energized is taking small steps.
Whenever we try to make sudden changes, we often find ourselves feeling even more overwhelmed.
Small steps, however, allow you to take consistent action that feels easy instead of overwhelming. That’s important because it’s impossible to feel and perform well when we don’t feel safe and present.
Sticking to a daily routine, however, gives us a sense of control and helps us follow a routine that adds joy to our lives.
Dump your brain to free your mind.
Brain dumping means getting your thoughts out of your mind on a piece of paper.
This is not only liberating but also a great way to come up with new ideas. Additionally, it helps you connect the dots between various thoughts that have been in your head for a while.
Writing your thoughts down helps you be in charge of your emotions and better control your feelings.
Additionally, writing your thoughts and feelings down can give you an emotional release and help you let go of negativity and the past.
What exactly you write down during those sessions doesn’t need to make sense; it just needs to help you gain clarity.
How to do it:
If you do it regularly, a few minutes will be enough to get your thoughts out of your mind on a piece of paper.
All you need to do is decide on a specific time and prepare a notebook or a few pieces of paper.
My favorite time to do this exercise is in the morning or shortly before going to bed.
Your resolution could be to do a 5-minute brain dumping session before brushing your teeth each evening.
Just sit down for five minutes and write down anything that has been on your mind.
According to brain coach Jim Kwik, our brains thrive on novelty and it’s impossible to be anxious when we’re curious.
When we go through hard times, we often neglect to explore new things because we’re so focused on negativity and difficulties.
Yet, the truth is that we need to be even more curious, adventurous, and cheerful during challenging times.
How to do it:
The good news about curiosity in the 21st century is that it has never been easier to find answers to our questions.
With the internet at our fingertips, we can find solutions and explore new topics within seconds.
You can try new workouts, learn a foreign language, or start a new hobby like painting or cooking at almost zero costs, thanks to millions of videos and other resources that are available for free.
All you need is the desire to make a change and create something new.
Take a few minutes, grab pen and paper, and write down anything you ever wanted to learn. Decide on one or two things and ask yourself whether you need any resources to make it happen or if you can get started right away.
Once you have everything you need, you can start exploring new topics.
Even a few minutes of learning per day can help you feel more energized.
Your actionable resolution could be something like: I spend at least three hours per week on a new hobby that keeps me excited.
Schedule some extra time.
Quite often, we feel overwhelmed due to our busy schedules.
That’s because most people overrate what they can get done in a day and write to-do lists that are too ambitious.
Getting a lot done is nice, but so is feeling relaxed and at ease.
How to do it:
Schedule an extra five minutes before all your appointments, no matter if it’s a meeting, a phone call, or an online class.
There’s no better feeling than being on time and taking a few deep breaths before you meet someone.
This will allow you to gather your thoughts and focus on the appointment instead of rushing into it.
Additionally, being punctual shows your fellows that you’re well organized and that you care about them.
Follow a bedtime routine.
Going to bed at the same time and following a proper evening routine will not only help you sleep better but also make your daily planning easier.
What exactly you do as part of your evening routine doesn’t matter much. The only rule is that it helps you feel calm and relaxed.
How to do it:
Take a few minutes and ask yourself which simple activities help you relax, unwind, and calm down after busy days.
You might want to read, write in a journal, meditate, listen to music, or do anything else that helps you let go of the business of your day.
Once you know what you want to do, you can come up with a few details that will make your evening routine even more pleasant.
You can create a relaxing playlist, purchase some lovely candles, and create an ambiance that will help you calm down easily.
Additionally, minimizing noise and light close to bedtime will help you be even more relaxed and sleep better.
Celebrate your wins.
Most ambitious people are so driven to achieve more that they forget appreciating how far they’ve already come.
At the end of our days, we look at our to-do lists and see what we didn’t accomplish yet. This leads to even more stress and lets us forget about the things we already got done.
The truth is that you’re likely getting a lot done every single day. You just don’t acknowledge it because you focus on the open to-dos.
How to do it:
Once per day, take a few minutes and write down what you’ve already accomplished and what you’re proud of.
These don’t need to be huge wins.
You can be proud of getting up even though you’ve been feeling bad; you can be proud of eating your veggies, drinking enough water, or calling a family member.
You define your wins.
Take more short breaks.
If you always try to give your best without resting, you’ll likely be forced to take a break due to mental and physical strains.
Quite often, we don’t need a 2-week vacation but a short break to gather our thoughts, take a few deep breaths, and calm down.
These short breaks help us feel more aligned and focus on our long-term goals instead of mindlessly rushing through busy days.
How to do it:
A short break might consist of a cup of coffee you deeply enjoy, or it might mean taking a weekend off and doing things that light up your soul.
Again: You define your rules.
Don’t allow society or social media to make you feel bad or think that you need to do things in a certain way. All you need to do is taking care of yourself, so you can unfold your full potential and live your best life. How exactly you do that is entirely up to you.
Don’t expect life to be hard.
So many people make their lives harder by overthinking certain situations. Being positive isn’t always easy, but it’s worth trying.
Once you realize that life happens for you, you can embrace new opportunities and challenges with a whole new perspective.
And the truth is that life doesn’t need to be hard to be great.
You deserve to live a relaxed and prosperous life, regardless of the struggles you faced in the past.
How to do it:
I know it sounds cliche but your mindset matters.
Most people accept that we reap what we sow, but what they forget is that we also reap what we believe.
Even if your thoughts would have zero influence on your reality, why would you choose to think negatively instead of positively?
Each day, take a few minutes to tune your mind for positivity and focus on the things you want to create in your life.
You can do so through a simple visualization exercise, by repeating powerful affirmations, or any other activity that helps you be more positive.
“It doesn’t matter whether your thoughts and feelings are good or bad, you are giving them out, and they will return to you as automatically and precisely as an echo returns the same words you send out.”
— Rhonda Byrne
The truth is that any positive habit can help you feel safe and relaxed when practiced regularly. And quite often, the simplest routines can be the most effective ones.
Your life doesn’t need to be complex.
You should actually aim for the contrary: Ask yourself which habits helped you be happier, healthier, and more present in the past and try to come up with new ways to integrate those into your daily life now.