The year is well underway, and some of us have already abandoned our resolutions. I say it’s time to leave the past behind and focus on making the present—and future—more productive, meaningful, and positive. When faced with making positive changes, I tend to take a more holistic approach, and I’ve found that balancing my “to do” list with my “love to do” list can lead to a more fulfilling, happier lifestyle. Ready to make some changes? Here are seven essential, straightforward tips to start living your best life:
1. Strengthen relationships.
Start communicating more with the people who mean the most. Reach out to good friends and family with whom you may have lost touch. This can generate a positive social change. Participate in activities at your church to create a support system. Think about quality over quantity when it comes to friendships. Having a few people whom you can count on, no matter the situation, will become more valuable as you get older.
2. Form a financial plan for the future.
Having a solid financial plan is a surefire way to improve your life. The more confident you are about your money, the better you feel—it’s true! It’s crucial to stick to a realistic monthly budget that includes a savings plan. Be proactive and set up quarterly calls with your investment advisor to stay on top of movements in the market. Don’t forget that your financial plan should take you well into retirement. Investing in your 401K, annuities, and most importantly, a Roth IRA will help solidify your plan.
3. Take a trip you’ve been putting off.
Start planning a trip you will never forget—and then take it! Explore new cultures and visit exciting destinations. You’ll be surprised at how this can open your mind, change your perspective on life, and relieve stress. Taking a break from your everyday routine and leaving your problems behind for a week or two will give your mind time to rest. It may also help you approach your problems from a new viewpoint once you return refreshed and renewed.
4. Work out without noticing.
I always say, “Life is my gym.” I find ways to burn calories by adding healthy alternatives to my daily routine. When presented with an elevator, I take the stairs. I never spend extra time looking for a close parking space; I settle for the open one at the end of the lot and walk the extra distance. Try cleaning your house while listening to dance music. You will burn tons of calories without scheduling a workout.
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5. Sleep better and more often.
A peaceful slumber plays a pivotal role in your focus, memory, and ability to handle high-stress environments. You need at least seven to eight hours of sleep to boost your body’s immune system and fully digest your food from the night before. People who are sleep-deprived often feel sluggish, are less alert, and struggle with weight. If you find yourself lying in bed tossing and turning, try to calm your mind with meditation (or perhaps invest in a new mattress, if you notice physical discomfort when attempting to sleep). No matter your circumstances, try to incorporate a full night’s sleep into your daily routine.
6. Step up your philanthropic efforts.
If you support nonprofit organizations through monetary donations, consider giving in other ways. In addition to your money, donating your time can help further the efforts of worthwhile causes. Don’t overlook the personal benefits of philanthropic giving. Many individuals who regularly donate time and money to charity say they experience lower stress levels, enhanced emotional health, a greater sense of purpose, and increased happiness, not to mention the benefit of a tax write-off.
7. Invest in yourself.
When I say invest, I don’t mean monetarily; I mean do something that betters you as an individual, whether it’s taking a professional development class to gain a promotion or finding a hobby/interest that supports personal growth. Taking care of yourself is the most crucial aspect of your life. Remember: you can only be the best mom, wife, or friend to someone when you are self-fulfilled.
Take things slow, and don’t try to implement all of these changes at once. Simply rethinking your approach to happiness will help you make adjustments that positively affect your life. You can do it!