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Lately, I have been watching a lot of videos on ‘self-discipline’ and ‘the power of daily habits’ and I was amazed by how our daily routine shapes our future. After my second kid, I left my job and since then, there has been no routine, no fixed times to sleep and wake up, no discipline at all. And I always have my toddler as an excuse for that. But it is high time now, I must take charge of my life, I must start bringing discipline in my daily habits.
So, I thought why not gather down all the points and make a plan to improve things. After brainstorming for days, and going through sources on internet, I could come up with the following five habits to begin with. Sharing them with you so that I can have a company to keep me motivated. So lets get started!
- Win the morning, Win the day : – Now it may sound obvious that waking up at a fixed time every day (preferably before sunrise) is beneficial but despite of knowing its importance, how many of us actually implement it in our daily lives? The famous brain expert and mental coach Jim Kwik stresses on the importance of the first and last hours of our day, how we need to keep technology to the minimum in these hours, and rather work on our inner self. He says “Don’t touch your phones for an hour after you wake up”. And same goes for the bedtime. As these are the hours you can actually program your subconscious mind and get fruitful results if you know how to!
- Eating right :- In this era of obesity and weight issues, people go on diets of all kind and then lose some weight only to gain it back in no time. Eating out at restaurants, depending heavily on coffees/teas, having fast foods every other day etc. are all leading us to an unhealthy lifestyle. With little efforts and pre-preparations, we can have home cooked meals, eat more greens, eat simple and local food and avoid junk to a great extent. I know we have a cool excuse of ‘busy life’ but as they say, either suffer the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is ours!
- Positive self-talk :- I don’t remember the name of the public speaker, but I came across the concept of ‘No whining Wednesdays’ from her in a YouTube video. It means, every Wednesday, you will prohibit yourself from any kind of complaining, whining, bitching like ‘why did you’, ‘when will I’, ‘why always me’, ‘I can’t’, ‘How could you’ etc. etc. It is quite challenging because when you start observing how many times a day you whine, you will be astonished at how much negative energy you create all day long! And it is not just one day, we are continuously creating negative thoughts and words without even being aware of it. So make it a rule, to watch your thoughts, words and actions and turn them into a positive sentence or affirmation if there is even a slight trace of negativity in them. I cannot emphasize enough on the value of ‘positive self-talk’ and ‘positive affirmations’ and how people all over the world have significantly changed their lives through them.
- Minimalism :- Yeah, this one sounds strange but I have started realizing its impact on our minds and lives. The more clutter you have surrounded yourself with, the more clutter it adds in your mind, and the more stress in your life. We can start making slight changes in our lifestyle by keeping only things which we need and give us happiness, rather than things which we think will bring us value after a year or so. I have started this by keeping my wardrobe simple and with outfits that I feel comfortable in. I have stopped buying things out of impulse and just because they are in trend. Another aspect of minimalism is to delete all the unused apps on your phones and cleaning your email inbox regularly. Basically, clearing space in your phones, laptops, house, and minds too.
- Reading and writing :- ‘Good readers become good leaders!’, ‘Books are man’s best friend!’, and this one is my favorite – ‘You are today who you will be in five years except for the people you meet and the books that you read!’. Books open your mind, expand your knowledge, and strengthen you as nothing else can. So, reading good books everyday (even if it is just one page a day) is a habit everyone must adopt without any delay. Now, just like reading, Writing is powerful too. Make a habit of writing each day, write your goals, write your affirmations, write your to-do tasks, write your dreams. Each word you write has a vibration of its own and it does make a difference!
Now, these are just the few daily practices that I picked for myself as of now. There are a lot more that we all need in our lives like – exercising daily, writing our gratitude lists, spending time with nature, stopping procrastination etc. But before starting with any of these, we must be clear with how big impact our habits have on our life, they literally shape us. Only when we acknowledge and understand their power, we will be able to make them a permanent part of our life. These small daily habits lead to long term growth. We’ll never be able to change our life until we change something that we do daily. After all, the secret of our success is hidden in our daily routine!
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I remember I was in 9th grade when I heard a fellow classmate deliver a speech in the morning assembly titled ‘If you think you can, you can!’ and it started with these words :
“When Sir Edmund Hilary was honored at one of the banquets for his courage to try climbing the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, even though he had failed at his attempts, he looked at the picture of Mount Everest displayed on the stage and said – “Mount Everest, you cannot grow any bigger but I CAN!” and we all know he actually grew bigger and conquered the giant peak with his will power!”.
Although at that tender age, I couldn’t understand much of that speech but somehow those lines stuck with me ever since. As I grew, and got into the habit of reading inspirational and motivational books and articles, I started understanding the real power of our thoughts. And I even experimented with it. Whenever, I believed in something from the bottom of my heart, and left no space for doubts and ‘ifs and buts’, I always achieved it. And so can be true for anyone on this earth. We just need to focus on what we truly desire, believe in our worth and capability, and just take the first step towards it and the success just follows!
The moment we replace our fear with courage and doubts with faith, the moment we start believing in ourselves, all the obstacles start melting and there is nothing that can stop us from achieving what we want. In fact, our thoughts are so powerful that if we actually knew the impact of our thoughts, we would never even dare to create any negative thought in our mind.
So, work on the level of your ‘thoughts’ if you really want to change your life. To change the fruits, you have to change the roots. Start believing that YOU CAN and you certainly will 🙂
Have you ever met anyone in your life who doesn’t like nature, flowers, flowing rivers, starlit sky, mountains and lakes… At least I haven’t! No matter how depressed or upset you are, there is an instant relief and soothing feeling the moment you connect with nature.
Few days back, when I felt exhausted after handling my kids all day long and the endless house chores, I decided to pass the buck to my husband and go out for a lone walk. While I was relishing the cool breeze and beautiful colorful trees on my way, a thought struck me hard – if the green trees and blue sky created by God gives me peace and calms my mind, why His other and most amazing creation human being doesn’t do the same? Why did I run away from my kids and husband to get peace from nature? Aren’t they a part of this nature too? Isn’t your ‘hard to please’ mom in law or your grumpy boss created by the same Supreme power too? Then why don’t we feel the same tranquility in their presence?
Now, it took me a few days to get the answer but I am glad that I got! I came across a video which explained that we accept everything in nature as it is. We don’t judge a tree by how crooked its branches are. We don’t find faults in the waves at the beach. Nor do we complain of how tall the mountains stand. We don’t want to change how things look and work in nature. But for the people around us, we want everybody to change. We complain, we nag, we criticize, we judge constantly! We don’t accept them, their imperfections and their behavior. So how can we enjoy something which is not acceptable to us.
I loved the concluding words of that video – the moment we accept the universe as it is, we become happy effortlessly. So just by keeping in mind that our family members and the other people we deal with everyday, are a part of this universe too, we might start accepting them and we won’t have to run away from them for peace.
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‘Laughter is the best medicine’, said her father. So whenever she laughed, nothing could stop her. There was no control and why should there be any? Until and unless, you are mocking someone, there is no harm in having a good belly laugh, she believed! And whenever, she laughed, worries would fly away, glooms would fade and everyone around would join her hysterical company. Even if it was the lecture hall of college! There were times when the teachers joined in too, And there were times, when she was sent out of the class for this behavior of hers. But she loved laughing. Her good humor made her the charm of the class. She carried gaiety with her wherever she went.
It has been ten years since she left college. She is married now and has kids. In fact, she is happily married. But she doesn’t remember when was the last time she laughed her head off. She has responsibilities being a working mother, she is expected to be an ideal wife, she has to be polite in front of her in laws, She has to be sophisticated in her office. Has she grown up? Or has time changed? Or is she no more happy? Or is it that one can only laugh with friends? She is clueless!
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No matter how charming this word ‘positivity’ sounds, we still strive hard to make it a part of our thinking process. And anything that takes effort is mostly ignored or postponed by all of us. The roots of our attitude lie in our thoughts and thoughts cannot be changed overnight. So how to get there? Step by step probably! So here are 7 little tips that might help you boost your inner self and make your mind more calm and at peace.
If you feel overwhelmed by the tips or it seems like an uphill task, take and implement one tip at a time. Follow it for a week before picking up another tip and within few weeks, you will see a positive change in your life. So, lets get started:-
- Wake up 10 minutes early each day : It might seem a bit clichéd, but trust me, rushing in the morning hours does impact your whole day because the very first thought you create after waking up is bound to be a negative one. Getting late for work/school, missing breakfasts, and forgetting things at home are just physical things. The damage at inner level is much more severe specially when done on daily basis.
Tip: Initially, you can give yourself the liberty of waking up late on weekends/holidays but once you understand the benefits of waking up early, you will surely change your habit forever 🙂
- Sound mind resides in a sound body : Health is the topmost thing that we ignore in our stressful and busy lives but it only increases our stress levels which further degrades our health. So it is a loop. And you have to break it. Either start looking after your health OR stop taking stress (I think the former is easier).
Don’t worry if you have no time/money for gym. Just a 20 minutes walk daily, yoga or exercise at home thrice a week, playing outdoor with your kids or pets, anything that moves your body will work. Even better, while you talk on cell phones (I know you do it for so many hours each day), make it a habit to walk and talk 🙂
Drinking a lot of water, eating fresh fruits and veggies, not skipping meals (specially breakfast), do I even need to tell you this?
- Smile more often : It doesn’t cost you anything, it only makes you look even more beautiful 🙂 So never miss a chance to smile, even at strangers. You never know who you smile at, might be in dire need of a little positivity and your smile shows him a ray of hope.
- Spend time in nature : There is nothing more rejuvenating for anyone than to walk in a green park, sit under a shady tree feeling the cool breeze (in summers) and soaking in sun (in winters), sitting on grass, looking at the hills, listening to the waves of the sea at beaches, there is no end to what options our bountiful nature has given us to relax our mind.
Although doing this on daily basis will do wonders, but if you don’t have much time, at least once a week, treat yourself to the beauty of your surroundings.
- Output is directly proportional to the input : Now, if your mind is constantly creating negative thoughts throughout your day, you need to check on what are you feeding to your mind. Watching/reading news (which are mostly negative these days) the first thing in the morning or the last of the day, will fill your subconscious mind with a negative image of the world and this will block your positive thoughts.
Starting your day with a prayer/meditation or even sitting with family (without phones) on breakfast table will surely help to kick start a positive day. I know it is difficult to take out time for reading good books (which surely helps), instead you can start watching a 10 minutes positive video everyday before going to bed or whenever you are online.
Tip: Subscribe to positive video channels on YouTube (like TED talks) or follow inspirational pages on Facebook so that you come across such uplifting content more often.
- Gratitude is important : Are you grateful for the breath that you just took? You better be, because every second, 2 persons die in this world. Are your limbs all functioning well? Are your loved ones alive? Do you have work to earn money? Do you have food on your plate and clothes on your body? Do you have shelter to sleep safely? If even one of the answers is YES, then you should be grateful. Trust me on this, the more you fill yourself with gratitude, the more you will get AND the more you complain, you will never have enough! Contentment doesn’t mean you stop working to achieve more, or don’t aim high. It just means, not to lose yourself in the path of achieving more.
- We rise by lifting others : I had to save the most important one for the last! By being kind to others and by helping the needy ones, you not only open the gates of receiving blessings, but also your attitude towards life changes to a great extent. You will find more meaning in your existence, and without any extra effort, your life will be more positive than ever before! Remember, no one has ever become poor from GIVING.
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“When a child comes into your life, it is not time to teach; it is time to learn!” – Sadhguru
Back in 2010, when I was blessed with my elder son, little did I know how much a child can contribute to your learning and growth! Each moment that you spend with your little one, you tend to let that inner child inside you come out for a while! You jump, play, shout, babble and dance and give them a delightful company. All the little things that you forget in the process of growing up and getting mature, sprout up in your life once again making your life more colorful. You do not even realize that you have got another chance to live that childhood again…
But childhood is not just about having fun in shower, smearing yourself up in crayons and climbing trees. It is the foundation of who you will grow up into one day! As a parent, we want to teach our children good manners right from the beginning, we want to inculcate kindness in our kids, we want them to grow into good human beings. We lecture them about growing more trees, preserving wildlife and depleting natural resources, keeping the surroundings clean and much more. Stop and reflect for a moment, if we can travel back in time and become a child with them while playing, do we also travel ahead few years by projecting ourselves as an ideal adult who we visualize them in future?
Here comes the hard part of parenting. You teach your child to be good to others, he might or might not be. But if you BE good to others, you don’t even need to tell them to be good. When I told my son not to throw garbage on roads (emphasizing the importance of cleanliness), deep down inside my heart, I knew that first I will have to give up this habit of neglecting cleanliness of roads. To teach him kindness and helping the needy ones, I picked up the routine of offering food/sweets to poor children on special occasions. To show him the wonders of gratitude, I myself started thanking God before every meal. The list is endless! Today, when he turned 7 years old, I can see the effect of changing myself, on this little being. I am happy that in this beautiful phase of motherhood, I actually got a chance to mold the ‘child’ me. Being blessed with another tiny time travelling machine recently, I am ready to embark on this journey once again!!!
Writing has always been a passion for me, but hidden from the world! Finally, letting my ideas flow like a river and shine like sun….