fbpx

What Does Happiness And Success Mean To You? CHALLENGE YOUR HABITS: THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE (PART II)

6. Take a Break

Finding the time to relax and unwind is just as important as working hard and putting maximum effort into your tasks. It is a necessary part of your journey to success. You can use the time to bask in an accomplishment, but not an excuse to waste time or delay the completion of jobs.

Plan needed and deserved breaks throughout your day. They do not need to be set to a strict time schedule, but they must be on your to-do list. The break can follow the completion of an important task or some other major achievement. It may also be necessary to take a break during a particularly difficult or perplexing task. Stepping back and stepping away, oftentimes allows you to get a new perspective on the problem and to perhaps come up with a fresh, better approach to handling it. It allows you the down time to refocus your mind and then get back to work with renewed energy and intent.

While breaks are a necessary part of your schedule, be mindful of the fact that it is not the number or length of breaks you take, but how you spend your breaks that will determine how much benefit you derive from them. If you enjoy meditation and have found that it helps you, then a 20-minute break spent meditating is better than a “quick” 5-minute peek through your social media accounts. You are more likely to enjoy and appreciate the value of your breaks if you view them as contributing to your success. For your off-time to do this, it must contain activities that enrich your body, mind and spirit.

Minimize the quantity but not the quality of your down time.

7. Respect the Value Of Sleep


Apart from breaks to provide your body and your mind with rest and relaxation, you need sufficient sleep. Getting a full night’s sleep helps to guarantee you wake up sufficiently refreshed and re-energized to effectively take on the day’s tasks.

The ideal amount to aim for is 8 hours of sleep nightly, but you should have an idea of how much is the right amount for you. Just know that because you can drag yourself through a whole day in a semi-comatose state after two hours sleep, it does not make 2 hours your ideal. In that state, you are not going to accomplish anywhere near your full potential. You would most likely find instead that you are prone to errors, misjudgement and missing opportunities that stare you in the face.

Additionally, lack of sufficient sleep can lead to sleep disorders such as daytime sleepiness, constant yawning, and micro sleeps. These result from simply being too tired and needing to catch up on your sleep. Insufficient sleep can also result in hallucinations, moodiness and memory problems. Physically, sleep deprivation can be risk factor high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain and a weakened immune system.

Successful people thrive on getting the sleep they need. It is during sleep that your subconscious replays events and makes sense out of the day’s happenings. No wonder things always seem clearer after a good night’s sleep. Some helpful hints for ensuring you regularly get a full night of sound sleep are:

  • try to go to sleep and wake up at around the same time each day including weekends
  • put some physical activity into your day but try to avoid exercising too close to your – – – bedtime keep your evenings free of alcohol and cigarettes and if you eat in the evenings make it a light snack at least 45 minutes before you go to sleep
  • take a short nap during the day if you must but make it before 5pm
  • avoid using electronic gadgets including the television before bedtime, not just because they keep your brain active, but the light they emit interrupts your brain’s ability to fall asleep
  • cancel sensory stimulations by using earplugs or a “white noise” machine to block out disturbing outside noises; heavy curtains or an eye mask to prevent light getting to your eyes; and keep the room at a cool comfortable temperature
  • sleep in a comfortable bed – not curled up on the couch, slumped back in your chair, crouched over your desk or even stretched out on the floor

A good night’s sleep has positive effects on your emotions, judgement and level of productivity

8. Be an Early Riser

Becoming an early riser, ensures you have the time needed to review the previous day and plan for the one ahead. If you have been a habitual late riser, then cultivating the habit of waking up early each day takes a fair amount of determination. As you work on this particular habit, be prepared for extra grumpiness and grogginess at the beginning, but stick with it, because it will be worth it in the end. It may help if you ease into, waking a little earlier each day, until you are comfortably at the time you desire.

Waking early, preferably before 6am each morning, ensures that you get a good start to your day. You will feel less rushed, with time to physically and mentally prepare to take on the day’s tasks. You can take some of your extra minutes to enjoy some quiet alone, just you and your thoughts – time focussed on enjoying your own company. Many successful people use their early morning hours to meditate or indulge in a relaxing and empowering creative activity such as writing.

You are much more likely to settle down to a full healthy breakfast and do some form of exercise if you are up early. You are also more likely to eat your other meals and take needed breaks during your day. You will be able to fit more into your day and be more likely to satisfactorily complete all you have on your to-do list.

Being an early riser ensures that you are at work on time ready to tackle whatever turns up at your desk. Meetings set for the start of the day, perhaps due to time zone differences, are not an issue for you either, you are turned on, logged in and ready to make meaningful contributions as soon as the meeting gets underway. Since you started early, then finishing your work day at a decent hour is not a problem. You do not need to miss quality time with family or social events with friends due to staying late to finish up jobs.

Make use of more of your day by going to sleep earlier and waking earlier.

9. Keep Your Body Healthy

We all know the benefits of exercise, and truly successful people act on that knowledge. They do not underestimate the myriad of good effects that exercise has, not only for your body, but for your general state of well-being. They make time for exercising and forego the usual excuses of not having enough time or planning to get around to it once their work load becomes less.

We all know the benefits of exercise, and truly successful people act on that knowledge. They do not underestimate the myriad of good effects that exercise has, not only for your body, but for your general state of well-being. They make time for exercising and forego the usual excuses of not having enough time or planning to get around to it once their work load becomes less.

Some well know benefits of exercise are:

  • increased supply of oxygen to the brain thus improving your brain power
  • more energy and stamina
  • increased ability to focus on the task at hand
  • a boost in your self-confidence
  • the release of hormones that stave of feelings of depression

Along with exercise, you must also have a healthy diet and good eating habits. Skipping meals to get work done is counter-productive, as you need the food for energy and to nourish your body. And as we all know, there is nothing quite as distracting as hunger. Become food wise – find out which foods are good for you, then make a conscious effort to include more of them in your diet. In the same vein, find out which foods are bad for you and try to avoid them or at least limit your intake of them. An unhealthy diet leads to time and money wasted on doctor visits, medications and sick days. A healthy diet, on the other hand, helps to ensure that you live healthier and longer to achieve and enjoy goals of happiness and success.

If a particular diet interests you, do your homework and investigate its pros and cons before deciding which whether it is right for you. Read up on recent studies that may have been done to look into its effectiveness. Of course, you could go with the simplest diet of all, which simply calls for everything in moderation, ensuring that you get sufficient of all the nutrients to keep your body and your mind in tiptop shape. Whatever you choose, give yourself time to experience its effects and be mindful of how your body, energy level and level of concentration change. You may need to adjust the diet or drop it altogether and try another one.

Cravings are a sure way to disrupt any well-laid healthy eating plans. Be proactive when it comes to your cravings, be they for salty, sugary or spicy foods, and have some healthy, brain and body boosting options on hand. Having some water is a great way to reduce cravings, plus the water flushes toxins from the body. Also, remember, it is important to keep hydrated, as water is a necessary part of all your body’s chemical reactions.

If you have never done regular exercise and your idea of dieting has been “fast, salty, sweet, repeat”, then making healthy changes will take time. Nurture the habit by aiming to change just a bit each day. Be prepared to fall back into your old routines and habits every now and them. That’s why we say “bad habits are hard to break”. Try not to be too hard on yourself, just be determined to get back on track and you should find the times you falter become fewer and farther between. Before you know it, you would have ingrained some very healthy exercise and dieting habits that are more lifestyle traits than habits.

Physical health and fitness are proven to positively influence mental acuity.

10. Dress for Your Success

Not everyone is working toward their success in a corporate office, doing power lunches at exclusive restaurants and attending business meetings throughout the day. For some of us, it about spending the workday (and night) in a home office nook. For others, over 12 hours daily in a sweaty gym is where they are charting their course to success. Regardless of where you are, you must give due consideration to your attire, in order to excel in your field.

If business suits are expected and will create the impression you are going for, then by all means that is the type of attire you are to invest in. On the other hand, if a comfy pair of pyjamas fits right into your job description, then grab a pair of fluffy bed slippers to go with it. Maybe, you are a personal trainer who prefers to arrive in a button-down shirt and well-tailored pants before changing into workout attire. It might be you want to project that professional impression on your clients. Likewise, another personal trainer may feel that turning up in for a session dressed in workout clothes gives the impression of being prepared, ready and rearing to go.

When deciding what to wear, you must ensure that it fits into the following three categories, in order to contribute to your success and not take away from it.

  1. Appropriate – Your attire should fit your location, what you do and to some extent, the expectations of those you are with. If your day calls for being in completely different settings that will require different types of attire, then either layer practical selections or take along easy-to-change alternatives. (Just be sure the time and convenience to change will be there.) Appropriate attire also includes your clothes being clean, regardless of where you work or whether you have in-person contact with others. Clean clothes simply give you a brighter, more positive outlook and make you feel better about yourself.
  2. Comfortable – A good fit is key, otherwise you’ll spend the day distracted by your clothes, pulling and tugging at it. Some good advice is to wear a new outfit around the house, to sort of ‘break it in’ and get a feel of how you can move in it.
  3. Confident – Chances are if your outfit satisfies the first two criteria, then it will also fill this one. Clothes are a great way to give your confidence a boost. You can focus on getting work done because you know you look good, are suitably attired for the occasion and you feel good in your clothes.

Aim for a mix of comfortable, confident and appropriate in your attire to boost your self-image .