20 Positive Daily Habits
Updated: Feb 2
1. Start your day with what matters most.
Connect with what's most important at least once daily. If that can be first thing, even better.
2. Look for ways to be at least 1 percent better every day.
The key to building a better artistic life and becoming a better version of yourself rests in making small, continuous improvements every single day. Instead of incorporating drastic changes in a short amount of time, focus on making something one percent better from the day before. Small improvements will start compounding, and that will gradually lead to the change you want and all it takes is a commitment to become just a little bit better every day.
3. Get moving early in the day and work your brain.
This might be running, riding a bike, roller blading or walking but movement activates a specific mindset and connects ideas in a sequential flow. It helps dial in and focus thoughts. Movement uncovers solutions.
4. Keep your friends close and your pets closer.
Do you have pets? Great! If not borrow a friend's pet and spend time with them. Animals are good for creating a positive environment. They encourage thought, playfulness and progressive, lively and forward thinking attitudes. Bring your dog to work even!
5. Minimize distractions.
Set clear priorities for yourself and make a conscientious effort to minimize distractions. Limit chit chat, only check email twice a day, stay off social media, screen your calls or turn your ringer off so you decide when to talk/text. Don't be in response mode all the time, but control your time the way you want it.
6. Leverage the knowledge of your team.
To harness a diverse set of viewpoints and ideas, always seek the input of others to develop new initiatives, solve problems and get a second opinion. Hearing fresh perspectives is a great way to open your mind to new ideas. You don't have to be the one with all the answers. Talk to your friends and your support team. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. More heads are better than one.
7. Begin the day with a personal routine.
Marie Kondo performs a quick tidying ritual to quiet her mind before leaving the house. The president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, Ed Catmull, mixes three shots of espresso with three scoops of cocoa powder and two sweeteners. Shane Dunn, chief development officer of party bike brand Pedal Pub starts his day running. Some routines are all about early morning exercise; others are more leisurely and self-indulgent. What they have in common is they don’t feel like a chore. The choices we make throughout our day depend on the intentions we set in the morning. Like it or not, our morning habits form the foundation our whole day is built on. Whether you want to boost your productivity, implement a workout or meditation routine, or just learn to roll with the punches in the morning, once you land on the right routine, you'll look forward to waking up.
8. Recognize important moments in the lives of your team.
Try to write a short personal note recognizing and expressing sentiments for your close friends and support team. Hopefully congratulations but sometimes sorrow and condolences are part of this personal connection to people in your life who are important to you. You need to have an everyday mindset about this if you are genuinely committed to it. Personal notes are very meaningful and greatly appreciated and help build a caring culture within your support team.
9. Commit to 30 minutes of exercise a day, no excuses.
Whether it's in the morning to energize the day or at night to clear your head, exercise is the time to giver yourself a mental reset. A 30 minute workout at the top of the day gives the feeling of accomplishment and productivity and puts you on the right path for the rest of the day. Your body fuels the mind. And after a long busy day, an extra 30 minute walk or run at the end of the day allows you to relax your brain and think clearly on what you need to accomplish.
10. Feed your curiosity.
Set aside time every day to read and learn about anything that interests you. Innovation comes from mkaing connections other people don't see. Some of Leonardo da Vinci's artistic genius was the result of his study of anatomy, mechanics and engineering-fields that are not often linked to art. Almost anything new you can read and learn can lead you to a new way of thinking about your work. Whether it's negotiating, making war, influencing, statistics, language, history or anything else, there's something there to learn about how to work differently and make connections other people don't see.
12. Keep a handwritten to-do list.
The manner of writing a to-do list is a personal choice. Many people go to digitizing this process, however the actual process of physically writing helps you think through each item's relative importance and also helps commit them to memory. Having a physical notebook allows you to review and adjust anytime. As you complete items, you have the satisfaction of crossing them out. You can rip out old pages when the lists are complete. If things stay on the list longer than a few weeks or months, drop them from the list completely because they clearly aren't important enough relative to everything else. This habit helps keep focus on what is truly needed for both short-term and long-term tasks and keeps you disciplined, ensuring those items that don't get attention get handled another way or removed as a distraction.
13. Take care of yourself.
Exercise, sleep and diet are the foundation of maintaining a healthy balance in life. Find the workout that's best for you. Cardio, interval training and yoga is a good place to start. Sleep requirements vary slightly for everybody, but most healthy adults need between 7 and 9 hours every night. Children and teens need even more. And despite the notion that our sleep needs decrease with age, most older people still need at least seven hours of sleep. And finally you are what you eat. Focus on putting more of these foods in your diet: Broccoli, potatoes, eggs, almonds, kale, oranges (or other vitamin C fruits), Avocados, spinach, beans, salmon, blueberries, leafy green vegetables, chia seeds, oats, garlic, ginger and free range chicken. Stay away from processed meats, sugary drinks like fruit juices and soda, white bread, sweetened breakfast cereals, fried & grilled foods, pastries, cookies, cakes and even pizza. It's impossible, I know but pizza is one of the worlds most popular junk foods.
14. Make face-to-face connections.
Always make time to connect with friends, family, peers and your support team. This is also a way to tap in to a more mindful life. In our high tech world it's so easy to connect only through phones, social media, texts or video chat. So make it a priority to meet face to face with people. Also give attention to the people you see in your day to day life. The grocery store, neighbors or the bank all deserve your full attention. "The most important person is the one in front of you right now" Yizhao Zhang. In both personal and business relationships, being present and being "really there" for the person in front of you is the key to a mindful life.
15. Be a positive presence.
Smile, say hello, and generally be a happy, friendly face. We're all busy, stressed but it's important to ensure your colleagues feel valued. Try to understand what they need, seek to be helpful, and, at all times, thank people for their time and effort. There is always enough time to say thank you. We all work hard, but we are also people. If in the course of a busy day someone needs a quick answer, or is stuck, making just five minutes of time can help another save hours. The gift of one person's time can in turn help others give the gift of their time. So, take a moment and pay it forward.
16. Stay current on news, trends and developments in your field.
Spend some time scanning articles, ads, announcements, papers and videos, looking for new developments and improvements in your particular field. Read trade magazines for insider news to be up to date on trends and new developments. While I don't recommend a daily dose of world news, it's important to keep up at least weekly. There are always opportunities to be inspired by the rapidly changing world around us.
17. Take five minutes to meditate.
Meditating has many benefits, including mental, emotional, and physical health. Meditation calms the mind and promotes better quality sleep.
18. Plan Tomorrow's work today.
I was influenced early on by Stephen Covey's classic 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People' and per his advice, I try to have goals and daily plans for all my roles--at work, in the community and in my personal life. Take the time at the end of the day to have a clear game plan for the next day. Once you've mastered planning each day to the hour, try planning your entire following week hour by hour. Stephen Covey says you will become a true master when you can successfully plan the next two weeks of your life. Of course, you always make room for the unexpected, both good and bad, but planning tomorrow's work today is a profound method to achieving your goals.
19. Block out time for your best thinking.
Figure out what part of the day you are the most productive and block that time out for important work. For example, your most productive hours might be between 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. If so you can defensively schedule that time to work on tasks that require a high degree of concentration and ignore interruptions like emails and phone calls.
20. When you think of something or someone, act on that thought as soon as possible.
When you have an idea, want to reach out to a friend or feel inspired, it's best to act on that feeling immediately if possible. Even if it's a big idea, just start it. You have an idea to write a book, start it today. Want to learn a new language? Sign up for a class now! A friend of mine recently gave me the best advice. "Sometimes friends come across your thoughts, a good memory perhaps, in that moment, when you are thinking of them, pick up the phone and call." He continued, "You can text if you want, but I like to call and if they don't answer I sing them a song just to say hello." Too many times we forget to follow up on ideas we have, so don't wait. Instead, DO IT NOW!