Goals are hugely important and I’m a big fan of dreaming big and aiming high. But the thing about goals is that they involve time, and let’s face it, sometimes those goals seem so out of reach that it feels daunting to even get started. For that reason, it’s important to do little things on a daily basis that offer immediate gratification while also edging us closer to the self we dream of becoming.
Here is a list of things I do on a daily basis that help me keep my head on straight by reminding me just how good it feels to treat myself well. All of these things offer near instant gratification. They are also easy and inexpensive.
1. Start the day with hot lemon and water.
There’s already loads of hype around hot lemon and water – it aids digestion, stimulates the liver, boosts the immune system… this may all be true, but in terms of immediate gratification, I find a mug of hot lemon and water first things is refreshing, boosts my energy and seems to kick-start my digestion, thus keeping me regular (TMI?). You can still have your teas and coffee, but have the hot lemon water first and then move on to the hard stuff.
2. Go for a walk every day.
Fresh air, folks – we could all do with a bit of that on a daily basis. I find walks especially helpful if I’m feeling tired or ho-hum.
“I try to walk minimum 1/2 hour after school run, & second walk about 1pm for 30-40 mins…The walk itself is good though, fresh air, nature & lots of other dogs & there walkers, so social too:-)” – Jude McGee, A Trifle Rushed
3. Buy flowers instead of junk food.
This is my friend Claudia’s idea and I love it. If you’re at the shops and you want cookies, instead buy some fresh flowers – they’ll be nice to look at and remind you how awesome you are.
4. Start the day with a bit of exercise.
Walk, run, bike, skip, yoga… it doesn’t matter really. A bit of exercise first thing is totally energizing and starts the day with an immediate success that you can feel good about all day long.
5. Contain your drinking to three days per week max.
Not so much a “daily activity” but a good guideline for keeping the booze in check. For me this rule is less about calories than it is about good sleep – I just don’t sleep as well if I have alcohol. Good sleep = energy and motivation to do the other stuff on this list, and everything else you want to do. Again, immediately gratifying. I never regretting NOT drinking. Think on that!
6. Limit sugar to one day per week.
Do I really need to explain this one?
7. Do something every day to connect yourself with nature.
The aforementioned daily walk is a good place to start.
“Get outside. Sounds silly but even 30 mins on my allotment puts me in an amazing mood and emotional health is just as important as physical.” – Urvashi Roe, The Botanical Baker
Garnish your food with nourishing deliciousness. For smoothies, I like seeds, nuts, coconut flakes, oats and bee pollen. For soups, I like more seeds, boiled eggs, diced vegetables and of course, avocado. They make your food more interesting and tastier too. It doesn’t get more immediately gratifying than that!
9. Visualize Success.
Spend a few minutes every day visualizing your desired outcomes, be it fitness, financial, professional or anything else.
“As we routinely and intentionally visualize a desired outcome, and step into the belief that it is possible, our brains increase the motivation to make it happen. We become more and more determined to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals.” – Marla Tabaka, Inc.com
10. Reflect on daily achievements.
While I’m doing my visualizing, I also try to work in a little reflection on the prior day’s successes. This is way more better for morale than focusing on what you didn’t do. Cuz really, all of the smart people I know have so many goals and dreams and ideas and ambitions, none of us have time to do it all. But as long we’re doing something, we’re ahead of the pack – so let’s remember what it is we HAVE achieved (it can be something as simple as having that hot lemon and water!) and wear a smile on our face because we’re so damn awesome.
11. Focus on gratitude.
When temptation strikes, respond to this feeling by thinking about what you CAN have. The fact is you can have anything you want, but you choose to have the nourishing stuff and leave everything else for an occasional treat.
“If you say ‘I want but can’t have’ – you will suffer. If you say ‘I can but I don’t want to have’ – you won’t… An ‘attitude of gratitude’ moves you from the ‘I can’t have’ child-like mental tantrum to one of empowerment and fulfillment.” – Jason Vale
So that’s MY list. What would you add to it?