At the beginning of 2015 one of my main goals or ambitions was to find easy to implement lifestyle changes that would have an impact and help bring balance to my life. As I've mentioned before, not only do I want to chase my dreams but I want to make them a reality.
I think taking care of yourself both physically and mentally is absolutely vital in order to be able to achieve this. Why? Because if you're not feeling your best how can you bring your A-game to your goals? How can you find the stamina to keep going through the hard times?
Not to mention, that if everything feels difficult and impossible it's going to suck the passion and fun out of it making it harder to keep going.
So how do you achieve this when your to-do list is already a mile long and you can't imagine taking on anything else? By starting SMALL!
I don't know about you but I often lean towards 'go big or go home' approach yet the reality is that in order to for something to be effective it’s better not to overwhelm yourself.
But where or how to start?
Here are five simple changes that I've made that have had a major impact in my life. To be honest, when I first started I was very skeptical as to how big of impact these small changes would have.
The result? I’m feeling good about myself! Plus I’m eager to keep going! This comes not only from executing these small changes but also from feeling proud that I’m sticking to them.
It’s also definitely made me more open-minded to give other tricks and tips a try instead of quickly dismissing them like before. Trust me this was definitely an experiment lol.
And as a quick side note, none of the links below are affiliate links. I've purchased anything mentioned with my own money and genuinely suggest them to you because they’ve had an impact in my life and I want the same for you :)
Drinking H2O with Lemon
For some time I had been hearing about the many benefits of starting your day by drinking a glass of lemon water before breakfast. Apparently doing this every morning helps get your metabolism going for the day, helps your digestive track, and the vitamin C in lemons helps boost your immune system. Not to mention that my mom had also heard about the benefits and kept suggesting that I give it a try ;)
In February, I decided that I wanted to start building this habit. I made the conscious decision to start small and aimed and drinking it least three times a week for the first week. Once I had accomplished that I increased it to four times a week, then five times and so on. I also took advantage of the month at glance pages my planner to track my progress.
For each day that I drank the lemon water I would put a yellow sticker dot that I got at the dollar-store. Not the prettiest stickers but hey it got the job done. This system actually reminded me of 1st grade lol. The teacher would put a gold-star next to each student's name as a reward for not speaking English during French class.
It so funny how seeing all those little dots increase week by week gave me sense of accomplishment.
By the end of March I was drinking the lemon water 6 times a week, and that was mostly because Tuesdays I started my job earlier and struggled a little more with the morning routine. Now over six months later I don't need to track it anymore.
It's become automatic.
I've even come up with a system to take the lemon water on the road with me when I start earlier. On the very rare days when that for any reason I don’t do it, I would have this nagging feeling all day that I had forgotten something.
I've noticed it has made a significant difference in how I feel and in my eating habits. I feel lighter and (warning TMI) the bloating I had been feeling for months has significantly decreased. Not to mention that if you’re working on drinking more water each day, you already start off your day on the right foot. Talk about multitasking lol.
Personally, I also feel that it’s helps me better digest on days when I decide to indulge on my favourite not-so-healthy foods. And I definitely thinking it is one of the contributing factors to why I haven’t been sick as often.
Five Minute Journal
A few years ago while browsing YouTube I stumbled upon Mimi Ikonn’s channel and instantly subscribed when I discovered that she lived in Toronto (at the time) and had started her own business with her husband Alex while living in the basement of her in-laws.
I loved Mimi's story mostly because it inspired me, motivated and showed me that I could do the same if I set my mind and heart to it. If you have a few minutes definitely check out this video that tells you a bit more about her story. I think my favourite thing about this couple is their attitude and view towards life.
Recently I decided to make the investment and purchased the Five Minute Journal (you can find it here or here). The journal created by Alex, Mimi and their friend Uj Ramdas, aims at providing an option for the busiest person to have an opportunity to journal.
They describe it as the toothbrush for the mind. The time commitment is 5 minutes a day (2.5 minutes in the morning and 2.5 minutes at night) where you have prompts to help you focus on the positive things in your life now and in the future. The journal includes an introduction to explain why journaling and gratitude is scientifically proven to make a difference in a person's level of happiness and challenges the reader to make a commitment of only five days.
So I decided to make that promise and stick to it. Now over a month later, it is eye opening and I’m loving it!
I actually look forward to it every morning and night and have made it a non-negotiable part of my routine.
Why? Because it makes me smile, it makes problems during my day not seem so intense, it puts my mind in a good place when I start my day and when I end it :) What more can you ask for from something that takes only 5-minutes a day.