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One of the biggest myths of today’s age is that people experience overnight success. Sure, there may be a few exceptions. But for most people, success is the product of tiny habits that slowly build up and compound over time. That means you can move closer to accomplishing your goals by implementing productive daily habits.
While your ideal habits will vary depending on what you have your sights set on, there are some habits that can universally benefit everyone.
A daily meditation practice can quite literally transform your life. Scientists have found that meditation rewires the neural networks in your brain—meaning it physically changes its structure.
MRI scans show that just eight weeks of meditation can shrink the amygdala. It’s a region of the brain associated with the fight or flight response, fear, stress, and strong emotions like rage (1).
At the same time, meditation also strengthens and creates new neural connections in the prefrontal cortex (2). This region of the brain is associated with higher-order functions including awareness, emotional control, concentration, and healthy decision making.
By rewiring the brain in these two ways, meditation can revolutionize how you navigate the world, helping you to tame stress and stay on track toward your goals with greater consistency.
Because of the impact toxins have on the brain, they can hijack your day and prevent you from achieving your goals. Heavy metals have been shown to impact memory, increase the risk of mood disorders, and compromise executive function (3, 4, 5). This means you can have a hard time paying attention, organizing effectively and recalling key details.
That’s why it’s vital to detoxify if you want to stay focused and see your goals through to completion. Consider a daily zeolite detox for the most toxin-fighting power.
The beauty of a daily gratitude practice is that it is exceptionally easy to do, yet it has a profound impact. A daily gratitude practice can rewire your brain to help you make the most of life; even in your darkest moments.
“Something as simple as writing down three things you’re grateful for every day for 21 days in a row significantly increases your level of optimism, and it holds for the next six months. The research is amazing,” explains Harvard researcher Shawn Achor in an interview with Inc.com (6).
Increased optimism isn’t the only benefit of gratitude. Studies have also found that gratitude can increase your willpower, boost happiness, decrease pain, increase empathy, improve your sleep, and even combat depression (7, 8).
Since a gratitude practice takes less than 5 minutes out of your day, there’s really no reason not to include it in your daily routine.
No matter what, you should always partake in some form of daily physical activity. This could be anything ranging from a simple 15-minute walk in the sun or a more ambitious HIIT workout to promote fat loss. A daily exercise routine can:
The key with exercise is to find what works for you. If your exercise routine is boring or out of alignment with your goals, you will be less likely to stick with it. So, pick activities you enjoy.
While technology has its perks, staying too connected to your phone can negatively impact your body and mind. Screen time at night, for example, can decrease how much deep and REM sleep you get. This is one of the reasons why people wake up feeling completely exhausted even with 7-8 hours of sleep (12).
But it’s not just screens that are affecting your health and productivity. Smartphone notifications from email, social media, and other platforms can sabotage your focus. One study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that when people’s phones make a notification sound, their focus and work quality plummets (13). This effect occurs even if you don’t check your phone.
Set a time every day to unplug and “recharge” your mind by abstaining from technology. This works best an hour before bed so you can wind down and get a restful night’s sleep. During this time, you could meditate, read a book, or spend quality time with your family.
Altruism, when you act to promote someone else’s well-being, can have a powerful effect on your life. Studies have found that when you selflessly help another person, it releases endorphins, provides a sense of fulfillment, and could even help you live longer (14).
In other words, being kind helps others, and it can make a huge difference in how you feel.
To get the benefits of kindness, aim for one good deed every day. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated. You could pay for someone’s coffee in line behind you or compliment or encourage someone. Even the smallest of good deeds can have a profound impact on a person’s life.
Morning routines are the bread and butter of countless successful people. That’s because a solid morning routine sets the precedent for the rest of your day—giving you more focus, energy, and mental clarity.
Often, a successful morning starts the night before. This includes getting a good night’s sleep so you have a clear head the next morning. Another strategy is to end your current workday by making a list of the next day’s priorities. This way you can start fresh with a clear focus on what matters most.
You can also speed up your morning productivity by setting out your clothes the night before, and prepping breakfast and lunch ahead of time. Each of these small steps can add up to a big gain in accomplishing your goals.
Many of these powerful habits involve self-care. It might seem counterintuitive to take time for yourself in order to get more done, but it works. It’s essential to replenish your mind, body and spirit so that you can be at your most creative, focused and energized. Try some of these habits today and start experiencing the results for yourself.