My Top 5 Habits
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Last May I did a series on my Instagram stories about my daily habits. I also wrote a blog about it HERE. Since there are 31 days in May, there were 31 habits. I am going to break down my top 5 and WHY they help me make the most of each day.
Make the bed. We've all heard this one. There is even a book with this title. It is a game changer for me for a few reasons. When you make your bed first thing, you are setting up your brain to accomplish tasks. You subconciously check off something in your head and without even realizing it, you are motivated to continue getting things done. When we were first married and my son was little, I was in the habit of making the bed everyday. But then, in the last house we lived in I got out of the habit. Our bedroom was upstairs so once I left in the morning, I wasn't back through the room again until that evening. For some reason, I told myself that there was no reason to make the bed. What's funny is that this was a stressful time in my life for a multitude of reasons and neglecting this one task was making it worse. When we moved a few years ago, I got back in the habit of making the bed. I was working from home now and I was in and out of the bedroom throughout the day. I realized by making the bed with the pretty pillows and linens that I was creating my sleep sanctuary. An inviting place that I would want to retreat to each evening. I realized what a disservice I had done to myself in the last house. By not making the bed, I was avoiding the bedroom each evening therefore I wasn't having quiet reading time each night and I was actually procrastinating going to bed. Yes, making the bed can have that big of an effect on your mindset! It only takes a minute.
Get 8 hours of sleep. This one goes hand in hand with number one. When I wasn't making the bed and I was procrastinating going to bed, I often fell asleep on the couch or made it up there super late when I just couldn't hold my eyes open anymore. I didn't have a bedtime routine, I would just brush my teeth and hop in the bed and turn out the lights, oftentimes around midnight (or later) and the 6:00 alarm always came way too early. I would then have to drag my very tired self out of the bed and do it all over again. When I was younger I could survive on less sleep but as I have gotten older, my productivity is just not there if I don't get enough sleep. By making the bed and creating a sanctuary, my husband and I both often joke each morning over coffee that we are excited to get in the bed that evening. The beautifully made bed is always welcoming and we get in bed early and read. I am in bed most nights by about 8:00. I read for a bit and then we take the dogs out about 9:30 and turn the lights out by 10:00. I usually wake up before the alarm because I am well rested. When you wake up feeling good, it makes you begin your day in an entirely different mindset, a better mindset, for being your best self! One other little side note about sleep, invest in a quality mattress and linens. We spend about 1/3 of our lives sleeping. It is an investment in you. Our Tempurpedic mattress and pillows were life changing for the quality of our sleep.
Silence your phone at 5:00. Our phones have become an extension of ourselves. They often rule our lives without us even realizing it. When I get home each day, I turn my phone to silent and set it down in the kitchen. My husband and I often enjoy sitting on the porch and watching the sunset with the company and conversation of each other, not our phones. I cook supper without being disturbed by my phone. Yes, I check it a few times throughout the evening but it isn't ruling my life and it makes for a more peaceful evening with more quality family time. Also, I do not have notifications turned on for any social media or my email. I take it one step further and leave my phone in the kitchen at night. I use a "sunrise alarm clock" that gradually has a light come on ten minutes before the alarm that emulates daybreak. It is much more peaceful. Additionally, my son is 16 and his phone stays in the kitchen at night as well. We can't live without our phones these days but I can minimize the negative effects they have on my life.
Purge the mail and the trash in your car daily. Well, this one is technically two but they go hand in hand for me. Our mailbox is 1/4 mile from our house so I stop when I pull in each afternoon to get the mail. When I pick up the mail to carry it in, I grab any trash from the day as well. I go through the mail immediately when I bring it in. I used to bring the mail in and set it on the counter day after day and before I knew it the mail had taken over and I had missed a date on something pertinent. I sort it right away. Any magazines like Southern Living immediately go to the coffee table to be read. Unless I am in the market for something specific, all catalogs get purged to the recycle bin right away. I may flip through them just for a peak but they don't stick around. All junk mail like credit card offers etc gets purged and all pertinent mail goes straight to the basket on my desk. If you get a lot of mail and catalogs, purging the mail daily will be a game changer in the amount of clutter in your life.
Clean the kitchen nightly so you awake to a kitchen ready to do it's job each morning. Doing the dishes after supper has been a chore for my son since he was little. Each evening after supper, he still takes everyone's plates to the sink and gets the dishwasher loaded. Pots and pans from supper get loaded or scrubbed. The counters get wiped down and I lay out the lunch box for the next morning. Walking into a clean kitchen each morning, free from dishes stacked in the sink, completely changes your motivation and mindset. Nobody gets excited about making breakfast and packing lunch when they walk into a huge mess of dishes that are in the way and the dishes that you need are dirty. Mornings can be stressful enough. Don't set yourself up for failure by walking into a dirty kitchen each morning. The few minutes it takes each night sets your mindset up for success the next morning.
While I have many more daily habits for living my best life I find these to be extremely important and also useful to almost anyone. It's the little things we do each day that add up to big things and big successes. The actions you take day in and day out become your habits and these habits build your character. Taking action towards good habits determines your character and destiny.
If your daily habits aren’t working for you just think about the flow of these 5. When you create a sleep routine and commit to 8 hours of sleep, you wake up in a better mindset with more motivation. Then you knock out making the bed and get something checked off the list and have already set up your sleeping routine for success again that evening! Silencing your phone at 5:00 lets your brain gradually unwind from all of the stimulation as you go about your evening, helping that sleep routine work even more! Walking into a clean kitchen each morning keeps the stress from overwhelm and frustration at bay. Another win in your mindset and outlook for the day. And purging the mail is a step in reducing clutter. Clutter overwhelms us more than we often want to acknowledge. It truly is the little things each day that set us up for success!
Now go make your bed and start creating habits that lead to your best life!
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