“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
As the philosophic chap said. I don’t know about excellence but here’s five of mine:
1. Say Yo! to the sun
Via the medium of yoga and the easy peasy sun salutation. The idea is to do it every day upon waking or like me, you might prefer to do it whilst you’re running your bath in the evening. Benefits include toning the body, calming the mind, improving circulation and supposedly even weight loss and developing your sixth sense (I’m not entirely convinced about the last one but if it works for you then feel free to send me a telepathic message telling me I’m wrong).
You can teach yourself to do this quickly using some of the tons of online tutorials out there, take a few yoga classes (most will cover this) or I’m happy to teach you! Once you’ve learnt it, just like the proverbial bicycle riding – you’ll never forget how, and unlike bike riding you can do it mud-free and in the comfort of your own home, even naked, if that’s how you roll.
2. Rock your favourite colour
Remember when you were five and your favourite colour was one of the most important things about you? Remember how much of a buzz you got when you got a new toy in your favourite red? Or maybe when you waited for ages pining for your yellow top to dry so you could wear it again and feel that all was right with the world?
You can recapture that buzz now. Do you know your favourite colour? If not, enjoy thinking about it (a most delicious child-like activity) and then wear it – in clothes, jewellery, ties, scarves, shoes and of course, undies.
Mine is red (see On wearing red) and I wear it whenever I need a confidence boost or some luck. Hell, it’s more that I’d need a reason not to wear it and I usually sneak it in somewhere even if it’s just on my lips.
3. Swap toxic words for healthy ones
It’s many years since I described myself as ‘stressed’, to begin with this was a conscious effort, even if I felt the state I’d previously called stressed, I stopped calling it that and started separating out the cause (usually pressure of deadlines at work) and my response to it (needing to get my shiz together and do something about it).
Over the years, it’s become such a habit that stress has ceased to exist as a thing in my life and I rarely, if ever, feel anything resembling the stress I used to suffer from, let alone the heart palpitations, stomach aches and shallow breathing which were once, ridiculously, normal for me.
This was all the result of the flirtation I’ve had with neuro-linguistic programming (or NLP for short) over the past decade or so. I’ve learnt lots of useful techniques and I’ve made lots of changes as a result but this has been the stand-out biggie and was almost entirely down to kissing goodbye to one little word.
It’s quite incredible the power of words can have, isn’t it?
4. Say “Thank you…”
…for your family, your friends, your health, your great arse, whatever – feeling grateful is a brilliant habit to have. It’s strangely self-fulfilling in that the more one feels grateful, the more one seems to have to feel grateful about.
I used to write my ‘gratefuls’ in my diary every night. You don’t need to be so nerdy as that if you don’t want, you can cogitate over them in your mind in the morning or before sleep or speak them out loud to your nearest and dearest.
The reason I don’t write them in my diary these days is because it really has become a habit to think about how lucky I am. Which brings me to…
5. Think yourself lucky?
According to Richard Wiseman’s The Luck Factor, it’s seems that people who think they’re lucky, really are luckier than people who don’t. This luck isn’t an innate gift, the findings of Richard’s studies show that lucky people simply create opportunities just by viewing themselves as someone who luck happens to.
If you see yourself as a lucky person who has glided through a cornucopia of good stuff, your mindset will be one of looking out for opportunities, you’ll trust your instincts and you’ll be open to situations which could result in cool things happening, you’ll anticipate people liking you and helping you and because of the way you behave, chances are they will.
You’ll also be able to consider difficult events as life’s lessons and won’t take them personally – if anything, you’ll see yourself as someone who is lucky enough to have the resources or support to cope well with difficulty. Remember, whatever your personal circumstances, someone else could take the same event and view it and themselves completely differently (more in Bad stuff, good stuff and Dr Seuss). You can choose who you are, so why not choose to be lucky?
Care to share your fave five?