I’m so happy you’ve decided to start living more intentional. (did my post on what simple living is had something to do with it? yay!). Living a simple, less-stressy but still intentional life isn’t always easy. I still sometimes struggle with it, but I do keep 12 things in mind. To help you (and me) remembering these things, I created a free printable reminder. You can put it in your journal or just take a picture with your phone so you can keep it at hand all day long.
1 | meditate for 10 – 15 minutes a day
A little while ago I started meditating, though I wasn’t sure whether I could persevere, it now is one of the best moments of the day. In the beginning when I thought of meditating, I saw monks sitting on the floor and saying ‘hummm’ all the time. But it’s not like that, you can sit where you want, when you want and for how long you want!
What the benefits are? – More grateful to other people, less stress, a moment without worries, happier in general, learning to relativate and living more mindful. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Tip: If you have no idea how to get going, Headspace really helped me, so it’s worth to give it a try. Andy, the founder of Headspace, has one of the most calming voices I’ve ever heard. He says what to do to get the most out of your meditation, he’s in fact your personal trainer. If you’re not sure about Headspace, you can try the ‘Take 10’ package for free!
2 | stop comparing
You might recognize this situation: I’m just scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram, while I suddenly see this girl. She takes beautiful pictures, has an adorable cat, a lovely apartment and the ‘perfect’ boyfriend. In short, she has everything you ever wanted. Comparison is a very stupid feeling of jealousy that plunges your mood. It’s also so easy and most of the time you can’t control it. So why don’t we try to make it more fun and challenging? Instead of comparing, try to analyse the situation and learn something.
Some questions you can ask yourself:
- What exactly am I jealous at?
- What are the benefits and what are the downsides of this jealousy? (how it makes you feel, does he/she inspires of motivates you, …)
- How can I introduce those things I’m jealous at in my own life, what do I need?
- Will it really make me happier?
3 | maintain a morning and/or evening ritual
It might sound a little odd, but keeping a morning and/or evening ritual will improve your sleep. It doesn’t have to be long, 10 to 15 minutes a day is already enough. A morning ritual also helps when you’re a sleepy head in the morning, it’s like living on automatic pilote. My morning ritual exists of a 10-minutes meditation, drinking a glass of water, doing my make-up, eating my granola and writing my to-do-list. I consciously decided not to check social media or read a newspaper, keeping a peaceful morning with all happy things brings me a day filled with joy. (except for days in which nothing goes right, they don’t count)
The theory behind it: every time you start your evening ritual, your brain will know that it’s almost time to sleep. So your body will prepare for a good night rest. The key of its success is that the routine should be the same day-in, day-out. If possible even at the same time of the day (I never succeeded in this part, so if you have.. please explain me how). The same happens with the morning ritual. After my meditation my body feels ready for the hours to come because it had the chance to start up and get used to this new day.
Tip: maybe my post on creating a morning and evening routine might help you, creating yours!
4 | prepare your to-do-list in the morning
It’s a simple tip, which gives you great comfort during the day. Just write down which tasks you would like to finish this day, and make sure you can tick them off. Start with writing down what HAS to be done, and end with one to three things you would LIKE to see finished. Try to limit the list to maximum 5 tasks (1-2 big tasks and 1-3 smaller tasks).
Tip: I write my to-do-list as a part of my morning ritual. To keep myself motivated I come up with one or two things extra which are super easy. This gives me the happiness of ticking them off. For example: kissing my love goodbye or taking a picture on my way to or from school.
5 | get inspired
You can find inspiration everywhere. That’s why I think of it as a very important element of the day. It might come in handy when standing in front of your closet in the morning and you have no idea what to wear. Or when it’s present-time again and you want to give your friend a little something.
But where to start? Search the web, magazines or other materials for things that inspire you. I also take pictures with my phone of things I find inspiring or special. Try to collect all these images and paste them in a book, on a moodboard or put them in a box so you can look at them whenever you want. Another handy tool is Pinterest. I have so many boards on my Pinterest account, some just for me (like my school projects) but others are shared with the rest of the world. Another thing I use to collect my inspiration is a book where I paste all the images that intrigue me one way or another!
Tip: if you have trouble choosing an outfit: Take a picture of your outfit every time you discover a new one. Save the picture for non-inspirational days.
6 | clean up your digital life
How many documents on your computer are really useful? How many ‘friends’ on Facebook do you actually know? Do you really want to get a weekly email from that site or blog? Cleaning your digital life means that you unsubscribe, defriend and delete things you don’t need anymore. In my puberty, having as many friends on Facebook as possible was very ‘cool’. So I ended up with over 1000 friends of which I only knew about 300. Little by little I’m deleting them and it feels wonderful. Only the people who say ‘hello’ when I pass by, are my real Facebookfriends.
The more stuff your digital life contains, the more notifications or emails you will receive and the more stress you’ll experience. Take one day to delete what you don’t need and organise what you want to keep.
Tip: If you don’t want to delete certain pictures or documents, but they’re also not useful for your daily work, you might consider buying an external harddrive. Nowadays they can be so small that you can take it with you wherever you go.
7 | always keep a notebook or journal
This won’t be the first time you hear about this, but keeping a journal or notebook is a great way to remember all the great things you’ve come up with. As you know, great ideas come at times you expect them the least, that’s why you should always be prepared. I personally love notebooks. I have a book full of lists, one notebook next to my bed, another in my purse and many more to use in the future.
Little insider: I’ve bought so many notebooks in my life. Some because I needed one, but mostly just because they were extremely cute. Now that I’m in my twenties, my collection has become huge. I don’t even dare to use some of them because they’re way too beautiful.
8 | don’t overplan
Everybody has nearly always something to do. They forget to take enough time for themselves, time to relax and just do nothing. Though you might think that keeping yourself busy will make you more productive, I really recommend trying to take at least 30 minutes a day just for yourself, try to enjoy the peace. Read an article, look at the people running around, write down what your grateful for, doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it just for you. After a while you’ll probably feel less stressed and more present when you do go out.
9 | stop multitasking
The ‘women-can-multitask-thing’ might be true, but think about this: will the multitasker or the solotasker have the best result for one particular activity? Multitasking is a very exhausting thing for the mind, it has to think of so many things at the same time whereby it will be more likely to forget. That’s why experts (and me) recommend completing a whole task before starting with the next. You will work more efficient and will get more done.
Tip: you can number the tasks on you to do list. I put a fun task first, then all the stupid tasks and at the end the other fun tasks. This way I’m enthousiastic about finishing all the tasks and have a happy ending.
10 | limit your social media-time
It’s just so addictive, scrolling through Pinterest or the Facebook newsfeed, checking out new Instagram pictures or reading the latest tweets. If you don’t watch the clock, you’ve spent multiple hours doing nothing specific. I don’t mean we should all delete our accounts and never talk about it again, but limiting the time will give you more control. Or make a deal with yourself about the duration of your daily social media absorption. For example: Set an hour like 8pm whereafter you don’t use any technology anymore.
Tip: try not to implement social media in your morning and evening ritual. After a couple of weeks your brain will be used to this whereby you will feel more at ease.
11 | know your interests
Knowing your interests means knowing your priorities, like I’ve told you in the post on what simple living is. Figuring out which activities are important to you and deserve much of your time, helps you organise your days. Making a list of all your activities and writing down the benefits and downsides can help you figuring out how important they are for you. You shouldn’t keep doing things because you loved them months or even years ago.
12 | dare to say YES
Try not to say ‘no’ immediately. You might experience new things or make new friends if you say ‘yes’ to something you won’t normally do. It’s a bit like the movie ‘Yes man’ where a man has to say yes to every proposition someone makes. This might even be a great day-challenge, now I think about it.