Sometimes, we all need a little boost. Something to improve our quality of life or our situation, but unlike updating your hard drive, the process is a bit more intensive. Or maybe it just seems that way. As sentient beings, we are always on the lookout for ways to improve ourselves. It’s kind of a lot of hard work, and traditional tactics (yes, a little alliteration folks) to upgrade your life to the newest version can be complicated. They take a long time, sometimes more time than we have to give. So now, I bring you the Morning Beans Blog way to improve your life in just 5 simple, easy steps. So, how can you give a tiny effort, but still see lots of improvement in your life? Grab your cup of java juice and read on…I’ll give you five ways to get a leg up and be the best human you can be.
- Read, read, read! Let’s be honest, when is the last time you picked up a book? Can you remember the feel of the paper beneath your fingertips? Can you still smell the sweet scent of ink on paper, and feel the excitement waiting as you eagerly peruse those words on the page? I know, it’s 2020, and books are somewhat archaic. It’s much easier in our downtime to check Facebook, IG, and Pinterest. Scrolling through social media and clicking through to YouTube videos, maybe just a night at home with Netflix is more intriguing than opening a book. And of course, books are now paperless, thanks to Kindle, Nook, and Libby/Overdrive (your library source peeps). It is time to step back, get off your device (or maybe if that is how you access books, stick to the app) and READ! Set a goal for yourself, say, one book a month? A few pages before bedtime or with those morning beans. I know, after the first cup, when you’re awake. Books force your mind to put those words into pictures – your very own TV show right inside your head! Cool beans! Let your imagination start taking you places once again. You can try a genre you already like, or maybe something new. And if I hear you say you only read cookbooks, well, then, start with Thug Kitchen, one of my favorites (thank you to my friend A.P. for gifting me this culinary delight). If you click through, you can get a taste on their website, and even order the book. (Yes, it comes old school or e-book) I recommend the hard copy, and the frosted gingerbread bites with some blood orange buck. Salud!🥃 Seriously, check out the new titles- sign up for a book club – reading makes your brain work, the excitement of learning something new can boost your mood. An adrenaline rush (if you like thrillers like Dean Koontz or Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child) means you get a healthy body boost, and a quick fright – it’s a win-win all around.
- Take some time to turn a spotlight on yourself. That’s right peeps, FOCUS on yourself for a while. We live in a crazy world that never sleeps. Life events and work take precedence over self-care. Guess what my lovely little sunflowers? If you don’t shine that light on your inner self once in a while, YOU won’t be YOU anymore. (I have no idea why writing that sentence makes me feel like Dr. Seuss). So don’t become a stranger to yourself, and focus on yourself. Stand in front of that proverbial mirror and ask yourself, “what are my strengths, my best qualities?” “What are my weaknesses?”(Coffee, chocolate, and alcohol do NOT count)” Think about the things you love to do – the things that make you happy, and what benefits do you get from doing them?
Make sure that you figure out who you are and what you stand for. It’s easy to adopt and get lost in someone else’s values and points of view. Make sure that you are the brightest individual that you can be. Sometimes, conformity is not the way. Be genuine and remember to always be true to who you are deep down. This is one I struggle with, being a bit of a liberal non-conformist. It’s easier to hide in other people’s norms, but when you lose yourself, the road back is long and harsh. “Know thyself and to thine own self be true.” Having your own unique identity will keep you grounded and on the right track, even when the road gets some deep potholes along the way.
- Change some of those eating habits. This is probably the biggest monkey on my back. It’s important to remember that you only need to make a few small alterations – kind of like hemming a pair of too-long trousers. 😨My pretty petunia peeps – it’s all about the upgrades, lol. Begin with cooking for yourself. This gives you the POWER! When you prepare your own meals, you control what goes in the pot, and into your body. Treat your body like the beautiful vessel it is…and don’t listen when it screams for chocolate, cookies and salt and vinegar chips. OK, on a serious note, even restaurants that claim to be “fit” or “healthy” don’t really lay it on the line. It’s alright once in a while, but think about how much more control you have when you measure out the spices – think salt, sugar, hot sauce… It’s also about portion control. My nutritionist told me that using a salad plate is best, and if the portion is larger than your head, well, that’s just too much. And sometimes, even if it’s all organic, healthy fresh veggies and proteins, it’s too much. Besides, if you prepare your own meals, you can save some money. Get yourself a little treat, for me, more than likely, it’s a new pair of DMs or Converse. (See, not food-oriented at all. But they will cover my tootsies so I can go out and get some food at the store😁) So upgrade your eating habits. Start small, stock up on healthy snacks to replace the mega stuff Oreos, and remember that eating well helps build a positive outlook on life.
- One word folks, ROUTINE. Success comes to those with routines. Following a regular pattern lets your mind and body get used to a series of tasks naturally. So setting that alarm clock, the way you hop out of bed to handle morning ablutions, and make your groggy walk to the coffee pot actually can reduce stress and create a positive outlook for the whole day. So how do you set up your daily grind? Boldly set up a schedule. Determine what you do each and every day. Arrange your tasks in a workable order that makes sense (here’s where those post-it notes come in handy – I am the Queen of post-it notes. Color code and stuck on the wall, mirror, door, car and even in my classroom – it’s how I keep it all together) and make that list into series of small, doable tasks. You will see the benefits. Promise. Consistent routines, especially during the early dawn wake up and the nighttime crawl to bed help your body regulate itself. And if you need a little help on this upgrade, well, fake it ‘til you make it peeps.
- Admit Your Mistakes. We can all learn from our mistakes. Take ownership and admit it when you are wrong. Do so with a full heart, and apologize. It makes you a better person. How? By reviewing your errors, you can take a good look at the events that were happening. There’s a good bet that if you were at a low point, particularly stressed out or overly consumed by work, a project or family matters (feel free to fill in the blank here), that event led you to make mistakes. Reflect for a few, think hard about what actually happened, and how it could have been different. This thinking leads to a positive effect on your overall mental health. (Yes, scientifically proven). Maybe, if it was a really big Boo-Boo, you need a little time to recover and regroup. Maybe you are emotionally drained, maybe financially strapped, or simply inconvenienced. Dwelling on these facts is unhealthy and leads you down a road you’d really rather avoid. Trust me. Take a little R&R and let yourself gather insight, clarity, and closure. You might find that some parts of your life just aren’t quite working for you. Shift those priorities and check your goals. Rearrange and recharge. Learn from your mistakes, laugh at them and at yourself, and plan a positive future.
Sometimes, all we need is a simple fix. Small, easy actions that can “upgrade” our lives. Remember to be consistent and also persistent. Make the commitment, stay motivated, and caffeinated and you will reap the benefits!