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Waheeda

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My bullet journal is a dear thing to me.

Till it came to my life I didn’t know what to do with the tens of thousands of thoughts that would circle in my mind.

As an introvert, I converse with myself more than with others, and it would overwhelm me sometimes.

Then I found journaling. It helps me in letting my thoughts flow on to paper, clearing my mind. 

But I am happier since I found bullet journaling. Because it helps me to organise my thoughts, ideas, wishes and hopes. I know where to look for them when I need them and they will not be lost.

And that’s what bullet journal collections are. Or they are simply called bullet journal pages.

Bullet journal collections are pages dedicated to specific topics.

When you want to start a collection, you take a fresh page, write the topic name and add entries.

Related : How to start a simple bullet journal even if you have no artistic skills

Here is a huge list of page ideas that you can use in your bullet journal.

121+ page ideas for bullet journal

Personal

  • Goals for this year
  • Journal
  • Brain dump
  • My bucket list
  • Places to go
  • Year at a glance
  • Birthdays & Anniversaries
  • Favourite memories
  • Holiday Gift ideas
  • Important dates
  • Relationship goals
  • Restaurants to try

Trackers

  • Spending tracker
  • Meal tracker
  • Habit tracker
  • Sleep tracker
  • Mood tracker
  • Goal tracker
  • My Miracle Morning tracker
  • Savings tracker
  • Water tracker
  • Study tracker
  • Debt tracker
  • Prayer log
  • Dream Tracker

Self Development

  • My morning routine
  • My evening routine
  • Self care activities
  • Skills I want to develop
  • My 5 year plan
  • 90 day goals
  • Favourite quotes
  • New habits to develop
  • Gratitude journal
  • My lesson from this experience
  • Things that make me happy
  • Affirmations
  • My vision board
  • My mission statement
  • 30 day challenges
  • Things I love about me

Creativity

  • Doodle page
  • Bullet journal banner ideas
  • Typography practice
  • Writing prompts
  • 6 word stories

Books & Reading

  • Books to Read 
  • Books read this year
  • Notes from books
  • Quotes from books
  • Pages to reread for motivation

Travel

  • Countries visited
  • Packing checklist
  • Camping checklist
  • Itinerary for the next trip
  • Pre-holiday checklist ( flights, hotels & rentals)

Kids/Parenting

  • Labour bag list
  • Things my kids say
  • Kids’ activities
  • Snack ideas for school
  • Fun games & activities to do with kids and their schedule
  • Crafts for them to try
  • Books to read to them
  • Daily schedule for kids

Health & Fitness

  • Exercise log
  • Weight loss tracker
  • Healthy snack ideas
  • My yoga routine
  • Gym routine
  • Strength training routine
  • Fruits/veggies to include
  • Daily supplements log
  • 30 day fitness challenges
  • Home workout routine

Entertainment

  • Movies to watch
  • My music list
  • My favourite movies
  • TV shows to watch
  • Favourite blogs/websites
  • Favourite podcasts

Food

  • Food log
  • Master grocery list
  • Favourite recipes
  • New dishes to try

Home/ Money

  • Cleaning schedule ( daily/weekly/monthly/yearly)
  • Home appliances maintenance log
  • Vehicle maintenance log
  • Household chores schedule (daily/weekly)
  • Gardening chores log
  • Repair notes
  • Monthly bills log
  • Borrowed/returned tracker
  • Insurance info
  • Medical info

Work/business

  • Projects to complete
  • Sales calls schedule
  • Deadlines
  • Conference dates
  • Hours worked

Blogging

  • Goals for my blog ( 6 months/1 year/ 5 years)
  • Blog to do list
  • Page views tracker 
  • Income tracker
  • Affiliate sites to sign up for
  • Best blogs to follow
  • Social media log
  • Editorial calendar
  • New blog post ideas
  • Monthly subscribers tracker
  • Widgets to add/ website tweaks to make
  • Email marketing schedule
  • Blogging expenses
  • Blog backup log
  • Blog mission statement
  • Monthly report/review

Hobbies & Crafts

  • Hobbies to try
  • DIY ideas
  • Supplies to buy
  • Best websites on crafts

School / college

  • Daily study schedule
  • Test paper days
  • Grade tracker
  • Assignment tracker
  • Club meetings
  • Project notes

Misc

  • Online orders tracker
  • Doctor/ Dentist appointments


This is a huge list and I am sure you won’t need all of them. Create the collections you only really need.

Have I missed anything? Please let me know in the comments.

If you loved it, please take a moment to PIN IT as I will be updating the list with new ideas.

Want to organise your life and increase productivity using a bullet journal? Make use of these page ideas.

Have you noticed children while they are playing? They are often so engrossed in what they are doing and they seem to be in another world.

They are being mindful.

We hear so much about mindfulness these days. Well, all the gadgets we invented supposedly to make our lives easier are also making us focus less and less. 

We are often haunted by the thoughts of new notifications and are forced by habit, to check them constantly to make sure we are not missing out on anything.

This has also made us forget to enjoy what is happening “in the moment”. Like, the sensation under your feet when you step on freshly mowed grass, the pleasant smell of the flower that bloomed in your garden today, the unexpected kiss your daughter gave you when you were busy in the kitchen. Have you realised we don’t need big achievements in life to be truly happy?

We often spend our days worrying about what to do next in life and the next big thing you wanna achieve.

Little things that happen in our day are enough to make us happy. But the key is in noticing it and appreciating it. This can happen when you are mindful.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being fully present, and being aware of what you are doing at the moment. You bring your full attention to what you are doing at the moment, not letting your mind wander. When it wanders, you are aware of it and you gently bring it back to what you are focusing on, without judgement.

As simple as that.

But as a beginner, you will find it not as easy as it seems. Your attention drifts without you knowing and realise it after a while. But you will get better with practice.

how to practice mindfulness and its benefits

Why mindfulness? Benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness has a lot of benefits for your overall well-being. It could easily be another blog post (may be in future). But here are a few important points.

1. Mindfulness increases focus

      We have a lot of things to cross off our to-do list everyday. It would be simple if we could finish one by one easily. 

But I find that whenever I am ready to do a task, I am reminded of something else that needs to be done. It makes me anxious because it is unfinished. Then I feel the stress rising. I am not able to concentrate on the current task. 

I feel overwhelmed.

In such moments, I do a mindfulness meditation exercise (read below to see how to do it). It calms my mind and helps me relax. I am able to concentrate on the task in hand better.

Mindfulness helps you increase focus and concentration because you are making an effort to bring your attention to the present moment repeatedly. 

It even has the power to change your brain. The effect of mindfulness practice can last long even when you are not consciously doing it, because new neuron connections are formed through neuroplasticity. 

It’s amazing, right?

2. Mindfulness reduces stress and anxiety

    When you practise mindfulness you are more aware of your thoughts. Thus, if any thought comes up that gives you stress you try to acknowledge it. You say to yourself “Ok. This has come to stress me out. Back to the task”. So you get to respond to your thoughts rather than being controlled by it. 

You can choose to step back from them as you are mindful of your emotional state. You acknowledge your thoughts and you are able to respond rather than react to it.

3. Mindfulness improves physical health

  Research has proved that our brain has the ability to influence body’s inflammatory responses. Our brain and immune system are interconnected.

Mindfulness meditation can be used as a pathway to train our brain to control stress reaction and prevent a lot of stress based diseases.

It also improves your memory retention, promotes heart health, improves the quality of sleep etc.

But how do you become more mindful? How to incorporate mindfulness in daily life? Read on.

How to start practicing mindfulness as a beginner?

how to practice mindfulness and its benefits

Contrary to what many people think, mindfulness is not emptying your mind so that you think nothing. It is listening to your thoughts and sensations without getting emotional, without judging them.

Here are some mindfulness exercises to start with.

1. Practice mindfulness in the moment

You can start to practice mindfulness right now. There are no rules to be mindful.

For example, as you are reading this article, try to be mindful. 

  • Stop and notice how your eyeballs are moving towards your right. Slow down and notice how you can see each letter, notice the shape of each letter.
  • Notice how your finger touches the screen or your trackpad or the arrow buttons.
  • Feel the sensation on the tip of your fingers as you touch the device.
  • Notice the white colour in the background.
  • Read each word and listen to your mind pronouncing each word.
  • Notice how you have slowed down and feel the calm

How do you feel? If you have really stopped to do it, I bet you are feeling more relaxed and calm. This is what mindfulness can do to you. 

You feel an instant calm, your mood lightened and feel happy. And you don’t feel the rush to finish the article already. It is an escape from the inner chaos.

You can apply this to practically anything you do. Just stop for a minute or two to be really present and aware of what you do.

Another example:

Suppose you are walking.

  • Notice how each of your foot feels when they touch the ground. Is the floor cold? Or warm?
  • Feel how you are able to lift each leg easily and put one before the other. 
  • How your legs balance the weight of your body easily.
  • How you reach from point A to point B.
  • Feel thankful for how you are able to carry yourself to everywhere you want to go.

You can apply this to everything you do in daily life. 

But it doesn’t mean you have to be mindful in everything you do. We do many things on autopilot because those are habits established over the years. It’s for our benefit and ease.

You practice mindfulness because sometimes you need to remind yourselves the beauty of little things and appreciate what we are able to do.

2. Mindful breathing or mindfulness meditation

     Mindfulness meditation is the most popular way of practicing mindfulness.

     In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your breathing. How you take breath, how you release it, and how your chest or stomach is filled with breath and how it deflates. 

     How to do mindfulness meditation?

  • Choose a quiet place to sit. You can sit in any position you like, be it lotus pose (cross-legged sitting) or simply sit in a chair.
  • Sit in an erect position.
  • Now before jumping to start meditation, give yourself some time to relax. Let your mind settle and get ready. Take a few deep breaths.
  • Set a timer. I would recommend starting with 2-5 minutes. But, it’s upon you.
  • Now start focusing on your breathing. Notice while inhaling how the breath goes up, and while exhaling how it comes down. (You don’t have to take deep breaths here, just normal breathing.)
  • When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to focus on breathing again without judgement or feeling despair.

Slowly increase the duration over the days, according to your capability.

Related : Benefits of meditation and how to start a meditation habit

3. Mindful eating

 Many of us are used to eating while watching television or Netflix. We eat mindlessly and we forget how much we really need to eat and even forget to relish the taste of the food we eat.

Mindful eating focuses on enjoying all the aspects of the food you are eating. Its taste, flavour, texture and you are aware of how you feel while eating.

How to eat mindfully?

  • Eat when you are only hungry and not on visual cues.
  • Keep the distractions away (TV, computer, smartphones, books).
  • Chew the food slowly and thoroughly before swallowing down.
  • Appreciate the taste of the food.
  • Appreciate how lucky you are for having food on table.
  • Stop eating when you are full. Please know that after you are full, even one morsel of food that you eat leads to overeating and gain weight.

It takes upto 20 minutes for our brains to send the message of satiety. So if you are used to eating fast and mindlessly you must be eating more than  you require  all the time. 

For this reason, mindful eating helps in losing weight, because you are aware of what and how much you eat. You get to control the quantity.

These exercises are enough to start your mindfulness journey. Start small and try to do them at least once a day. You don’t have to dedicate separate time for it, but do it while you carry on with daily life.

I’d love to know, how do you practice mindfulness? Please comment below.

And also, if you like what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE this post!

Want to practice mindfulness? Learn what is mindfulness and mindfulness tips for your daily life.

 

We all come empty handed to this world. We all will leave so.

But when we go, most of us hope to leave something behind. A life well lived. A rich legacy. Not in terms of money, but in terms of character and service.

How do you define success in life?

I think the answer depends on those who are asked. Success means different things to different people.

But to achieve success in life, you must make sure to not waste the precious days, and the resources given to you. 

Your days are your life in miniature. As you live your days so you craft your life.

Robin Sharma.

Read on to find in what ways you are wasting your life.

If you want to have a successful life, take care of your each day. Know how you are wasting your life by doing these common things.

1. Wasting time on distractions

Today, we are all distracted more than ever. Yes we used to have screens in the 90s too. But our way of life is different.

The increasing dependence on smartphones has dramatically changed our lives. It has affected especially our ability to focus on our work. Or even simply the ability to wait patiently.

Have you noticed how we don’t let ourselves be bored for even a minute? We have to fill even a ten minute wait in a restaurant with our phones checking notifications.

We can’t stand in a queue waiting patiently because our brains demand for stimulation from social media.

Ever wondered what is it doing to our capabilities? We are becoming a generation who can’t lift our heads to notice what’s happening around us, or worse, can’t focus on one task deeply to complete it. It affects our productivity badly. 

I recommend reading Cal Newport’s book, “Deep Work” to understand better. He writes about a concept called ‘attention residue’. 

Every time we switch from Task A to Task B, our attention doesn’t immediately flow. A residue of our attention gets stuck in the first task.

This residue gets especially thick if your work on Task A was unbounded and of low intensity before you switched, but even if you finish Task A before moving on, your attention remains divided for a while.”

This happens when we check notifications every once in a while. Our attention switches from current task to the email we just received, and if it’s something that requires to take action or do some thinking, it can really take away our focus from what we are doing.

This produces shallow work.

So, being distracted hurts your productivity and even your career growth more than you think. 

What you can do is, schedule time in your day to check emails. I do mine twice a day. And practise controlled use of social media. Like login only once or twice a week to stay updated.

success in life Wasting life distractions social media2. By not chasing your dreams

We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.

-Jim Rohn

This thought is deep. When you reach the end of your life, you don’t want to regret, because you are leaving with the song still inside you. Let it come out. Sing your song. It doesn’t matter even if nobody thinks it is good. What matters is whether YOU enjoyed it.

You are wasting your life, when you live other’s dreams. Whatever is it that you want in life, take time to do them. 

For me, my life is successful, if I could do the things I love and I could be who I want to be. I am constantly trying to evolve and grow. And I can tell you as scary as it may be, it is worth all the fears and roadblocks. Because at the end of it, I know that I did exactly what I wanted or at least I tried. 

3. Not disciplining yourself

Self discipline means controlling yourself to your will. It is important to succeed in life because it is what gives you the power to stick with your goals.

You don’t become successful in life by working on your craft for a few days. Or working for it only when motivation strikes. You need to hustle consistently. 

Every successful person has routines or habits that help them stick with their vision. You need self discipline to form new habits and routines. 

And developing self discipline helps you by not giving into temptations and deviate from your path. 

Self discipline is what will give your days, a structure. You know how to spend your days to maximise your potential. If you lack self control, you waste your days, and your life because you give into whatever comes your way.

Related: 10 best habits to have in life for a better you

4. Not spending time with family

success in life spend time with family

Nurses can confirm one of the top regrets of people lying on the deathbed is “I wish I had spent more time with my family”.

And many people regret “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard”. Yes you must work  in life to earn a living and fulfil your dreams. But life is not all about it. 

Life is also about creating strong bonds with the people you love. It helps to create a sense of belonging in your kids and develop strong ties and a sense of security within the family members.

At the end of the day, you want people in life who are there for you no matter what. When you spend more time with family you also get to share your day, your joys and disappointments with them, and that builds strong ties.

In the quest of making more money or creating empires, always find time to spend time with your family. Because in the end, what matters is not how much you earned, but how much love you gave away.

5. By not expanding your comfort zone

The sooner you step away from your comfort zone you’ll realize that it really wasn’t all that comfortable.

-Eddie Harris Jr.

If you want to be successful in life, it means stepping outside of your comfort zone consistently.

A comfort zone is where you feel the safest and you have least anxiety there. Anything that asks you to face your fears and feel terrified is asking you to leave your comfort zone. 

And once you do it, you naturally feel less fear next time. And that’s how you expand your comfort zone.

All my life, I have been terrified of many things. But the ‘burning desire’ in me led to face many fears, and I have never been happier or more confident.

Though I am not quite there yet, I have been conquering each of my fears slowly and I can see the wonderful changes it has brought in my life.

Nothing worth having in life comes to you by staying where you are. So don’t stay stagnant and live the same days again and again till you die. Try to grow yourself constantly and say “yes” to more opportunities even though it scares you. 

You don’t have to do everything at once, but tiny steps will do.

6. wasting life By worrying constantly

Success in life worrying is waste of life

Worrying is another life waster. Often we worry about what happened in the past or we regret over the mistakes we made. 

And we constantly worry about our future too. In the process, we forget to enjoy the present moment that life has gifted us. 

I used to be a constant worrier. I would agonise over what happened and let myself wallow in self pity. And I would keep thinking about what could go wrong in the future. What if I were to lose whatever I have?

But it all changed once I learned about the “Law of Attraction”. After I read the book ‘The Secret’, I understood my constant worrying was bringing me more things to worry. I had to stop that habit.

I began to overcome worrying by practising gratitude and mindfulness. Gratitude can change your life. When you express genuine gratitude to even the smallest blessing you have, you become naturally happy. You are so content you don’t have space for worries.

I practise gratitude in my bullet journal. But you can practise it anywhere. Even now, as you are reading this. 

Close your eyes and think about everything you love in your life right now. Think deeply about each blessing and each person and how they bring value to your life. Focus only on the positives. It is when we focus on the negatives, we become unhappy. 

Tell yourself how happy you are to have your home, your parents, your job etc. Thank the universe or the God you believe in for giving you all these. You will instantly feel lighter.

Mindfulness is, focusing your mind on the present moment. You don’t think about the past or the future. Just be present and aware of what you do. Be aware of your breath and how you are feeling. And do not judge any thought that comes to your mind.

Practising mindfulness gives you more patience and the ability to stay more connected to yourself. Here is an article I wrote on how to practice mindfulness.

Related: How to start a bullet journal even if you are not artistic

7. Living to please others

There are many people who regret not taking action to pursue their dreams. They care too much about other people’s opinion and try hard to impress others. Not only you don’t get to live your life on your own terms, but you live a dissatisfied life.

You always wonder about “what would have been”. There is nothing worse than living with regret. Always give your dreams a chance. It doesn’t matter where you are in life, it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Better die being happy that you tried even if you succeed or not.

If you are not enjoying your life, it’s time to make a change. Let’s not waste our one and only shot on this planet. 

What would you add to the list? I am interested to learn. Please comment below!

If you like what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE this post!

If you want to have a successful life, take care of your each day. Know how you are wasting your life by doing these common things.

Everyone knows exercise is good for health.

And you want to start a workout routine and wish it were a habit.

You start jogging, do it for two weeks, and you are back to normal life.

Don’t worry; it happens to everyone.

But it doesn’t mean that you are destined to live your life wishing away.

To make any change in your life and make it permanent, you have to want it bad enough.

Anyone can tell you how to do it, but to make real lasting change, you have to make a decision.

If you have read Napoleon Hill’s famous book Think and Grow Rich, he says, to achieve any desire, first and foremost you should have a BURNING DESIRE.

It is the knowledge that how you want your life to be, that changes your habits.

So here are  10 tips to create an exercise habit and stick with it.

1. Link your new exercise habit to any existing behaviour

When you want to create a new habit, it is helpful to link it with any existing habit of yours.

In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg, talks about how habits are formed.

There is a cue-routine-reward cycle to any habit. If you link your new work out habit to any existing habit, your old habit is your cue.

Find your own best time to do exercise, morning or evening. And link your new exercise habit to any of your morning/evening habits.

For example, you brush your teeth every morning. You can decide to do your workout straight after brushing teeth. Or if in the evening, may be after you come from work. Find out what time works best for you.

Linking your new exercise habit to an old habit works because the old habit is more established and therefore your brain has a strong neural connection for those habits.
This method is called habit stacking and has been mentioned by authors like BJ Fogg, SJ Scott etc.

Start a workout habit and stick with it

2. start small

When you are creating a new habit, always remember to start small. Your aim is to create a new workout habit and make sure to stick with it.

In the beginning, what you should focus on is, building consistency rather than reaping benefits. Starting small will help you in showing up everyday.

This is a way for you to tell your brain that you want to make this a routine and your brain will start building new neural pathways. As you perform the routine more often these neural pathways will get reinforced and rewire your brain, creating a new habit.

If you aim for a full hour workout in the beginning, it might feel overwhelming after a couple of days, and you might procrastinate or even stop trying. You can aim to start with,

  •  10 minutes walk.
  •  5 minute stretching
  • 5 pushups
  • A warm up

These are some examples, but of course you can change the duration or repetition according to your ability.

3. Set a time

You have more chances of doing exercise, or for that matter, any habit, if you have scheduled a time for it in your day.

If you are thinking to yourself, I will do yoga tomorrow morning, chances are you will postpone it. Because you know you want to do it, but don’t know when.

If you think, ‘I will do yoga tomorrow morning at 7 am’, I bet you will do it.

So grab your planner, (or whatever scheduler you are using) and block time for your workout.
I use my bullet journal for scheduling everything.

Read more:

4. Make a plan

You must be having an idea about what results you want from your daily exercise.
It could be weight loss, more energy, toning your abs etc.

Make a plan to achieve your goals. Decide what kind of workout will excite you and will give you the results. It could be yoga, gym, swimming etc. or a combination of different exercises.

Whatever it is, decide what your exercise routine is gonna be.
If you want to tone down your abs, find 5-10 exercises that will help you achieve that ( Youtube and Pinterest have lots of information on this ).

If you want to increase strength, find some strength training exercises. Same with cardio, pilates etc.

Deciding what to do, when to do and how to do them are important because you get a well thought out plan. Your brain knows what you exactly want and that makes you stick with your exercise habit.

You can’t reach your destination if you don’t know where you are going.

5. Have an accountability partner

Having an accountability partner does immense help in achieving your goals.
They help you stay on track and cheerlead you when you are feeling down.

Having an accountability partner works because human beings generally do not like disappointing others, especially the people they like.

We might postpone and act lazy when we are unmotivated. But the thought of answering to someone if you don’t do it is embarrassing for us. So we do them anyway.

I hope you get me.

When we embark on achieving something, there will be moments when you don’t feel like doing it, or life throws you something, or you feel you are not doing a good job (we are our worst critics), you will need someone to pull you up, and help you get back on track.

Yes, forming a new habit may not be that easy. But when you think about the end results, you are sure it is worthy.

You can make anyone you trust to be an accountability partner. It could be a close friend, spouse or someone you look upto.

6. Join a fitness class

Having talked about accountability partners, joining a fitness class or a gym can itself hold you accountable.

You are paying for it, and you know you are bound to show up no matter what.

If it is nearby your home or workplace, the better. Let not the long commute put you off.

create exercise habit fitness class

7. Inspire yourself

 To stay motivated, social media channels like Instagram and other search engines like Youtube and Pinterest help me a lot.
I follow a few fitness and healthy eating enthusiasts on these media.

So checking social media once in a while reminds me of my goals and aspirations. And it inspires me to achieve my fitness goals.

Well, now I know social media can be put to good use also.

You could do this too.

8. Stick with your exercise habit no matter what

Now don’t kill yourself when a slip up occurs. Nor should it be a reason to skip the habit altogether.

But what to do when life happens?

1. Get back on track as soon as possible

Even if you miss one or two days, get back into your routine the next day itself. If you miss more days deliberately, it means it’s gonna escape you. 

2. Reschedule it

If you have any emergency to tend to on your exercise hours, take care of it. See if you can schedule it for a later time during the day. If you were to go to the gym in the morning and couldn’t make it, may be you could go in the evening or go for a walk in the evening.

3. Do in small ways

James Clear often talks about sticking with habits each day in small ways. Missing one day’s workout is not gonna make you fat. But it is the cumulative effect that will make you skip the habit altogether.

You can’t let it happen. Just stick to the plan, even if it is in the smallest way.

If you are gonna miss a workout, at least do the warmup, or some stretches.

If you were planning to walk for an hour, walk around the block for 15 minutes.

Whatever you were intending to do, you can do the smaller version of it. This lets your brain know that it is important to you. And thus the process of rewiring occur.

After a while you will find that you don’t feel like yourself when you skip a workout.

9. Do 30 day workout challenges

All change is hard at first, messy in the middle and gorgeous at the end. – Robin Sharma

Creating a new exercise habit can be hard, especially in the beginning your mind and body try to resist the change as much as possible.

30 day challenges are a good way to start an exercise habit. It starts small, you can track it and you stick with it for 30 days.
It motivates you to not miss a day because you have a deadline.

When we have a deadline, we tend to perform better. It creates a pressure and forces us to show up everyday.

Though you will be getting the benefits after 30 days, don’t stop there. It has given you a head start for your lifelong fitness journey (hopefully).

You can google and get numerous challenges that focus on each body part or even fully body workouts. Pinterest is also a great resource for this.

how to start an exercise habit and stick with it

10. Have variety of fitness activities

Try to incorporate different kinds of physical activities in your exercise regimen. Because it keeps exercise interesting and enjoyable.

You are not stuck with one form of exercise. Experiment with different types and find out what you enjoy most and gives you good results.

If Mondays are for yoga, Tuesdays can be for weight training, Wednesdays for jogging etc.

You get the benefits of different forms of exercises and kick out boredom.

Of course, trying everything at once is not advisable. Take it slow.

11. Journal your progress

Keeping a workout journal helps you track your progress. It inspires you to look back on how much you have achieved, and to keep going.

It keeps you on schedule. The thought of not able to cross off “workout” in my bullet journal makes me do my workout no matter how lazy I feel. You perform better when you have to answer to someone ( in this case, your journal).

It creates a sense of accomplishment and builds my self esteem when, at the end of the day, I can mark it in my bullet journal.

You can record your fitness goals in the journal and track them daily. It helps you to measure your progress.

Read more: 10 ways journal writing will change your life

12. Reward yourself

Your aim is to start an exercise habit. Thus, you might be starting small. You might not see the results on your body yet.

But remember, first we wanna make this habit stick. Reward yourself for the efforts you are taking to make this change in your life.

No matter how small, if you are making changes to create a better life, you deserve to appreciate yourself.

So often we quit soon because we fail to see how far we have come, even if they are baby steps.

Here is an article to read on how to reward yourself after a workout.

Like any habit, creating a workout habit requires time, patience and a lot of effort. Workouts are not always easy and fun, but they are always worth it.

Like I said, after a while you get used to the adrenaline rush, which will make you crave for the workout and then it becomes part of your daily life.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Want to have better habits? If you have tried and failed to create an exercise habit, read this article. Find out how to form an exercise habit that sticks.

So what more tips would you add to the list? Please comment below.

 

Do you struggle to achieve work life balance? Your work, family and home need your attention. But you can get things done effectively if you set priorities using Eisenhower Matrix

As a work-at-home parent you need to take many decisions on a daily basis.

But do you find yourself trying to do everything, and still not being able to achieve anything?

Crossing off those items on your to-do list at the end of the day is such a relief.

But are you sure those things really matter? Do they add value and growth to your mission?

To really grow as a person, you need to have all aspects of your life balanced. Work-life balance is not hard to achieve. But for that, you need to plan your days wisely.

 If you know your priorities, you can balance your work-from-home career and life easily.

I have found Eisenhower Matrix works effectively when I need to set my priorities.

How to Achieve Work-Life Balance Using Eisenhower Matrix?

Eisenhower matrix- how to set priorities

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961.

He developed this matrix as a tool to help himself decide and focus on the most important tasks he should do each day.

This matrix was popularized by Stephen R Covey in his book, ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.

The matrix has 4 quadrants.

Let me explain what each quadrant stands for.

Eisenhower matrix to set priorities work from home

Q1 – Urgent, Important

The tasks in the first quadrant are urgent and must be dealt with right away.

Examples: 

  • Your kid is sick. Take him to the hospital.
  • You must submit the project report today.
  • Finish and send your guest blog post by evening.

Q1 activities have time constraints.

Q2 – Not Urgent, Important

This is the second quadrant. Everything in this quadrant should be scheduled.  It is the tasks in this quadrant that we tend to postpone more, since they are not urgent. But they have a direct impact on our job, relationships, health and happiness.

Examples: 

  • Working on your home based business
  •  Spending time with family
  • Exercise
  • Journal writing
  • Daily planning
  • Household chores
  • Retirement savings
  • Preventive maintenance at home
  • Preparing healthy meals for family

According to Covey, if you spend more time on this quadrant, you can most probably avoid things that fall in Q1.

Let me elaborate.

If you spend time to plan your days, and put it into action, you get things done on time (Q2). Thus, there is no urgent work waiting for you (Q1). 

If you take your time to do preventive maintenance and service at home (Q2), you can prevent damage and thus reduce the risk of breaking down of appliances or motor vehicles (Q1). It also saves your time and money down the lane.

 If you spend more quality time with your spouse and kids (Q2), you wouldn’t have to worry about spending time and energy later on mending the damage caused by the lack of your presence (Q1).

Since activities in Q2 are not urgent, most people spend less time here. They spend most of the time in Q3 and Q4, thinking they are busy and productive. But the truth is they are ‘busy’ doing nothing.

To bring true value and growth in your life, you must decide what is truly important.

Starting a journal can help you in this. Take your time and reflect on what it is that you want to achieve from each of your roles, that is, as a spouse, parent, a homemaker or a businesswoman. Write them down.

Now you will begin to understand what your priorities are.

Related: 10 reasons journaling will transform your life

Unlike other quadrants, Q2 tasks might not give instant results. But those tasks will help you succeed in the long run and have a secure life.

Q3- Urgent, Not important

Quadrant 3 tasks are those that are urgent but not so important that you yourself have to do them.

 But these are still urgent and should be done. I would say these are tasks that do not require your presence as such, so that if you can delegate to a trustworthy person, they will be done perfectly as you would have done them.

Examples:

  • Unimportant meetings
  • Requests by other family members
  • Technical issues
  • Answering certain emails

People spend more time than needed on this quadrant thinking they are doing urgent work. And it is also because they get the satisfaction of accomplishing the tasks. This is where you  need to distinguish between “urgent” and “important”.

It helps to check constantly if the tasks you have in hand, align with your goals. If not, do not ever hesitate to delegate.

Q4- Not urgent, Not important

The time spent on quadrant 4 activities should be avoided or reduced to the minimum.

Examples:

  • Watching TV
  • Surfing web mindlessly
  • Spending too much time on social media
  • Shopping

If you are spending more of your free time on social media and not with your kids, you know it is going to reflect on your relationship with them in long term.

But I am against completely eliminating Q4 activities, as you should get to pamper yourself after a long day. I always look forward to the end of the day, after I have done the work on my blog and kids are put to sleep. And I can relax with my favorite TV show with something to munch on. It is my reward to myself for working hard during the day.

But be aware of the time you spend in Q4, as it should be the minimum. I would aim for 1 or 2 hours a day, according to the availability of time and if my day’s work is done.

If the important tasks for the day are not done for some reason (life happens!), I am willing to let go of the Q4 activities for the day, since I know my priorities.

Journaling has had a huge effect on my work-life balance, as it helps me remember what my priority tasks are, for each day. I note down the important tasks for each day in my bullet journal. I have always felt that writing down in a journal gives me a push to do the tasks, even if I feel lazy or want to procrastinate.

In fact, research has proved that writing down goals increases the odds of achieving them.

I must say, you should consider journaling when you set out to find your priorities in life when you have to balance between work and life.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Do you struggle to achieve work life balance? Your work, family and home need your attention. But you can get things done effectively if you set priorities using Eisenhower Matrix

 

 

Are you overwhelmed by the beautiful bullet journal layouts and spreads out there? Learn how to start a minimalist bullet journal with no artistic skills

When it comes to planners, bullet journal is the buzzword these days.

If you are a Pinterest or Instagram user, you must have stumbled upon this term many times.

I did too and hopped onto the bandwagon a year ago.

I am an over thinker and a confused person (due to over thinking) and it overwhelms me sometimes (read all the time!). I definitely needed to unwind and put all the thoughts, tasks and to do lists into a place and relax!

That’s when I found out about bullet journal system and fell in love with the idea.

I started soon and bought a notebook and supplies as “they” said.

I created colorful layouts and drew cute little pictures on the corners of the pages.

Did I keep up with it?

Noooo!

I kept up with planning in the bullet journal, but not the beautifying tasks.

I am not an artistic person or a doodler, though I am fascinated by the talents of many people. And I admire those beautiful layouts and wish I could do the same.

I could if I tried. But I found out it beats my purpose of keeping a bujo (that’s what a bullet journal is lovingly called).

What I want is to get things done and to jot down important points or events in my life so I can revisit them when I want.

I am not against embellishing the bullet journal. And I also draw weekly spreads which is different from the original bullet journal system. And I do use some supplies to add some color. Because I find it easier to sort through my writing if I want to come back to it later. Sometimes I use sticky notes or bookmarks inside the journal because it is more convenient for me.

But all these are not necessary.

So here I wanna talk about how to start a simple bullet journal, the maintenance of which is not overwhelming. It is completely okay even if you are no artist.

Bullet journal supplies for beginners

What you need: A notebook and a pen.

If you ask which notebook to buy for a bullet journal, I would say, it depends on your budget and necessities. If you want to keep your completed journals with you for a long time, better opt for a good quality one.

The most preferred notebook for a bullet journal is Leuchtturm 1917. It is the book endorsed by the creator of bullet journal, Ryder Carroll. And the company has an official Leuchtturm notebook for bullet journal.

Other popular notebooks in the bullet journal community are:

·        Scribbles that Matter

·        Lemome

·        Moleskine

·        Rhodia

You will get these books in different sizes like A4, A5 and A6. The most preferred size is A5 as it is neither big nor small and convenient to fit in your bag and easy to carry around.

You can choose between ruled, dotted or blank notebooks. My first bullet journal was a blank page notebook. Now I use a dotted one and I find it very useful when I need to draw lines or tables.


Start a bullet journal: The pages you need

The following are the pages you need to start a bullet journal.

1.     Index

2.     Future log

3.     Monthly log

4.     Weekly log/Daily log

5.     Collections

Index

Bullet journal is a very flexible system that you can tweak to your needs. Its possibilities are endless and it becomes what you want.

The beauty of a bullet journal is you can write in it whenever you want. Even if you don’t write on some days you don’t have to leave the pages blank, unlike other planners.

So you definitely need an index to keep tabs on the pages you write.

Leave the first four pages (that fall side by side) for index.

(The official bullet journal notebook features numbered pages, an index, a bullet key and 3 bookmarks).

Write “Index” on top of it.

Now if you are not using a numbered notebook you number each page as you go.

When using a bullet journal it is better to get used to write each page’s topic (heading) and page number first. And immediately add it to index before making an entry.

I highlight some topics in index ( I use highlighter pens or brush pens for this). Those are my collections. It helps me to find the collection I need to find easily (more on collections in a minute).

Index of bullet journal

Future log

You can use the next two pages for future log. Write “Future log” on top of the page.

Future log is the place to write down your events, tasks and goals for the next six months. It helps to have a quick glance at the upcoming events in the future log.

Divide each page in 3 equal parts by drawing horizontal lines. Write down the names of the months in each column. Add your entries.

You can note down birthdays, anniversaries, meetings, vacation trips etc.

I also have a page called “Year at a glance” to note down the past events which are important for me.

Like the day I went on some trip, the day I visited someone, milestones of my kids or career etc.

Future log of Bullet journal

Monthly log

Next we create the monthly log. Take two pages that fall side by side. One page is for calendar and second one for monthly tasks.

Write the name of the month on top of the first page. Write the days of the month (1, 2, 3….30/31) downwards. You can write the starting letter of the corresponding day of week next to each date, like in the picture.

Monthly log of bullet journal

Now you can write the month’s events and appointments corresponding to each date in the calendar page.

The second page is for monthly tasks and goals. You can draw two columns with headings ‘Tasks’ and ‘Goals’. This is where you write what you want to achieve that particular month.

I write my goals in all areas here. Like relationship goals, goals for my blog, spiritual goals, health goals, parenting goals, self care etc.

It gives an idea of how my month is going to be (or should be).

After each month I do a monthly review and evaluate how much I did accomplish. And set new goals for the next month and migrate tasks (if any) to the next month.

Weekly log/ Daily log

The original bullet journal by Ryder Carroll doesn’t have a weekly log. But a lot of bullet journal enthusiasts have it. It depends upon your needs. If you have a lot of tasks, meetings and appointments to take care of, you need a daily log.

You can also have both logs, if you have a busy week. Write the important tasks in advance in a weekly log, and elaborate all the mini tasks that come under each important task in the daily log. If you are using both logs, you can do a “brain dump” by writing all the events in advance in the weekly log. And each day you can expand each task in the daily log. This way, you don’t miss anything.

If your days are mostly the same or if you don’t want to enter every task you do into a bullet journal you can go for a weekly log.

I mean, come on, you do many of the chores out of habit. You don’t need a reminder for every task.

I don’t do daily logs. I do only weekly logs.

I usually draw a weekly spread in advance between every Friday and Saturday. I write down all those tasks that need to be done on specific days and additional tasks if any, goes to the spread each day.

It helps me to dump my thoughts “off my head” and visualize my week in advance.

I usually plan the night before. But even then, weekly spreads are enough for me to write down the tasks. This is an example of a weekly log.

Weekly log/spread of bullet journal

In a daily log, you write each day’s tasks as you go. If you have to juggle lots of things at home and work, you can plan accordingly in your journal. You can separate work and personal/home into two columns and add respective entries.

To create a daily log, take a fresh page and write down the date as the heading, and add your entries.

The daily log gives you the freedom to take more space if you want, for busier days. If you do not record daily it’s better if you keep a daily log rather than a weekly log, as you will be leaving blank spaces in the weekly log. Here is an example of a daily log from tinyrayofsunshine.com

Daily log of bullet journal

It is okay even if you don’t record in your journal daily. You can pick back up where you left off without feeling guilty of leaving blank pages.

That’s why people love bullet journal, because of the flexibility it offers.

Now you need to know how to make entries so that it’s easier to identify different tasks.

Let me walk you through the language and elements of a bullet journal. Hope you are with me.

Rapid logging: The language of a bullet journal

Unlike traditional planning systems or diaries, you don’t need to write elaborate sentences in a bullet journal. It takes time and a bullet journal is here to make journaling easier.

Rapid logging consists of 4 components:

Topics, page numbers, short sentences and bullets. (Source: bulletjournal.com)

  • Topics– The heading of each page. With each fresh page, you give a heading so that you are clear what it is about. Example: Future log, Monday 12th March, Index etc.
  • Page numbers– As soon as you give a page a heading you mark it in the index with the page number. It can be a hassle to number each page later and add it to index. (Believe me, I have done that).
  • Short sentences & Bullets- You need to write only short phrases for each entry. Example: laundry, workout, order the book.  

You can use abbreviations to represent the tasks you do often.

Example: ST for strength training, NR for night routine

Bullets are used to make each entry.

Depending upon the nature of each entry, 3 types of bullets are used.

  • for tasks

     O   for events

     –   for notes

And depending upon the completion of tasks, there are additional bullets used like,

     X   for task completed

     >  task migrated

     <    scheduled task

Signifiers

Signifiers are symbols which add extra information to a bullet. Commonly used signifiers are,

  *   shows task’s priority

  !    inspiration (for ideas and insights)

Eye symbol” for explore (a reminder for topics you need to research more)

Example: *• Send email to John

! You compete only with who you were yesterday

But these bullets are not set in stone. It means you can use the symbols that are easy for you. Some people use squares to denote tasks, and color the squares to indicate completed tasks. Again, it’s your choice.

You can create a page called ‘Key’ in the beginning to help you remember the bullets. As I use only 3 or 4 bullets, I have not created this page.

Task Migration

According to Ryder Carroll, migration is the cornerstone of bullet journaling.

Migration means, reviewing unfinished tasks each month and move them to the next month. You note it down in the tasks page of monthly log at the beginning of each month.

But monthly migration doesn’t suit me. I do it every other day because some tasks cannot wait for a month. I highlight the task with my brush pen (you can also use the bullet >), so that it stands out.

Migration in a bullet journal

But if I migrate some tasks repeatedly, I don’t see the need to do it anymore. In that case, I cross it off. That’s another benefit of bullet journaling. It causes you to reflect on what is important and what you should give your time to. If you are postponing repeatedly, it might not be worth your time. Or think about delegating.

Collections

Collections in a bullet journal pretty much talk about your life. It gives the journal a touch of your personality.

Collections are pages dedicated to specific topics.

Example: Meal Planning, Grocery list, Habit tracker etc.

To start a collection, you take the next fresh page, write the topic, add the page number to your index, and start writing.

Some collections in my bullet journal are:

·        Habit tracker

·        My bucket list

·        Packing checklist (Thanks to this, I don’t miss a thing in my travels now. Also, I don’t have to think before packing)

·        Gratitude log

·        Uncomfortable things I did (My goal for this year is to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible and do the things I fear. I note down such acts in this collection to boost my confidence and for future inspiration).

·        Goals for 2018

·        Inspirational quotes

·        Affirmations

·        Self care log

·        My vision board

You see, starting a bullet journal was one of the best decisions in my life. Now I have a place to dump my thoughts and free myself. You should do it too!

Now that you know what collections are, you need to know about threading too.

Threading

Threading is a method used to connect pages of similar topics together. In a bullet journal we fill in the pages as we go. For example if you have a collection called ‘Project notes’, and your notes lie on page 20, and the continuation is in 25, you can make use of threading. Simply add 25 to 20 and vice versa.

Threading in a bullet journal

Conclusion

Starting a bullet journal is easy. It need not overwhelm you if you keep it simple. It increases your productivity and helps you plan and organize your life.

You have enough information to start a bullet journal in this post. If you have any questions or comments please let me know below. Happy to help!

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

Are you overwhelmed by the beautiful bullet journal layouts and spreads out there? Learn how to start a minimalist bullet journal with no artistic skills

Before you dismiss of journaling habit as something only the intelligent ones or the creative ones do, let me tell you something:

Journaling can be for everyone.

Great men like Benjamin Franklin, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill and many more, had journals.

So what is the relation between writing journals and becoming great?

It’s not that simply writing in a journal can make you great. It is how you use it, makes the difference.

If you think you don’t know what to write in a journal or don’t know how to start, let me help.

Here are some of the things you can write in a journal (or 10 benefits of journal writing)

1.Record daily insights that touch you

Benefits of journal writing

As humans we have an average of 60-65k thoughts per day. Among them there might be some wonderful thoughts, ideas and life lessons that we learn from our experiences on a daily basis.

You can record them in your journal. We grow as a person when we learn from our lessons. Recording them on your journal helps you to remember them more.

Another benefit, journaling sometimes gives you interesting revelations about yourself which you wouldn’t have normally thought about.

2. Write about your goals and record progress

Instead of simply writing about your days, you can also use journaling to keep track of your life. It helps in planning your life as you want it to be.

You can have a goal tracker or a habit tracker drawn (or dedicate a separate section for it). And at the end of each day, evaluate how much you did accomplish.

As the saying goes,

What gets measured,  gets done.”

It helps in not losing your focus on your goals, and acts as a reminder why you want to achieve a certain goal. When you write down your goals, you are committing yourself to do it. It reminds your brain that this is important for you and thus your brain causes you to notice more opportunities which help in achieving them.

Having a written plan in your journal will help you kick procrastination habit and bring more order in your life by getting things done.

Related:

3. Write about your desires

As humans, we all spend some time wishing about future; the list of things we want to do, or want to have.

It can be about ideas for expanding business, the kind of body you want to have, the places you want to go, the activities you want to check off your bucket list, the new dish you want to make etc.

A journal is a great place to jot down all these. Research has proved that what we write down we retain more. Thus, there are more chances of taking action. And you definitely want to have those wonderful experiences, right?

4. Lessons from your past experiences

Don’t let your past dictate who you are, but let it be part of who you will become.

Your journal is a little window to your past.

Looking back you have those memories to smile or cry or learn.

It also helps in analyzing your growth as a person. Like what made you upset years ago doesn’t even have a place in your life right now or you realize you cried over trivial things. Such things make you realize how important it is to spend your time more wisely. And manage your emotions in a new light.

You can also write about daily events, not necessarily daily, but the memorable events of your day. The ones you would like to revisit later in life.

5. A tool to release pent-up emotions

Journal writing habit benefits

Today we have all kinds of journals planners and apps to help us do our tasks, but we are distracted more than ever because of the temptation to give in to the social media notifications. This virtual escape does not help in dealing with our thoughts and problems.

When we get overwhelmed due to our circling thoughts, we try to numb our minds with social media. It has become a new medium for relaxation.

But time spent on social media doesn’t always relax our minds and give focus. It gives only distraction.

We should rely on a medium that helps us channel our thoughts onto a focused solution. You can dump your thoughts in a journal, or you can just use it for brainstorming. It helps us to clear our minds, relax and take better decisions.

When my mind is overwhelmed with difficult emotions, I do freewriting in my journal (more on this in a moment).  And I write about how to solve it, how I should approach this problem and how I should improve myself so that this doesn’t occur again (being proactive). Trust me, it is super comforting. I learn about myself more on these journaling sessions and I get actionable tips for self-improvement.

It’s like having a personal therapist.

6. Organize your thoughts

You can create separate sections in your journal for each area of your life. Because to evolve as a person and be a better version of yourself, you need to grow in all aspects of life. A journal is a tool where you can plan to improve.

In my journal, I write about making improvements in career, relationships, parenting, spirituality, health, exercise etc.

I have goals for each part of my life. And it will blow me away if I were to keep all those aspirations in my mind. If it is on my journal, I know I am going to do something about it (and I do!)

You can even have different journals for different subjects but I recommend using one(or two) for everything as you can take it everywhere.

 After all, after a while you will find that your journal turns out to be your constant companion who agrees to whatever you say, be with you in everything, gives you feedback and guards your secrets like a loyal friend.

7. Write about what  you are grateful for today

Benefits of journal writing-express gratitude

I cannot stress enough how important and powerful gratitude is. I first found out about it from Rhonda Byrne’s famous book “The Secret” two years ago. There are people who scorn Law of Attraction. Even I don’t believe in sitting at one place “wishing” for things to happen and hope that a magical genie would come fulfill my desires. No! You have to move your butt and work for it. And then expect the results.

But feeling gratitude daily has changed my life.  I used to be a pessimist and would spend my days thinking about ‘lack of things’. The downside of it is, I failed to notice the good things happening in life. But when I started practicing gratitude, I found out I have more things to be happy of, than things to worry about.

Gratitude makes me ponder about the blessings I have and I never let my mind to drown in disappointing thoughts which drain the positive energy out of my day. Gratitude makes me see the good side of life, even in the most difficult circumstances.

It has really changed my life. I am happier, became more optimistic and I find more blessings come around.

For all those who want to know more about the power of gratitude, I highly recommend the book  ‘The Secret’.

You can buy the audio version here from Audible.com. (You’ll get it free along with another book, if you sign up for a free 30 day trial.)

8. Increases self discipline

Self discipline is one quality you should develop if you want to succeed in life. Successful people have one quality: they do their tasks even if they want to or not.

We all have days on which we would like to stop the alarm, pull the covers and sleep more. But showing up daily, no matter what, is what going to help you create the life you want.

With journaling habit, you are creating a habit where you are expected to show up. And self discipline is a muscle which grows as you flex it more and more.

9. It helps in healing your emotional wounds

Writing is therapeutic. It also helps you to tap into your intuitions to get answers.

It is an outlet to let flow even the most difficult and painful experiences or feelings, that you might not want to tell anyone. (Though I recommend getting an expert help if there is something you can’t solve yourself). It helps in confronting the situation and finding a way out.

You get to listen to your thoughts and feelings and express them rather than creating a storm in your head going in circles.

It is powerful because when we let our feelings out, we get more emotional clarity.

10. It helps in problem solving

Too often, we struggle to take action because of our fears and self doubt.

In the primitive age, our body would produce fear to protect us from external danger ( like wild animals ). The truth is, still today, our brain triggers fear when we are about to step into the unknown. But we get engulfed in our fears without realizing there is no such potential danger.

Often we choose to stay in the safe zone, even if it doesn’t give us the happiness we deserve. We choose unhappiness over uncertainty.

But, a journal could help you in fighting your fears. And control the fear which is affecting the quality of your life.

How is it possible?

Tim ferris, a bestselling author and blogger, teaches an exercise called “fear-setting”, in his book Tools of Titans.  He says, fear setting helped him in overcoming difficult fears in life. Here is an article to learn more about fear-setting.

And also watch Tim’s TED talk(2017) on it, here.

You need not do this exercise in a journal. You can do it in a piece of paper too. But, a journal is going to be with you always and you can always refer back to it when needed.

Finally, there you are.

You have 10 reasons  to start journaling today. Grab a book and start writing. If you are still unsure about what to write, you can try freewriting in the beginning.

Freewriting means writing whatever comes to your mind for a set period of time, without regard to spelling or grammar.

Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Write what you are thinking right now, even if it sounds stupid. Write even if you don’t get anything to write. It can go like this.

I don’t know what to write about. Nothing comes to my mind. Right now, I’m freewriting. I think this will help me in putting my thoughts onto paper. I bought a journal. In it I will write about …….

You see often it will give you ideas that you might have not got if you stayed in your mental chatter. Freewriting is usually used to warm up writing routine when you face writer’s block. You don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or any error here. Neither should you stop to read what you wrote. Do not lose contact of your pen with paper.

Related:

I’d like to hear about your journaling habit . How has it helped you in other areas of life? Comment below.

If you love what you are reading, please take a moment to PIN and SHARE!

10 benefits of journal writing and how it can change your life

Have you ever stopped to wonder why years pass so quickly?

I have.

Though I don’t make New Year’s resolutions, I think the start of a new year is the time for reflection for many. About the goals set last year and evaluating their success rate, and making new commitments.

What makes a new year special?

I think it’s the fresh start that motivates us to set goals. A fresh start gives us a new energy. Be it a relationship, a school, a business or even a habit.

In fact a study shows that people are more likely to tackle their goals immediately after temporal landmarks (start of new year, birthdays, holidays, new week/month, semester etc). It’s called ‘fresh start effect’.

And most of us like to imagine how we will make each area of our life better, beginning from the new year. Like changing our diets, exercising more frequently or even taking up a new form of exercise, changing our thinking patterns, control anger etc.

Here I have compiled a list of best habits to have in life. If practiced, they will cause positive and remarkable changes in your life.

Learn 10 better habits that can improve your personal development journey.

1. Gratitude

There is a reason gratitude tops my list. I have been practicing gratitude for over 2 years now. It doesn’t mean I wasn’t grateful before. But I didn’t do it as a practice.

But when I started practicing it, I can say my life changed.

I used to worry about small things in life to a large extent. And fair enough, the things I worried started showing up too.

But after starting my gratitude journal, I began to approach life more positively.

There is an old adage which says,”Happiness is not a destination, but a journey”. We postpone happiness thinking achieving a certain thing can make us happy. Or something is going on in my life right now due to which I can’t be happy.

No, it doesn’t work that way.

Even when something is not right in your life now, there are numerous other things that are perfect. Count them, express gratitude for them, to the God you believe in or to the Universe.

You can buy a gratitude journal or a simple notebook will do. Express gratitude for the things you are grateful for, each day. Don’t hesitate to write about even the smallest things that made you happy each day.

Like how your daughter told you that she loves you or even for the flower that bloomed in your garden today. You will be amazed by the changes it will bring to your life.

 Examples:

  • I am grateful to have a healthy body.
  • I am thankful I have a beautiful home to live. It keeps me warm and I have a place for all my belongings.
  • I am grateful for my kids’ health.
  • I am thankful my boss was happy with my work today.

gratitude habit- best habits to have in life

2. Inspire yourself

Zig Ziglar once said:

People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.

No matter how fired up you are to work towards your goals, there are always days you don’t feel like moving a finger. You might even feel like may be this is not something you’re meant to do. It can happen especially on the days you don’t see the results you expect.

It happens to everyone.

Therefore, it is essential to inspire yourself with motivational content every other day.

Have some books of your favorite authors handy. Or, you can listen to motivating podcasts or watch YouTube videos or Ted talks.

You can read about the lives of successful people, how they sailed through failures and learn from them.

Make a habit of reading at least two pages of a self help book or watching a short YouTube video as part of your morning routine.

3. Get out of your comfort zone more often

This year, one of my goals is to make a habit of doing uncomfortable things more often.

Comfort zone is the best place to be, right?

Who wants to have butterflies in stomach and feel fear?

No one.

 It is when you stretch your comfort zone you get to discover your true potential. It helps you to grow in life, thus achieving more.

Along with butterflies, it will give you new experiences that you would have missed out on, meet new people and explore new places. Never leaving your comfort area means staying stagnant.

So next time, when you want to say “no” to something that you wish you could do, think twice.

get out comfort zone- best habits to have in life

4. Journaling

Journaling helps you record your life. It helps you to plan your days, ensuring you are not wasting the precious 24 hours given to you.

Sometimes our thoughts can overwhelm us. A journaling habit helps in dumping our thoughts into paper, thus clearing our mind.

It’s also a great tool to plan your days and write your goals. Successful people recommend the habit of reviewing your goals on a daily basis to track your progress.

You can start on any notebook or diary. And set a time daily for performing this. Most people prefer to journal first thing in the morning, or just before bedtime.

Related:

5. Exercise

If your body is a vehicle, fuel is the food you give it to run. But you also need to do regular preventive maintenance to keep it in good shape and to prevent a sudden break down.

Exercise is the preventive maintenance you give your body to run smoothly and help you live life in the best possible way.

Regular exercise helps in improving energy, improves blood circulation, controls weight, combats diseases etc. It even boosts your mood by producing endorphins which makes you happy. And the best part is, it also reflects in all other areas of your life too.

Such habits are called keystone habits.

Charles Duhigg in his book The Power of Habit, calls exercise a keystone habit. According to Charles, it helps in creating chain reactions that helps other good habits take hold.

I have found this to be true. If we exercise regularly, we would want to eat healthy and avoid junk food as much possible. And also we get increased energy and good mood to continue with our daily chores.

Related: How to start an exercise habit that sticks

6. Reading

The ultra successful people are also the ones who read a lot. If you look at Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Elon Musk, they all swear by reading habit. It has influenced their success to a large extent.

Reading opens to you new perspectives you didn’t know existed. If school gives you basic education, reading good books gives you a means to progress, improve your life, change your outlook, gives you new information that you wouldn’t get from schools or other sources.

It is a powerful habit that will give you immense benefits.

If you don’t want to read, you can listen to audiobooks. You can read this article to learn about some of the best audiobook services.

7. Set goals

For many, life is living on autopilot without new aspirations or growth, just going with the flow. Needless to say, it leads to a mediocre life.

If you want to achieve greatness in life or be remembered for something, you should have a vision and work for it. And setting goals will help you in it. It gives you a direction to follow.

Only if you have the destination mapped out, you will know when you get there.You get to measure your work against a set standard. And measuring is important since you get to know if you have attained it or not and find out what to improve.

You can set goals in all areas of life like health, work, relationships, spiritual, hobbies etc.

set goals-best habits to have in life

Related: 3 mistakes to avoid if you want to achieve your goals

8. Meditation

Meditation has numerous benefits on your mind and body. It reduces the stress of daily life. Stress can give you many diseases, thus it’s important to keep it under control. When we meditate we observe our thoughts passively, without letting ourselves involve in it or have feelings.

This helps in real life, where we observe stressful events keeping a distance and thus we are more calm and we can make better decisions. Starting a meditation habit is one of the best investments you could give yourself.

Read more:

9. Be proactive

Stephen R covey in his famous book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, says being proactive means, taking responsibility. If you are proactive you never look at the problem and worry, but you try to look for a solution. You do not blame people or circumstances for causing it.

I certainly believe this as one of the best habits to develop. Because when you take responsibility of the negative events happening in your life, you will look for solutions. If you blame others, you give away your power and play victim. It sabotages you and your path to success.

Proactive people create their own opportunities while reactive people wait for opportunities to come their way.

What do you want in life?

To be carried away by events, or control your responses to them and take charge of your life?

be proactive-best habits to have in life

10. Get off the online world more for real life experiences

Our smartphones, rather than being a tool of convenience, has turned into something that rules our time and our days.

Do you always feel something is missing if your phone is not near you?

If so, it’s high time you get hold back of your priorities.

What you can do is, create time blocks for you to use internet. Check e-mails, social media updates and do web browsing only in the allotted time.

You can check your emails or social media if it’s urgent, but don’t get hooked up. Log out as soon as your work is done.

So this is my list of 10 best habits to have in life. Habits which, if implemented, can lead you to a more productive and fruitful life.

What do you think? What other habits would you add to the list? Please comment below.

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Learn 10 better habits to have in life to improve your personal development journey

Unlike what many think, meditation is not meant only for the spiritual people.

Benefits of meditation starting meditation habit-Buddha meditating
Source: Benjamin Balázs- Unsplash

Instant connectivity to anyone around the world, and the ability to bring any information you want on your screens just by typing a few words onto your devices, have reduced the size of our world.

But what has it done to our inner connectivity?

Are we really in sync with our inner self or just distracted every few seconds?

For most of the people, any time they take break from an activity, their hands automatically reach for the phone. And it shows distraction to the core.

Do you want to live a more fulfilling life?

Meditation could be the key to it.

I am all for habits that can positively enhance your life and help achieve the success you deserve. And I have found that meditation is one such habit that can change your life in a dramatic way.

Let me explain what meditation is and how meditation can help to change your life.

What is meditation?

Meditation is a science. It is training your mind to be still, to be conscious of the present moment and focusing inwardly by warding away the incessant mental chatter.

Even though you are awake and fully aware of your surroundings, you choose to focus inward. You do not allow your mind to let anything else disturb your focus.

Wonderful, isn’t it?

Who wouldn’t want to escape the stress of daily life and experience calm?

Mastering your mind is essential to achieve success and meditation is a tool that will help.

This ancient method developed centuries ago in India, helps us to gain control of mind and produce a sense of well-being.

Want to know how to start meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.

The benefits of meditation and how it can change your life

Ian Gowler, in his book, 48 Creative Meditations, talk about the effects of meditation as:

Meditation is a key to positive thinking. The more often and the more deeply you enter into the simple silence of profound meditation, the more you return to your natural state of balance. The more balanced you are, the more it seems you connect with your own inner wisdom and all it has to offer. This is another reason to recommend you maintain a regular practice of meditation.

There are different types of meditation. Meditation is nothing but observing your thoughts passively. You can focus on any outside object or simply observe your thoughts.

You observe your thoughts and feelings coming and go, detached from them. When you make it a daily practice, you can gradually see changes in your life as well.

You don’t react to situations as you used to. When something or someone angers you, you tend to observe your thoughts calmly.

It raises awareness of how you are feeling in a moment and stay detached to any negative feeling. But unlike common perception, meditation doesn’t make you feelingless, it simply makes you more in control of your emotions.

Often when we react in the heat of the moment, we tend to say things that we don’t mean to. And the worst thing is, we can’t take them back once they are out in the air.

Imagine how good you will feel if you can remain calm in most negative situations. Mediation gives exactly that.

Researchers have proved that meditation changes the response of amygdala (a part of brain highly involved with different emotional responses). It has been proved before that the response of amygdala to emotional stimuli is lower when a person is in a mindful meditative state.

But this study took it further and has proved that amygdala response to emotional stimuli is lower even when a person is in non-meditative state.

In short, meditation affects the way our brain processes emotions even when we are not meditating. It has long term effect on our emotional responses. It also increases immunity and slows ageing. These are enough reasons to start meditation today.

But I can hear you.

Are you saying that you don’t have enough time to meditate? Or maybe don’t know how to start.

Let me help you.

How to start a meditation habit from scratch?

If you are a person who has never meditated in life, you can start easily like this.

All you need is two things: a quiet place and 2-3 minutes. You can try this even while you are reading this, now!

Though there are different types of meditation, I am talking about mindfulness meditation here. This is what I practice and my favorite. And it is an easy one to begin with.

Are you ready?

Choose a posture you are comfortable with. You can either sit on a chair or on a cushion on the floor with folded legs. Different kinds of meditation cushions are available in the market today. But if you are a beginner I suggest sitting on a chair. You can even lie down on your back, but only if you’re sure you wont sleep.

This infographic below will help in getting your posture right.

how to start meditating-meditation posture
Source: mindful.org

Now, pull out your phone or any timer and set a timer for 2 minutes.

Start focusing on your breath. Take note of each inhale and exhale. Notice how you take breaths. When your mind wanders, gently bring back your attention to breathing. No judgement here or frustration for lack of focus.

Try to stay present with your breathing, not forcefully but gently.

When you catch yourself thinking something else, acknowledge it, but don’t judge. This teaches you to observe your thoughts even when you are not meditating and helps you see things from different perspectives. And it also helps you attain that calm before reacting aggressively to different situations.

Our goal here is to be aware of whatever thought that comes into mind, not removing them.

How to make meditation a habit?

Choose a time when you can practice daily. And set a reminder to do it daily. Start with 2-3 minutes. Be consistent with the practice and slowly increase the time duration.

Choosing a small time duration will help you in establishing the habit. And also, in the beginning you might not be able to focus for 10 minutes or more.

It is better if you choose a particular time everyday and stick with it. It will help you remember the new habit.

When  you are trying to form a new habit, there is a possibility in forgetting to do it. Especially if there is no cue associated with it to remind you.

I do meditation right after journaling at night. So writing in my journal is my cue here.

I have been journaling for almost a year now. So it is an established habit. Thus I remember my meditation habit. You too should associate it with some established habits like

  • Right after brushing teeth in the morning
  • Right before going to bed
  • When you reach home from work
  • Before meal

You can also keep visual reminders by writing on post-it notes and sticking on your fridge or mirror; the places you are likely to pass by daily.

There you are, you have enough information to start meditating.

What are the challenges you face while meditating? Or even when trying to establish any habit? Let me know about it in the comments below.

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Want to know how to start meditation habit? Learn the benefits of meditation and how to practice meditation.

 

 

You must complete the project today.

But no matter how hard you try to focus, your mind keeps wandering to the la-la land.

Frustrating, isn’t it?

Improving your focus can greatly increase your productivity.

Whatever task you are trying to do, be it working on a file in office, or studying for an exam or even if you are a mom trying to cook a new dish in the kitchen, you need focus to complete tasks in the best manner.

What is focus?

Focus is defined as a center of activity, attraction or attention.

When we decide to focus on one thing, we set aside everything else and work on it. But the problem arises, when our mind starts wandering and we can’t just get it done.

Here are some tactics to increase focus and concentration.

1. Declutter your mind and work environment/home

how to increase focus and concentration declutter

Clutter affects your brain and its ability to focus. Clutter can be physical as well as mental.

Sometimes, your mind is filled with items on your to-do list for the latter part of the day. Or you are thinking about the behavior of your kids.

The solution?

Identify the most important tasks for the day.

Schedule these tasks so as they get done in the morning.

When the most important tasks are done, you can be relieved from the mental clutter.

When other tasks come up, schedule them for another time, may be in the evening. So if you know it will get done later, you can focus on the current task with full attention.

But, when you schedule an important task for the evening, it is all you can think about from the morning till evening. It makes you lose focus on whatever you are doing in the morning.

For night owls, they wake up after having done the important task at night. For them, it’s the right time to be distraction free and get the creative juices flowing.

The key is in finding the right time that suits you to reduce the mental clutter to increase focus.

Also, you must get rid of the physical clutter.

According to a study done at Princeton University Neuroscience Institute, clutter competes for your attention and it affects your ability to focus.

So clean your desk on a daily basis.

Imagine working in a neat and tidy environment. It frees up your mind giving space to think. When there is nothing to distract you, your work can be done easily.

It also helps in finding things easily. If everything in its place you can save time and energy. Or else, you may stress out looking for things when there is work to be done.

2. While working keep the distractions away

Technology can be a boon or bane depending upon how you use it.

If you keep your smartphone near you while working it can cause you to check emails, or social media feed frequently.

Smartphones have made our attention span short and we always crave for stimulation of something new. This keeps us making check it frequently. Sometimes this is an automatic behavior. We do it unconsciously.

It’s because all activities that give pleasure make our brain release dopamine. It controls the reward and pleasure centers of our brain.

Once we get the hang of it, we crave for the pattern again which leads to habit formation. Thus we repeat the behavior again and again.

Solution: Keep your smartphones away unless you don’t absolutely need it for work.

Or turn off all the push notifications.

Or even better, turn your mobile data off.  I switch on my mobile data only when I want to check notifications. This helps me from getting distracted by the notifications.

Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work says:

Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction. Much in the same way that athletes must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll struggle to achieve the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your fleeing the slightest hint of boredom. Constant attention switching online has a lasting negative effect on your brain.

3. Get enough sleep

how to increase focus and concentration sleep better

Lack of sleep can make you tired due to reduced availability of oxygen. It is hard for you to focus and make decisions when you are tired. It can also affect your creativity.

An average person needs to sleep 7-8 hours daily.

Avoid screen usage at least an hour before bed as the blue light from it can interfere with the quality of sleep.

4. Get moving more often

Dr. John Ratey, the author of the book “Spark-The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise” and the Brain speaks about the relationship between exercise and optimal brain functioning here.

Exercise turns on the prefrontal cortex of the brain, also known as the CEO of the brain. A quick burst of an aerobic exercise turns on that part of the brain increasing the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine in our body and flooding the brain with oxygen. This helps in increasing concentration and focus.

Related: How to start an exercise habit that sticks

5. Meditation

It s okay even if you can’t spend hours sitting still on a mountain. You can spare at least a few minutes a day to do meditation.

It works in increasing focus, time and time again research proves it.

If you are just starting out, you can meditate for 5 minutes. Or even 2-3  minutes will do.

It depends on you. It’s not the time that matters in the beginning, but consistency. And what matters is you get started. Start with small time duration so that you don’t feel overwhelmed or unmotivated to continue.

Related:

6. Have brain foods

Food has surprising benefits apart from helping to survive and provide energy. Food can affect our mood, increase energy, mental clarity and remove brain fog.

Most of the time we overlook the wonderful benefits that food provide, and even don’t recognize our lack of focus could be due to not eating proper food items.

Stay away from sugar and trans fats as they can make you feel depressed and mentally foggy.

These are some of the foods that help in increasing your focus and concentration. Or rather, they can be called brain foods and they are berries, eggs, fatty fish rich in omega-3s, avocados, celery, dark chocolate etc.

For more information on brain foods I suggest this article.

If you want to increase your productivity, you also should be able to stay focused. Learn 7 proven ways to increase focus and concentration.

7. Pomodoro technique

Pomodoro is a great technique to stay focused on a particular task. I recommend this technique if you are working on a task that requires focused attention like writing, solving a problem at work or studying.

I use Pomodoro technique to write and has helped me in improving my focus on the task at hand.

How to use Pomodoro technique?

Set your timer to 25 min and start doing focused work till the timer goes off.

It is important to avoid reacting to any other thought asking you to do this or that. Like, checking a mail that just came, or searching about something you have been thinking yesterday etc.

After 25 min, take a 5 minute break.

Continue this again for 3 more sessions with a 5 minute break in between.

This works for some while there are people who can concentrate for more than 25 min.

According to Wikipedia,

Common estimates for sustained attention to a freely chosen task range from about five minutes for a two-year-old child, to a maximum of around 20 minutes in older children and adults.

If you are like me and can’t focus for a long period at a stretch, you can use this method.

Conclusion

These are some ways you can increase focus to get more productive work done.

Sure I have left out some points. What other methods work for you in increasing your concentration?

Please comment below. I’d love to know!

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