The world has always told us to dream big. We aspire to expensive houses, high-flying careers, exotic holidays, happy relationships, and the ultimate life purpose. But how many of us ever stopped to think of the practical steps that will get us there?
In reality, most people keep those shiny dreams in their heads, without a clue of how they would ever go about manifesting them into their reality. The real stories of the hard work, strategic planning, persistence, and risk-taking that goes into making dreams come true (whether that’s climbing Mount Everest or buying the house of your dreams) is less often told in mainstream narratives. Perhaps because everyone wants to hear the unattainable, fictional side of the story or because we've been brought up with limiting beliefs that some things just aren't for us.
But part of living a conscious lifestyle involves working on yourself, moving past those limits, understanding that you are worth anything and everything—and then going out to get it. As for the how, there's no definitive answer and the road to success is always a long-winded one, with obstacles, constant learnings and discoveries, and many ups and downs along the way.
But one thing is for sure: No one ever magically woke up in the mansion of their dreams; no one received their dream job offer out of the blue; and no one had their dream partner knock on their door with a wedding ring in hand.
Every goal, be it personal and professional, requires persevering over a long period of time. During that waiting period, when you're working towards your big dream, it's all about the small daily habits you choose to incorporate into your everyday life. Those are the habits that will test your patience and make all the difference in the long term—even if it might look like they are getting you nowhere at the beginning of the journey.
If you're looking to get healthier, drinking eight cups of water in a single day won't make much of a difference. But it sure will, if you keep drinking those eight cups every day for a few months. You can apply the same logic to any area in your life: investing 50 dollars in one month won't get you too far in your journey of financial freedom, but investing 50 dollars per month over five years can be transforming, especially if you do your research and put your money in the right places.
Intelligent Change's first product, The Five Minute Journal, which encourages users to spend a mere five minutes at the start and end of each day writing about what they're grateful for, was built on this very principle. It might not make a world of a difference the first day you use it, but if you make it part of your daily routine, you will see your whole mindset transform: You become more positive and in a better position to see and appreciate the blessings in your life.
Consistency is clearly the key here but it's also easier said than done. To stay consistent, it's always worth keeping that bigger goal in mind to keep you motivated. For instance, putting that money away is that much easier if you know you're saving them to help a loved one or plan a dream holiday.
At the same time, you'll need to also find smart ways to track those smaller, daily habits that will get you there. Quarterly Productivity Planner has a new layout to accommodate your dream vision and dedicated sections for habit tracking, so you can keep score of your progress in the same place you are planning your tasks of the day. That way, you get a clear view of what you need to be achieving every single day. The satisfaction of ticking everything off at the end of the day comes as an extra bonus.
Now, what about the habits that you do need to start tracking?
This is a personal choice, and the only rule should be that there are no rules. You get to pick your habits and design each one of your days based on your individual goals. If you're looking to improve your health, you may want to start tracking your physical activity and a balanced diet; or if you want to feel more grounded on a spiritual level, you might want to set yourself the goal of journaling, meditating, or creating an unwinding ritual every day.
Here's some ideas of small yet mighty habits to inspire you.
Affirmations are a powerful tool to help transform your mindset if you practice them regularly and really believe in them. It's easy to roll your eyes at a practice such as affirmations or wonder how saying “Opportunity is all around me” out loud will result in you getting a new job or meeting your life partner.
But this is where the power of belief and consistent small habits come in. The more you repeat these positive sayings and powerful affirmative messages, the more you will rewire your brain to accept them as the truth and attract them into your reality. Consider using Intelligent Change's Mindful Affirmations cards to get into the practice.
You can use them when you wake up and before going to sleep, or anytime you feel like you need a dose of positivity and self-confidence. Pick a card from the deck, place it on a wooden stand, be open to whatever comes up, and repeat the saying to yourself a few times until you feel the meaning has really sunk in.
Grounding can sometimes mean simply getting out of your house and being in touch with nature. For those who live fast-paced lives in big cities, it's easy to go weeks or even months without having any contact with nature, something that can dramatically affect your mood and overall body balance. Taking some time to reconnect with nature will do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing in the long-term.
All you need to do is head to your local park or beach, dip your feet into the water or the soil, touch the leaves, or hug a tree. Scientific studies have proven that after grounding the body builds its natural defenses back up, from reducing blood cell clumping and overall inflammation, to healing muscle soreness after exercise, and boosting your mood.
“The ultimate force is nature itself: nature doesn’t have to force itself, it just happens, it just flows. That’s why it’s important for us to let go and not force our will on this planet,” said Alex Ikonn, co-founder of Intelligent Change, who is a firm believer in the power of grounding and has experienced its healing benefits ever since making it a regular habit, from having better posture to improved breathing.
Breathwork is something to really consider adding to your day-to-day routine, especially if you're working towards bettering your mental state and relieving any anxiety. Spending a few minutes each day breathing deeply activates your parasympathetic system, which in turn helps lower your heart rate and blood pressure, as well as help treat depression and anxiety.
This is another proof that sometimes the solutions that we're looking for aren't in complicated, inaccessible ideas but in the simplest of practices. "Most of us are hardly aware of our breath, yet it sustains every cell in our bodies and supports every life experience we will ever have. By paying attention to your health, you can change what's happening in your mind and body," says renowned healer Deepak Chopra.
Self-care and Beauty Rituals
Beauty routines can be dismissed as surface-level or superficial practices, but then again taking care of yourself is a sign of caring and respecting yourself. Dedicating a few minutes each day to washing away the day off your face and applying your favorite essential oil or indulgent face cream is a habit that can help build up your confidence and calm you down. To make the process even more enjoyable, put relaxing music in the background and pull a card from your affirmation deck at the end of your routine for a boost of positivity and self-love.
You are the one who defines what your beauty routine should look like. Yes, it could be all about applying moisturizers and serums on your face, but it could also mean having a relaxing shower, massage, or washing your hair with your favorite shampoo, and spending a few seconds under cold water to feel reinvigorated. Alternatively, a beauty routine can also take the form of a flick of mascara and a bold lipstick to make you feel more confident, or putting together a chic outfit for your Zoom calls while working from home.
Daily movement is another simple and enjoyable habit––and lifestyle choice––that will help you get closer to your goals, no matter what it is you're working towards. Our brains and bodies are interlinked, so by moving your body regularly, you're aligning it with your mind and intentions and also sending a message to your brain that life is good and you're here to make the most of it.
Regular movement can be anything: a quick walk around the block in between work deadlines; choosing to walk instead of taking a taxi to your next meeting; a hike with friends; a ten-minute stretch before your morning coffee; or a dance off.
What’s better than putting on your favorite song and dancing away to the beat, alone or with a loved one? The happy serotonin hormones released in your body after a mere five minutes of dancing or other movement will instantly make you feel happier, you will carry yourself in a more confident way, look more approachable to people, and be in a better mindset to approach your tasks of the day.
This is a habit that can truly transform your life if you stick with it. A practice like gratitude journaling with the Five Minute Journal is simple yet beneficial: as the name suggests, you don't need to spend more than five minutes each morning and evening, yet it can have a life-changing impact on your mindset, happiness, and overall world view. By consistently writing down what you're grateful for every day, you start to notice all the positives that you might have bypassed before.
You finally see the magic in your life and feel a new level of appreciation for everything you have. It's only from this mental state that you can manifest more goodness into your life—so no matter what goal you are trying to achieve, this is the daily habit that can really change the game.
In a busy, fast-paced world, taking a few minutes per day to organize your schedule, plan, and prioritize your tasks is another small habit—it requires no more than a few minutes every morning and evening—that can transform the trajectory of your day and make you feel more in control of your time.
Before diving into your inbox in the morning, take a few minutes to think about your most important to-do’s for the day, list them strategically and in order of priority—and then get to work. That will allow you to have clarity about what you are striving for and work in the most productive and efficient way possible.
The Productivity Planner and Daily Desk Pad provide you with the framework to plan your day in a way that’s manageable and realistic. Pro tip? Make sure that you’re not only writing down work-related tasks and chores. Instead, add your personal to do’s in, too (anything from going to the gym, journaling, or meditating) to achieve a healthy work-life balance.