40% of your actions are not conscious decisions, they’re habits.
Choosing which ones to start implementing are key if you want to create meaningful change.
The 5 habits to create your big life listed below have had the biggest impact in transforming my life.
They may seem like small things, but don’t underestimate their ability to have a BIG impact on your life.
“The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.”– Sakyong Mipham
Meditation isn’t just for monks, yogis and spiritual hipsters, it’s also the daily habit of numerous billionaires, icons and world-class performers.
Some household names who swear by their meditation practice include Oprah Winfrey, Hugh Jackman, Ariana Huffington, Madonna, Katy Perry, LeBron James, Yuval Noah Harari, Michael Jordan and Bill Gates.
Meditation has been a key habit in my life and THE most life changing one I’ve developed.
Not only has it helped me reduce the impact of stress, stay calm and sharpen my focus.
It has been a game changer in many other areas of my life too.
It has improved my productivity, self-discipline and decision-making.
It’s transformed my mental, physical and emotional well-being.
It’s helped me strengthen my relationships, improve creativity and increase mental resilience.
Meditation is a powerful tool with the ability to impact every area of your life. It’s like fitness training for the mind.
A simple practice where all you need is a quiet space to sit so you can close your eyes and focus on your breathing with minimal distractions.
Don’t be fooled into thinking simple means easy.
Or that it isn’t powerful.
What you’ll discover when you first start meditating is that it’s not so easy to stay focused on your breath because the mind doesn’t want to stay still.
That’s why it’s called a meditation practice… because it takes practice to hone the skill and get all the amazing benefits.
When it comes to creating the life you want, meditation is going to be the tool that can help you figure things out.
Most people try to THINK their way towards their goals, but in many cases (mine included), non-stop thinking leads to overwhelm.
Part of meditation is learning to let go of thoughts and create space internally.
It’s like a garbage truck for your mind, removing all the unnecessary rubbish floating around up there so new ideas and perspectives can drop-in.
This is how it can help you gain clarity and insight, as well as forge new ideas about the direction you want to take your life.
Meditation helps you take a step back to disentangle yourself from your thoughts, because it’s your thoughts which can hold you back from living the life you want.
As with any skill consistency is key.
keep things simple and start with 5 minutes a day.
There’s no rush because meditation is a skill you’ll want to practice for years, not just a few days or weeks.
Just like you wouldn’t expect to get fit from a few weeks at the gym, you can’t expect to get all the amazing benefits from meditation if you practice now and again.
BIG LIFE TIP:
A day is often full of mental hurdles to overcome. By taking a few minutes each morning to meditate you can prep your mind and get it ready for the challenges it will face.
I often meditate as soon as I get up.
I brush my teeth, grab a glass of hot lemon water and then meditate.
Wake up. Meditate. Done.
By anchoring your practice to an existing habit (i.e. brushing your teeth), it makes it far easier for you to do it.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”– Benjamin Franklin
In order to figure out who you are and how you want to live your life, it’s important to keep learning.
Expand your knowledge by reading books, taking online courses, watching documentaries, doing workshops and going on retreats.
Don’t let not knowing how to do something hold you back from creating the life you want. The key is to develop a growth mindset.
A growth mindset is about believing that your abilities and talents are not set in stone and that you can change and grow through learning and experience.
A growth mindset is about viewing setbacks as opportunities to develop yourself so you can continue to move forward while enjoying the challenges along the way.
I encourage you to learn different perspectives on life and explore different ideas.
To question yourself and everything you’ve been taught.
I used to spend hours watching TV, scrolling through social media or mindlessly surfing the internet when I could have been expanding my mind.
I still enjoy that from time to time – sometimes you need a little down time, but I now make learning a priority each day.
Having a daily ritual of learning is a big predictor for success, but… results only happen when you put that knowledge into ACTION.
Even great teachers in their field continue to learn. They are eternal students and the best operate with a beginners mindset.
“There’s a phrase in Buddhism called ‘beginner’s mind’. It’s wonderful to have a beginner’s mind.”
– Steve Jobs
So if you want to explore your potential I encourage you to put daily learning into your schedule.
BIG LIFE TIP:
I know what’s it’s like to have a full schedule. I used to regularly work 60-70 hour weeks with a 2-hour commute, so I would often merge my learning with other activities.
Listening to podcasts when doing chores around the house, cooking meals, working out, going for walks or when driving.
When I used to work in TV, I would use my commute as an opportunity to learn too.
Have a think about where you can add bitesize learning into activities already in your daily schedule so it’s easy to fit in.
“Gratitude is the single most important ingredient to living a successful and fulfilled life”.– Jack Canfield
An attitude of gratitude goes a long way in helping you level up your life.
What you focus on in life expands.
Our brains are wired for survival, which means your mind is always looking out for what could harm you or go wrong.
If you allow your brain to continue looking for what’s wrong in your life, it reinforces negative thoughts and feelings of lack, which can keep you stuck where you are.
However… you can always choose what to put your attention on.
When you switch your focus to what you’re grateful for, you train your brain to look for the positives in life, opening up your mind to possibilities instead of problems.
Scientific research has shown that a daily gratitude practice can make you happier, more self-disciplined and more likely to achieve your goals.
Gratitude is an emotional state that you feel and usually the times you feel most grateful are when you receive a gift.
When you practice being thankful for everything in your life it puts you in a state of receiving and leads to increased levels of happiness.
When you feel happy, you feel optimistic and energised. And when you feel optimistic and energised, you’re more likely to take action.
And taking action is the vital ingredient to creating a Big Life.
Practicing gratitude isn’t just about being thankful for the amazing things you have now.
It’s about being thankful for the more mundane things too – like the electricity in your home that boils your kettle or the hot water when you have a shower.
It’s about being grateful now for what you want to create in your future.
And it’s also about finding gratitude for your problems because life often doesn’t go to plan; difficulties and setbacks occur.
When this happens, gratitude can help you to see these moments as opportunities to learn, grow and transform.
It’s up to you to see the good in all of it – to see the opportunity and be grateful for it.
I had a mental health crisis at 27 (panic attacks, anxiety, depression) and even though it was extremely unpleasant at the time, it proved to be the catalyst for a massive shift in my life that kickstarted me into creating the life I actually wanted to live.
I will always be grateful for the wake-up call and the incentive this challenging moment gave me to finally start making the big changes in my life I needed.
I’m grateful too for the many other failures, setbacks and problems I’ve dealt with on my journey to levelling up my life.
They’ve always provided me with an opportunity for growth and progress, even though it was challenging to see it in the moment.
Gratitude is truly a massive game changer.
And as with all of the habits in this post, it’s simple to do.
BIG LIFE TIP:
Write down 3 things you’re grateful for each morning and each night, breaking the list up into the following 3 categories:
- 1 thing you’re grateful for about yourself
- 1 thing you’re grateful for about your life
- 1 thing you’re grateful for about your work
If you want to experiment and play with some other ideas you can also choose:
- 1 thing you’re grateful for now
- 1 challenge you’re grateful for and the lesson you can learn
- 1 thing you’re grateful for that you want to create in your future
Write all of these in the present tense – yes even the future ones – and pause to feel how awesome it is to have that in your life.
You can also look out for things to be grateful for as many times as you like throughout your day!
4. Early Mornings
“Your morning routine generates a 10x return for good or for bad. Make it good.”– Todd Stocker
I believe in starting the day early because if you take control of your mornings it helps you take control of your day.
By waking up earlier you create time and space to improve the two most important tools you have to navigate your life – your mind and your body.
Making your mental, physical and emotional health a priority in the morning is pivotal in shaping your day because you’re primed and ready for the challenges ahead.
Getting up early isn’t just about winning the day. It’s about jumping into the driver’s seat of your life and taking control of the direction you want to take it.
Waking up early can be quite challenging. Hearing my alarm go off at 5am some days when I started making the shift to waking up earlier was pretty unpleasant… at first.
But it doesn’t take long to adapt to getting up earlier. Maybe a couple of weeks at most.
When you choose NOT to hit that snooze button you’re already making a huge shift mentally in how you approach your life.
One of the best ways to get over the hump of the early alarm is to think about how much better you will feel when you’ve accomplished the daily habits of sharpening your mind and body.
Choices have consequences, so think about what hitting snooze will mean if you miss your chance to get up and get after the day.
BIG LIFE TIP:
Make time your friend.
If something is important to you, you’ll find the time for it because you make it a priority.
When you decide to make time your friend it gets you thinking about what you can do, rather than what you can’t do.
It’s a shift in perception from looking at time like an enemy – something you fight against – to something you treat like a friend and work with, rather than against.
You don’t have to spend 60 or 90 minutes on a morning routine. You can start making a difference to your life in less than 20 minutes a day.
10 minutes of movement, 5 minutes of meditation and 1 minute of gratitude.
Time is what we choose to make of it.
What tweaks can you make in order to get up early and start changing your life?
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.”– George Bernard Shaw
Play is a core pillar of my Big Life Experiment philosophy because as the name suggests I like to try new things and experiment.
Play is about being curious because the best way – in my opinion – to figure out what you want from life is to experience it.
When you test out different ideas, routines and activities, you expand your mind, your horizons and the possibilities for your future.
It’s about adopting a playful mindset (as well as a growth one) and having fun while you’re exploring and experimenting.
The more open, playful and curious you become about yourself and your life, the more you’ll begin to create a life you love.
Everyone’s version of play will be different.
What feels like play to you may not be the same for the next person, and that’s okay.
Reinventing yourself takes work and effort but don’t forget to enjoy your life while you’re working towards your goals, your dreams and your ambitions.
Making time in your daily and weekly schedule for things that bring you joy (aka your happiness playlist) is key to being happy and fulfilled.
You might have heard it a thousand times that “it’s about the journey not the destination” but clichés have become clichés for a reason – because they’re true.
Play, experiment and try things out and remember to have some fun enjoying the journey to your BIG LIFE.
BIG LIFE TIP:
One of the simplest and easiest ways to bring more joy into your life is to create what I call your ‘Happiness Playlist’.
Write a list of at least 10 things that make you happy and do at least 1 each day.
Here are some ideas:
- skills you want to learn
- games you love to play
- hobbies that light you up
- activities that enrich your soul
- podcasts you want to listen to
- movement practices you enjoy
- hanging out with your friends & family
Some things on my list:
- working out
- sunrise ocean dips
- meditation and yin yoga
- listening to music and podcasts
- coffee with my wife at my favourite cafe
- having deep and meaningful conversations
“Knowledge is NOT power. Knowledge is only potential power. ACTION is power.”– Tony Robbins
Now it’s time to put these habits into action!
To get started, I recommend following these guidelines.
1. Start Small
Set the goal to include each of these 5 habits into your daily routine.
Start with the smallest amount of time you can commit to so that it’s easy for you to stick to as you get started.
2. Scale Up
Once you feel these habits are a solid part of your daily routine, you can choose to scale them up. (e.g. increase meditation from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Write a longer gratitude list, spend more time learning each day etc).
It’s fine if you want to keep things simple if it means you’ll stick to them – consistency is more important than volume when starting out!
3. Don’t Skip Twice
The power of habits is in being consistent. To stay accountable and on track, use this habit tracker and mark a big X every day you complete your habit.
It takes 66 days on average to anchor in new habit.
If you miss a day, get straight back on it the next day and do your best to not go more than 2 days without practicing the habit.
Caveat… it’s OK to take the weekends off if it doesn’t fit into your schedule. If you do, do your best to achieve your habit list 5 days a week.
Have fun and enjoy experimenting with these habits.
Remember… just because they’re simple, don’t underestimate their ability to create BIG CHANGES!
If you want ALL this info in a nice easy to access guide you can download it here.
Joe : )