People tend to forget the small stuff.
They notice when big things happen — big life changes, big events, big promotions, big strides forward.
And then completely miss the value all the tiny, positive habits provide on a day-to-day basis.
Your life is not built out of home runs.
Your life is built on small steps.
Here are 7 tiny things I do every day that are absolutely crucial to my development as a person.
And I can tell you from experience that when I don’t do them, things start to fall apart.
1. Morning meditation
I cannot stress this enough. (Get it… stress.)
Some people say “I don’t like to meditate” or “I just can’t get into it.”
Look. There is extreme value in learning how to sit in silence for a few moments.
Call it whatever you want.
Personally I like to meditate after my morning shower so I’m a bit more awake.
You can sit for 5–10 minutes in silence and just listen — listen to the sounds around you, the heater, the whir of the fan, the traffic outside your window — and in this process, you will learn how to hear your true self.
You will learn the difference between inward and outward seeking, between always reaching for more and realizing that everything you need is right where you already are.
This shift in being is monumental.
Do it every day, and you’ll fundamentally change the way you operate in the real world.
…and then, if you stop doing it, watch how quickly that foundation starts to crumble.
2. Eat a healthy breakfast
It doesn’t matter if I have to wake up at 3 am for a 5 am flight, or if I have a 6 am meeting, or if I’m camping in the woods and I have to wake up with the sunset to go hike for 15 miles, I always, every day, without fail, make time for a healthy breakfast.
This meal is the foundation of your day.
This is what sets the right things in motion.
This is also another opportunity to get your head straight and in the zone for all that you have to set out to do today.
(And if you don’t have the time, then you have a much larger issue you need to address.)
3. Make time to breathe
I own my own company. It’s called Digital Press.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to recognize the speed at which this industry operates. I’m literally glued to my phone and/or laptop from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to sleep.
Which means, in order for me to maintain a sense of clarity, I have to force myself to step away.
Once every 90 minutes or so, I get up and walk outside.
I look up at the clouds.
I take a few deep breaths.
I do a “check in” to see where I’m at (am I frustrated with a project? Am I thinking about something else? Am I feeling excited about something?) and then I decide where I should move to next.
By the time I walk back inside, I know exactly what I’m going to work on for the next ~90 minutes. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Some days, I only get to do this once.
Some days, not at all.
But setting it as a habit has helped me see tasks differently, time differently, and to remember to stay aware while I work to maintain a sense of inner calm.
Trust me, the people that do this well are the ones who do so much, you wonder how they ever sleep.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. They do sleep. They also rest a lot.
And that’s why they’re so successful.
4. Get back into your body
Entrepreneur or Corporate Cubicle Worker, we all sit and stare at screens all day, every day.
And trust me, I’m a huge supporter of technology.
If you want to maintain balance and flow in your life, you HAVE to find a way to get back into your body. You’re in your head all day. Numbers. Excel sheets. Proposals. Emails. Social media — DING DING DING DING DING — going off non stop.
At some point you need to step away and bring things back to a place of feeling.
Go to the gym.
Do some yoga.
Go for a run.
Bike around the city.
But make time to get back into your body.
5. Have a hobby
Hobbies are something I couldn’t imagine living without.
It could be anything from drawing little stick figures in a notebook, to making music, or painting, or writing poems, or building rocking chairs, or knitting sweaters, or whatever.
There is so much value in having something that you make for yourself.
There’s also something to be said for your hobbies to encourage you to take chances, explore, play, and be creative.
I think collecting baseball cards or something can work too (after all, I was an avid Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh card player back in my day), as long as its something where you can remember, no matter how old you get, that you still have an imagination.
Hobbies should help you reconnect with your inner child.
6. Keep a journal of ideas
I’m stealing this from James Altucher.
I think everyone should have a notebook, where they write down thoughts during the day, ideas that come to mind, lists of things they want to do, etc.
It will inspire you — or make you realize how much you “say” you want to do and never actually do — which hopefully pisses you off enough to take action.
Buy a journal and put it in your bag or backpack.
Write down interesting things.
Don’t just ignore your ideas.
Make them tangible and you’ll see what happens.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is read.
Not that garbage on Buzzfeed.
Buy books. Read books.
Read during your morning commute (unless you’re driving, then audio books).
Read at night before you go to bed instead of lounging in front of another Netflix show (I know they’re addicting but are they really helping you grow?).
Read, read, read.
Read about things you want to know more about.
Read good fiction.
Read good nonfiction.
Read about things you don’t know about.
Read about things you don’t agree with so you can be more educated.
Read what other people recommend (books come into your life for a reason).
Read and you will see good things come.
You’ll find your conversations carry more depth. You’ll find you can add more value to situations. You’ll find yourself hungry to learn more, faster, all the time.
If it’s any motivation, I hated reading growing up. Hated it. I maybe read 5 books in total before I graduated high school.
But as soon as I got into the writing department in college and I realized how well-read my peers were, I felt like an idiot and did a 180. I read everything I could get my hands on — and still do.