Some habits in life are fairly obvious—and lead to obviously positive results.
- Brush your teeth every day = clean teeth
- Read every day = better attention span, more knowledge
- Go to the gym 4x per week = healthy, fit body
…and so on.
But there are also habits in life that are less common, less cliché, that end up leading to unexpected and exponential results.
These are habits that other people don’t think to practice.
And the reason they don’t think about practicing them is because they fail to see the bigger picture. All they see is a task—and not the compounding effect that task can have on various aspects of their life.
Here are a few of my favorites:
I know a guy who sends a Christmas card to every single person in his Rolodex, every single year.
He says that it takes him maybe a few days to get all the cards written and sent, but any time he needs anything, every single one of those people are ready to help him — because they remember the gesture and see him as a friend, not a business associate.
Multiple this tiny gesture by how much he has gotten in return, and that is an exceedingly valuable personal investment.
“Gesture Networking” is where you SHOW people in your life you care, opposed to doing what everyone else does which is TELL. They TELL people, “We should get together more,” or they TELL people, “Hey I hope you have a Merry Christmas.”
But SHOWING is what sticks.
Saying “I appreciate this about you” to your significant other:
Most relationships die out or fail because one (or usually both) parties stop appreciating the other.
Saying “I appreciate this about you” to your significant other, once a day, can take you less than one minute — but over time, that compounds into a wealth of appreciation for the other person, and in turn, them feeling a wealth of appreciation for you back.
Journaling Once Per Day:
A journal is, in my eyes, the single most valuable thing you could possibly keep for yourself.
I think often that if my apartment ever caught on fire, I would only risk my life to save two things: my laptop and my box of journals. If you journal every single day, or even once a week, it might feel tedious in the moment, but down the road (and the longer down the road you get) the more valuable those journals will become to you.
They will remind you of different parts of yourself, and you will be able to reflect back and better understand why you were the way you once were.
This is priceless.
Whether it’s once per year, or once every 6 months, or 3 months, or even once a month, the act of deep reflection compounds far more than people think.
Reason being, when you deeply reflect once, you not only learn about how you got to where you currently are, but you also learn about the act of reflecting in itself. The more you reflect, the more of your life you are reflecting on, but also the better you get at the act of reflection.
Think: the longer you live, and the more you practice reflecting, the more you must reflect upon, and the deeper your reflections will go.
Saying “I Can” Instead Of “I Can’t”:
This is so simple.
When you say “I can’t,” you aren’t just saying “I can’t do X,” but you are also practicing the habit of saying “I can’t” to things. If instead you say “I can,” you are not only allowing yourself to do whatever it is that is in front of you currently, but you are practicing the act of saying “I can” to more of life.
Whichever path you practice more begins to dominate the majority of your decisions.
Practice “I can.”
This article first appeared on Medium.