5 Habits to Adopt for a More Fulfilling Life
When I was overwhelmed and always rushing, I couldn’t really see what was on the other side of overwhelm — all I cared about was solving the issue I was having with too much to do.
These are some of the habits that I continuously try to get better at because I’ve noticed that they help me spend my time more intentionally:
1. A regular reflection practice
If there was just one thing I could recommend to everyone, is to have a regular reflection practice of some kind. Mine is journaling — I find that it’s helpful for keeping myself more accountable but it can also be eye-opening to see what I actually choose to write down, what feels important out of all the stuff that floats around in my mind.
I take time to journal around big picture things a few times per year, or whenever I feel stuck in some way, or need to make decisions.
I find daily journaling to be most valuable for keeping the focus on doing fulfilling things more regularly instead of waiting for all the big picture goals and milestones to come true. When I keep checking in with myself and what I want my daily life to feel like, it helps me stay on track — or shift things when I need to.
2. Question what’s on your to-do list
If you’re in the habit of adding everything onto a to-do list and never evaluate the things that have landed on there, I recommend that you start.
Are the items on there important to you, or things that you *want* to do?
Are there items on there that could be delegated to someone else?
Are there items on there that you’ve written down as “this might be a good idea to do”, but it now feels more important, like a must-do, because it’s on a list?
3. Pay attention to what you spend your time on
Often when we feel like we don’t have time to do the things we want to do, it’s really just our brain reacting out of stress. And it might just be trying to make us avoid *doing the thing* and trying to direct us to do something less stressful.
If I really pay attention to what exactly I’m spending my time on, I might notice plenty of gaps of time where I’m actually just distracting myself from the thing I want to do, by doing something that is ultimately less valuable to me. Maybe I went down a rabbit hole on my phone or maybe I watched a few more Shitt’s Creek episodes in a row than I’d like to admit.
(Ok I’m kidding, because Shitt’s Creek is amazing. But you know what I mean!)
When we get a bit more self-aware about what exactly we’re spending time on, we can start redirecting that time towards things that we actually care about. Start gently — since we do want to take into consideration that we were stressed enough to look for a distraction activity.
4. Stay curious and self-aware
There will never be a point when you’re just done — when you’ve created a fulfilling life for yourself and that’s how it’ll be for the rest of time. What we want throughout life changes, which means that what’s fulfilling to us changes, too.
But as long as you stay curious and self-aware, you can grow and adapt — and I find that pretty exciting. Ultimately I don’t think any of us would feel very fulfilled if nothing ever changed again, right?
5. Focus on the journey, not the destination
When you make plans for your life, remember to focus on all the moments and steps on the way, enjoy them and celebrate them — because just focusing on some milestone or goal down the line will make you lose sight of life you’re living through.
One trick that I find helpful is to pick a word that I want to live out for a longer period of time, which I can focus on daily instead of working towards it somewhere in the future. My word for the latter half of 2020 has been light — so I keep asking myself, “How can I make today/this task feel lighter?”
After having practiced being more intentional with my time and energy for a couple of years, I can in hindsight see that what I did to solve my overwhelm wasn’t just about reducing the overwhelm — it was about cultivating a more fulfilling life.
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