Even small changes can have a big impact on everything from your mood to your health. Try these tweaks to reset and refresh all aspects of your life.
Take a cold shower
For better focus and more energy, Dutch endurance athlete Wim Hof (nicknamed ‘The Iceman’) swears by regularly submerging himself in ice baths – and thousands of his fans around the world agree.
A study has found that there may be some benefits to the practice, including reducing inflammation in the body. Start small by blasting a quick hit of cold water in the shower each morning, then gradually prolong the blast to slowly build endurance.
Go to zero
Drowning in emails? It’s no wonder: experts estimate that businesspeople can receive an average of 126 emails each day. But a few simple tricks can help you regain control of your inbox.
Start by limiting the number of times you check your emails each day – aim for no more than two to three times during an average workday. When you do check them, make sure you allocate enough time to actually address each email, instead of just skimming. This way you avoid double-handling.
As you work through each email, take one of three actions...
1. Do it – respond, share or do the task at hand.
2. Delegate it – can someone else do it?
3. Delete it – enough said.
Follow this practice daily and you’ll soon be on your way to Inbox Zero.
Set a target
If you’re keen to reduce clutter at home, take the emotion out of the task by committing to a certain number of pieces that you’ll remove, reuse or recycle.
For example, you might choose to get rid of 70 items in a single weekend. You can choose what they are, so it becomes a matter of prioritising. When you look at the thousands of items in an average home, 70 suddenly seems quite simple!
Just do nothing
In your busy daily life, when was the last time you did… nothing?
The Dutch concept of ‘niksen’ is about simply being in the moment with no fixed goals, allowing your mind to wander. Advocates say it helps your brain feel calmer and it may even boost creativity.
While you can give it a try anywhere, outside in nature is a great place to start. Leave your smartphone at home and instead, notice the trees on your walk or sit by a river or ocean and simply see where your mind takes you.
Spend time on your side hustle
The term ‘side hustle’ – an activity that’s done outside your regular nine-to-five job – has come to mean an extra source of income, but it can also mean a hobby you simply enjoy spending time on. And the benefits are huge: research has shown that having a hobby you love can make you feel less stressed, more relaxed and more creative. If your hobby is done with a group, it can also improve your communication skills.
Whether it’s knitting, listening to music or playing tennis, if you enjoy it, make it a regular part of your life.
Adopt a growth mindset
First studied by psychologist Dr Carol Dweck more than three decades ago, a growth mindset is the belief that we can continue to learn, grow and develop new skills, even when we might face challenges or be frustrated by our immediate circumstances.
It’s the opposite of a fixed mindset, which believes that we’re stuck with the level of skills or intelligence that we’re born with. Having a growth mindset can help us approach challenges with a more positive frame of mind because we know we have the tools to tackle them – even if it takes time to do it.
It’s not just positive thinking – a growth mindset can actually lead to greater success. A new study has found that high-schoolers with this mindset were more likely to do well both at school and university.
Commit to 66 days
This is the average length of time you’ll need to break a habit or form a new one, according to research from the University College, London. If you can consciously stick to your new habit for this long (it works out to be a little more than two months), your habit will slowly become a routine and you’ll no longer have to think about it. Keep in mind that it might take longer for some habits to break, especially if they’re ingrained, so patience is key.