We all want to be happy, content and to feel like we’re living our best life. And achieving those things doesn’t just come down to luck.
As the famous saying goes, we are the masters of our own destiny. So, with New Year celebrations only just behind us, it feels appropriate to look at what we can do to get the most out of every day.
Here’s a range of ideas that touch on different facets of everyday life that you can try as the year really gets underway.
The concept of keeping a gratitude journal has been around for a while now. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s the process of keeping a daily journal in which you right down what you’re grateful for.
Taking just 15 minutes each night to write down what you’re grateful for is an opportunity to gain a greater perspective on life and understand what is most important to you.
Plus, there’s great benefits. In her book Thrive, author Ariana Huffington talks about how gratitude journal devotees reported lower stress levels and a greater sense of calm.
It’s probably no surprise that this one has come up. But it’s true, not only does exercise generate endorphins which make you happy, exercise helps you to feel good about yourself and keeps your body moving.
The key is finding something that you enjoy so if that run you went for yesterday didn’t do it for you don’t be afraid to try something different. Swimming, lifting weights or a team sport could be your thing!
Don’t’ forget AIA’s Vitality programme rewards you for exercise and healthy living with reward points. That way you get double the benefits of keeping fit!
No matter how much money you earn, having a budget is a powerful tool. A budget means that you tell your money where to go rather than wondering where it went.
Putting all your fixed expenses down on paper such as rates, mortgage, power, water insurances and subscriptions means you can really see where your money is going. You might also identify areas where savings can be made!
Once you’ve budgeted for all your fixed expenses you’ll hopefully be left with a surplus. This is your chance to decide what to do with that money. Maybe it’s giving yourself a weekly ‘fun’ spending allowance, allocating funds to the savings account or investing.
Often savings and investments get money thrown at them haphazardly. A budget is a great way to prioritise saving and investing by making them a fixed expense.
Like gratitude journals, mindfulness is something of a buzz word these days. But it’s for good reason.
Mindfulness is defined as “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.”
To start practicing mindfulness, take at least 5 minutes a day to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. The goal is to relax and focus on your body while letting go of your daily stressors.
While worries and other thoughts will still pop into your mind, part of the art of mindfulness is to acknowledge these thoughts without dwelling on them
Build up an Emergency Fund
According to New Zealand comparison site “Finder”, Comparison site a third of New Zealanders only have enough money to get from one payday to the next.
1.4 million of us Kiwis don’t have an emergency fund and one in five of us can only cover our expenses for a week or less if our income was stopped short.
Of course, it’s essential to be insured so that if disaster strikes you can get the help you need. However, an emergency fund is still great to have.
If a family member dies suddenly and you need to buy flights overseas or your 25-year-old washing machine suddenly gives up the ghost, an emergency fund provides huge peace of mind.
We know all too well in this industry that you never know what’s around the corner
Monitor your Smartphone Usage
Many of us know that when it comes to our smartphones, we are way too dependent. More and more we are recognising the need to switch off from our devices. But it can be hard to bite the bullet!
There are now many apps available that monitor your phone usage time and seeing the numbers can be a big wake up call.
Try Google's Digital Wellbeing app or Apple's Screen Time track usage on mobile devices.
Once you’ve seen the figures in black and white why not se yourself some goals for reducing the time you spend on your phone and prioritising what you use it for?
Have ‘Yes’ Days
Ever given your kids a ‘yes’ day? This is a chance to spend a day saying yes to whatever your kids or family ask for (within reason!). It’s a great way to blow away the cobwebs and relax.
You could also use this as an opportunity to say yes to yourself, whether that’s going for a swim, treating yourself to dessert or simply lying on the beach with a good book.
‘Yes’ days help you escape the humdrum and look at the lighter side of life.
Learn Something New
Another way to kickstart a refresh is by trying something new. Why not take up jogging, head to a pottery class or revisit something you’ve done in the past.
Embarking on something new is a great way to reinvigorate yourself and gives a great sense of pride that you’ve taken the leap to try something different.
If you take any of these tips on board let us know the results, we’d love to hear from you!