At 17 years old, I was a 3-time high school dropout. I smoked weed every day, hung out with delinquents, was lazy, out of shape, flat broke, and had no job or confidence. I was a loser lacking positive direction. This was the result of my daily actions and habits finally catching up with me.
However, I live a completely different life today.
I’m in the best shape of my life, I have money in the bank, and I’m travelling Asia training martial arts while working from my laptop. In fact, as of this writing, I’m currently based in Singapore training at one of the world’s best martial arts academies, Evolve MMA.
But how did I go from a lazy, undisciplined, 3-time high school dropout to a writer training in martial arts? It was because of my habits. There’s no secret to the positive direction my life took—it was what I did every day (for years) that led me to this point.
And I wanted to share some of those habits with you.
Some of them may seem odd—or even unnecessary. However, each of these habits worked in unison to develop the lifestyle I am fortunate enough to live today. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 habits I used to move my life in a positive direction.
1. Move Your Body
Never let a day go by without doing some sort of physical activity. I don’t care if you’re running a marathon or following along with a 5-minute YouTube workout video at home. Do something; anything.
Your body is designed to move.
And the more you exercise, the more it will naturally begin to impact other areas of your life. As serial entrepreneur, speaker, and author Bedros Keullian says, “Exercise is the gateway drug to personal development.”
Regular exercise is among the best things you can do to move yourself in a positive direction. Additional benefits include:
- Improved brain health
- Reduction in sickness and disease
- Strengthened bones and muscles
- Better memory
- Improved sleep quality
- Enhancement in overall health and wellbeing
- And much more
2. Set the Sail
Think of yourself as a sailor in a sailboat. You’re making progress toward your destination (your goal). But the wind from the sea blows on you from multiple directions, rocking and see-sawing your boat. To manage, you reset your sails to use the force of the wind to propel you forward. As a result of you resetting your sail, the wind becomes an asset instead of a liability.
In this case, “setting the sail” refers to your attitude and your train of thought; it also consists of your knowledge, abilities, and level of self-reliance. And “the wind” is the unfavourable circumstances that occur when you decide on a goal.
The wind could be:
- A recession
- Economic turmoil
- A divorce
- A job loss
- Setbacks and difficulties
- Losing a loved one, etc
When the wind blows on your sailboat, what are you going to do? Are you going to fold and retreat to your cabin like a coward? Or are you going to reset the sail by using your self-reliance and creative faculties? This process allows you to use “unfavourable situations” to your advantage so you can continue moving toward your destination.
It’s up to you.
As the sailor in your life, you have to constantly set sail to “catch the wind” and use it to guide you to your destination. This constant readjustment allows you to stay on course, despite the circumstances. In this way, your focus is honed and your path clear as you continue making progress.
I may be milking this analogy but that’s only because it’s important. Here are some daily actions I’ve used to “set the sail” in my own life:
- Listening to podcasts
- Reading inspirational books
- Consuming audiobooks
- Learning new skills (or improving old ones), etc
3. Zone Out
You can’t fire on all cylinders consistently without taking time for yourself. And one of the best ways to do that? Meditation. Zoning the world out, even if it’s only for 5 or 10 minutes a day, can be of tremendous value.
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve fallen off of this discipline since I started travelling.
However, I meditated every day for over a year; as such, I can say with confidence how beneficial it can be. But don’t take my word for it; Science has proven the validity of meditation.
Here are a few benefits you may experience:
- Enhanced self-awareness
- More creativity
- Improved imagination
- Stronger levels of focus
- Better stress management
- Reduction in negative emotions
4. Keep a Journal
I’ve been journaling daily for nearly 4 years, and it has revolutionized my life. In fact, this habit kicked started my writing career. It has been invaluable to me in so many ways. I’ve logged memories, released stress, and kept track of progress toward my goal through journaling.
And these benefits are only the tip of the iceberg.
Journaling every day will move your life in such a positive direction that you won’t recognize it in a few years. And it’s not just me talking; research has proven the effectiveness of keeping a journal.
It’s cool because not only is this habit powerful, but it’s also easy.
Anyone can sit down and write about their day for 5 minutes each night. And the rewards for this simple practice can be incredible. Take it from me. This habit will easily be one I practice for the rest of my life.
5. Take Cold Showers
I’ve mentioned cold showers numerous times on this blog. And for good reason: they are powerful for developing rock-solid self-discipline! Moreover, cold showers are healthy for you. They boost your energy, increase focus, and make you feel invigorated.
As of this writing, I’ve been taking daily cold showers for two and a half years.
And I’m never going back. There are just too many benefits to cold showers. So if you want a challenging yet rewarding discipline that will inch you toward a positive direction in your life, hop in a chilly receptacle every day.
6. Feed Your Mind
Your mind is a fertile plot of land, and you are the farmer that must tend to it. When you nurture the land (your mind) you’ve been given, it produces crops that can satiate and sustain you. On the other hand, if you fail to manage this land, weeds will grow in abundance.
For this reason, you have to feed your mind the right stimuli so it returns crops instead of weeds in your life. My favourite personal development speaker, Jim Rohn, used to say, “Stand guard at the door of your mind.”
For years, I’ve been “feeding my mind” with the right stimuli for at least 30 minutes a day. And the results have been staggering. But how do you do it? Easy; you feed your mind through any positive medium available. And today, there are many outlets you can accomplish this with:
- YouTube videos
- Positive people
- Quality music
These are all great ways to feed your mind and move your life in a positive direction. However, the best method, at least from my experience, is reading. Read something positive, educational, motivational, etc., every day.
Books that inspire and instruct are the best. The benefits of reading are invaluable and can’t be substituted.
Click here for self-improvement book ideas.
7. Speak Positively
There are many self-help books dedicated to the utility of affirmations. Some people swear by them. And yet, others proclaim that they’re nothing more than drivel. Now, I can only speak from my personal experience but I have found them to be helpful.
And studies have confirmed their validity.
One technique I use is writing out my affirmations on paper; then I record my voice speaking the affirmations on my smartphone. This process allows me to listen to them while I’m on the go.
Try it for yourself.
8. Wake up Early
I started waking up every day at 5am in April 2020. It’s been one of the best habits to move my life in a positive direction. Although difficult at first, I quickly adjusted. Waking up early forced me to go to bed early, and this resulted in a consistent routine for me.
And you need a routine; it gives you stability.
But aside from that, waking up early added a tremendous amount of value to my life. It allowed me to:
- Be more productive
- Develop a ritual
- Get a headstart on my day
- Enjoy my mornings more
- Adopt a health mindset
Waking up early gets a lot of lip service in the self-improvement world. But it truly is a game-changer if you can adopt it as a habit in your life. For this reason, I highly recommend you set a goal of waking up early every day.
9. Fuel Your System
Your body is a high-performance machine. But to operate at full capacity, it needs the proper fuel. It needs premium fuel. And where does that fuel come from? What you put into your mouth. The food you eat on regular basis plays an inordinate role in your body’s health and well-being.
Now, I’m not saying you should never indulge.
But ensure you have control over it. Don’t let indulgence become your default mode of operating. Instead, ensure healthy eating becomes a habit with you. This discipline, if done consistently, can be a gateway to other healthy habits.
Lord knows that’s certainly been the case with me. And remember, all habits work in unison to move your life in a positive direction.
10. Rhyme Every Day
When I was 14 years old, I started listening to Eminem. Looking back, his music wasn’t the best influence on my young mind. But I was entranced with his ability to put words together and find unique rhymes for words you never suspected could be rhymed in the first place.
I was blown away!
At that moment, I knew I wanted to do that. And so I did; I became a rapper (you can read my hip-hop story here). Although I no longer care for rap as a career path, I absolutely love it as a pastime. In fact, I still to this day (17 years later), enjoy writing rap songs and putting rhymes together.
For this reason, I make it a point to practice my freestyles and rhyme every day for at least 10 minutes. And you should too! Now, do I literally mean you should become a rapper and rhyme each day?
What I mean is you should do something you enjoy each day that is outside of your regular workload. And you should do it for nothing other than the love of doing it. It could be a pastime, a hobby, or a passion project. Maybe you enjoy cooking, writing, painting, playing sports, etc.
“Rhyme Every Day” in your own unique way; it will keep you young.
Make time for it in your life even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day. Just do something that brings you joy. Here are some benefits you’ll experience:
- Personal time for yourself
- Decluttering of your mind
- More happiness
- Better social connections (if your chosen hobby involves others)
- Lower stress/depression
- Mental productivity
- More creativity and confidence
If you’ve read my hip-hop story, you know that rhyming every day was among the first habits that moved my life in a positive direction. And this principle can do the same for you.
Are You Ready to Move Your Life in a Positive Direction?
These are habits I’ve practiced every day for years. Yes, some disciplines I’ve been doing longer than others, but each one was performed daily, without fail, for an extended period of time. This level of consistency is where your results come from.
Consistency is key.
It’s not what you do every now and then that makes a difference in your life; it’s what you do every day on a consistent basis. If you need help with your consistency and self-discipline, I’ve got you covered.
Check out my ebook where I share my best tips and strategies for developing long-lasting self-discipline.