Originally, I wanted to make a list of little quirky things you could do on random days to make them more enjoyable. Then I started to think about everyday habits that make life better, and how without them the quirky things don’t matter as much. The result is this list – A handy bunch of things you can do to make your life more magical. Some could take minutes and others could take years. This is not a 44 step guide to improving your life. It is a melange of ideas designed to make every one of your days sparkle, shine and radiate happiness. Enjoy!
Bonus: EVERYTHING on this list is FREE!!!
Healthy obsessions never hurt anybody. They can actually make your life more interesting and exciting. Try to find things that you think are interesting and want to learn more about, then dive deep into that world and go crazy! Your obsessions can be people, places, events or things. You can become obsessed with an era, a color, lamps, puppies. Whatever strikes your fancy. Right now I’m obsessed with Nicki Minaj, the 20’s (specifically 1920’s Paris and The Bright Young People in England. – Thanks Melanie!) and Tokyo. Once you are over your obsession.. move on to a new one!
Set a Crazy Fitness Goal
Everyone knows exercise is crucial, but are you really pushing yourself? What nobody ever talks about is how pushing yourself to your physical limits improves not only your body but your mind. When you start using your body in different ways your brain expands and you start thinking differently. You also become more confident and energetic. People who have gotten really into running or yoga understand these things.You don’t experience the major mind-shift when you do the minimal amount of exercise required to shed a few pounds. Start taking trapeze or general circus classes, plan to run a marathon, become a triathlete. Push yourself to do things you never thought possible and your life will thank you.
Track Your Digital Inspiration
Start a folder on your desktop where you store images and words that inspire you. There is also a great site called Pinterest where you can save your inspiration into nicely organized folders and share them with your friends. Be sure to look at your inspiration frequently. Clean out what doesn’t inspire you anymore and add new stuff in regularly. (Follow me on Pinterest!)
Make A Gourmet Meal
This is a fun Saturday task. Pick out recipes for a three course meal. Make sure they are somewhat complicated and at least half of the directions sound like Swahili to you. Spend the whole entire day searching for ingredients and putting together your culinary masterpiece. Set the table with candles, a pretty table cloth, and a fancy centerpiece. Get dressed up and serve your gourmet meal to just yourself or a table full of your bestest friends.
Plan Your Ultimate Vacation
No money? No Problem! Who says you can’t plan for when you are loaded and free to roam the earth? Choose one (or 17!) places you want to visit, and plan your flight, hotels, and sightseeing adventures! Dig deep into your destination’s culture to find what places are really worth seeing. Plan to stay a week or a year. The possibilities are endless! Write down your whole itinerary, and if you love it enough – make it happen!
Write a Letter To Your Future Self
A few days ago I got an email from myself in 2005. Weird, but strangely exciting and motivational. Right now I’m so much different than the person who wrote that email. Use FutureMe to write a letter that automatically gets sent to you sometime in the future. Write details of your current life, and what your goals are. Tell a story. Describe what you are wearing. Remind yourself of where you once were.
Build a Fort
Take every blanket or sheet you own and create your own personal sanctuary in your house. Make multiple rooms within the fort, or secret tunnels and compartments! Hang up fun photo’s, paper cutouts,or string lights inside your dwelling. It is your very own space.. make it uniquely yours! Spend the day reading, drawing, napping or eating. Take it down whenever you feel like it, or leave it up forever as your own private retreat from reality. Feel like your 5? That’s the idea!
Make an Inspiration Board
This would be an analog version of Pinterest. Buy a cheep corkboard and some pushpins and get to work pinning up magazine clippings, notes to yourself and glossy printouts. I like to make mini collages and have them printed at Kinkos. As long as you are pinning up things that inspire you and help you invoke the feeling of love, you are on the right track. Be sure to keep you inspiration board exactly what it is and refrains from cluttering it up with to-do lists and goals.
Be Someone Else
Create a character that is completely unlike yourself. Take time to formulate all of their nuances and distinctive traits. Give him/her a favorite movie and band, an extraordinary style, and a favorite food. Decide upon this person’s fantasies and passions. Then, spend your entire day as this wonderful person! Act and react as this fictional character would. Spend the day doing things that only your creation would enjoy. In being someone else, you will learn new and exciting things about yourself!
Keep a Notebook
Carry a notebook with you at all times and write down things that interest you. I am never without a mini notebook and pen in my purse. I write down music, books, people, places, things that I want to remember, quotes, ideas, doodles.. pretty much anything that pops into my mind that I want to remember. Once you have these things immortalized in a notebook, it frees up your mind so you can be more present. I guess you could use your iphone, but I think a real notebook is much better.
Gratitude is the key to all happiness. Be sure to make time every day to think about the things you are grateful for. You can even write them down in your ^ notebook!
Art is different things to different people. For some it is a great meal. For others a wonderful painting. Some people think art is an interaction between people. Whatever your definition is.. create art that frees your soul and makes you wholly you.
Volunteer your time at a local animal or homeless shelter. Help an old lady cross the street. Helping others feels good. If you spend a lifetime only looking out for yourself, your life will be miserable. Karma is a bitch and you want to make sure you keep her happy.
Plan Your Life
What does your ultimate life look like? If everything was just the way you wanted it, where would you live? What would your job be? Who would you spend most of your time with? Don’t put any limitations on your thought process. This can be so much fun and it can give you the motivation to start making changes in your life.
Go Somewhere New
Whenever you learn about a new place and think “I would like to go there.” – write it down in your special little notebook. This doesn’t have to be somewhere exotic or far-away. It can be that new coffee shop up the street, or an indie movie theater in the next town over. Writing these things down gives you a list of things to do when you are feeling stir-crazy. Try to designate a day every week or month to go somewhere you have never been before.
Have a Midnight Treasure Hunt
This goes in tandem with my Bright Young Things obsession. They used to throw lavish themed parties and conduct midnight treasure hunts. Fun! Gather all of your friends up one night and go searching for a “treasure” with a obstacle course of clues and tips.
Adopt or Foster a Pet
If you are looking for a new furry little friend to keep forever or just to take care of for a while, be sure to turn to your local animal shelter. Not only will you save a life, you will support your community and have endless fun.
Reading is the best way to get lost in another world and explore your own mind. Reading is an active mental process, unlike TV. So put that remote down and start reading books! It will improve your vocabulary, concentration and memory.
It’s like a treasure hunt for tech geeks! Yeah, I know it was sooo 2009 – but, whatever. GeoCaching is tons of fun and a great thing to do with friends on a day when you can’t think of anything to do. It can also lead to other fun adventures!
Get all dressed up with no where to go. Go all glam with your makeup and hair, wear a party dress to a coffee shop, or just wear something that you typically wouldn’t wear. Dressing up is so much fun, why save it for special occasions?
Impromptu Dance Parties
You don’t need a fancy club and tons of sweaty strangers to have a dance party! Turn up LMFAO, throw on your shiny gold leggings and break it down in your living room. Dance with your dog, your bestie, or yourself. Feeling more adventurous? Take your dance party to an empty parking lot, department store, or other random public place. If your having a particularly grueling day of work.. take a dance party break. I do it every day!
Have a Picnic
Trite but true. Picnics are awesome. Go have one.
Write a Speech
Find a topic that you feel very strongly about. It can be anything from pink frosting on donuts to animal welfare. Write a long, and thorough speech detailing facts, concerns, solutions or ideas. You can do anything you want with your speech. Record it via webcam and broadcast it online, or line you stuffed animals up and preach to them. Say exactly what you want to say and don’t worry about what people will ever think. It is amazingly empowering to put your ideas and feelings into words and say them out loud for the universe to hear.
Design a Uniform
Design an outfit you could wear everyday for a year. Consider functionality and the year-round climate in your area. Bonus points if you can design a “modular” outfit that can be rearranged to create new styles with the same pieces (Think: The AA Circle Scarf ). For inspiration, check out The Uniform Project archives.
Create a Bucket List
The term “bucket list” gives me the creeps because it makes me think of feelgood movies for old people. But the deadline for your list doesn’t have to be death. It can be a year, 4 or 10. About 2 years ago I created my 30 before 30 list and I’ve already completed over half of it! (Plus a few other things I didn’t even think to put on the list.) It can feel great to sketch out mini goals and give it a deadline. My favorite part about these lists are that they have nothing to do with making money or buying something. They have to do with experiences and personal growth.
Find New Music
When your playlist gets boring, so does your life. It’s true! Please stop listening to the all of the same music you did in high school. Check out sites like Pitchfork, Hype Machine, 8 Tracks, and Boomkat and broaden your horizons.
There is no past. There is no future. All you have is this very moment. Breathe that sigh of relief, baby.
Find Your Flow
Flow is a mental state in which you are wholly immersed in whatever you are doing. You may lose track of time or forget to eat when doing this activity. What is it for you? Playing with your dog? Hiking? Making music? Programming a bad-ass website? Whatever it is – find it and go live there for most of your day. Your flow should be your life’s work. (Just a note: They say that when you are depressed, anxious or “in a rut” it is because you are not experiencing flow in your life.)
Get a Morning Routine
Starting your day off right is the key to a magical day. What would you have to do every single morning to make you feel refreshed and ready to tackle your day? I go for a run or go to the gym, then I meditate, shower, eat breakfast, then plan my day. Simple, yet effective.
It’s so much fun. Learn How.
Meditate, Meditate, Meditate!
Meditation has so many positive side effects I don’t even know where to start. Keeping it short – It will make your life better. Meditating every day for even 5 minutes will change your life. Promises! Here is a simple guide to meditation.
Create Your Ideal Day
What does your absolutely perfect day look like? What can you change in your regular day to make it look more like that?
Write a Love Letter
Write a letter declaring you affections to yourself, your partner, dog, mom, cute boy next door. Whoever! Just express profound love for one person in your life. Be grateful for their presence and fill yourself up with abundant love.
Everyone loves to be silly. Why not do it with a meme?
Get Rid of Stuff You Don’t Need
Physical clutter creates mental clutter. Go through your house and donate or throw away whatever you haven’t used in the past 12 months.
It keeps your mouth and heart healthy. Do it!
Throw a Potluck
Everyone loves food. Everyone likes to eat a lot of food with their friends for super cheap. Throw a monthly (or weekly) potluck with your friends, and encourage them to invite new people outside of your social circle. You can have a theme for every potluck like “Vietnamese” or “The Great Depression”
If you have 3 hours to spare, watch the above and learn a million new things about the world and our economy. Get motivated to change yourself and change the world. Zeitgeist is a must watch so be sure to bookmark that video for when you have time.
Get Great at Something
Malcolm Gladwell says it takes 10,000 hours of practice for someone to achieve greatness in a particular endeavor. Better get crackin’.
Practice Selective Ignorance
I first learned about selective ignorance from Tim Ferriss. He explained that the problem with the information age is that everyone thinks they know everything, and in turn you feel that you should to. This creates a day that is a mishmash of gobbling up little bits of knowledge, instead of concentrating on what really matters to you. Stick to learning about things you are passionate about, and don’t worry about much else.
Come up with a budget and stick to it. Save money. Don’t spend beyond your means. Times are getting tough and frugality is key. If you don’t have a budget, take time right now to create one. Here’s how.
Do What You Love
…and love what you do. It’s been said a million times before, but it is so important. Comfort is a killer. If you don’t love your job – leave! Follow blogs like The Art of Non-Conformity, Advanced Riskology, and Illuminated Mind to learn more.
Everyone has their opinion and none of them should matter to you. Thoughtfully listen and consider what other people have to say, but the way you live your life is ultimately up to you. You won’t get anywhere by listening to naysayers. Live your own life, make your own choices and enjoy both your mistakes and successes.
Stop Wasting Time
I put this at the end of the list so you wouldn’t stop reading. Sneaky, I am! We (myself included) waste so much time doing ..well, nothing. Watching TV, stalking people on facebook, wearing out the StumbleUpon button, napping, and surfing the internet until the end of time are probably not going to improve your life. It’s easy to get stuck in the life-sucking vortex that is the internet (You will NEVER be able to read everything on the internet, so stop trying!), or to spend your day doing things that are unproductive, but you will find yourself anxious and unfulfilled at the end of your day. The trick to a happy and magical day is to start creating something, instead of reading about what everyone else has created. Now, get to it!