Wednesday, January 5, 2011

100 Simple Ways To Make Life Better

Don't wait to change. Don't wait to say I will do it tomorrow. All we have is today to choose what we will do, what our character reflects, and how we will live our lives.

Change isn't easy, but it is certainly worth it. Over the Christmas break I did a personal inventory of my life and found I have some gaping holes that need to be filled. When I give advice to others about change in their lives, I usually tell them to start small so they won't fail in their resolutions, but I usually don't follow the same advice myself. The reason I don't is because I have found in my own life I need a big challenge in order to really change. When I gained a bunch of weight in my mid-twenties I decided to get healthy. A few years later I was 60 pounds lighter and running marathons and triathlons. When I found I wasn't praying enough, I took up a daily rosary and reading of Scripture. I have kept that habit for almost 10 years. So, what is next? My personal list is below. I guess you could call it a Christmas resolutions list, because the other kind of resolutions usually fade quickly for most people.

But, before we get to my personal list, I want to give suggestions for you as well.

100 Simple Ways To Make Life Better:

  1. Pray more (or start if you aren't)
  2. Say "I love you" to those you love
  3. We have too much stuff - go through your stuff and give some of it away. 
  4. Visit your relatives
  5. Tip bigger
  6. Volunteer at a nursing home / soup kitchen / homeless shelter / animal shelter / Habitat for Humanity
  7. Smile more
  8. Say "hi" (or if in Texas "howdy") to strangers
  9. Be thankful for what you have, not envious of what you don't have
  10. Write someone a hand-written letter
  11. Volunteer for a task at work that nobody else wants
  12. Tithe 10%
  13. Forgive someone you hold a grudge against
  14. Do something on your "bucket list"
  15. Learn a new skill
  16. Say something encouraging to a loved-one that you should have said long ago
  17. Drive with kindness
  18. Volunteer with a youth group
  19. Save your money for something important and distant
  20. If you need help - get help
  21. Take a class in something you want to learn about
  22. Read the Bible every day
  23. Pray for your enemies
  24. Do the little things that matter
  25. Conquer a fear
  26. Exercise more
  27. Don't compromise your beliefs
  28. Communicate better - more in-person / telephone conversations with less texting / email
  29. Keep criticism to yourself
  30. Turn off your cell phone when you spend time with others
  31. Donate blood
  32. Offer to watch someone's children so they can go on dates
  33. Be eager to do something someone else wants to do, even if you don't
  34. Go on picnics
  35. Schedule quiet time
  36. Pay for the person behind you at a drive-through
  37. Buy extra items at the store and donate them
  38. Be patient with people who annoy you
  39. Dream big dreams
  40. Finish a project you started and put aside
  41. Work on what you are passionate about
  42. Be more hopeful and positive
  43. Stop making excuses
  44. Lose weight
  45. Send someone flowers
  46. Make a family member breakfast-in-bed
  47. Less TV/Facebook/Electronic stuff and more time on relationships
  48. Do something spontaneous every week
  49. Talk to your neighbors
  50. Share your talents / Teach someone something you are good at
  51. Be a better listener and talk less
  52. Say "I am sorry", "thank you", and "please" more
  53. Break a bad habit or addiction
  54. Donate books to the library
  55. Don't waste time with bad entertainment
  56. Mentor a troubled youth
  57. Host a block party
  58. Ask more open-ended questions of others
  59. Stop gossiping
  60. Go on a spiritual retreat
  61. Become an organ donor
  62. Don't argue electronically. If it is serious enough, then talk in-person
  63. Start a new hobby
  64. Play board games
  65. Get involved in a new organization at church
  66. Go for more walks with others
  67. Be persistent in doing the right thing
  68. Be yourself
  69. Do chores for an elderly person
  70. Go on a mission trip / service trip
  71. Eat healthier
  72. Keep a holy hour in Adoration
  73. Vote
  74. Give sincere compliments
  75. Brag less
  76. Recycle more
  77. Start a garden
  78. Write your political representatives
  79. Teach a child to read / ride a bike / swim
  80. Don't one-up others in conversations
  81. Invite others for a big feast
  82. Plant a tree
  83. Have a garage sale and donate the proceeds
  84. Carpool
  85. Hold doors open for others
  86. Pick up random litter
  87. Learn CPR
  88. Eat family meals more
  89. Forgive a debt that someone owes to you
  90. Introduce yourself to those you sit near in church
  91. Give big hugs
  92. Call just to say "hi"
  93. Bake cookies and give them away to others
  94. Make care packages for the military
  95. Buy fair-trade items when possible
  96. Read good books
  97. When you are wrong - take the blame
  98. Go to Confession monthly
  99. Look for Christ in others
  100. Love God with all you are

If you decide to pick some of these and want to let others know about them, leave a comment below.

As for me, here is what I decided to do - all of these will be new or renewed habits:
Spiritual:

  • -Weekly Holy Hour
  • -Bi-weekly Confession

Reasoning behind these resolutions - I keep a Holy Hour most weeks, but am inconsistent with it. Some weeks I will have 4 hours in Adoration, others none. As for Confession, a friend who is a priest recommended I go more frequently because of the nature of my profession. I agree.

Physical:

  • -6 days a week exercise for (at least) 40 minutes.
  • -Average 1,800 calories per day intake
  • -Lose 20 pounds by June 22
  • -No caffeine in 2011
  • -Take care of my voice

Reasoning behind these resolutions - I have had a number of health issues the last few years including a bad back and vocal chord issues. I need to make sure that my health is a priority. Because of my back, and some bad eating habits, I have put on about 20 lbs I need to take off. I have already dropped about 5 lbs. The caffeine has always had control over me, so I need to kick it for good.

Intellectual:

  • -Read (at least) 1 book/journal every 2 weeks

Reasoning behind these resolutions - This is the easiest resolution for me and I will probably do much more. But, it is merely a reminder that I need to keep reading, which can get pushed aside when I get busy with work and family.

Professional:

  • -Write draft of another book by July 2011
  • -Get more speaking gigs for 2011 than I had in 2010
  • -Reach out to at least two co-workers per week in a special way.
  • -Move Catholic classes for credit (at St. Mary's Catholic Center) toward becoming a reality

Reasoning behind these resolutions - Some of these goals have been ongoing for a while, so now is the time to make them a reality.

Relationships:

  • -Call my parents more often
  • -Play with my kids more
  • -Be less critical of others
  • -Go on a monthly date with my wife
  • -Go on 6 day trips with my family

Reasoning behind these resolutions - Doesn't this seem like public confession? I guess in some ways it is and that is okay with me, because now I will have others expecting more of me. These are all simple ways to work on bettering my relationships.

Other:

  • -Donate blood (at least) 4 times in 2011
  • -Donate more personal items to the poor (already filled up a big bag last week).
  • -Reach out to those who seem lonely.
  • -Smile more.

Reasoning behind these resolutions - Why not?

5 comments:

not a minx, a moron, or a parasite said...

Thanks for the great 100 suggestions! I am eager to follow a bunch of them!

WatchingMedia said...

What happened to reading (or studying) the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition" which is the only catechism from the Magisterium with the copyright held by the Holy See ?

It was first published in March 2000.

All Catholics (including Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Nuns and us Laity) are required to adhere to everything
in it.
As the late Cardinal John O'Conner used to say: "The Catholic Church is not a salad bar. You can not pick and choose what you want to believe."

Lisa said...

That is a truly awesome and inspiring list. Thank you for the sharing it with us.

Elizabeth said...

Marcel,

I truly appreciate not only your general suggestions for improvement, but also your honesty in reference to your own personal resolutions.

Concerning your prompting,below you shall note my individual resolutions for the coming year.

Spiritual:
1. Increased focus on prayer, manifesting through weekly Eucharistic Adoration, and meditating the Holy Rosary three times weekly.
2. Greater focus on spiritual readings. I have already purchased, and begun to peruse through, Saint Francis de Sales "Introduction to the Devout Life", which I believe will be an important facet of my spiritual growth, and maturation, with Christ.
3. Attend daily Mass more frequently.

Physical:
1. Focus on becoming healthier, primarily through continued weight loss. In the past month and a half, God has given me the strength to remain committed to a more balanced, and healthful, diet. Consequently, I have lost thirteen pounds.
2. Integrate exercise into my schedule twice weekly. I commend your goal of six times weekly, though! For myself, a smaller goal will prove more manageable, and likely to be followed.

Intellectual:
1. Focus on creating more personal writing projects, in conjunction to developing my painting.

Professional:
1. Continue advancing towards completion of my B.S.N.
2. Be more intentional in completing scholarship opportunities.
3. Continue saving for the future.

Relationships:
1. Love my family through increased communication, especially since it has been several years since I left home.
2. Demonstrate more gratitude in my daily life.
3. Be more committed to sharing my love of God with others, while also opening my soul to better know God.
3. Learn to better love my neighbors, colleagues, etc.
4. Always strive to love more intentionally, and sacrificially.

Other:
1. Be more joyous and appreciative of life.
2. Donate blood several times this coming year.
3. Donate more time, and finances, to those needier than I.
4. Focus less on myself, and more on others.



May God bless you abundantly this coming year; also, please keep me in your prayers. I shall be certain to keep you in mine.

Elizabeth

Lesa said...

I love, love, love this! I'm going to print it out and try to complete all of these in 2011.
Thank you!