Let me start this section with a simple question: “What is spirituality?”

The answer will be different for different people.

Many feel spirituality represents a deep connection with the god of their choice. Others prefer to follow an “enlightened life” of wisdom and compassion. There are some that feel spirituality is simply having quiet “me time” to reflect on the things that matter to them. And finally, there are folks who find a spiritual connection through helping others.

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I firmly believe there is no right or wrong type of spirituality. The only thing that’s important is to focus on habits that are important to you. These are the beliefs that fill you with “a peaceful, easy feeling” (as the Eagles once sang).

Consequently, you’ll discover that the spirituality habits provided in this section will be extremely diverse in nature.

Some spiritual habits will include religious habits. Here, I will use words like “God” and “scriptures” due to my Christian background. But readings from the Torah, Quran, I Ching, Book of Mormon, or your preferred religious book are just as valid. Just assume I am talking about the god of your choice when I use these words, not the god of my choice.

Spiritual habits, above all else, are meant to be inclusive, never exclusive.

In this section, you’ll also discover variations on spiritual habits like:

•      Mindfulness habits, which are derivations of Zen Buddhist teachings. These are habits like affirmations, meditation, and breathing exercises.
•      Mental well-being habits that are self-directed. These focus on nourishing your “soul” and finding inner peace and happiness.
•      Community habits to help others, your community, and even the entire world. They include donating money to worthy causes, volunteering your free time, and mentoring others.

Well, we have a lot to cover, so let’s talk about these different spirituality habits.

#109. Speak Words of Affirmation

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: If you’re unsure about the benefits of affirmations, then here is a list of ways they can improve your mindset. Affirmations:

•      Reduce negative thinking. By focusing on what’s good in your life (and the world around you), you minimize the limiting beliefs that are holding you back.
•      Remind you to appreciate what you have. You may fail from time to time, but having a daily affirmation like “I am healthy,” “I have a family I love,” or “I love my job” can remind you of what’s truly important to you.
•      Keep you focused on your immediate goals. If your affirmations tie into the specific outcomes you’d like to accomplish, you’ll have a daily reminder of where you should best focus your efforts.

According to Buddha, “What we think, we become.” Affirmations are useful because they define our goals, refine our thoughts, and create clear expectations about what you’d like to accomplish.

Word of warning: I think affirmations can be a powerful tool, but they do have limits.

You can’t sit in your bedroom, recite an affirmation like, “I have enough money in the bank to buy everything I want,” and then go buy a flat screen TV. Affirmations are not magic. The “universe” will not magically reward you for your positivity. You will still need to work—and work hard—to get the things you want.

Affirmations are like a hammer—they’re just one tool you can use to succeed in life.

Description: Make eye contact with the mirror as soon as you wake up in the morning. Repeat positive sentences that are personally significant to you aloud four to five times apiece. Here are some examples:

•      “I am in control of my life.”
•      “I am worthy of love and joy.”
•      “I can make a change in this world.”
•      “I embrace my uniqueness, which makes me beautiful, body and soul.”
•      “I will accomplish my goals today.”
•      “I am brimming with energy. I am active and alive.”
•      “I possess the qualities needed to be successful.”
•      “Abundance and blessings flow freely through me.”
•      “Every decision I make is the right one for me.”
•      “I take pleasure and satisfaction in my own solitude.”
•      “I breathe in calmness and breathe out nervousness.”
•      “I let go of my anger so I can see clearly. I am in charge of how I feel.”

There are hundreds and even thousands of affirmations you can use, so my advice is to focus on the phrases that are personally relevant to you. There are three ways to do this.

First, Google search daily affirmations for [goal]. All you have to do is substitute [goal] for the area of your life where you’d like support. So if you want to find affirmations for losing weight, then you’d Google search daily affirmations for weight loss.

The second option is to check out the 101 daily affirmations that Barrie Davenport (my co-author on a few other books) was nice enough to include in the free companion course. Here you’ll discover a list of 101 daily affirmations that are broken down into topics like happiness, love and relationships, success, confidence, self-esteem, health, peace, mindfulness, and inner calm.

See it here: http://liveboldandbloom.com/09/quotes/positive-affirmations.

Finally, you can create your own affirmations, which makes them more personal. Here is a simple, four-step process for doing this:

1. Create “I am” statements. These could include “I am healthy” and “I am wealthy.” Use simple affirmations that state the positive things about yourself or who you want to be.

2. Keep it positive. Affirmations work best when they focus on your goals and eliminate negative thinking. That’s why it’s important to phrase these statements in a positive and self-confident manner, even if you don’t believe the words 100% at first.

3. Say affirmations in the present tense. When you talk about goals, it can seem fake to use an affirmation that assumes it is completed. That is why I personally like to focus on affirmations that support the idea that you can achieve the goal, instead of having already accomplished it.

For example, if you want to lose 10 pounds, instead of saying an affirmation like “I am at my ideal weight,” I’d recommend a phrase like “I have the ability to lose the weight I desire.”

4. Don’t worry about how. Affirmations are about maintaining a positive outlook. This is not the time to worry about how to accomplish your goals.

Well, there you have it: four strategies to create affirmations that directly align with your goals. Just pick one (or all) strategy to create a list of seven to ten statements that you recite during a stack. If you do this habit daily, you’ll consistently reinforce the specific outcomes you’d like to achieve in the immediate future.

#110. Speak Words of Prayer

Type: Keystone habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: In many ways, prayers are similar to affirmations. You are asking for help to overcome an obstacle for you or an important person in your life. The way prayers are different is because they are backed by faith in your religion. If you’re a religious person, then building a prayer habit can become a foundation of your daily routine.

Description: The type of praying you do depends on your religion, so the best place to find information would be your local church, temple, or mosque. Here, you can talk to someone who can guide you through what to say and think about during your daily prayers.

Now, if you want an example prayer, I’ve asked my assistant, Glori, to briefly describe what she does as part of her daily Catholic prayer habit. She writes:

I didn’t pray regularly before, but I started praying daily because I didn’t want to pray only in times of need or when I’m in trouble, which was what I was doing. Now, I do it every day because I want to stay in touch and check in with God.
There are two “types” of prayers I regularly pray with my family—the traditional Catholic ones taught by the Church, which we memorize (e.g., praying the rosary, the Angelus, etc.), and personal prayers.
Here’s how I pray:
Morning Prayer: I choose to pray every morning before I start work, that way I don’t miss it. It helps that I see it on Trello. I pick prayers that are the most relevant to my current priorities: family, work, abundance. I guess in a way, it helps remind me of my “why” and my goals.
It’s easy to find prayers online.
Just Google “prayer for [intention]” and edit the prayer if you want.
Night Prayer: I prefer to do the daily examination of conscience. Basically, it’s a type of prayer where you’re conversing with God about your day. The main parts are thanking God for all blessings, asking for forgiveness, and asking for more help.
Finally, some people prefer the A.C.T.S. acronym (adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication), which helps you remember what you should be thinking about while praying.”

That’s just one example of a faith-based prayer. If you’d like to do something different, then I recommend talking to the people in your religious community to get guidance on what works best for your religion.

#111. Practice Gratitude

Type: Keystone habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: It’s easy to think that being grateful for what you have in life is something you do for other people. But the main benefit is an internal one. Not only does it make you feel better, but it also helps you become a better person because you’ll gain more appreciation for what you already have.

There are many benefits of building the gratitude habit. Here are a few to consider:

•      Gratitude makes us happier. According to this study, happiness can be increased by as much as 10% by making a daily gratitude list. Incidentally, this is the same amount of happiness increase that comes from doubling your monthly paycheck.
•      Gratitude helps you reach your goals. According to another study, people who keep gratitude lists are more likely to complete their goals. This is why I’d consider gratitude to be a keystone habit, since it can help you reach desired outcomes in all areas of your life
•      Gratitude makes you a more likeable person. This study shows that a daily gratitude list can make you more likeable. It increases optimism, self-esteem, and spirituality while decreasing materialism and egocentric tendencies.
•      Gratitude will help you succeed in your career. Keeping a gratitude list has a big effect on how others perceive you. This increased likeability spills over into your career. People at work are more likely to trust you, which means you’ll have a better chance of getting mentors and networking with the top people in your industry.

As you can see, practicing gratitude can lead to many positive benefits in your life, so let’s talk about a simple process for adding this habit into your life.

Description: Keeping a gratitude list doesn’t need to be a formal process. You can write it online, in a journal, or even on a spare scrap of paper. What’s important is to think about what (and who) you’re thankful for and then write it down somewhere.

To get started, I recommend a four-step process:

1. Be Consistent: Choose a number of items to be grateful for every day and then stick to this format. It could be one, five, or ten things, but the key thing is to have a number in your mind ahead of time. This is because, throughout the day, your subconscious mind will recognize people and reasons for which you should be thankful.

2. Be Specific: Take time to clearly describe why you’re grateful for a person, event, or item. Saying, “I am grateful for my wife” doesn’t do the trick. You need to come up with a new example from the last couple of days, such as, “I am grateful for my wife, who got up last night to take care of the baby and let me sleep.” This is clear and specific and helps you notice the small things that people do for you.

3. Share your thoughts: Being grateful to yourself is only half of the job. If you really want to maximize this habit, then express this gratitude to the people who made it happen, like your spouse, boss, friend, coworker, or family member. Saying to your wife, “I appreciate you taking care of the baby last night—I needed that extra sleep,” is a great way to strengthen your relationship.

4. Find the good in the bad: Not everything in life will be puppies and rainbows, which is why gratitude is important. Instead of looking for the negative in a situation, you can use this habit to look for a positive outcome or an important lesson you learned.

Never underestimate the power of gratitude. By showing appreciation, you’ll stop worrying so much about what you’re lacking and focus instead on the positive things that you already have.

#112. Practice Deep Breathing

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Deep breathing is like meditation, because it creates a relaxed, calm state of mind. Done correctly, it can be used to relieve the stress that’s built up from a hectic workday.

There are a few benefits of practicing deep breathing. First, it clears your negative emotions, which reduces stress, anxiety, and built-up tension. Next, it can improve your health by strengthening your lungs and getting rid of the toxins in your body. Finally, it will improve your mood and increase your energy.

In my opinion, deep breathing is a great habit to do to start your day, and an activity you can enjoy in the afternoon to recharge your batteries.

Description: Deep breathing is a quick habit that takes less than five minutes to complete. It can be part of a regular stack or a single habit that you do whenever you feel stressed.

Simply follow this nine-step process to get started:

1.      Schedule uninterrupted time where you ignore your cell phone or other types of technology.
2.      Pick a specific time each day (or a specific stack) where you’ll practice deep breathing.
3.      Set an alarm for a specific time (like three to five minutes).
4.      Sit on a pillow on the floor, in a comfortable chair, or on your couch. Find a comfortable position with your feet on the floor, straighten your back, and rest your hands at your sides.
5.      Inhale slowly through your nose until your lungs are filled to capacity.
6.      After inhaling as much as possible, hold your breath for a full two seconds.
7.      Slowly exhale, in a steady and even manner. If you desire, envision exhaling all your negative emotions.
8.      Take a two-second pause.
9.      Return to step 5 to repeat this cycle until the alarm signals the end of the session.

Many people don’t have time to meditate. If that sounds like you, then you can get some of the same benefits by practicing deep breathing instead. If you follow this nine-step process, you can create a habit that doesn’t take long to complete but is great for clearing your mind and relieving anxiety.

#113. Practice Progressive Relaxation

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Afternoon or evenings

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: For many, the idea of relaxation is just sitting on your couch in front of the TV. Unfortunately, this doesn’t do much to combat the negative effects that stress has on your mind and body. To fight this stress, you can provoke the body’s natural way of relaxing by using a technique called “progressive relaxation.”

Description: You can’t completely avoid all stress, but you can reduce it by learning how to naturally make your body rest, which is the opposite of its response to stress.

With progressive relaxation, your:

•      Heart rate slows
•      Breathing becomes deeper
•      Blood pressure stabilizes
•      Muscles relax
•      Circulation improves

Whenever you feel stressed and need a quick way to relax, try this six-step process:

1.      Get comfortable by loosening your clothing.
2.      Take a minute to take some slow, deep breaths.
3.      Turn your attention to your left foot. Stop to focus on how it feels.
4.      Slowly tense the muscles in your left foot as tightly as you can and hold this for ten seconds before relaxing the foot.
5.      Pay close attention to the release of tension and how your foot feels as it relaxes. Breathe in at this moment.
6.      When you’re ready, do this same sequence of tension and relaxation for each area of muscle throughout the body, but don’t tense any of your other muscles.

Progressive relaxation is best done in the afternoon or early evening when you’ve built up stress from a long workday. You can do it as a quick break between tasks or as a five-minute recharge after a particularly grueling part of the day.

#114. Squeeze a Stress Ball

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Afternoon and evenings

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: According to a study published in The Journal of At-Risk Issues, students who squeezed a stress ball throughout the day had a decrease in their frequency of distraction and an increase in their attention span, leading to better performance in school and greater personal satisfaction.

The act of squeezing a stress ball activates the hand and wrist muscles, and releasing the grip lets the muscles relax. Also, this repeated pattern alleviates tension and boosts blood circulation, which can help give you a quick afternoon pick-me-up.

Description: Stress balls are small enough that you can keep them in your desk or in your bag. (Here is one that I recommend from Amazon.)

To properly use a stress ball, try these exercises:

•      Squeeze the ball with your whole hand for a count of three before releasing. Repeat twenty times. Every time you release your muscles, your tension will be released along with your hand.
•      Firmly pinch the ball between each finger individually and your thumb. Go through your fingers one by one on one hand and then switch to the other hand.
•      Twist the stress ball around in one hand at a time. Alternate both the direction of the twisting and the hand to get the full benefits.

These manipulations of the stress ball will help stimulate nerves in your hands that are connected to areas of the brain associated with your emotions. Activating these nerves works similarly to acupressure, where stimulation of one part of the body affects other areas of the body.

#115. Practice Creative Visualization

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Research published in Neuropsychologia profiles the many benefits of creative visualization. These studies found that the brain patterns in weightlifters are activated very similarly if they lift hundreds of pounds or if they only imagine lifting an equal amount of weight. Research has also shown that creative visualization is almost as effective as true physical presence, and practicing both is more effective than doing either alone.

Description: To help you develop more self-confidence in whatever area of your life it is lacking, follow these five steps to visualize your goal:

1.      Set the mood. Find a positive and relaxing area. This may involve going for a quiet walk in a peaceful setting or soaking in your bath—whatever you find to be calming. Once you are relaxed, get comfortable and make sure you are away from any possible disturbances. The longer you can do creative visualization, the better. Try to enter a meditative state before you start by clearing your mind and taking some slow, deep breaths.
2.      Visualize your goal. Once you feel calm, create an image of what you want, with as much detail as you would like to include. For example, if you are waiting for an acceptance letter to graduate school, imagine yourself opening that letter at home and visualize the reactions of the people around you when you are accepted. Make this mental movie as realistic as you can.
3.      Keep those positive feelings. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you let your visualization experiences influence the other parts of your day. Continue to hold onto the positive feelings of happiness, pride, confidence, and peace that you had when you were visualizing your goal.
4.      Make this a habit. Take the time to incorporate creative visualization into your daily routine. Many find it helpful to schedule a specific time to stop what they are doing and work on their power of positive thinking.
5.      Continue to work hard. Keep that visualization as a constant motivator to continue going after what you want. The more you get yourself used to this type of positive thinking, the more naturally it will come.

Napoleon Hill once wrote, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

While I don’t think you can wish your way to success, I do agree that creative visualization can be a powerful habit when it’s combined with consistent, daily effort as you work on your goals.

#116. Let Go of Regret

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: It’s far too easy to allow your mind to wander off into the past, which often leads to regret and sadness over bad decisions and failed relationships. But if you build a habit of letting go of the past, then you can permanently rid yourself of regret.

Description: To let go of regret, you should start by understanding how your mind works and why it’s prone to negative thinking. The simplest way to do this is to practice mindfulness.

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to help curb anxiety by reducing the negative thoughts that run through your head. A regular meditation practice is beneficial, but you should also practice mindfulness as you go about your day. Take time to consider things like your movement as you walk and the taste of the food you’re eating.

One strategy that I recommend daily is to ask yourself how you’re feeling. Even if you aren’t worried or depressed, it’s important to have regular conferences with yourself to better understand where your thoughts are coming from.

Another idea is to express gratitude for your past. Even when things don’t go so well, there is still plenty to be learned. By making mistakes, we can gain wisdom for future scenarios in hopes of not repeating those mistakes.

#117. Shower Meditation

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Morning

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: For most people, a shower is already a part of the morning routine. But when you add a quick meditation session to this ritual, you can focus on deep thinking and creating positive thoughts for the day.

Sure, shower mediation might sound hokey, but look it this way: you know how you often get your best thoughts in the shower? Well, the same principle applies here. The calming effect of warm water puts your mind on autopilot, which frees it up to come up with inspirational ideas. (There’s even research that shows we often get our best ideas while engaging in mindless tasks, like showering, driving, and doing chores.)

Description: Shower meditation can easily be attached to your existing “getting ready” routine. This means you only need to add a few minutes to your shower time to get the full benefit of this habit.

Get started by letting the warm water of the shower wash over your body. Visualize all the stress, anxiety, and worries in your life as being tangible things sticking to your skin. Next, visualize the water and soap scrubbing the stress off your body. Third, envision all the metaphysical “dirt” of your body—your fears, regrets, anxiety, anger, and stress washing free and swirling down the drain. Finally, realize that you are clean, fresh, and ready to start your day free of distractions.

#118. Practice Mindful Walking

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Walking for fitness is best done as part of a regular exercise habit that exceeds thirty minutes. But mindful walking can become a separate habit that combines a little fitness with the power of mindfulness. It gives you a mental recharge, gets your blood flowing, and relieves stress. That’s why it’s the perfect habit for the middle of your workday or during a lunch break.

Description: This is best practiced on a slightly long break(s) in your workday. Here’s how to get started with mindful walking:

•      Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.
•      Stand still. Become aware of your body and how it feels—your posture, your heels pushing into your shoes, the way you breathe in and out.
•      Bend your knees very slightly and focus on your hips as your center of gravity.
•      Begin walking at a slow pace. With each step, feel your leg swinging and your heel, ball, and toe hitting the ground.
•      Notice your breathing and walking for five to ten minutes.
•      When it’s time to end your mindful walking exercise, come to a gentle halt and stand still. Then gradually return to your regular activity.

If you throw in mindful walking to the latter part of the day (or whenever you feel anxiety), you can relieve stress while enjoying nature in a conscious, deliberate manner.

#119. Practice Aromatherapy

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Aromatherapy is using the essential oils of plants to gain physical, mental, or spiritual relief. It has been used widely in Europe as a complementary therapy for over one hundred years.

The purported effects of the oils vary depending on which oil is used (i.e., different oils are thought to have different effects). This means that blending different essential oils can cater to the specific needs of the customer. The different essential oils have different benefits:

•      Lavender oil: Stress reliever, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, and sedative.
•      Lemon oil: Reduces cellulite, improves digestion, and reduces headaches and fevers.
•      Tea tree oil: Immunity booster that reduces the flu, cold sores, muscle aches, and respiratory issues.
•      Cedarwood: A calming agent for stress or anxiety that can also reduce urinary tract infections.
•      Bergamot: Helps with stress, depression, anxiety, anorexia, and skin infections (psoriasis and eczema).
•      Peppermint: Used for mental alertness and for enhancing mood, focus, irritation and redness, congestion, and digestion.
•      Chamomile: Calming agent, antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant, and overall mood lifter.
•      Rose: Helps alleviate depression, anxiety, digestion issues; helps improve circulation, heart problems, and asthma.
•      Eucalyptus: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, decongestant, diuretic, stimulant. Also, it reduces migraines, pains, and muscle aches.
•      Jasmine: Reduces depression, stress, and addiction issues.
•      Patchouli: Decreases anxiety, depression, and fatigue. It also reduces cellulite and bloating.

According to people who strongly believe in the powers of aromatherapy, essential oils work by entering the olfactory system, where they have access to the brain. Once there, they can positively affect your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance.

Now, if all of this sounds too “woo-woo” for you, then you’re not alone. While I’ve dabbled with using essential oils, I can’t say with 100% certainty that they actually provide the benefits listed above. Perhaps these results are due to positive thinking by practitioners. But even if some of the claims are nothing more than hype, essential oils are much healthier than the scented candles that most people burn in their homes.

Description: There are three different ways to use essential oils, two of which can easily be added to a daily stack.

1.      Aerial Diffusion. This is the most commonly used method of aromatherapy. The idea behind a diffuser is to mix the essential oils with water, which produces a nice-smelling mist that can permeate a room.
•      There are now some very inexpensive essential oil diffusers (I actually review five different options on my blog).
•      To add this habit to your daily routine, you simply take three to four drops of the essential oil of your choice, add them to a cup of water in your diffuser, set the timer, and then turn the machine on.
•      Once it’s ready to go, take a deep breath, relax for a minute or two, and then start your next habit.
2.      Direct Inhalation. This is a simpler “one-shot” method of using the oils daily. Just open your bottle of essential oil, put it up to your nose, and inhale deeply. You’ll find that the oils smell stronger this way, which is perfect if you are using them as a decongestant, disinfectant, or expectorant for your respiratory system.
3.      Topical Application. This method is something you don’t want to do as part of a habit stack, but I’ve included it to completely cover the topic of aromatherapy.
•      This method is generally part of baths, massages, compresses, and therapeutic skin care. If you have ever had a massage, the oils they put on your skin are often some mixture of essential oils designed to help give you relief.
•      The reason I don’t recommend it here is because topical applications are best used to relieve pain or massage a part of your body. It’s a longer habit that can take over thirty minutes to complete, so it’s not something that can always fit into your daily routine. (Plus, if you don’t know what you’re doing and pour an incorrect dosage, you run the risk of causing skin irritation or an allergic reaction.)

#120. Drink a Calming Beverage (Like Tea)

Type: Keystone habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Drinking a calming beverage, like a cup of hot tea, has both physical and mental benefits.

When it comes to your health, drinking tea (specifically green tea) has many detoxifying effects on the body. It has been shown to lower blood pressure, assist hydration (despite the caffeine), and reduce stress hormones.

When it comes to spirituality, a daily tea break gives you “me time,” which can be a few spare minutes to think on what has happened during the day and what you plan to do for the next few hours.

Description: Start a teakettle right after you wake up as part of your morning habit stack. You can also repeat this habit during the afternoon or at the end of your day.

While the water is boiling, focus on completing two to three tasks in your stack, and then enjoy a few minutes of reflection while you’re enjoying a cup of tea.

#121. Dress for Success

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Wearing good clothes not only affects how others see us, it can also affect how we see ourselves. Even if you have a job in a “casual clothing” environment, it’s a good habit to dress in clothes that look nice and make you feel confident.

For instance, since I work from home, I can wear whatever I want. This often means my fashion choice is a torn pair of jeans, a hoodie sweatshirt, and a week(s)-long facial hair.

One week, I decided to complete a simple challenge to wear a suit whenever I left the house. I would still go to the same places like I normally did, but I dressed like I was going out for a job interview.

What I noticed during this week-long challenge was a significant boost in my self-confidence and the way people treated me. The lesson I learned here is you can elevate your emotions by looking your best.

Description: You don’t need to be decked out in a top hat and tuxedo every day to dress for success. Instead, you need to wear clothing that looks good and fits well. (Again, that’s why I recommend focusing on buying quality items instead of trying to save money by buying cheap items.)

Here are a few tips you can use to get started:

1.      Make sure you like what you wear. If necessary, spend a little bit more to purchase truly high-end clothing that you know you’ll continue to wear. This is far preferable to cheaper clothing you’re less fond of, which is more likely to get worn out quickly.
2.      Purchase clothes that fit. Even if a suit is your color, it’s not going to look any good if it’s too tight or too loose on you. If necessary, visit a tailor so he or she can make the proper alterations.
3.      Iron your clothes. A nice shirt or pants doesn’t look nearly as nice if it’s smothered with wrinkles. Take time to iron your clothes in the morning. You should also bring your garments to the dry cleaner on a regular basis.

It’s amazing to see the difference in responses from people when you look your best. I challenge you to try this habit for a week. Then, if you enjoy this habit, I recommend striving to wear high-quality clothing no matter where you go.

#122. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Kindness is contagious. When you do something nice for a stranger for no reason, they feel good and will hopefully pass it on to someone else. Everybody wins, and the world is a slightly better place. That’s why you should consider practicing random acts of kindness whenever you’re out in the world.

Random acts of kindness are about being a good civic-minded person. It means caring for strangers in the same way you would for friends and family. The best part? It doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day. Here’s how to do it.

Description: The best time for this habit is when you’re around other people. So this could be during a commute, while shopping, or when running errands. These are the times when most folks feel hectic and stressed. You can brighten their day a little by committing to at least one act of kindness whenever you’re outside your home. All you need to do is look for those opportunities to help others.

This can include:

•      Helping an elderly person with their groceries
•      Paying for a person’s coffee who is behind you in line
•      Helping someone whose car is broken down on the side of the road
•      Writing “thank you” notes for public officials, police, and the military
•      Looking for reasons to compliment strangers
•      Helping a lost child find his or her family
•      Seeing someone who looks lost and helping them find their destination
•      Holding doors open for others
•      Asking someone who is crying if there is anything you can do for them
•      Leaving behind random, positive notes to brighten a stranger’s day
•      Adding a couple of coins to a parking meter about to expire
•      Keeping your hotel room relatively clean so the maid’s job is easier
•      Chiming in with nice things to say about a person when others are spreading gossip
•      Picking up trash and recyclables that you see on the street or in the woods
•      Leaving big tips for a waiter or waitress
•      Printing extra copies of an Internet discount and giving them to people in the store

Also, if you want to see what others are doing and share some of your own experiences with this habit, check out Kindness.org, which is a social media site for people interested in helping others.

If you do small things for others, you make the world a better place while giving yourself the satisfaction that you’re helping someone in need.

#123. Serve Others

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: If you live or work with others, the daily practice of helping others is something you should consider. Not only will this give you a spiritual boost, but it also gives you an appreciation for the important people in your life.

Another benefit of serving others is that it provides a break from your current troubles. Instead of stressing over a project, you can use your free time to help someone else. This is a great way to increase your morale and level of happiness.

Description: Serving others doesn’t have to be a massive undertaking. All that’s required is to take a few minutes to put someone else first. You could:

•      Do a chore that another family member is responsible for, like the laundry, dishes, or taking out the garbage
•      Help someone you see struggling with their bags or other items
•      Make (or bring) coffee for everyone at work or at home
•      Bring in donuts/bagels for the people you work with
•      Drive a friend to work
•      Make breakfast for your family
•      Hold open the door for others until the entire crowd is through the door
•      Let others pull in front of you while driving

Based on these examples, you can see that it’s not hard to serve others. Sure, these actions might seem insignificant, but doing the small things for other people goes a long way toward making you feel better.

#124. Schedule a Volunteering Activity

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Weekly or monthly

Benefit: As the Dalai Lama once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

The meaning of this quote is this: When you look for ways to help others and make the world a better place, you will find internal happiness from these actions. A great way to do this is to create a weekly or monthly habit of scheduling a volunteering activity for you and your family.

Here are six benefits of volunteering:

1.      You can leverage your existing skills. Volunteering doesn’t always mean you’ll work mindlessly at a soup kitchen, ladling potatoes and carrots onto trays. Instead, you can find volunteer opportunities based on your existing skills that can help others.
•      For instance, if you’re good with computers, you could volunteer to teach basic computer skills to the elderly. This helps others while also solidifying your existing skillset.
2.      You grow as a person. It can be beneficial to volunteer for projects that help you build skills. Projects like Habitat for Humanity will teach you basic construction skills that you can use for your home. Or even a simple day of volunteering to clear brush from the side of the road can relieve stress from your busy workweek.
3.      You gain appreciation for your free time. This might seem counterintuitive, but volunteering can create a feeling that you have more time because you’ll feel less rushed all the time. In an article published in the Harvard Business Review, Professor Mogilner discovered that people who volunteer feel like they have more time. Their perception of time is that they feel less constrained, stressed, and rushed.
•      To quote Mogilner, “The results show that giving your time to others can make you feel more ‘time affluent’ and less time-constrained than wasting your time, spending it on yourself, or even getting a windfall of free time.”
4.      You build a larger social network. Volunteering is a great way to meet people. More importantly, you’ll connect with people who are thoughtful and care about the welfare of others. Who knows? You may find friends or even romance while sharing your time helping others.
5.      You improve your physical fitness. Volunteering often involves doing physical activity on your days off. Spending a day outside volunteering is a lot better for your health than spending the same day indoors, checking email, or watching television.
6.      You help others. Of course, the most important benefit of volunteering is to help others in your community. The positive impact in other people’s lives is something that can never be measured.

As you can see, volunteering can be beneficial in many ways, but it’s also an activity that doesn’t fit neatly into a regular stack.

My suggestion is to dedicate five to ten minutes each week (or month) to identify upcoming opportunities and schedule them into your calendar. This is similar to how you’d plan a fun activity for you and your family. So, let’s talk about how to do that next.

Description: One of the biggest barriers to volunteering is uncertainty. You might want to help, but you’re unsure about how much time it requires or where to get started. By scheduling an activity in advance, you’ll eliminate any excuse for not helping others.

There are three ways to find volunteering opportunities in your immediate area.

First, most local libraries and community centers have posted flyers and advertisements for organizations that need help. If you can’t find any, ask a staff member where you can find information about different activities that are coming up.

Next, the Internet is also a good option for finding volunteer opportunities. There are three different websites that I would recommend:

•      http://www.volunteermatch.org
•      http://www.idealist.org/
•      http://www.pointsoflight.org/handsonnetwork

The first two websites are similar to one another. You can search your area by the type of organization or do a search based on a specific skill. The third website only has the option to search by the type of organization you’d like to help.

Finally, you can work with your local church to find volunteering opportunities. Most faith-based groups regularly organize activities where members help others while spreading the word about their religion. You can find information on these activities by attending a service and checking out the weekly bulletins that they hand out.

It’s not hard to find volunteering opportunities in your area. Instead of doing it at the last minute, you can set aside time each week to find and schedule an activity.

#125. Donate to a Charitable Organization

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Monthly

Benefit: Like many of the spiritual habits, you can feel better about yourself by looking for ways to help others. One way to do this is to send money to charitable organizations every month. Not only will this provide you with a psychological boost, but it’s also a tax-deductible expense.

Description: The one concern that many people have about charities is knowing how much money actually goes to those who need it (instead of lining the pockets of the people who run these organizations). Sure, some money needs to be spent on administration fees and to pay the salaries of the workers, but you want to avoid the organizations that charge a high percent of fees.

Fortunately, it’s easy to identify the charities that funnel the highest percentage of the money to the people who need it. Every organization must report what they receive in donations and exactly where they spend their money. This makes it simple to figure out where to best focus your charitable donations.

My preferred site for finding this information is GiveWell.org, which focuses on finding the best charities based on four criteria:

1.      Effectiveness
2.      Cost-effectiveness
3.      Transparency
4.      Room for more funding

What I like about GiveWell is its simplicity. Instead of using a ranking system like other services, it simply tells you which ones are the best.

That said, if you prefer a ranking system to evaluate a prospective charity, then a good alternative option is Charity Navigator. This site details all the facts on record about the most popular charities, including information like:

•      How much they spend on administration (this should be a low percentage unless they have a large staff to promote the charity, like the Red Cross or YMCA)
•      How much they spend on advertising
•      How much from every donation goes to the direct recipients
•      An overall score and rating

My advice is to spend time each month researching a charitable organization that you’ll continuously support. Focus on a few groups that align with your personal beliefs and then set up an automatic withdrawal from your account that goes out every month. Then you can use this monthly habit to review these automatic withdrawals to decide if you’d like to maintain this donation or make an adjustment (e.g., increase or decrease the amount you donate).

#126. Practice Recycling

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Weekly

Benefit: Recycling is of tremendous benefit to the environment because it lessens the amount of garbage you’re putting into the world. (Plus, it’s really easy to do.)

Description: Recycling might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s just a matter of knowing what can and can’t be recycled, then making sure these items are put in the right place. Here are a few pointers to get you started:

•      Purchase separate containers for each type of item you’ll recycle. Simply call your town to find out what items they accept and then include a bin for each one. This means you could have containers for glass, plastic, aluminum, papers, and cardboard.
•      Before you throw away any other item, ask yourself, “Is this recyclable?” If you’re not sure, look on Google to get an answer.
•      Wash food out of recyclable containers, such as sauce jars. Those who work at the recycling center will appreciate you taking the time to remove the food, which can spoil quickly and become repulsive.
•      Hold onto items that still have some use. Recycling is all about reusing things, and this can start at home. If you wash out a jar and realize that it’s the perfect size to store loose change, then hold onto it. Not only are you helping the environment, but you’re also saving money on new jars.
•      See how much you can recycle each week. If your garbage output is much higher than your recycling output, think about how you can change this so that you recycle more than you throw away.

Recycling is just one action you can do to reduce the environmental impact that you and your family have on the world. Sure, it requires a time and financial investment, but it is a small sacrifice to make the world better for future generations.

#127. Commit to Conservation-Friendly Activities

Type: Support habit

Best time to complete: Anytime

Frequency: Daily

Benefit: Another way to positively impact the environment is to make changes on a personal level. While we can’t be expected to all go off the grid and live in mud houses, changing a few wasteful habits in your day-to-day life is a great way to show your appreciation for the environment and the natural resources that we all depend upon.

Description: Being conservation-friendly is just as much a matter of undoing bad habits as it is doing good habits. When you go about your day, take a moment to consider the environmental impact of your decisions and what you can do to lessen it, such as:

•      Taking shorter showers. People use 80–100 gallons of water a day on average, and much of that comes from our showers. Set a timer for five minutes or less for your showers.
•      Unplugging electronics when you’re not using them. Even if your television is turned off, it’s still consuming power through being plugged in. Simply take a moment to get up and unplug it after turning it off.
•      Using reusable bags when shopping. A canvas shopping bag is much better for the environment than a paper or plastic one, and is also more durable and holds many more groceries.
•      Eating less meat. Preparing livestock animals for meat has a huge impact on the environment. By going without meat for at least one meal a day, you are reducing your carbon footprint.
•      Limiting car usage. Driving a car everywhere you go has a substantial impact on the environment and is sometimes unnecessary. If somewhere you need to go is close enough, take the time to walk or bike instead of driving.

This handful of habits can have a positive long-term impact on the planet. By thinking carefully about what you do daily, you can take a few tiny steps to reducing your carbon footprint.