5 Easy Ways to Live The Good Life in 2014

Goodlifer: 5 Easy Ways to Live The Good Life in 2014

A new year is such a good excuse to wipe the slate clean and start improving our lives. We give New Year’s Resolutions, buy gym memberships and join the organic food co-op — all in hope of turning into slightly better versions of ourselves.  The problem is that most of us set our goals too high. Making life-altering changes is not easy. Setting smaller goals and starting out slowly will greatly improve your chances of success. Here are five simple changes you can make today that will help you live the good life in 2014.

Take a Break from Technology
Many of us spend most of our days in front of some sort of screen, which makes it even more important to shut down and make a point of just being in the real world. Try leaving the house to go for a hike or dinner with friends without bringing your phone, it really makes us uncomfortable, but maybe that’s exactly why it’s needed. Read an actual book when you get home at night instead of watching TV or playing games on the tablet, play board games instead of video games, or flip through your old photo albums instead of scrolling through Instagram. Whatever it is, try to take a break from technology every day. The Dalai Lama agrees.

Go to Bed Earlier
As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. We are way more productive in the early morning hours than we are at night, and — sorry night owls — getting up early just feels so much better than staying up late. Make a point of going to bed just a little bit earlier each day, until you reach a bed time that feels just right for you. And leave the electronics out of the bedroom if you can. The light from the screen tricks our brains into thinking it’s daylight, which disrupts our circadian rhythm and can cause (Facebook-induced) insomnia. Take inspiration from Benjamin Franklin’s daily routine.

Eat Fewer Processed Foods
Half the people who started diets on January 1st have probably cheated on them by now. Skip the crazy weight-loss schemes and focus on improving the way you eat instead. Processed foods have contributed greatly to our population’s weight gain over the past decades, and cutting out these unnatural food-like substances from your diet will bring you a long way toward better health. One of my fitness coaches once said: “If it comes in a bag, a box, a can or a jar, it’s not food.” Although that’s not true for everything, it’s a good rule to commit to memory. Also try not to buy anything that has a list of ingredients that takes up the whole side of the package, and has lots of things you couldn’t even guess how to pronounce.

Try Intermittent Fasting
Almost every culture and religion recommends or incorporates some kind of fasting regime, so there must be something to it, right? Fasting doesn’t have to be difficult if it’s broken down into smaller periods of time. Intermittent Fasting involves giving your body a break to allow it to burn and digest what is already in your system (including unwanted fat reserves). This can be done many different ways — by eating a limited number of calories two days per week (a practice made popular in England and other parts of Europe by the 5:2 diet) or limiting the number of hours per day you consume food, eating only between 11am and 7pm, for example. There’s mounting scientific evidence that Intermittent Fasting could have a highly beneficial impact on your health and longevity. Because it’s done for short periods of time, it’s much easier to stick to than diets that require you to give up foods you love for extended periods of time. When not fasting, you can eat just like you normally would.

Practice Gratitude
Although it may sound simple, practicing gratitude in all aspects of life is not as easy as it sounds. Whenever you feel something irritating you, when things are not going your way or when things become difficult, try to change your mindset to instead thinking about all the good things in your life. We all have many many things to be grateful for, and taking a moment to reflect on them will shift your perspective and make you happier and more harmonious. Say ‘thank you’ and really mean it, don’t just do it on autopilot like many of us tend to. It makes a difference. Life is a gift, be grateful for each day.


About author
A designer by trade, Johanna has always had a passion for storytelling. Born and raised in Sweden, she's lived and worked in Miami, Brooklyn and, currently, Ojai, CA. She started Goodlifer in 2008 to offer a positive outlook for the future and share great stories, discoveries, thoughts, tips and reflections around her idea of the Good Life. Johanna loves kale, wishes she had a greener thumb, and thinks everything is just a tad bit better with champagne (or green juice).
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What constitutes the good life? It’s a question we’ve asked ourselves since the dawn of time and something we all strive for. To us, the good life is not a destination but a journey. We want to see more positivity in the world. Thinking happy thoughts makes for happy people, and happy people are more productive, innovative and at peace with the world. We believe in the transformative power of good news.

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