Tips to Make Life Better - What Works for Me

Much about the new year is theoretical. We hear a lot about setting goals, choosing a verse or a word for the year, and reevaluating our priorities. But what about the nitty gritty? The stuff we deal with every day? I’m talking dirty dishes and trash cans, not Scripture memorization and tithing. Common sense wisdom.

Wisdom isn’t intelligence. Wisdom is knowing how to use our intelligence to make our lives better. Today I’m going to deviate from my normally spiritually-minded content and share some street smarts, some breadcrumbs of wisdom I’ve gathered along the trail. I don’t take credit for most of it. Like almost everything good in my life, I have it because someone shared it with me. So here goes.

What Works for Me: 

Hold kind words tightly and hurtful words loosely. Revel in compliments. Write them down. Tell your best friend. Savor them. Do the opposite for hurtful ones. Don’t empower them by holding them close to your heart or making a home for them. Extract any nuggets of truth and discard the rest. As one friend often says, “Eat the fish and spit out the bones.” 

Winston is my favorite furry friend. David's pretty special, too.
Pet your dog or cat every day. Scratch his ears, rub his belly, toss his ball. Go ahead, kiss his fuzzy head if you feel like it. Studies have shown that petting an animal reduces blood pressure and lifts depression. 

Clean up spills immediately. They only get worse with time. This includes stove tops and refrigerators. Wash toothpaste globs and whiskers down the drain before they stick. 

Keep a running grocery list on your fridge. Don't trust your memory. When you use the last of something or notice you’re almost out, write it down. Don’t forget to take the list with you. 

Wipe your bathroom vanity top with tissue after a steamy shower. It doesn’t sanitize, but it’s great for a quick shine. 

Pay someone a sincere compliment every day. The recipient will feel great, and so will you. 

Floss. This habit, which takes about a minute a day, will help protect your teeth, gums, heart, and kidneys. I have dental patients who need joint replacement surgery but can’t have it because they have diseased or infected teeth and gums. Reputable surgeons require patients to have a clean bill of dental health prior to surgery, so think ahead. It’s never too late to start. Unless you’ve already lost your teeth :( . 

If you work at a desk, get up and move every hour or work standing up some of the time. Even if you just take a lap around the office or a walk to the water fountain, moving every hour improves our circulation and clears our minds. On days when I work at home, I intersperse times of sitting with a walk in the neighborhood or five minutes of strength-building exercises. Other times I take a 10-minute break to throw dinner in the crock pot or a load of laundry in the washer. 

Turn off the television. When you reach the end of your life, do you really want to explain spending that much time doing something with no eternal value? 

Put an old, damp sock over your hand and wipe your ceiling fans at least once a month. When you’re finished, turn the sock inside out and throw it away. 

If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water. My husband’s dietitian tells us that our bodies can’t distinguish between being thirsty and hungry. It just knows it’s craving something. Many times a big glass of water gets rid of the craving without adding unneeded calories. Toss a lemon or lime wedge in it for extra flavor. 

Count your blessings. Literally. Write at least three a day in a thankful journal or blessing jar. Verbalize them. Find a parking spot close to the front? Thank God aloud. Experience a near miss in traffic, thank God for protecting you. Pass a homeless man on the street? Thank God for providing your needs every day. Concentrate on what you have instead of what you don’t. 

Carry non-perishable food in your car. My food of choice is packages of peanut butter or cheese crackers. I keep an 8-pack box under the front seat of my car. If I pass a homeless person begging on a street corner, I hand him a box of crackers as I go by. It may not be much, but at least I know he won’t be hungry for one meal. 

Change your dishcloth every day. Nasty bacteria grows in warm, damp fabric, and the last thing we want to do is wash dishes and utensils with a germ-filled cloth. Yuck. 

Eat more soup. Soup is a great way to feed fiber-rich veggies to your family. Use a tomato base instead of calorie- and fat-laden cream varieties for maximum nutrition. Using your crock pot will help minimize dishes. And there’s nothing nicer than an inexpensive, hot meal waiting for you after a long day of work. 

If you’re married, at least once a week, go to bed before you’re sleepy. ‘Nuff said. Figure it out. 

Give money away. Sponsor a missionary, adopt a Compassion child, or donate to your favorite charity. Give to your church out of every paycheck. If you don’t think you can afford to give, tally up what you spend on Starbucks coffee, cable TV, or fast food. Everyone can give something. Remember the widow’s mite. 

The next time you have a longer car ride ahead of you, call a friend or relative you haven’t talked to in a while. Even if you only reach their voice mail, tell them you're thinking of them. Finish with a quick prayer for his or her well being. Instead of wasting your commute time, you’ve reached out to someone special to you. 

At least once a month, have lunch with a friend. If you don’t have money to go out, brown bag it and meet at a park or food court. If you think you’re too busy, do it twice a month. Friendships are like rare and precious orchids. They wither if you neglect them. 

This is a little bit of what works for me. Now it’s your turn. What works for you? Leave a comment below and share your wisdom.

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. These tips are great, practical ones!

    1. Sometimes, Nikki, we just have to talk about the toothpaste globs in the sink, don't we?? Thanks for being such a faithful reader :)