25 Brilliant Life Hacks Certified Life Coaches Learn That Everyone Should Know
Once considered a bit fringe, life coaches now seem totally mainstream. And life hacks, once forwarded through email chains, are now a really productive lens to view small ways to feel better and get more done. Put together, life hacks from certified life coaches are some of the best pearls of wisdom out there.
These general hacks are great to incorporate into your daily life regardless of how old you are, what your lifestyle looks like, or what specific issues you're dealing with. They are small rituals you can add, or perspectives you can try, to feel better.
Although similar in some ways, life coaches are different from therapists because they do not treat specific mental illnesses, but rather help you work through larger life questions. While there are a variety of training programs life coaches go through, they all learn how to tailor their insight to your benefit. "Having a life coach is like having your own personal, walking, talking human compass," professional certified coach Pam Thomas tells Bustle. "While life coaches don’t consult and tell you how to get where you want to go, they do bring a mixture of curiosity, cool questions, and tons of heart to help you figure out your direction and that solutions that work best for you." And through their careers of giving advice, they come up with some amazing life hacks.
Whether or not you decide hiring a life coach is right for you, their advice is applicable to almost everyone.
Here are 25 brilliant life hacks from life coaches that everyone should know.
1. Set A Timer For Your Most Overwhelming Tasks
This life hack is perfect for when you have something that you absolutely need to do (clean your room, send that email), but can't quite motivate yourself to do it.
"If you have an overwhelming task or something unpleasant that you just don't feel like doing, setting a timer can be a lifesaver," board certified coach Helen Godfrey, tells Bustle. "The key is to pick an amount of time that doesn't feel overwhelming." Something that you do 10 minutes per day is bound to feel less overwhelming, so set a little timer next time you need to start getting a project done.
2. Yawn And Stretch In The Morning
One of the most famous life hacks is making your bed first thing in the morning. If you already do that, however, or you just don't see that happening, try this other life coach-approved early morning hack.
"Yawn and stretch when you first wake up in the morning," certified life and rapid results coach Joyce Blue, tells Bustle. "It helps raise your energy and circulate the fluids in your body that have pooled while you have been sleeping." You'll get your blood and limbs ready for the day, and wake yourself up a bit in the process.
3. Write Down Your Daily Accomplishments And Goals
If to-do lists are altogether too overwhelming for you, this life hack can help you reframe goal-setting and prioritize feeling proud of what you've already done.
"At the end of the day, write down what you accomplished during the day," certified life coach Rock Hudson, tells Bustle. "Write down three things you want to get done tomorrow." Starting with documenting what you've already done can help make what you have yet to do seem a little less intimidating.
4. Bribe Yourself
Bribing yourself doesn't have to mean giving into major indulgences. Rather, this life hack is a way to get through the tasks you least want to do, while rewarding yourself for what you've done after you've put in hard work.
"If you have an unpleasant task and you just can't get motivated to start, why not bribe yourself?" Godfrey says. "Set a deadline and decide upon your reward. A movie? A pedicure? A massage? A day off from chores? You decide." Keeping a promise to yourself can help you break the spell of beating yourself up, and help power you through a task you've been putting off.
5. Put An Inspirational Quote Somewhere Where You'll See It Every Day
Putting sticky notes on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror isn't just stuff that movie characters do. This little life hack can actually be a major mindset shift, and is a particularly appealing one if you have a busy schedule or want to set small goals for now.
"Put a quote on your wall that inspires you to be the person you want to be," Hudson says. "Put it where you will see it daily. You don’t have to interact with it or think about it. Slowly but surely it will start affecting the way you interact with the world." Just let the quote absorb as you go through your daily life.
6. Reward Yourself For Small Accomplishments
In life, you probably are only used to getting rewarded for your biggest accomplishments. But leaning into a life hack where you reward yourself for the things you do as an investment in yourself can help you feel less wayfaring on the way to bigger milestones.
"A small investment in yourself can bring huge rewards," Godfrey says. "Not only will you accomplish more, you will feel replenished [...] Self-care can prevent you from burning out in your job and relationships." Taking the time to acknowledge your successes is a form of self-care.
7. Celebrate All Your Wins
If tangible rewards aren't really your thing, try shifting your perspective towards celebration. You deserve to be your own biggest cheerleader.
"One thing I like to do is put my accomplishments in my planner," Godfrey says. "I have a blank page and write them down as they happen. To me, this is validating. It is easy to simply move on to the next thing, and the next thing and the next thing. It never stops. Celebrate! Document! Review! Cheer yourself on! You are doing more than you realize." For even the busiest, most nonstop people, adding this moment of recognition can provide major relief.
8. Cut Your Goals In Half
If you're too caught up in your 10-year-plan, and perhaps struggling with where you are on that level, try scaling back. Look at your five year plan instead. Ideally, look at the even-smaller picture.
"When I work with clients, if they tell me they are going to apply for 30 jobs that week, I have them cut it down to 15," Godfrey says. " [...] It feels good to overachieve but it doesn't feel good to not reach our goals. Set lower goals and then, if life happens that week, you won't feel discouraged. If you surpass your goals, you will feel accomplished." So if you're too stuck on arbitrary numbers for the goals in your head, cut them in half.
9. Recognize The Power Of Choice
If you feel out of control, this life hack focused on the power of choice is great for you.
"There is a lot of power in choosing," Thomas says "Even when we choose to do nothing, just recognizing that we always have a choice helps us to stay connected to our own personal power in any given situation. So I ask myself in difficult situations, 'What do I choose?' Not only does this help me to take back my own personal power in the situation, but it helps me to respond [instead of] react." So if your choice is to do nothing, at least you can feel reassured that you made the best choice for you.
10. Decide There's No Such Thing As Rejection
If you're feeling beaten down, try shifting your perspective with a life hack that reaffirms your place in the universe.
"Remember that there is no such thing as rejection," Thomas says. "If something doesn’t work out, it’s just the Universe’s way of protecting us from something or someone that is not a great fit for us so we have the room for something or someone that is. This has worked every single time for myself and for my clients because it stops the fear of rejection in its tracks and replaces it with a feeling of empowerment and action." Whatever you feel is the nature of the plan for your life, rejection is part of getting you there.
11. Talk Lovingly To The Voice In Your Head
Talking to your negative thoughts (a.k.a. the voice in your head) is actually a deeply-rooted concept in psychotherapy. Stemming from a place of loving and healing, this method can work even if you aren't dealing with a mental health diagnosis.
"So instead of yelling [at the negative voice in your head] or ignoring it, say 'thank you' to it," Thomas says. "[Say], tThank you for reminding me that what I’m about to do is important to me.'" So try to quiet the voice by switching negative perspectives to positive ones. You may feel more powerful.
12. Take Ownership Of Your Feelings
It's never fun to experience strong emotions, followed by self-judgment for those emotions. Finding a way to feel empowered even in the worst moments can help you feel more confident in the long run.
"Angry? Own it," certified life coach Nick Hatter tells Bustle. "Unhappy? Own it. Empowerment comes via responsibility. The more ownership we take for our emotions and our lives, the more empowered we become. Accept the things you cannot change, and change the things you can." Taking away the mental clutter of judging yourself can help you feel stronger.
13. Take Breaks Where You're Completely Unplugged
If social media breaks aren't your thing, that's just fine. But regardless of your online habits, you likely can stand to get unplugged for a little bit. You can get stuff done later.
"Take breaks where you are completely unplugged," certified life coach Nancie Vito, tells Bustle. "This might seem counterintuitive — however, if you don’t take downtime you won’t be as productive or efficient in the end. Give yourself permission to replenish and recharge your batteries. Learn to accept that there will always be something on the to-do list, and there will always be something in the inbox." Even if this just means not looking at your phone while getting ready for bed, or staying off work emails during your commute, this little life hack is a great way to refresh.
14. Be "Selfish" In Relationships Sometimes
Being "selfish" to improve relationships doesn't mean becoming self absorbed; rather, it's about putting yourself first sometimes if you're not the kind of person who usually thinks this way.
"People can be self-focused without being self-absorbed and this will improve their relationships," certified professional life coach Laura Dabney, tells Bustle. "If you are doing something for others that hurts you, you need to stop and think of yourself. Once a client realizes that they do not need to help others at their expense their relationships (and life!) greatly improve. Being selfish is not a bad thing." This life hack is particularly helpful if you've found other people have taken advantage of you in the past.
15. Set A Mindfullness Reminder
If you find yourself struggling to take breaks, then schedule them. Mindfulness can seem like a lofty concept, but it really doesn't have to take that much time or energy.
"Set a mindfulness bell on your phone three times a day and take three deep cleansing breaths through your nose and out your mouth," Blue says. "It can help align your energy and refocus your thoughts." This life hack is perfect if you need small, attainable goals.
16. Practice "Kaizen"
If you want to start a new hobby, learn a skill, or reach a long-term goal, then the Japanese productivity technique known as kaizen, or continuous improvement, might be right for you.
“The technique is simple — you commit to doing something for one minute," certified life coach Kiah Wakefield, tells Bustle. "You practice doing something for a single minute every day preferably the same time each day. One minute is such a small amount of time that is difficult for people to find excuses. People can accomplish anything they desire if they just start, and starting is the most difficult part. Kaizen helps you start." A minute is a good amount of time when it comes to committing yourself to something.
17. Talk To The Universe Once A Day
No matter your beliefs or lack thereof concerning religion or spirituality, building in a life hack where you get in touch with the cosmos in everyday life can vastly improve your feelings about your place in the world.
According to certified life coach Christina Giaquinto, if you want, you can call these moments "prayers." "Do not overcomplicate it," Giaquinto tells Bustle. "Simply saying, 'thank you for this day,' as you drive to work is a prayer [...] It is important to show gratitude for all we have, especially during the times we feel we don't have enough. It is extra important during those times. There is always something to be grateful for." Through these moments of gratitude, you can communicate with a deeper sense of purpose.
18. Give Yourself Breathing Room Before Making Committments
If you feel like you're always saying "yes," perhaps more than you should be, then this life hack is perfect for you. Rather than agreeing you need to start saying "no," to things more, this life hack simply suggests you take more time to consider your commitments.
"Reclaim your time and energy by giving yourself some breathing room before making a commitment," certified life coach Musa Francis, tells Bustle. " [...] When someone asks us to commit our time or effort to something, we often feel under pressure to give an answer on the spot. We’ll often find ourselves saying yes even though we are unsure or we want to say no. We can take the pressure off by giving ourselves some breathing room to think." Simply saying you'll check back in later can give you the mental space you need.
19. Declutter Your Toxic Relationships
Being able to identify toxic relationships is a really important skill in adulthood. Ridding yourself of these unhealthy bonds may require a little life hacking.
"Declutter your toxic relationships," Giaquinto says. "Be conscience of who you surround yourself with. This will have a direct correlation on your mindset and quality of life." Spend less time with people who drain you or bring you down, even if it means spending one more night at home this week. You'll likely feel less weighed down.
20. Create Your Own "Zen Den"
If you're always on the move, it may feel impossible to slow down between all of your different commitments. Whether its your desk, your car, or somewhere else, creating your own personal space for mindfulness during the day can prove really helpful.
“My favorite life hack is to make my car a portable 'zen den,'" ICF-credentialed coach Laura Weldy, tells Bustle. "[...] I noticed about a year ago that I was having a hard time finding space for mediation and journaling, and felt constantly stressed. Now, I plan to arrive to all my appointments ten minutes early. This gives me the space to not feel rushed, and I can use the extra few minutes to sit in my (parked, of course!) car and use those mindfulness tactics." Weldy uses guided meditation and the notes app to calm down, and stacks some essential oils in her console. Whatever works for you — it's possible to fit wellness into your routine.
21. Reframe Goals As Questions
Getting hung up on seemingly-unattainable goals or roadblocks happens to everyone. So instead of repeating these problems over and over, try changing them to questions.
"[Ask] 'what fuels me?' 'how can I live with greater purpose?' [or] 'where do I want to be in 5 years?'" Georgetown University leadership training program and collective gain certified coach Katie Gigax, tells Bustle. "Our brains are wired to answer questions and the simple act of framing a challenge as a question makes it easier for our brains to see answers." If you don't know where you want to go, ask yourself how you want to feel. Reframing your narrative can be healing.
22. Shift Your Notion Of A To-Do List
Even if you've started writing down your accomplishments, writing down what is left to do can still feel overwhelming. If this struggle is one you're stuck on, try changing how you view it.
“If you find yourself dreading your to-do list, consider reframing it into a ‘things I'm completing’ or ‘things I'm creating’ list instead," Weldy says. "This silly shift helps both me and my clients by reminding us that we have power in every situation, and that the tasks we complete are ultimately our choice." Create a shorter, more mindful list of things you're creating for a week to see if it feels less daunting.
23. Organize Everything, Including Your Thoughts
While most certified life coaches are probably much better organized than the majority of the population, their emphasis on keeping things decluttered is actually a really important life hack for the masses.
Starting internally on this step is important. "Declutter your internal clutter by taking a pen and paper and writing everything that is on your mind," Giaquinto says. "Don't try and make it fancy. Start with this one step. Declutter your mind, and you are on the path to organizing your life." Organizing your bookshelf is likely going to be less intimidating if you already have your thoughts and goals in order.
24. Have A Self-Care Mantra
If you are always on the go, reminding yourself to schedule time for self-care is one thing. Accepting that self-care is a worthwhile pursuit, however, is a completely different hurdle.
Blue's favorite motto is "self-care isn't selfish," she says. "No one can give from an empty cup," Blue says. "Make sure you are getting the rest you need and that it's OK to set boundaries and say no when you need to. It will allow you to give more powerfully to those around you." Find and repeat whatever saying works for you to help remind you that feeling better is a worthwhile goal.
25. Ask For Help
Asking for help may seem too simple and straightforward to be a life hack, but until everyone who needs help asks for it, it definitely classifies.
"Many times in life we are limited by our own perspective and 'cognitive bias,'" Hatter says. "But if you have someone such as a life coach or a therapist, they can help you discover subconscious limiting beliefs that drive negative behaviors. This can get you answers and insights much faster than meditating or thinking on it. Make life easier for yourself and ask for help, rather than trying to figure out all of your problems alone!" Getting a loved one or a professional on board to help you with your problems, even the seemingly small ones, can exponentially improve your wellbeing.
Whether you think it's time to hire a life coach, seek professional mental health support, or simply look for little ways to improve your daily life, getting life hacks straight from coaches themselves can be a great way to change your daily rituals. From new habits to perspective shifts, these life hacks are great for being more productive and feeling more self-assured.