Lately I have been encountering quite a number of friends who are “under the weather”, I know how it exactly feels and it doesn’t make you a weak person to acknowledge feelings of sadness or even depression. I personally define depression as a feeling like you’ve lost something but having no clue when or where you last had it then one day you realize what you lost is yourself. Been there done that and yes, it may happen even without triggers and that’s where the struggle is deep and real, that’s when looking at the bright side, no matter how difficult it may be, pays off and that there is always hope and happiness at the end of the road.

Studies have shown that it takes an average of 21 days to form a habit but you need to practice it daily, step by step, one day at a time. Add a pinch of willpower and the dish is complete. Change is never easy – precisely the reason why we can never rush its expected results in a snap of a finger. Make an effort to take baby and manageable steps towards positive changes in your life. The simple act of getting started and doing something will gain you the momentum you need towards the upward spiral of positive change you envision to achieve. Sharing with you 21 “start-up” tips you may want to do one day at a time to complete 21 days of simple changes in your life to form a sustainable habit of how you perceive your good self to be and eventually unmask the sadness and live life to its fullest. Challenge yourself is the key, so here it goes –

Day 1- Do one new task every day or at least make an effort to do so. Variety is the spice of life; monotony dries everything up. You can see or do something a thousand times but you can only see or do it for the first time only once – result of which is a reflective mark in our lives.

Day 2- Encourage others by using words or statements that are positive. It makes a big difference to modify one’s attitude towards a situation by one’s choice of words. Encourage a smile in others instead of a frown. Choose to speak and acknowledge simple things that make you happy – it matters.

Day 3- Render one selfless act each day. We reap what we sow. When you make a positive impact in one’s life, you reflect it back to you – and you will be blessed a thousand-fold.

Day 4- Learn and practice a new skill each day. In real life, one has to be “street smart”. Theories stated in books are just foundations, but actual practice is different – in the end, it is all that matters.

Day 5- Teach someone something new. We are not perfect. We all have our own individual strengths and talents, and these are all “for sharing”. We tend to take these gifts for granted, what comes easy for you may be dramatically difficult to another. So take some time out to help others, it will be much of a help to ease the sadness.

Day 6- Dedicate special time each day in taking part in something you are passionate about or go back to it – a hobby, a religious refuge, the list goes on. Make time. At the end of the day, this engagement brings happiness and meaning into our lives.

Day 7- Try to concentrate on being positive. No matter how heavy things can be, try to put a positive spin into it. People who think optimistically see the world as a place overflowing with endless opportunities most especially during the darkest of times. Mind over matter.

Day 8- Acknowledge the lesson in inconvenient situations. Remember that everything that happens carries a lesson along with it.

Day 9- Be attentive and enjoy life as it happens. You are where you are now because of the ups and downs that have happened to you in the past. The key is to concentrate on a little less on “doing” and a little more on “being.”

Day 10- Discard one unpleasant habit a day. Discard clutter – both external and internal. Expect inconvenience at first and resistance, but in the end your heart and mind will thank you for it.

Strength grows in the moments when you think you can’t go on but you keep going anyway.

Day 11- Begin and create something new each day. Find something you love and create something related to it – in the end, it would definitely make all the difference in your life.

Day 12- Be true to yourself. Stop deceiving yourself into believing what you have been avoiding, instead, speak from your heart – you can do it. It will set you free.

Day 13- Acknowledge and accept that there will be good days and bad days but keep in your heart the fact that it doesn’t rain all the time and that there’s always sunshine at the end of it all.

Day 14- Identify one long-term goal and work on it for one-hour every day. Break down this long-term goal into small components and focus on achieving each piece one day at a time. Take a small dream and make it a reality.

Day 15- Every morning as soon as you wake up – watch, read or listen to something that will inspire you. Everybody needs a little pep talk to energize one’s day.

Day 16- Go back to the basics of “moving” at least 20 minutes each day. Health is wealth, remember that and exercise is indeed medicine in itself. Eat right, live right.

Day 17- Get uncomfortable and face a fear each day. The best way to overcome fear is to stare and dare it head on. Connect to your fear, feel it, realize it and steadily address it.

Day 18- Make time spending at least a few minutes on what went well for you for the day. Positive reflections remind us of the simple things in life we forget – it helps us celebrate our personal growth as individuals.

Day 19- Make an effort to have a conversation each day to someone you rarely speak to. Interacting with different people will open your mind to various ideas and perspectives. No two people are exactly alike. Everyone has a story to tell which we can learn from.

Day 20- Validate people who truly love you, motivate you, encourage you, embrace you and enhance you. If you have people in your life who do none of these, slowly let them go and make room for new and positive relationships. Leave no space for negativity and walk away from it.

Day 21- Affirm yourself each day. We are all special in our own way. We deserve the good things in life and no one has the right to put you down. Give yourself a pat in the back each day – you have done a great job.

Despite the struggles you face along the way, never give up on yourself. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and thrice as capable as you have ever imagined.