Meet our Summer 2019 Finalist SDL365 Achiever: Hannah Dixon!

By Janie O'Brien / Posted: Jul 16, 2019 / 0 Comments / Posted in Student's Corner

Hannah Dixon - Summer 2019 Finalist SDL365 Achiever

Finalist’s Profile

Name: Hannah Dixon

Institution: Brigham Young University

Bachelor’s: Sociology

Minor: English


Congratulations to Hannah, one of our finalists in the Summer 2019 SDL365 Achievers Scholarship! Her interesting essay “5 Daily Habits That Help Me Improve My Life” about little daily things that make our life easier was among our favorites. We are happy to offer her a $100 Second Prize in our contest. Congrats, Hannah!

5 Daily Habits That Help Me Improve My Life

It’s far too easy to work oneself into a victimized mindset. From a socioeconomic background to the weather, countless factors are just itching to influence our moods. But the real power comes with realizing that we choose what kind of life we lead, regardless of those factors. The choice to live a fuller, happier life doesn’t even require anything dramatic. It’s doable, daily habits, like drops of water slowly filling a glass, that become catalysts for change. Here are five simple daily habits that have helped me better my own life.

1. Take the Stairs

Comfort never leads to growth; why not avoid the easy way out? My college campus is literally built on a mountainous-Utah hill, so every morning, I face a steep four-flight trek to class.

A building with well-utilized elevators sits perched on the hillside, providing campus access by elevator, but I choose to use my working legs.

Skipping the ease of an elevator not only gives me a bit more physical exercise-benefits of which are deservedly lauded but also lets me exercise my ability to choose discomfort in the present for better future results.

For that invaluable skill, I’ll happily skip the elevator.

2. Take Time to Practice a New Skill

What if I watched one less online video and put those same 15 minutes toward learning something new? That’s exactly what I asked myself after hearing myself wistfully wish I could play guitar one time too many.

Just think; 15 minutes of talent-developing focus daily results in more than 90 hours of deliberate practice after only a year that’s almost four days of straight practice!

The biggest hurdle of a new habit is starting, but a leap and a few chords later, I’m happily inching my way toward guitar prowess. It’s true that the best investment someone can make is in himself.

I’m trying to do the same to keep up my Polish language skills after living in Poland, because the same principle applies to learn a language, and finding a moment to learn a new word lets me stay in contact with my friends there.

That’s another great perk of new skills: they allow us to influence both our own lives and the lives of others for the better.

3. Write a Note

As counterintuitive as it might seem, I’ve found that improving someone else’s day is a surefire way to improve my own. Whether a text, sticky note compliment, or letter, writing a note daily is not only a way to flex writing skills but also a means to help people feel appreciated and loved.

I’ve noticed that when I make note-writing a habit, I look harder for reasons to be grateful. I am more open to lifting others up as they do me, and I think those connections with others are priceless.

4. Save a Dollar

Or any amount, really-even if I can’t set aside much, the principle is the same as setting aside skill-practicing time what you put in adds up fast. Especially as I work toward financial independence, developing a habit of saving is essential.

My life is full of examples showing that those who deliberately manage their money have freedom far beyond those who ignore their financial habits. Budgeting and building up even the smallest of reserves can take some sacrifice, but that sacrifice is clearly worth it.

I can trade finance-related stress for a sense of control when I know I have already decided to put my funds toward what will really be beneficial in the long run.

5. Touch Base With Your Core Beliefs

What’s important to you? What gives you drive, motivates you? Without core values moving us forward, we lack a reason to improve life at all.

It only makes sense that refocusing on these values should be a high priority. For me, this means developing my spirituality through prayer and study.

For others, this might mean daily meditation or a nature walk. If altruism is what makes your wheels turn, conscientiously reach out to serve others daily.

Big-picture goals and values give perspective and meaning to current achievements and temporary hardships. My core beliefs are what keep me grounded they are what help me see the life I want to live more brightly.

I am motivated by the saying, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the second-best time is now.” Small changes add up.

Let’s start doing the things that will make a difference in our lives for the better, and let’s start now.

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