Do you set New Year’s resolutions? I feel like I’m always trying to improve myself, so I don’t necessarily wait for the new year to work on creating good habits. But the beginning of a new year, month, week, or even day is a good time to think about the small changes you might want to make to improve your life.
The quality of our life is the result of many small habits and actions. We are all works in progress.
These “resolutions” are all good habits, and incorporating them into your life will make a HUGE difference.
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1. Keep your living space tidier
A chaotic and messy home can really affect your inner peace and productivity. If your bedroom or entire house are always a mess, you probably spend too much time looking for lost items. Maybe you spend an entire afternoon or day off cleaning once in a while in an attempt to catch up.
You could just start by putting away each item when you’re done with it, making your bed every day, and keeping up with the dishes.
Here’s a method of keeping your house clean in under 30 total minutes a day. And that’s spread out over the entire day, so you barely notice it.
2. Make a daily to-do list
Having a to-do list just makes a person more productive. And less forgetful. I keep several to-do lists in the Notes section of my phone. I don’t always have pen and paper handy, but I always have my phone. As I think of something I need or want to do, I just quickly add it to the list. There’s even a check mark emoticon you can use to check it off when you’re done!
Checking stuff off a list is just so satisfying.
Before you go to bed each night, make a short list of your top priorities for the next day. Maybe you need to pay your mortgage, pick up milk, and wish your friend a happy birthday. When your day gets busy, you’ll have that helpful reminder to ensure your top priorities get accomplished.
Here’s some tips on prioritizing your to-do list.
3. Lose 5 pounds
Ok, so maybe this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. But I’m pretty sure most people would love to lose five pounds. And even losing just five pounds can positively affect your health and happiness.
Imagine if your clothes felt more comfortable, your face looked thinner, and you were a little lighter on your feet. Believe it or not, losing even a few pounds can make a difference in the way your feel. And who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy the feeling so much that you’ll want to use the momentum of those five pounds to lose even more!
4. Move more
An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. Newton really knew what he was talking about. When your body is used to being sedentary, it likes to stay that way. Movement becomes harder because your muscles and joints are so stiff.
Since so much sitting is literally killing us, work on moving more. If you have a pedometer or FitBit, track your steps. Even your iPhone counts your step in the Health app. Make a goal and try to hit it each day.
Even if you don’t have a regular exercise routine, your body will love the opportunity to move more.
5. Read more
In addition to keeping your body more active, try reading some books this year to keep your mind active as well.
Reading is both entertaining and educational. You don’t have to read entire books if that’s a scary place to start (though I highly recommend it). Magazine articles and blog posts count too.
Reading makes a person more well-rounded and interesting. Here’s a great article about why it is important to read every day.
6. Drink water
Water is one of the most important elements of your health. Staying hydrated boosts your energy levels, makes your skin look better, and helps your brain work better. It flushes out toxins and can even help you lost weight!
Starting to drink more water is such an easy improvement to make in your life. There are so many cute, portable water bottles that ensure that you always have water close by. The insulated ones even keep your water cold for up to 24 hours.
If you don’t like plain water, try adding lemons. Or drink hot tea instead.
7. Pay off debt
It is so common to have debt in America, that many people don’t think anything of it. They have car payments, student loans, credit card debt, mortgages and second mortgages. This is not ideal!
By having debt, you’re paying more for absolutely everything. Banks aren’t doing you a favor by extending you credit, they’re just making themselves richer. The interest they earn from your debt is how they make money.
If you have debt, please consider reading Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. It will completely change the way you handle your money, and give you so much inspiration to pay off your debt. He lays out an action plan for having financial peace and gaining wealth.
Everyone can build wealth. Yes, even you.
8. Spend mindfully
In addition to paying off debt, another life changing way of handling money is to spend it more mindfully. That means paying attention to each dollar. Think through your purchases, and really ask yourself how important it is that you actually buy each item.
Every “thing” that you buy has to take up space in your home. Every restaurant meal or fancy coffee gets quickly consumed and…eliminated. Is it really worth spending your hard-earned money so readily? Once you spend that money, it’s gone forever.
Some people equate spending money with happiness. But saving money will make you happier in the long run than spending it ever will.
9. Strengthen your willpower
Every time you decline to spend money on something frivolous, you strengthen your willpower. Every time you go for a walk instead of laying on the couch, you gain a little more self-discipline. No one likes a spoiled child, so stop spoiling yourself at every opportunity.
People with self-control lead much more productive lives. Luxuries should be few and far between. That’s how to gain appreciation for all you have. Know when to treat yourself, and when to make wiser decisions.
If it sounds boring and restrictive to make ‘smart choices,’ remind yourself that you’re simply working on strengthening your willpower. Self-discipline is like a muscle, and the more you work on it, the easier it will be to flex it. Plus, remember that you’re technically still treating yourself. You’re treating your future self to all the benefits of having made those smarter choices.
10. Practice gratitude
I’ve heard it said that having gratitude is the difference between happy and unhappy people. I totally agree. Happy people are appreciative of all the blessings in their life – grateful for opportunities and able to find joy in the simplest things.
Some people keep a gratitude journal, where they write down what they’re thankful for each day. But you could start by thinking of one thing you’re grateful for in the morning, and one as you fall asleep at night.
Focusing on the positive aspects of your life makes your more optimistic and resilient. Grateful people are mentally and physically stronger, have better relationships, and even sleep better.
11. Take better care of your skin
Our skin is our largest organ, and deserves better than most of us treat it. My skin is SO dry and I’m so bad about moisturizing. Last year I discovered the No. 7 line, and I’ve been using the serum and eye cream on my face every day. I also apply hand cream like it’s going extinct. But smearing lotion on the rest of my skin is where I fall short.
Using sunscreen every single day and keeping your skin moisturized will certainly help keep it looking good longer. I’ll try to use the vanity factor to motivate myself.
From a scientific perspective, our skin is our largest barrier against infection. Keeping it hydrated strengthens that barrier. Preventing potential skin issues is far easier than fixing them in the future. Let’s do our future selves a favor, and take care of our skin now.
12. Start a new hobby
Hobbies are great stress relievers. Beginning a new hobby stimulates your brain and makes you more interesting to other people. All work and no play makes you a dull person.
Hobbies aren’t just for young single people. Absolutely everyone should MAKE time for activities they enjoy. I love reading, exercising, decorating my planner, couponing, and going on walks through the woods.
Having hobbies can help you build self-esteem and meet new people. Plus, idle hands are the devil’s playground. Hobbies can keep you busy so you don’t make bad decisions out of boredom.
Hobbies don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Actually, it’s better if they’re not. Experiment with some simple ones to start. Think back to activities you enjoyed when you were young. Painting, baking, or photography (with your phone) are all easy ones to start.
You’re only limited by your imagination.
I hope this list gives you some inspiration to start a new healthy habit. Start with one, and gain momentum as you master it.
Just think, in six months or a year, you could be a more interesting, healthier, happier, richer, and more organized person. Time passes anyway, so you might as well use it to create a better you. Concentrate on the positive outcome these new habits will provide.
Keep your eyes on the prize!