Successful People Share The Small Things You Can Do To Have A Better Year
Making changes in your life can seem like an almost impossible task. It's easy to find yourself overwhelmed with daunting thoughts like "I have to lose 100 lbs" or "I have to get out of debt". But what might happen if we tackle smaller changes over longer periods of time? Reddit users shared their favorite small changes that make a big impact over a year, and now we're sharing some of our top picks with you.
1. Just Put It Away
Wise words from my mates grandma "Don't put it down, put it away".
So much of the mess around my apartment was down to me leaving things out instead of taking the extra minute to put them away in their correct place.
I'm not perfect but it has helped!!
2. Write It Out
I just read about a couple of studies where they had subjects do expressive writing about traumatic experiences. This is writing about their deepest feelings about these things, rather than the objective facts of what happened. And I recall one group only did this for 15 minutes of the day, and they found a boosted immunity and people taking more positive action. One group was a bunch of people laid off without warning and over half found jobs pretty quickly where only around 20% of the control group did.
3. Just Thirty Minutes
For us heavier people, quit drinking soda and walk half an hour a day. Watch what happens.
Man, I feel hypocritical just typing that.
4. Change For Change
Put all your spare change in a jar
5. Make A List
Plan the next day before going to bed at night and write a 'to do list'. The next day before repeating the process review your to-do list. Sounds really simple, but it's a real procrastination buster.
6. So, No More Netflix Til Dawn?
Try to go to sleep at the same time everyday and wake up at the same time as well
7. Don't Stop Moving
I'm a serial procrastinator, habitually late, and easily crippled by indecision.
But a while ago when my ex and I broke up (through things that had nothing to do with any of those things), I decided to hit the gym (as people do after break ups) and felt like going in the morning made the most sense.
So before I got to bed, I check the weather for the next day, review my calendar on what I'm doing the next day, and I pre-pack my gym bag with work clothes, and layout my gym clothes, as well as whatever lunch or breakfast I've pre-made, and go to bed.
Then when I wake up the next morning, I get up and don't stop moving.
Get up, make coffee, don't even turn the fucking tv on or open FB or Reddit, shotgun a protein bar, toss on gym clothes and grab my gym bag and I'm out the door walking to the subway.
I really wake up while stretching at the gym and by the time the coffee and preworkout kicks in, I'm killing it.
Hit the shower, walk another two blocks to work, and instead of walking in the door at 8:10am half asleep, I fucking kick the door to my office in at 7:50am with my brain firing on all cylinders and ready to kick ass and take names.
I'm in better shape and far more productive than I've ever been, so long as I plan and plan and plan before going to bed.
Changed my life.
8. Walk The Dog
Walk your dog. Stop just letting it go outside and come back in. Two walks a day, morning and night. The exercise is great for people just starting to get into the groove. Your dog will love it and you for spending more time with it. They'll also enjoy the fresh air and new smells. Plus, you've picked up a great health habit for two or more individuals. Being your boyfriend/girlfriend and/or kids. You'll gain new appreciations for wildlife, too. Get yourself some comfortable cross training shoes, too. I recommend serpentine Sketchers.
9. Rejection Rules
Try to get rejected once a day.
Not for anything in particular or even particularly important. You'll succeed less than you think.
Advice from an old professor. He was a photographer and would 'try to get rejected' getting into all kinds of cool places.
...he got into a lot of cool places.
10. The Idiot Test
Following the words of fictional character Dwight Schrute:
"Whenever I'm about to do something, I think, 'Would an idiot do that?' And if they would, I do not do that thing."
Craving a cigarette? Ask yourself the question.
Want to ditch class and stay at home? Ask the question.
Procrastinating? Ask the question.
Worrying about things you cant control? Ask the question
Self-sabotaging? Ask the question.
If an idiot would do that thing, don't do that thing.
11. Get Cooking
Each day follow a different recipe from a cookbook or online. Plan your meals weekly and shop for the right ingredients in one shop.
After a year you will be an amazing home cook.
12. Commit To Improvement
I've seen many good small things, but I'm going to toss out an elaboration: incremental improvement, and a baseline task.
The baseline task is something you have to do every day. Sick as a dog? Get it done. Groggy waking up? Too bad. Slept late and will be late for work? ...do it as soon as you get home!
This can be anything. Making your bed, searching your room for clutter for 5-10 minutes, doing 30 minutes of yoga before work, etc. All it has to be is some small task, preferably at the start of the day that gets you up, thinking a little, and moving around. Set one alarm clock. Two for safety. Setting 10 only hurts you.
I chose to do the yoga, and it pays dividends. I'm up earlier than I would be otherwise, and more alert. I have the time to make breakfast afterward. I can spend the first 30 minutes at work alertly setting up the day instead of docking around while I wake up. If I happen to miss that days "real exercise" (and to be clear, I definitely saw some weight loss/strength gain from the yoga after ~6 weeks) I don't feel like it's a total bust.
From there, pick something else. Brush your teeth, twice, every day. Then pick up flossing. Then pick up using mouthwash. Maybe invest in a tongue brush. Make your bed. Go for a jog. Spend 30 minutes reading. Add one of these things every week or two, not all at once. Make one a habit, then build on it.
Some days, you'll be busy, or tired, or you'll want to binge watch Netflix instead while eating Doritos. And that's fine! Being a robot is a bad thing - you'll find that on those days maybe you missed your jog, you ate out dinner instead of cooking, and you played video games instead of reading...but you still made your bed, still did yoga, and still took care of your oral hygiene. Good job!
What I'd recommend that I'm sure you can find throughout the thread to add one thing every two weeks:
Do yoga for 30 minutes right when you wake up. Every. Single. Day.
Make your bed. As fancy as you want - I straighten the sheet and place my pillow properly.
Brush your teeth if you aren't already. At night, then in the morning.
Floss at night
Use mouthwash (enamel-safe, anti-cavity whitening is best) after breakfast and before bed
Go for a 30 minute to one hour bike ride every other day. Or a swim. I recommend these as they're non-impact cardio sports; get into running once you have the diligence and cardiovascular endurance.
Pick up some kind of 30 minute to one hour lifting routine to do 2-3 Times a week (I recommend starting strength or the reddit Recommended Routine).
Find a 10-minute chore to do, every day. You can watch Netflix while you do it. Vacuum the floor, get your clothes in the bin, wash those three dishes, etc.
Imagine where you'll be in six months. You'll have good hygiene, be more flexible, be in great shape, you'll have a clean living space, and god knows what else you've done!
Tl;Dr: Pick one good thing to do every day. Always do it. Pick another good thing to add next week. Repeat for three months, then hold onto them. Don't get discouraged.
13. Laughter Is The Best Medicine
Find something to laugh and smile at everyday. It makes even a bad day better and improves your mood.
14. Comfort Is A Killer
My dad recognized in me that I often avoided social gatherings/situations. He sat me down one day and said, "You can't always do what you're comfortable with. When you only do what you're comfortable with, you always end up in the same place. There's no room for progress."
Fast forward 15 years. I have a job that relies heavily on networking and social functions. Don't get me wrong - I still hate going to functions, and I still have to give myself a pep-talk before I go to them, but I go. And every time I do, I think about my Dad and that moment he showed me the way.
this can be applied to daily activities: do one thing per day that is out of your comfort zone. Talk to a stranger (within reason), try a new activity, visit a new area, etc. It broadens your horizons.
15. One Cigarette At A Time
If you smoke, start smoking less and less every day. Like
Day 1: 35 cigarettes
Day 2: 34 cigarettes
Day 3: 33 cigarettes
And so on. My grandfathers friend did this, and quit smoking a while ago.
16. Get A Hobby
Can be anything but practice a craft or hobby every single freakin day.
Can be playing an instrument, can be painting and so on. But spend time on it everyday and who knows where it can lead you!
17. Purposeful Positivity
Think positive thoughts and be grateful for what you have. I started pinning millions of quotes on Pinterest because I am a Pinterest addict, and then I copy those quotes down onto colorful sticky notes and put them all over on the walls in my bedroom. That way, I can wake up each morning with a positive quote or saying. If I have a bad day, I can go into my bedroom and read all of the wonderful quotes I have. One positive quote can change someone's day. This makes me feel good about myself and life in general.
18. Music Makes A Difference
Playlist your life:
I started doing this after watching 'Baby Driver' by Edgar Wright.
So let's say, with traffic, it takes me 30 min to get to school. I keep a curated Spotify playlist of songs to get me in the mood that adds up to 35-40 minutes.
Some of the effects I feel from doing this that I don't feel like killing myself as I walk into school in the morning, I've become more confident and carefree as I half-dance to my locker, and it creates a more casual environment among my classmates, which is always a plus.
Never underestimate the power of a good song!
19. Meal Planning
Plan your meals for the week!
I never thought I might ever do this, but me and my partner recently started meal planning and it's working so well!
We made a list of all the meals that are easy to cook and we both like, and every Saturday we pick 5 of them and then shop for all the ingredients. We also take our own lunches to work.
Not only is this muuuuch cheaper, it also saves us from soggy supermarket sandwiches for lunch, lazy frozen pizzas every night, having to figure out what we want every night and having to go to the supermarket daily to get ingredients.
As a kid helping my mom cook, I learned that cleaning WHILE you cook is the greatest feat. Every time I serve a meal I already have all the dishes done and am so thankful for this ability to multitask. There's always time when you're waiting for water to boil or oil to heat up, it's the best to finish eating and just have your plates to wash.