Every change begins with one simple step. When I think of what my life and levels of happiness and fulfillment were like years ago, and I then see where they are now and how much joy I get out of life, I know that a lot of change went into it.
The thing is though, it wasn’t a one, big, drastic change at all. They were all small ways, habits and new patterns that improved and simplified my life.
To change or improve your life, you have to change some things that you do (or don’t do) on a daily basis. You need to change what you do and how you do it every day.
Small changes are also a little easier to make and stick to- you don’t have to make them all at once. Focus on what’s most important to you, at this moment.
13 SMALL CHANGES TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE
1. MORE MINDFULNESS
It isn’t easy to notice the good in our lives if we’re constantly chasing something better. Learn to take and do things slowly and try not to rush through life too much. Enjoy your food, savor that book, take the time to enjoy nature, pay attention to the people around you.
2. SINGLE TASKING
There are times when your to-do list is so long, the only way you think you can tackle it is by doing everything at once. Truth is, our productivity goes down as much as 40% when we’re attempting to do several things at once. Pick one thing from your to-do list and give it 100% of your attention, and you won’t have to waste more time fixing mistakes, double and triple-checking your work.
3. DO SOMETHING CREATIVE
We are all creative beings- you don’t have to know how to paint or draw. We’re creative in the way we dress, do our makeup, cook, care for our families. You can find more about embracing your creativity and curiosity in this piece. Also, this book is amazing and a must-read for anyone looking into adding more creativity to their routine and living a curious life filled with passion.
If you’re busy, a worrier, have a packed schedule or deal with anxiety, a daily meditation practice will help you be calmer, it will reduce stress and give you some clarity. You can find free guided meditations on the UCLA site right here, or use a free app like Headspace.
Journaling, if done right, can become one of your most powerful habits. Like many other small changes, journaling is a habit that translates into other areas of your life. The main thing that journaling will help you with, is achieving clarity. We sometimes want one thing, but do another- our actions aren’t always consistent with our goals or plans. Journaling can help you spot those inconsistencies, it can help you learn things about yourself and will clear your emotions.
6. ORGANIZE + PURGE + DECLUTTER
This can be very overwhelming if you haven’t done it in a while. If that is the case for you, make a plan and devote 1 day to tackling one specific area/room or category (one day for sorting out and organizing books, old DVDs the next day, 3rd day go through your closet and so on). Make an effort to do this on a regular basis and you won’t need to do this as often.
7. CALL UP
… someone you’ve been meaning to catch up with for a while. Life goes by too fast sometimes, but despite that, we should cherish those true friendships and relationships. Laughing with an old friend and recalling some your funniest memories is just one of those things in life that is priceless.
8. SPEND MORE TIME ALONE
Okay, so most of us do spend some time alone, but this particular change aims at doing and trying new things, by yourself. Taking a class, going out to dinner or lunch all by yourself, visiting a local museum. The more you do these things, you develop more courage. Get more ideas here.
9. FIND A HOBBY
This was probably the best advice anyone has ever given me. I was spending so much time ruminating and over-thinking every single aspect of my life, all of which was making my anxiety levels even higher than normal. One day, my husband (then boyfriend) straight up told me: you need to find a hobby! It was then when I started blogging. When you fill your free time with things you enjoy doing, things that help you learn new skills, you don’t have time to concentrate on the stress in your life. Something as small as knitting can help you unwind after a tough day at work. You can even pick up a hobby with a friend, partner or your child. Days when I would sit next to my grandma, her teaching me how to knit, were some of my favorite times growing up.
10. NIGHTTIME ROUTINE
Let your body relax before going to sleep. Take time to unwind before bed. Do some yoga or stretching. Your body is in a constant *go-go-go* mode throughout the day, which is why it’s so important to try to slow down at night. It is nearly impossible to fall asleep when your mind is racing, so make sure that you’re not going to bed stressed– do some breathing exercises or finish up your day with a short meditation.
11. TAKE THE STAIRS
I mean, it’s like a free workout, no? If you can, avoid the elevators. Don’t park too close to that store entrance. Get up from your desk every hour or so and walk around for a minute or two. All of these extra steps quickly add up.
12. PLAN OUT YOUR MEALS
Planning out and prepping our meals every Sunday for the week ahead makes life SO much easier. I no longer have to wonder what I’m making for dinner while on my way home from work. Also, when you prep and pack your own lunch you’re less likely to reach for junk food, not to mention that it also saves you money.
13. GET AN EARLY START
To me, getting an early start to your day is not necessarily about arriving to work super early. It’s about having those extra few minutes just for yourself, to really enjoy that morning coffee, to have a light stretch, set your intentions for the day and prepare yourself for the day ahead. You can try doing this even if you don’t consider yourself a morning person or if you’re always busy in the morning. Even as little as 15 minutes of extra time in the morning can make a huge difference. Create a morning ritual you will look forward to, every single day.
You can’t expect your life to change if you do the same things, every single day. You don’t ever have to stop growing or learning. It’s never too late to make those small changes, to improve things and seek happiness and fulfillment. Start off by changing something small and subtle, but something that will truly make a positive impact on your life.