When you want to improve your life, it’s tempting to make a big change. It can feel good to begin with, but it’s easy to drop a big change and revert to our old ways.
We’ve all seen people every January, suddenly begin going to the gym every morning at 6am, having rarely exercised before. They keep it up for a while, but by mid-February, the gyms are usually empty.
The answer is not to give up completely!
One answer is to make smaller changes in your life instead. A small, gradual change is easier to maintain and once it has become a part of your routine you can introduce another small change. It might take longer to get to the point you were aiming for, but the change is more likely to stick.
Small changes are not necessarily immediately lifechanging. But over time they can change your life.
Here are some small changes you could make to live a more healthy, happy life:
- Begin listening to a podcast while you get dressed in the mornings, instead of music.
- Increase your daily water intake by filling bottles at the beginning of the day and bringing one with you wherever you go
- Give up dieting, and just resolve to increase your vegetable intake instead
- Start going to bed earlier so that you can get more sleep
- Instead of setting unrealistic fitness goals, increase your daily step target on your fitness tracker.
- Set aside ten minutes every day to meditate
- Begin making your bed in the morning – it means you start your day having already accomplished one thing, which can be a powerful motivator for the rest of the day.
- Begin recording a gratitude list every day: 3-5 things you are grateful for.
- Choose one goal and focus on that, rather than trying for several at one time.
- Set aside a dedicated time each week for staying in touch with friends. A Monday morning is good for this; a couple of messages sent on your way to or from somewhere, to let people know you’re thinking of them is a great way to maintain relationships.
- Put aside ten minutes each day to read
- If you want to start saving, download an app that rounds up your transactions and puts the difference into a savings account
- Begin setting your alarm a couple of minutes earlier each day, and before long you will have an extra hour or more every morning to read, exercise, meditate – or do whatever you want!
- Choose an affirmation to repeat to yourself every day. Use a marker pen to make a small mark on your hand, and every time you see it, repeat your affirmation to yourself
- If you want to be more productive, try downloading an app that will track your time. I use RescueTime and have found it keeps me off social media in the middle of the day!
- Instead of trying to avoid certain foods and then beating yourself up when you inevitably cave in, allow yourself to eat whatever you want – but in a mindful way, where you ask yourself, Is this what I really want and need right now?
- Instead of trying to cut out carbonated soft drinks, tell yourself you can only have one when you have had 2 litres of water that day.
- Download an audiobook to listen to while you are walking/driving/commuting/shopping.
- Say thank you more. Thank people when they hold a door or move aside for you. Thank people when they’ve done something nice for you, they’ve waited for you, they’ve served you in a shop. Even if they don’t expect to be thanked or you don’t usually thank someone for doing that particular thing – thank them.
- Work on not judging – yourself or others. Try to catch yourself in the act of judging, and over time you’ll find it happens less.
- Look at what you can add to your life, rather than what you need to give up or cut back.