10 Small Changes You Can Make to Improve Your Life in the New Year
1. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Keeping yourself properly hydrated is the simplest change you can make to improve your health, skin, and energy.
The recommended amount of water for women is 95 oz and it’s 130 oz for men. If you’re having trouble drinking that much water throughout the day I highly recommend trying out hydration tablets. I take a Nuun hydration tablet once a day to boost my hydration. They come in a variety of flavors too so they are a great option when you're wanting something different than plain water.
It's also great to remember to drink a glass of water before your first cup of coffee because coffee first thing in the morning can dehydrate you before the day has even started. The same is even more true with alcohol. Make sure to have at least one glass of water per drink or shot - this is also a great way to pace yourself and prevent hangovers.
2. Set Aside 30 Minutes Once A Week For Self-Care
I love the idea of setting aside an entire day once a week for self-care, but the problem that I had with that is that a full day dedicated to self-care isn't realistic for most people every single week. I've found that's it's a lot better to set aside either 30 minutes or an hour for whatever form of self-care sounds best to you each week.
It can be anything from a relaxing bath to a long meditation to simply reading your favorite book. I think what's most important is giving yourself a block of space to relax and recharge yourself for the week ahead.
3. Start Your Day with 5 Minutes of Meditation or Positive Affirmations
As someone that constantly battles anxiety, this really does help me begin my day on a lighter and brighter note. It's especially helpful to meditate when you wake up feeling anxious and to say positive affirmations if you wake up feeling insecure or like an imposter.
If you feel like you don't have time for this remember that you can play a meditation while on your commute (just don't close your eyes if you're driving) or simply take a minute to read some positive affirmations you've selected the night before. If you're looking for some great positive affirmations to choose from Michelle Lee's book Daily Affirmations for a Healthier You is a great source!
4. Choose Your Outfit the Night Before
This is one of those things I didn't think I needed to do until I started doing it. I'm not sure if it's because I'm an indecisive libra or what, but choosing an outfit takes me way too much time and when I'm rushed in the morning I inevitably won't be able to find something I think I need.
Removing this task from my morning routine just makes the whole morning flow so much smoother for me.
5. Cook at Least One Meal From Scratch Each Week
Are you hesitant to do this because you think you can't cook? That's a great reason to start cooking more. The first step is to seek out a recipe that sounds good to you and seems fairly simple to make. If you make a mistake you learn from it and can order pizza if necessary. If it comes out fine but you don't like it then you know that's not a recipe for you. If it comes out great you'll feel like a skilled chef that now has a new dish they can make more often.
Generally speaking, cooking a dinner from scratch is both cheaper and healthier than either eating take-out or frozen meal options.
6. Exercise for at Least 15 Minutes a Day
I often find New Year's resolutions that involve working out to be a bad idea for most people. What you should strive for instead is consistently staying active. What you choose to do in those 15+ minutes entirely depends on your health and goals.
If you're either out of shape or simply too depressed to work out a fifteen-minute walk can be an easy option to meet this goal. I also recommend finding physical activities you enjoy rather than just focusing on what body parts you want to improve. Just find a way to make exercise an enjoyable part of your day rather than an extra chore.
7. Write Out a List Of What You Need to do for the Day
I find making a list of what you need to accomplish early on in the day or the night before a great way to ensure you spend your time wisely. It also just feels great to put a checkmark next to each completed task.
8. Don't Automatically Agree to New Tasks
This is one that I have had a lot of problems with in the past. If someone asks you to do something when you are already busy you do not have to tell them yes. This goes for both friends and work colleagues. As a small business owner, I've had to remind myself that my clients do not have the right to demand I speak to them at X time in a Zoom call unless it was previously agreed upon. You have the right to say “I’ll check my schedule” or “Tuesday doesn't work for me, could this be discussed through email instead?” and that's perfectly fine. Don't worry if they are disappointed. There's a good chance you might change your schedule for them just to show up to lunch a half an hour late or get on a Zoom meeting you rushed home for them to simply say something that could have been written in a short email.
If this makes someone stop wanting to hang out with you or work with you then this was already a toxic situation. What you'll typically find, though, is that most people are more understanding than we assume they will be.
9. Spend at Least Half an Hour Each Week Doing Something Creative
Spending time allowing yourself to be creative is a great way to relieve stress. It's okay if you aren't a talented artist or if you don't already have a hobby like crafting or knitting. There are tons of free tutorials on YouTube you can find if you want to learn a basic skill set. Best case scenario you end up relaxed and proud of yourself for creating something cool. Worst case scenario you got to have fun trying out a new technique
10. Give at Least One Compliment a Day
Sharing kindness with others has a lovely way of making us feel good inside as well as parking up someone else's day. If you live alone and can't leave the house due to quarantining you can always leave a friend or stranger a compliment on social media.
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