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10 ways to change your daily habits for the better.

I feel like each time I read something about how to better myself I say, "Yeah, that's great advice, but I'm not willing to do ALL these things." It's usually solid information but when push comes to shove I'm just going to make smaller steps in my day to day life.

Drink more water? Yeah, totally doable. Read five books a week for a month? I don't think those writers know what the concept of time is.

Here are a bunch of things that I recommend for people like me who are looking to change one thing at a time.

Start a journal.

Hop into your slippers, find a cozy sweater and pick your favorite place to sit in the house. Write down a few thoughts every morning or every night. This doesn't have to be a stressful undertaking. Your English teacher won't be there to tell you if that sentence is awkward or imperfect or lacking something important.

It's just you in the comfort of your home, thinking about whatever you want. Take some time to reflect or set goals and let this be your time to decompress.

If writing isn't exactly your thing, try doing a daily sketch. The idea is to spend time with pen to paper and a new hobby to enlighten your day.

Prepare your wardrobe the night before.

Back when we were kids we loved to have our clothes ready the night before. Sometimes Mom or Dad would help us choose the perfect school outfit, but there was usually something special about getting our favorite polo shirt and slacks ready the night before.

There's always time to channel your "inner-kid" and return to this nightly activity. Save the decision making in the morning for once you've had your coffee. As an added benefit you won't come home to a closet that's awry from a last-minute morning outfit change. Give it a try!

Wake up earlier

Waking up early gets a bad rap. Or it's been told to you by dozens upon dozens of articles explaining that only successful people are able to wake up at 3am so that they can run a marathon before they start responding to five billion emails. Woop-dee-doo.

Let's try waking up an hour earlier. We love our bed sheets, but another free hour sounds nice. Here are some things you can do with that extra hour:

  • Iron some shirts that have been wrinkled for too long
  • Make a "Sunday" kind of breakfast (you know, the ones you see in commercials)
  • Start that podcast you've been hearing all about
  • Respond to your distant cousin's email that's been sitting there for weeks…
  • Put your feet up and let your mind wander

That extra hour feels like two hours and it takes the teeth grinding stress out of that "every minute counts" mentality.

Set aside an hour each day to avoid screen time.

No! Not my phone!

We are with our phones and computers more than we are with our own interesting thoughts. The saying used to be that you would know something like the back of your hand, but nowadays it's more likely we could describe the screen of our phone better.

Let's take a short break. Just an hour. Could be at home, could be your lunch break. Put on your favorite fleece jacket and go for a walk or invite a coworker to do the same.

Call an old friend

It can be a great idea to reach out to somebody that you haven't seen or heard from in a while. Talking to an old friend can get you caught up on some lost time. Hopefully they forgot that you borrowed their flannel shirt years ago even though you still wear it on a regular basis.

Don't think about it too much, it's likely that they miss you more than they miss that flannel.

Sign up for a class

This could be a weekly habit or something that you do each night. You can do online classes or tutorials for something that you're passionate about. Do some photography or take a cooking class. Get into an acting. Is there a class for making stuffed animals? You'll only know once you look!

This can be an eye-opening experience worth the effort.

Reread a classic.

Reading is great and all but sometimes it's hard to get ourselves tied up in a new book. Instead of worrying which paperback you should be reading because it's hot on the "best book of the year list," read a book that you cherish. It's similar to calling that long lost friend of yours and may give you a new twist on your perspective.

Hop into your sweatpants and a cotton sweater for this one.

Do a puzzle or word game.

Plenty of us have one of those crossword books stored in the bookcase, glanced at once or twice in the distant past, but for the most part, it has become an ignored space filler. The same applies to that 500-piece puzzle collecting dust on that board game shelf.

Here's the challenge: try to do one puzzle this week. With that extra time in the morning or during your no-screen time at night this might be a good escape.

Clean one space in your house.

It could be a corner, a room, a desk, or a ceiling fan. Focus on one thing and clean that as best you can. One space per night.

Organizing often has a positive effect and takes the weight of having to do that thing later right off your shoulders. You know that feeling when you manage to get your shirts off the ground, newly clean clothes out of the laundry and all hung up in your closet? That's the feeling we're looking for.

Write a to-do list.

Similar to journaling, it's good to set up a few weekly goals and maybe what you want to get accomplished the next day. If you want to get started and don't know what should go on your list, use this article as inspiration!

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