If you’re looking into making huge improvements in your life it doesn’t matter what you do every once in a while. It’s the things you do daily that matters. And sometimes the simplest nudges and behavior are all it takes to make radical changes in your future.
In this post, I want to share with you the 9 smallest changes that I’ve made in my life that have led to the greatest impact on my well being, my health, my relationships, my mental health as well as my work.
Some of these things take less than 10 seconds to do but if you do them every day you’ll see a compound effect in your return.
1. If you’re trying to wake up early, place an alarm on the opposite end of the bedroom
Now, this is a very simple change, but I found that as that I’ve tried to become more and more of a morning person over the past decade, this one small change has helped me out so much.
This way when you wake up in the morning, you’re not going to reach over to your phone, grab it, and hit the snooze button every 10 minutes for 2 hours. Instead, you have to get out of bed to turn your alarm off.
The next one relates to creating work-life balance and it’s
2. Add one personal item to your to-do list each day
It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of work. To continue to be so ambitious that we neglect our personal lives that we’re working 8–10+ hours days and we’re neglecting the things that truly matter in our lives. So I add things like go to the gym, make a cold coffee, call mom. Those are the things that I know if I don’t write them on my to-do list I’ll continue to put them off into the future or I might completely forget about them because I’m so busy with work.
But when I go to check my to-do list throughout the day I’m reminded of what I shouldn’t be putting off and what I should be doing today.
3. Keep a “Praise” folder in your email inbox.
In your email inbox create a folder called praise and whenever you have a boss or a client that gives you positive feedback, drag and drop that email into the praise folder. This serves two purposes.
It can help you when you’re feeling self-doubt and you’re feeling like maybe you’re not worth it, when you’re questioning your path. It’s great to be able to go back to these things but it also serves a really practical function for those who have a typical nine-to-five job and this is something that I got from a coworker many years ago that I think is brilliant.
4. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go.
The next change I recommended is you make is to carry a water bottle with you everywhere you go. Now this one is so simple but it’s that nudge that change in your environment that continues to remind you to continue to stay hydrated. To drink water.
This is one of the things that so many people neglect. We’re supposed to be drinking 8 glasses of water every day. I know when I was younger I didn’t meet that. Ever since I started carrying a water bottle close by, now I take it to gym and when I go to the supermarket. When I used to be able to go at least. Now when I am by my desk it’s that constant reminder to stay hydrated, to drink water.
Also, a side note that the best thing is that it curbs cravings for snacks. A lot of times we think that we’re hungry, when in fact we’re thirsty. So by drinking water, by staying hydrated all day I snack much less often which is a great bonus.
5. Invest in quality, non-processed, organic food.
It is about healthy eating and for me, that means investing in high quality, low processed organic food. Now if you can afford it, I highly recommend you invest in the quality of food that you buy at the grocery store.
Whatever I can to improve the quality of ingredients which eventually improves the quality of my life. I got interested in healthy eating and turning the dial on how much I was investing in healthy foods and also knowing what foods I should be investing in.
6. Limit the junk food you bring into your house.
Now when it comes to eating healthy there is another side to the coin and that’s make sure that you don’t bring junk food into your house. At least limit the amount of junk food that you bring into your home. That might mean alcohol, it could be snacks or candy.
I know from my personal experience if I have a beer in the fridge I’m gonna drink it. I’m probably gonna have a beer or two every night if it’s there. And if I have snacks and candy and chocolate and ice-cream in the house then I’m probably gonna consuming that way more often.
When given the option between preparing healthy organic food and already snacking on some ice-cream I probably choose the option which is easier and tastes a lot better.
To eat healthy and to be mindful about what I’m consuming, I limit what I bring into my house, to begin with. This has by far made one of the biggest changes in my diet to date. It’s not to say that you can’t buy cookies and you can’t buy ice cream and you can never drink alcohol again. I certainly do bring these things into my home but I do it with moderation.
7. Phone on silent and upside down during work.
This is common etiquette already. If you’re going out, hang out with family or friends. If you’re with anybody else keep your phone on silent. You turn it upside down. Put it on the table. Better yet keep it in your pocket out of sight. Now, this is something we do for other people so we should also do it for ourselves.
If we’re working at our computer we should be intent on being focused on that work. When our phones are right side up, we see a notification come in. It’s impossible to ignore it. No willpower in the world will prevent you from picking up the phone texting and browsing for 30 to 40 minutes at a time.
When you add all of these micro distractions throughout your day, eventually you are far less productive than you would have been if you would have simply remained focused on your task.
8. Before going bed write a physical to-do list.
One other thing I do before I go to bed besides putting an alarm on another side of the room is to write a physical to-do list and put it next to that alarm. This helps out in several ways and the biggest thing it does for me is it helps me to stay motivated. I have a more unconventional work-life than most people. I don’t have a nine to five, so for me finding that motivation and having a structure and a plan for your day becomes vital.
Nobody’s gonna do it for you so you need to do it for yourself and so writing on this to-do list, putting it next to my alarm. When I wake up in the morning I see that I see the change in my environment, I see the to-do list. I have been reminded of what I told myself I was gonna get done today and as groggy and as tired as I might be in the morning, I grab my phone, I grab my notebook and I get to my day.
9. Each day take 10 minutes to be still.
Finally, take at least 10 minutes every day to be still. Now, this is a piece of advice that’s easy to ignore and look over but I found that when I give myself that time to be myself, to be quiet, to do nothing. I always appreciate those moments that hold me together especially when times are tough like they have been in 2020.
So meditating, going for a walk, sitting still in a chair, listening to music. Just simply being quiet and doing nothing is something that we rarely get enough of. Especially these days it seems like we’re always on our phone, we’re watching TV, we’re cooking dinner, we’re eating, we’re talking to someone. We’re always doing something and by taking 10 minutes to be quiet to be still, we open ourselves up to being grateful for appreciating what we have.
These are the moments that are going to make life worth it and it’s the things that you don’t think that you need but you truly need more than anything else.