Have you ever caught yourself dreaming of “You 2.0”? Don’t worry, longing for improvement is natural and healthy when practiced in moderation. It’s the soil in which the seeds of change are planted.
But large, sweeping lifestyle changes aren’t easy. They take planning, perseverance and most importantly, time. But don’t give up! Change rarely occurs in a linear, straightforward path. After all, two steps forward and one step back is still progress.
Today on Healthversed, we’re going to look at some popular, positive and difficult life changes that can dramatically improve your life. And no, you can’t start this article tomorrow. Let’s go!
Make Your Bed
We’ll start with the easiest life change on the list. If you don’t already begin your day by making your bed, then you should really, really start. According to Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, making your bed every morning is correlated with increased productivity, a greater sense of well-being, and even stronger budgeting skills. Not only will you begin the day with a feeling of accomplishment, but you’ll sleep better too.
Okay. You’ve made your bed. Great start! Now, on to something a little more difficult. Whether you’re battling social pressure, a long-standing habit, or extreme physical dependency, quitting drinking can seem impossible. If you’re a loyal Healthversed reader than you already know the many, many downsides of habitual drinking.
So, let’s focus on the positives of quitting! For starters, getting rid of all those empty calories from drinking means a fitter you! You’ll improve the function of your liver in just one sober month. Not convincing enough? How does better sex sound?
This difficult change is a staple for most New Year’s Resolution lists. For almost everyone, exercising is a chore. But it’s undoubtedly a positive one. There are countless benefits to increasing physical activity.
Not only does regular exercise help you trim down and stave off disease, but it also boosts your energy, skyrockets your self-confidence, and helps you sleep better.
Most of us can’t sit still for more than a few seconds without scrambling for our cell phones. What if you could have a better life if you spent 20 minutes a day without it? We warned you that this isn’t a list of easy changes. It’s a list of difficult and beneficial ones!
Meditating on a regular basis can be very beneficial. Meditation has been show to counteract anxiety and depression, increase mental strength, improve breathing, and it can even make you a better parent.
Reconnect with Old Friends
Reconnecting with people that you used to know isn’t always easy. Odds are, you’ve grown apart, built families, and filled your hours, days and weeks with a variety of fun and not so fun obligations. But hurdling the many obstacles and booking a Sunday coffee meet-up could be worth it.
The benefits of strong social, in-person networks are well documented. Strong relationships lower stress, improve self-worth, and more.
Get a Pet
Live alone? Getting a pet can be a difficult yet rewarding lifestyle change. Certain pets, like dogs and cats, come with a fair amount of responsibility. Dogs come with nearly 15 years-worth of vet bills and cold morning walks. But most importantly, companionship.
The positive health benefits of owning a pet can be staggering. Lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduced stress, and much, much more.
Find A New Job
Ever spend the final few hours of the work day watching the clock tick down while simultaneously daydreaming of a higher paying, more rewarding job? You’re not alone. Dead end jobs can really suck the optimism out of you.
Sure, finding a new job is far from easy, but it’s certainly worth it. Especially if you dread punching in every morning. Getting a new gig can be both exciting and terrifying. Unsure if it’s time for you to take the plunge? This should help you suss it all out.
Phase Out Negative Relationships
We all have those “friends” that do nothing but cause problems and then turn to us for solutions. Negative relationships can weigh you down with stress and worry. This is your life, and if there’s someone in it that doesn’t deserve to be, don’t be afraid to show them the door. Difficult, but worth it.
Everyone says that they want to eat healthier and some even start. But most people end up back in the snack food aisle eventually. Why? Well, there are a lot of complex factors. Social obligations are rarely waist-band friendly. Fad-diets are either unrealistically restrictive or just plain unhealthy. And, temptation is everywhere!
A word of advice? Start small. Cut down the fast-food by one meal per week. Then, one more. Change is all about planning small, measurable steps, and then putting one foot in front of the other.
Save More Money
Again, easier said than done. We’d all love to save some more money for those rainy days, but with bills, unforeseen expenses and, well, life, things don’t ever seem to line up. But saving for the future can dramatically enhance your confidence, anxiety, and overall health. So it’s worth it. Looking for tips? Just ask Grandma.
Cigarette smoking is linked to 1 in 5 U.S. deaths per year. Scary. Even scarier are the effects on the living. Erectile dysfunction, infertility, pregnancy complications, wrinkly skin, stained teeth, yellow fingers, heart disease. We could go on and on. Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult items on this list. It’s also one of the most positive life changes you can make.
The difficulty in making this particular life change is planning and sacrifice. You’ll have to sacrifice your frivolous spending and do a lot of planning, but travelling is worth it. You’ll meet some incredible people, see some amazing places, and (hopefully) return home feeling refreshed and re-energized.
Learn Something New
Personal growth is all about challenging yourself. And nothing is more challenging than learning something entirely new. Pick a language, instrument, or craft and start teaching yourself. Learning something new is essential to our psychological well-being and picking up a new hobby can have a dramatic effect on your self-esteem.
Find something that you like and block away a little time each week to practice. You’ll notice the positive impact immediately.
Spend More Time with Family
It’s easy to get so caught up in your own world that you neglect to spend time with those that mean the most to you. Don’t beat yourself up about it. The truth is, the older you get, the more work familial relationships require. Call your parents, host a board-game night, or invite your siblings over for pizza. Your blood pressure, anxiety, and self-esteem will thank you.
Get More Organized
When done right, organization can have a huge impact on all aspects of your life. You’ll find yourself with more time, more money, and much more control. The first step is to pick up a standard day planner. The second step is to actually use it.
Write down social obligations. Write down grocery lists. Write down everything that you’d like to accomplish at the beginning of the week. You’ll need to be proactive, but you will notice a significant difference in your quality of life.
Drink More Water
Unless you’re Aquaman, you can probably afford to drink more water. It relieves fatigue, improves your mood, helps your digestion, boosts your metabolism, aids weight loss, and more. We know, it doesn’t sound all that difficult. But do you drink the recommended 2-3 litres of water per day? We didn’t think so. Now get sipping!
Here’s another common New Year’s resolution. Everyone wants to read more, but people rarely ever get to it. What if we told you that reading makes you smarter, increases your focus, improves your memory, and strengthens your analytical thinking skills?
Just set a goal (in your day planner) for a specific number of pages per week and follow through! Your brain will thank you for it.
Get More Sleep
Just like drinking more water, getting enough sleep can dramatically affect your quality of life. Not getting enough sleep can hurt your metabolism, immune system, mood and in turn, your personal relationships, and productivity. Get enough sleep. It’s important, if not always easy.