It might sound silly to think that even the smallest transitions can have a positive and life-long effect. But you need to start somewhere – and oftentimes the large, looming aspects of change can be terrifying. So, start simple! Keep your life, its needs and demands and your budget under consideration when considering these 10 suggestions to begin positive alterations to your life.
And remember, it only takes 21 days to form a habit. Consider that last week a celebration of your success!
1. Grab a Water Bottle
The standard is eight-ten glasses of water a day – more, if you’re an athletic female. Purchase one of those giant water bottles, set it on your desk and fill it up two-three times per day. Also, NO MORE BOTTLED WATER! The little you help yourself, you can help the planet as well. If your local tap water is horrible, then invest in refillable spring water jugs or a water cooler.
2. Slow down!
Most of us always seem to be in a rush. And unfortunately, family schedules, meetings and traditional work hours dictate this. You’d be surprised how seemingly simple stressors can shave years off your life. But you can make strides in relaxation by starting small. Put meditation recordings on your iPod if you need to distance yourself from road rage. Start saying “no.” Whether it be multi-tasking or driving, take a deep breath and slow down.
3. Put down the Smart Phone
In this hyper-connected world, it is easy to get caught up for hours online with needless entertainment or continuation of work beyond office hours. Start absorbing the life around you – its sights, sounds and most importantly, the people you love. If only for a few hours, turn the ringer off. Stop playing games. And quit incessantly checking your email. The status updates will still be there the next time you log in.
4. Stop Using Your Credit Cards
Start a personal mantra about purchasing that which you can only afford to buy with cash. And stick to it. Ceasing the dependency on credit will help you well beyond 30 days. Freeze your cards if you have to – and if you have card numbers memorized, cancel them. And when you pay those balances down, start your emergency savings account. It is never too late to begin a new financial path. While small steps seem impossible at the start, if you stick to a plan, slowly and surely, you will dig yourself out from under a life of debt.
5. Cuddle for 30 Minutes per Day
Women genuinely have a need to cuddle. Whether with a pet, significant other, a baby or your favorite blanket, 30 minutes of cuddling has amazing effects on your physical and emotional state. Hugging, spooning or even short massages release a mood-calming hormone called oxytocin, which reduces stress and anxiety, increases self-esteem and improves general well being in females. It is incredibly important for humans to bond, so use this spare time wisely.
6. Start an Exercise Plan
Exercise is important. This isn’t anything new to us, but still, so many women cannot find more than one day fit in a workout session. Start a new plan -- or amp up the one you’re doing -- especially if you’re not seeing results from the last six months. That half hour you put down your smart phone can be used to get in some extra cardio. Or better yet, yoga. And find new activities if you are bored.
7. Read Food Labels
My rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t buy it. And definitely don’t eat it. But there’s more. While I can sound these next two items out, I’m always shocked by the amount of sodium or corn syrup added to “fat-free” or low fat options. Be aware that your food is more than just about the fat and calorie content, and there is a risk with some of these potentially harmful additives. Stay away from these products on a regular basis, if you can. Also, purchase organic fruits and vegetables (yes, those have labels too).
Face. Heels. Knees. Elbows. And yes, your scalp and ears. When you start to see the chalkiness set in, most of us reach for a lotion, so purchase a bottle that contains an SPF. Winter, especially. Though our days may be shorter, with seemingly eternal gray skies, that sun is still damaging. Sun protection should be used on any exposed part of skin, but it is a good habit to get into using it all over your body every single day. If you start protecting now, you reduce your risk for skin cancer later.
9. Wear a New Article of Clothing
How many of us have something in our closets with a tag on it or that hasn’t been worn in the last four consecutive seasons? Clothes can sometimes have an amazing effect on our self-confidence, and with internal health comes external beauty. So, make those two-year-old heels work or rock that edgy jacket you think you can’t pull off. Wear those designer pieces you’re “saving” for something special. And if these clothes and accessories don’t work, ditch them. Better yet, donate your unwanted items to a friend or local organization.
10. Do a Happiness Inventory
Do you have an unrealized dream? Do you dread going to work every day? Are your relationships in the best shape possible? Or worse, do you have people in your life who seemingly suck the happiness right out of you? Make a list. What job, activities, personalities or vacations will make you ultimately happy? Sort it out and start making plans to make those wishes a reality. And distance yourself from the negative persons who always seem to rain on your parade. Remember: start small. Instill new habits. Then reach out for even larger goals.
Do you have any small changes you would add to this list?
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