Change is long and a hard process. It is always based on commitment and repetition. With that in mind, you can help yourself with small simple tasks that reoccur in your schedule throughout the day or the week. Little cues, incentives, mental reminders of what commitment feels like and the reason you are trying to change for the best.
You will never change anything in your life until you do something daily. The secret of success lies in daily routine.
Don’t pick 50 ideas from this list, it would be unrealistic. If you feel like it could help, pick one or two simple tasks, and commit to them on the given basis. As long as you show up and do your task, you will gain confidence and a higher sense of self-worth.
#1 Buy plants and keep them alive by watering them
The secret here is to choose a plant that requires daily watering. Watering plants is relaxing and it only takes 5 minutes a day. All you have to do is show up and do it.
#2 Read X pages a day
When you are not an avid reader, the best way to read is to only pick books you truly enjoy. Goodreads.com is great at finding the book you won’t be able to stop reading.
#3 Read one book a week
Really hard if you are not an avid reader. I have friends that read a book in 3 days, and others that never read. Start the slow way if you’re not that much into reading.
#4 Run 5km a day
All you have to do is put on your running shoes, get out the door and go run. This can be a fun mental game when the weather is bad. Everyday means everyday, right? 5km a day should take the average runner 30 to 40 mins, and is just enough daily exercise to stay in shape.
#5 Walk 8000 steps a day
If you’re not much into running, you can buy one of those fitness bracelets and track your number of daily steps. It is also a fun game to meet your daily target. Why 8000? it is the recommended daily amount.
#6 Cut the sugar
Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grams) of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons (38 grams) for men? For most people, this number is usually way above 100 grams per day. Track your sugar consumption and take action.
Volunteering gives you a sense of both commitment and fulfilment. It can be pretty time consuming, but helping people who have less than you once in a while helps you develop compassion and gratefulness.
#8 Train for a long term physical target
Do you know anybody who has ever ran a marathon? The amount of commitment and dedication it takes to train for a 42km non-stop run is beyond the reach of a lot of people. Training for a long term physical target can really broaden your perspective on yourself and on what it takes to be successful in your life.
#9 Work on a long term goal
If you have a project that would take years to complete, maybe now is the time to start. Don’t know where to start? Here is some help.
#10 Save X per month
Although setting up an automatic wire transfer every month might be easy, finishing the month with the same lifestyle might not be. Saving every month is always a smart thing to do. Mark Cuban recommends you stack up at least 6 months worth of your current income, in case there’s a major change of plans.
#11 Do your bed every morningIf you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.— General McRaven Click To Tweet
#12 Do your chores every night
Cleaning your place at night and making sure everything is ready for the next day is a good way to wind down before going to bed. Along with making your bed, waking up to a clean and tidy apartment helps start the day positive and motivated. All you have to do is clean for 20 minutes every single night.
#13 Cook once a day
Cooking is one of those activities that is almost therapeutic. If you turn cooking from a necessity into a daily hobby, you can learn about the food you eat, and how to eat more healthy.
#14 Show up at work on time
How hard is it to show up on time at your work? Not hard at all if your morning routine is on point.
#15 Leave work on time
A 2014 salary.com survey discovered that 57 percent of employees admitted to wasting at least one hour per day. If you love what you do and are committed to your work, you should be able to avoid wasted time and leave on time on most days.
Flossing is so easy to skip, so easy to do. All you have to do is spend 2 extra minutes per day in the bathroom.
Like a lot of healthy habits, meditating requires practice at first. Once you get the hang of it though, you will be able to broaden your perspective on life and your self. In a world filled with distractions, meditation can help you lengthen your attention span, reduce your stress and anxiety. One of the most beneficial aspects is also the development of compassion.
#18 Disable notifications
Another way to regain a bit of control over your life and your ability to focus is to disable notifications. That may include your phone, your computer, or both. When you get to think of it, you literally don’t need 99% of the notifications you get. If disabling all notifications seems unrealistic to you, try for one day and see for yourself.
#19 Delete time wasters on your phone
Again, you most likely don’t need 90% of the apps that are installed on your phone. Deleting the time wasting ones won’t be easy, but nobody said self-discipline was easy.
#20 Check social media only X times per day
There are a lot of apps that can help you track the time you spend on social media. There is even an iOS built-in functionality for that. Chances are, you spend over an hour per day on social media.
Imagine what you could do with what time, and use that vision as an incentive to check your social feeds less. There are also apps that can help you check social media only X times per day. Once you’re passed your limit, they will lock your apps and notifications.
#21 Stop Netflix
You can use a browser extension to stop yourself from watching Netflix. It is probably sucking up one hour of your day on average. That’s over 2 weeks of your time per year, gone.
#22 Call your parents once a week
How much time do you spend with your loved ones? Calling your parents once a week is a good self-discipline exercise that can result in an improved relationship with your family. We live in a time where real relationships are underrated. Remember your parents were here before facebook.
#23 Draw once a day
A simple idea if you’re trying to get back in touch with your inner creativity. Draw anything, draw something you’ve always wanted to draw.
#24 Get done with your Top 5 postponed
One of my personal favorites, because it turns an otherwise ordinary day and/or week into an awesome productivity rush. We all postpone things, big or small. List down 5 things you have been postponing for ages. Once you have your list, break each item in tasks to get it done, and put them in a schedule. Then, take action.
#25 List 3 bad habits you want to break, break one of the 3
Look at it this way. 1 in 3 bad habits is a 33% self-improvement boost. The advantage of focusing on one rather than multiple at the same time is that you drastically increase your chances of success.
#26 Clean once a week
Cleaning your place can be a pain, but the more you do it the less time you have to spend doing it. A little clean up once a week will ensure your place looks and feels fresh all the time. Your actions are defined by your environment. An improved you starts with an improved room.
#27 Take a picture once a day
This is an easy one, but anything you want to do daily requires the most commitment. Taking a picture a day for a week is easy, but try to keep the momentum going for a month, 6 months, a year. Consistency is key.
#28 Wake up at the same time everyday
I’ve been waking up at 6am everyday for over a year now. Is that a stretch? Of course it is. There have been days where I slept in after a tough week, a tough weekend, or just a really tough day. Nobody is a machine, and consistency on a human level will have lows. But it’s the momentum that matters. As long as you wake up at your target time more than you sleep in, you will stay motivated.
#29 Go to bed at the same time everyday
The same applies to bedtime. For some people, going to bed on a given time might even be harder than waking up early. But again, consistency is key.
#30 Quit screen time an hour before bed
One of the things that can make it hard for you to go to bed and/or fall asleep at a descent time is the use of technology right before going to bed. End your day with a simple wind-down routine, a good book, and a some warm lighting.
#31 Journal once a day
People who write down their goals and plans are much more likely to achieve them than people who don’t. Even if it’s one sentence, one drawing, one note, write it down for your own sake.
#32 Drink a glass of water first thing every morning
This will partially cleanse your body from toxins and keep your gut healthy. The main benefit though, is how invigorated and fresh it will make you feel from the get-go.
#33 Eat 5 fruits and 5 veggies a day
This famous catchphrase stems from a recommendation by the World Health Organisation. There are significant health benefits to getting at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. That’s 5 portions in total, one portion being 80 grams. Try committing to eating at least 400 grams of fruits and veggies everyday. A good way to increase your chances of success is to simply blend everything in a smoothie, and drink it throughout the day.
#34 Write top 10s for yourself once a week
This is another one of my personal favorites, because it has a ton of benefits. It can teach you a lot about yourself, it helps coming up with clearer plans and projects, and it stimulates creativity.
Top 10s for yourself can be anything:
- Top 10 places I want to go this year
- Top 10 people I want to meet in my life
- Top 10 books I want to read
- Top 10 meals I want to cook
- Top 10 goals I want to reach
#35 Do nothing for 5 mins a day
When was the last time you did nothing? It is so hard to do nothing in a world in constant movement. Put your phone in another room, sit on your couch, and listen to you environment, doing nothing for 5 minutes. Nothing is underrated.
#36 Have a disciplined approach to your grocery list
I don’t know about you, but every time I am in a grocery store, I tend to buy more than what I came for in the first place. Make sure you write down what you need before going to the store, and stick to your list. You will save time and money, 2 scarce resources for a lot of people.
#37 If something needs to be fixed and takes less than 5 minutes, do it right away
I like anything that creates direct added value, and therefore this is another one of my favorites. Make sure the task at hand will take 5 mins maximum, otherwise you will get dragged into it for longer. Long term planning is a huge, worthy time investment when planned right.
Something that takes 5 minutes to fix should never stay in your way for longer than 5 minutes.
#38 Stretch every morning
This will wake you up and make you feel fresh right away. It doesn’t have to be a long session, just enough to feel your body slowly waking up and rising with the sun.
#39 Stick to a morning routine
The hardest part about any habit is to generate consistency in order to build up momentum. A morning routine is a good example of a small plan that goes a long way, and that you simply have to repeat over and over to make it become automatic.
#40 Take a cold shower every morning
A cold shower is a great practical analogy for self-discipline.
- It hits you like a slap the first couple times
- It is your choice to keep going or to stop anytime
- Stopping seems so tempting, easy, and continuing is so unpleasant
- Yet a cold shower has multiple health benefits, on top of being a great self-motivator
- Eventually, you get used to it and you go with it
#41 Stop snoozing
Another hard one. When you wake up and you hear the alarm sound, your brain is far from 100% awake, and might make some quick easy decisions. It is your job to overcome those with your mind. It is so easy to forget what you told yourself yesterday, but it is so worth sticking to it.
#42 Throw away your TV
This is not a task you will have to do everyday, but it will help you getting things done by removing one major distraction from your home environment.
Netflix and Youtube are the new TV if you want something to watch anyway, although you should also consume those responsibly.
#43 Do X pushups a day
This is a cool simple one. Set a realistic number of push ups you can do throughout your day. It can be the beginning of a new relationship between you and exercising. Depending on your body type, it can also translate into quick results which will motivate you for even more change.
#44 Tell people about your goals, make yourself accountable
If you tell people at the office on Friday that you’re going to do something amazing this weekend, and you show up on Monday without having done anything at all, the questioning from the colleagues is going to be pretty annoying.
Telling people about what you want to achieve is a great motivator because it creates accountability on multiple levels:
- If you don’t deliver on your talk, your colleagues might judge you, whether it’s wrong of them to do so or not
- Your loved ones might lecture you, or feel sorry for you
Once you have a realistic goal, tell people about it. When they ask, telling them about your success will feel great.
#45 Remove negativity (stop complaining)
Being negative in life usually never helps. If things go right in spite of your negativity, you won’t even feel good about it. And if they go wrong, things will be as they should be, because negativity never calls for positive things to happen. Learn to see the glass half full in your daily life, and your perspective will change.
Budgeting is a skill not a lot of people have. You have no idea how much money it can save and/or make you. A self-disciplined person has a disciplined bank account.
#47 Buy one self-improvement item a month
By respecting your budget, you can spend on things that matter. One value-added item a month is 12 a year. All you have to do is make your list, budget it over the year, and follow your financials.
#48 Plan the whole 168 hours of your week
Imagine if you knew how you were going to use almost every hour of the upcoming week. You would realise how much free time you can have, how much wasted time you can get back, all while still having time to relax.
#49 Turn off your phone X hours a day
Everyday, at the same time, all you have to do is take your phone, turn it off, and don’t touch it again for the next X hours. It’s that simple. The beginning will be hard, but the more you do it the easier it gets. Claim your attention span back.
#50 Meal prep
I work in and office and I bring my own food, and the number one thing people tell me when we start talking about it is this: “I just don’t have the time to cook”. In 90% of the cases, it is not true.Everybody gets 24 hours in a day. You, me, Bill Gates, everybody. It is all about using your time wisely. Click To Tweet