When was the last time you switched up your routine?
I always have this nagging feeling that I’m one change away from becoming the best version of myself.
Maybe I can wake up earlier and become a productivity goddess who doesn’t fall behind on her workload.
Maybe I can meal plan and manage to eat healthier, at least for a while.
But if there’s one thing I learned in my lifelong self-development journey, it’s that even the smallest adjustments can make a difference.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for a transformation, too.
If you change these 8 behaviors, your life will instantly get better.
Ready to spice things up?
1) Believing that you can’t change
Apparently, there are six stages of change.
The problem is that many people get stuck in “contemplation” and don’t make it to “action” or “maintenance.”
There’s a difference between realizing that you want to make a change and actually taking the necessary steps to do it.
More often than not, it all boils down to your attitude.
“Believe that you can, and you will” sounds cliché, but there’s truth here.
If you’re not your biggest cheerleader, it will be difficult to find the discipline to create a routine that works better for you. And to stick to it.
What helps me whenever I want to introduce a new habit in my life is to read a personal development book to hype myself up.
While some are fluff, others are motivational enough to kick you in the right direction.
The one I like to recommend to everyone is Atomic Habits by James Clear.
I didn’t find it as revolutionary as social media might have you believe, but it’s engaging and well-structured.
It’s the kind of book that makes you want to take action once and for all.
Also, the kind you’ll want to reread whenever in need of a pep talk.
2) Adhering to a chaotic sleep schedule
I am a little hypocritical to include this point on the list because I’ve been trying to fix my chaotic sleep schedule for the past couple of years with no success.
I thought I was a night owl, but now I’m pretty sure I’m dealing with a touch of insomnia.
Whatever it is, I have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour.
This makes me wake up late and feel like my entire day is out of whack.
I tried everything I could think of short of sleeping pills.
Complete darkness. No dinner. Tea. Music. Audiobooks. Meditation.
I might be a lost cause.
If you have a chaotic sleep schedule as well, your sleep is less restorative. This negatively affects cognitive functions like attention and memory.
Hopefully, you’re not as pitiful as I am. Here’s what you can try to fix your disorganized ways:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
- Create a calming bedtime routine
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool
- Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing to reduce stress
- Avoid screens for at least an hour before bedtime
As for me, I’ll keep trying.
3) Picking up your phone when you wake up
This is another bad behavior I’ve been guilty of, but I managed to get rid of it.
I only had to do one thing: purchase an alarm clock.
When my phone alarm woke me up, I used to pick up the phone to dismiss it.
I inevitably saw all the notifications, and I couldn’t stop myself from checking them out.
Before I got out of bed, my brain was overexcited.
Now, I wait until I’ve had my coffee to see what’s going on in the world, catch up with emails, and plan my day.
I like to think that I’m setting myself up for productivity.
4) Working in your pajamas
More and more people are working from home or in a hybrid format.
When that’s the case, it can be tempting to stay in your pajamas all day as you tick off assignments without ever bothering to change.
I’ve been there.
During my first weeks as a remote worker, I was ecstatic to wear my comfiest clothes, work from bed, and enjoy all the perks of not having to go into an office.
Yet, the clothes you wear influence your mood and mindset.
While it’s fine to stay in your PJs for a couple of days as a treat, doing it consistently dampens your effectiveness.
Putting on an actual outfit, on the other hand, signals to your brain that it’s time to focus and gets you out of lounge mode.
Plus, you won’t be caught unprepared for impromptu video meetings.
5) Mindlessly going through the day
How much of your day is spent on auto-pilot?
You wake up, work, eat dinner, maybe watch TV, scroll social media, go to bed.
Ever since I became a full-fledged adult, I’ve struggled with the repetitiveness and mundanity of it all.
And I became a full-fledged adult a long time ago.
(I guess this is why people have midlife crises.)
Between work and admin stuff, you’re probably left depleted and without much energy to enjoy whatever spare time you have left.
One way to change this is to add small pockets of joy to your day.
To do something that actively excites you and look forward to it.
I’m no mathematician, but the more activities you add into the mix, the more joy you’ll experience.
For me, these include watching TikTok during my lunch break, taking a walk while listening to an audiobook in the evening, and having a pampering session before bed (shower, moisturizer, skincare, the works).
They help me enjoy my days more and occasionally forget about the fact that I have to do it all again tomorrow.
Other examples of things you can incorporate into your day with minimum effort:
- Listen to feel-good music in the morning during your commute
- Take a few minutes to engage in deep, mindful breathing
- Call or chat with a loved one during lunch or in the evening
- Take a few minutes to doodle, sketch, or color
- Enjoy your favorite snack every afternoon
To sum up, find a short activity that makes you smile and cram it into your already busy schedule.
Your life will instantly get better once you do.
6) Refusing to get off the couch
There are countless benefits to moving your body.
I’m sure someone gave you the lecture before.
If you mostly work at a desk and spend your evenings lying horizontally, add some exercise to your day.
It doesn’t have to be strenuous. You don’t have to go to the gym, although signing up for a membership might keep you accountable.
Take a walk. Dance around for 20 minutes. Schedule a weekly basketball game with friends.
Get out of your head every once in a while.
The endorphins will feel like a godsend.
7) Looking up to no one
If you want to make a positive change in your life, it helps to have a source of inspiration.
A mentor, a coach, a loved one you look up to – someone who influences you to be better.
Can’t find someone to admire in real life?
Settle on a public figure from the past or present who can act as a role model.
Anyone is game, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Angelina Jolie to Cristiano Ronaldo.
(I’m partial to Jane Fonda myself.)
When you feel discouraged, ask yourself what said role model would do in your position.
Would they skip their workout to snooze for 10 more minutes?
Show up to a meeting unprepared?
Say “yes” to something they don’t want to do?
8) Putting everyone else first
It’s admirable to care about the well-being of your loved ones, but it’s equally essential to care about yourself.
When you’re busy making sure that everyone else is okay, you’re left with zero time to cater to your own needs.
And if you want to make a positive change in your life, you need stamina.
Stop putting everyone else first, and learn to prioritize self-care.
People pleasing can be an exhausting and time-consuming behavior.
If it’s chronic, aim to please only some people some of the time.
It’s a start.
You’re one habit away from leveling up.
With the right attitude and a dash of discipline, success is right around the corner.