Little Habits that make a Big Difference

 Learn about Little Habits that make a Big Difference.

Habits that Make a Difference

this post contains affiliate links  -   disclosures

Sometimes when we want to make a change in our lives, we think it's going to take a grand gesture.  So we wait until Monday to start a restrictive diet, we join exercise programs in January (that last 2 weeks), and we spend lots of time and money on books and courses that promise to change our lives.  I don't know about you, but for me things that require large efforts rarely bring those big changes I had hoped for.  

I have found the secret to achieving goals is consistently doing small things.  By taking daily action, you can then form healthy habits.  

Success quote by Marie Forleo

That means that success comes from our little every day habits.  I mean it makes sense, right?  Most things aren't as complicated as we make them out to be.  It's our habits, either good or bad that make the biggest difference.

Little Habits that make a Big Difference

  • Having a morning routine
Have you ever felt frustrated with your life?  I so have!  About 2 years ago I was so tired of feeling busy and behind on life, all of the time.  So I started looking into what I could do different.  Somewhere in my searching, I read that most successful people have a daily morning routine.  

Being the "not a morning" person that I am, I laughed it off.  But as I continued reading, I figured I didn't have anything to lose by giving a morning routine a try.  I put together 12 steps (that seems like a lot, but it's not, I promise)  that only took about 15 minutes.  And it helped... a lot.  In fact, thanks to the endless summer and distance learning, I need to re commit to my morning routine again!

Little Habits that make a Big Difference - journaling your thoughts and feelings

  • Journaling
I am a gal that has lots of thoughts and feelings.  One way that I deal with all of that is by writing things down.  I get all of my thoughts out on paper and then I can put them into perspective easier.  I can always tell when I haven't been as consistent with my journaling practice because I get more overwhelmed by my emotions.  Find journaling prompts and ideas here.

  • Drinking lots of water
This one gets me every time.  I know drinking lots of water solves so many problems.  I tell my kids daily that they need to drink more.  And yet, a lot of times I forget to drink water myself.  And yes, it's usually my mom who reminds me to drink water.   It's so simple to do, but that makes it really easy to not do as well.  The best way to drink more water is to have it available by carrying a bottle or metal tumbler with my fave silicone straws.

  • Micro Exercising
We all know we are supposed to get daily exercise.  I have never been a fan of working out because:
  1.  I hate to sweat!
  2. The thought of being in a smelly gym makes me nauseous.  
But I also know that exercise is essential to feeling good and being healthy.  So when I heard about micro exercising I was sold.  Micro exercising is exercising for short bursts of time.  Don't have time to do a full 1 hour work out?  That's ok, do a 10 minute one, because 10 mins of exercise is way better than no exercise.  With micro exercising, I am way less overwhelmed and more likely to keep up with it!  

  • Getting ready every day
I have talked about this before, but it needs to be repeated because it's important.  I get myself ready every day to feel better and be more productive.  Now "ready" is a relative term.  Sometimes it means full make up and a cute outfit.  Other times it means a shower and fresh joggers on.  Either way is fine.  Because I know that putting a tine bit of effort into my appearance makes me feel better and when I feel better, I do better.  

Little Habits that make a big difference - have a project in mind

  • Planning Projects
Something that I have found out recently that having a project idea floating around in my head keeps me happy.  I love having something to look forward to.  When I don't I get bummed out.  I also feel like creativity is like a muscle, the more you use it, the more you have.   So I'm going to continue to keep a long list of projects in my notebooks and on my phone to keep my creative juices flowing.  

  • Thought Work
Like I stated above, about 2 years ago I was so mad and frustrated all of the time.  I thought that if my kids behaved the way I thought they should and my husband did certain things and the people around me weren't so annoying, I would be happier.  Can you relate to those thoughts?

Then I stumbled upon Jody Moore and her life coaching.  She says that our unhappiness is because of our thoughts.  At first I was really resistant to that idea.  But the more I thought about it, it resonated with me.  Our thoughts have SO much power over our attitude, our feelings and our relationships.  And the best part is that we always have control over our thoughts.  That's the best news ever because that means we have the power to alter (with a lot of work sometimes) the way we think.  This topic is so close to my heart, I could talk forever on it.  But I am not an expert.  If you'd like more info, go to Jody Moore's website and/or listen to her podcast for free.  (This is not affiliate links.  I just want to share Jody's genius with everyone because of the impact it's had on my life.)

  • Eating Well
I'm not sure if you know this, but food is what we use to fuel our bodies.  We have to put good stuff in in order to get good stuff out!  I feel like such a phony saying anything about this topic because I have never been very good at eating well.  I LOVE JUNK FOOD!  I tell you that so you know that is where I am coming from.  If I, the candy queen thinks eating well is important, then it might be important.  

Around the time I starting working on my thought habits, I decided to work on my eating habits and go gluten free.  I had been having headaches, joint pain, fatigue and other weird symptoms like my hair falling out and thinning.  After going to the dr and having a bunch of test come back normal, I did a bunch of research and decided to try going GF to see if would help me feel better.  At first there wasn't much change and I was unhappy because I love bread and pastries.  But after about a month or so, I ate something with gluten and felt terrible.  That's when I knew that eating GF was worth the effort.   So if you're feeling rotten and can't find any physical cause, trying eliminating certain foods from your diet.  If going GF seems overwhelming because gluten is in everything, I have a gluten free section in my food board on Pinterest.

  • Expressing Gratitude
I know I have talked about gratitude several times, but that's because it's super powerful and super important.  The more we notice what we have to be grateful for, the more happy and settled we will be with our lives.  There is always something to be grateful for!

Little Habits that Make a Big Difference | Be Intentional with  Social Media

  • Being intentional with social media
Just like I said above about negativity, I have to be very careful with Social Media.  Facebook, Twitter and even my beloved IG have become a very negative and divisive place.  I go looking for pretty pictures and inspiration and find a big mess of negativity.  I have taken to setting a timer so that I don't go spiral down the social media rabbit hole.

  • Taking a social media break
Sometimes even being intentional with social media isn't enough.  Sometimes a break is necessary.  I usually make myself take a break when I get a bad attitude.  Even though I try to be intentional, I get into a habit of mindlessly scrolling and time wasting which then makes me grumpy.  That's when I know it's break time.  I recently took a 2 week social media break to reset.  Now that I'm back, come check out what I have going on IG.  

  • Not dwelling on negativity
This is a tough one right now with all that is going on in our world.  It seems like every where I turn there is someone who wants to criticize or complain about something.  I mean, I really like to complain too but it doesn't help. And I can't control what anyone else does or says.  What I can control is how much I allow into my mind and my life.  That means setting boundaries with news, Facebook, friends and family, topics discussed and how often.

  • Backing up your Phone and Computer
If your computer has ever crashed, then you know how important this is.  What a bummer it would be to lose everything on your computer - your photos, your documents and your bookmarks all because you didn't back them up.  I have a habit of backing up my phone daily and monthly backing up everything on my computer onto an external hard drive.  That way if anything every happens to my computer, I will still have everything that I use!

Little Habits that Make a Big Difference - spend time outside

  • Spending Time Outside
In our technology driven world, we spend most of our days on screens.  All of that sitting and taking in stimulus from screens is not good for our physical and mental health.  So take a break and go outside, just like your mom used to tell you as a kid.  (I hated that BTW).  

But seriously, there are many health benefits to going outside such as relieving stress and strengthening your immunity.  Go to the park, take the dog for a walk (my dog Lizzie LIVES for going on walks), sit in the sun, walk through the grass barefoot, pull weeds, look at flowers, go for a hike, blow bubbles, use sidewalk chalk, play catch or so much more.  Just do something to get away from the screens for a few minutes and take in the beautiful world we live in!

  • Hand Washing
If all of the craziness in 2020 has taught me anything, it's that we as humans do not wash our hands enough and/or properly.  Hand washing is the #1 way to prevent the spread of infection.  I shutter to think about all of the gross things we touch every day.  ew.   Here is how to wash your hands properly.  We all should get into the habit of washing our hands when we come home, after touching our faces, petting our dogs, after using the restroom (of course) and before handling any food.  

  • Cleaning Surfaces Often
This one goes along with hand washing.  Ever since I took a public health class in college, I have been thorough (or nuts as my husband says) about cleaning and disinfecting the most touched surfaces in our home.  Our kitchen counter tops are hard working since they are the first surface we place things on  when we walk in the house.  If the counter tops aren't properly cleaned, when we cook or make a snack, we can pick up the germs of what was previously on them.  ew.  

I wipe down our counter tops and table top multiple times a day with dishwater.  Once a week I remove everything from the counter tops and disinfect them with bleach.  While my kids and husband may not appreciate the fact that I am a bit of a clean freak, I appreciate my Public Health professor for instilling a germ fear in me, which keeps my family healthy!

  • Positive Self Talk
Have you ever noticed the things you say to yourself when you make a mistake, stub your toe or burn dinner?  I bet it's not nice.  We are our own biggest critics and boy, do we like to say mean things to ourselves.  Would you want to be around someone that constantly told you that you were fat, dumb or couldn't do things right?  Then why the heck do you talk to yourself that way?  

Yes, we need to keep striving to do better, but beating ourselves up doesn't help.  Kick that bully out of your head and replace those thoughts with positive ones.  I got started by having a mantra.  Every time I was upset with myself I would say, "I am enough.  I do enough."  It sounds silly, but it really was life changing.  I still fall into default beat myself up mode on occasion, but it's way less than it used to be.

  • Reading
It doesn't matter if you read for entertainment or to learn something, reading is so good for you.  If you don't believe me, check out 10 benefits to reading.  I love reading easy chic lit books like Janet Evanovich, but I also like reading to better myself, like Self Help books.  Nothing like relaxing with a nice Diet Dew and cracking open a book!  

  • Listening to books or podcasts
Speaking of reading, one of the things that can prevent someone from reading or learning something new is thinking they don't have the time to do so.  But if you think about it, you spend a ton of time driving, waiting for appointments, doing laundry or any number of activities that leave your mind free but hands busy.  During that time you could listen to music, a podcast or even a audio book.  

BTW- the Libby app connects to your local library card and you can download audio (and regualar) books FOR FREE!   Also get yourself some wireless ear buds, like these that I love, and listen to podcasts while cleaning, an audio book while driving or folding laundry or cooking.  Squeezing that time in do something for yourself is so rewarding.  And you get the bonus of not being able to hear your kids fighting quite as loudly! 

  • Meal Planning
It is inevitable that you are going to have to feed your family and yourself for the rest of your life.  Why not make it easier on yourself by meal planning?  

For so many years I didn't plan and flew by the seat of my pants at meal time.  I never knew what we were going to eat each day and consequently stopped for fast food A LOT!   Once I started meal planning, it made dinner so much easier.  And I waste less time and money by planning our meals around what we have in our fridge and pantry and shopping for what we don't have all at once.  

  • Getting enough sleep
I know this one is hard, especially if you have little kids that keep you up at night.  My kids were terrible sleepers and I wish I had done better teaching them to sleep on their own.  Right now I have a puppy that recently had surgery and is not sleeping well.  It's rough.  After she recovers, I'm getting back on track getting enough sleep.  I know I'm a much better person when I have slept well.  I am willing to sacrifice by missing out on binge watching Netflix in order to get my rest.  

Little Habits that make a Big Difference  |  make a to do list

  • Making a To Do List
I have been a list maker for as long as I remember.  But I've heard there are many people that do not make lists.  I would never be able to function without a list of things I need to do.  Writing all of my tasks on a to do list gets them out of my head and helps me organize them in a way to Get Things Done!

  • Just Starting
When you are beginning a new habit, the hardest part is getting started.  So figure out a way to trick yourself into it.  For example, my least favorite chore emptying the dishwasher.  So I tell myself I only have to do the silverware.  But of course once I've started, I'm much more likely to finish emptying the entire thing.  I swear it works every time.  Just starting also works for exercising, drinking water, eating well, and just about everything on this list.  It's so much easier to make things habits when you just get started.  

List of Little Habits that make a Big Difference

One of the things that comforts me the most about this list is that all of these things are very easy to do.  But when done consistently, these are the things that will change your life!  Hopefully you can start some of these Little Habits that make a Big Difference today and change your life!