But by breaking huge resolutions into small specific and doable tasks, you can save yourself from throwing a pity party. Marginal efforts can someday make a notable difference, trust me. They may seem insignificant in the beginning but as you move towards the end of the year, adding these tiny habits in your daily rotation will help you become a better version of yourself.
1. Do an act of Kindness at least once a day.Did you know that kindness can have positive effects on your brain?
According to the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, "Engaging in acts of kindness produces endorphins, the brain’s natural painkiller!". Their research has also revealed that showing compassion and doing something humane for another person, lowers blood pressure and stimulates the production of happy hormones such as serotonin. Serotonin helps in wound healing and calms you down. The simple Other studies, such as one from Emory University has shown that kindness towards another causes a phenomenon called, "helper's high". Helper's High is a state of euphoria experienced by those who engage in charity work.
There are so many ways to make someone's day. An act of kindness can be in the form of holding the door for a senior, doing a chore for your roomie, feeding a stray dog on the street, offering to take a photo for a solo traveler, or even just asking how somebody's day went, already shows that you care.
The singer and actress, Lady Gaga once gave a moving speech about kindness. She said that "The really fantastic thing about kindness, is that it’s free." and even if you don't expect something back, it has its natural benefits. If you make somebody's day even just once should keep you perky and produce positive impacts on your mental health in the long run.
2. Do something that gets your heart rate up.
Are you on crunch time and can't spare an hour for exercise? Or are you scared of injuring yourself in the gym and having to contact your fitness healthcare provider? You can still incorporate tiny workouts in your daily or weekly routines without you needing to put your gym shoes on. Sweat without you noticing that you are actually working out. Here are three things to help you sweat a little.
Take the stairs (unless you are running late, of course). Climbing the stairs burns calories without you noticing it. When you run out of breath, don't worry it gets better over time.
Clean your space. Organize your books, wash the dishes, take the trash out, do some laundry. You can also try scheduling a sanitizing session for every section in your room or pad. Take for example your living room on Sundays or the kitchen on Saturdays. Be creative and clean whatever you can as long as you get your butt off your seat.
Take yourself out for a walk. Not only does it burn fat but it helps you clear your head. Take your pet out for a walk if you have one. If you wish to add more cardio, do a brisk walk.
3. Set a budget for the day and stick to it.
By setting expected expenses for the day, you are certain that you know where your money goes. If you are really serious about saving and keeping track of your funds, you should set a limit to your spending. Saving should be turned into a habit rather than looking at it as a responsibility. By just being aware of your cash flow, it will be easier for you to manage and take charge of your finances.
4. Resist reaching for your phone first thing in the morning.
According to Tony Reinke, an author of 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You, "whatever we first focus our hearts on in the morning will shape our entire day." Once our phones light up, it's hard to miss what's going on. We don't get to choose what we see first hand. We can manage our notification settings but of course, we don't want to miss messages from important people we want to hear from for the rest of the day.
The best practice is to spend the first new minutes either meditating, stretching, making your bed, or jumping in the shower to totally wake you up. Awful news or messages can sabotage your day. Don't let what's on your phone dictate how your day is going to go.
5. Don't eat your feelings out. Write them down instead.
Journaling became a popular habit among Millennials lately. It's a better alternative to binge eating when you're depressed. Sure a cone of ice cream can make you happy for a moment, but you still leave your brain in a clutter. A great way to organize your thoughts is to write them down. Scribbling your thoughts on a piece of paper or a notebook can raise self-awareness and can lead you to understand why you feel, what you feel. Nicolas Cole, a writer and founder of Digital Press confessed that writing down his feelings made him significantly better. He said that "After I’ve journaled, the entire ocean changes shape to calm. I feel at ease again."
You aren't required to note your feelings every day. It's only when you feel, sad, angry, frustrated, even a little too happy that you can't express it to anybody. Write it all down. You can stare at it. You can crumple it. Or you can reflect on it. The side effect? It won't make you fat.
6. Drink Lemon Water in the morning.
This revitalizing morning ritual gives you an immunity boost throughout the day. Lemon is rich in Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Vitamin C not only increases your immunity but the vitamin also helps you achieve a healthier complexion. Lemon water flushes out toxins, aids in digestion, and contributes to healthy weight loss.
An unorganized living or working space can lead to depression and anxiety. In the book called, "Life at Home in The Twenty-First Century", clutter was stated to affect our moods and can cause a lot of stress. CLAYGO stands for Clean as You Go. This is the first step to avoiding clutter. When we clean up after ourselves, there is order. Our domain is well kept and we spend less time looking for things. Now we have more time to focus on the next task at hand.
8. Make your to-do list the night before.
Listing down things you need to do the night before saves you time and helps you avoid clumps of thoughts when you wake up in the morning. Why spend time half-awake, thinking of what things to do within the day when you can just do them right away? Writing your to-do list at night will maximize your mornings and you are far more likely to remember things when you've organized them beforehand.
This habit is totally underrated. Arnold Nelson, an associate professor of kinesiology at Louisiana State University stated that "stretching may especially benefit people who need exercise the most but are too weak to lift weights or get moving". If people are too busy to exercise at all, they might as well do some basic stretches in the morning to start their day. This increases blood flow, mobility and energy levels. Nelson also said that "stretching can be a good place for them to start on a path to wellness."
You are only 5 minutes away to a better day. Watch this simple video from Joanna Soh.
10. Wear Sunscreen
There is a popular essay by an Australian film director Baz Luhrmann that was turned into a song called "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" that says, "If I could offer you only one tip for the future, Sunscreen would be it". The song tackles topics about how you should enjoy your youth before it is taken away from you. One way to preserve your youth is to wear sunscreen.
This advice is for people of all ages. Your skin is your largest organ and it's your first line of defense against the harmful effects of UV rays. Wearing sunscreen not only slows down the skin aging but it most importantly decreases your risk to skin cancer.
So that is it for the list of minor upgrades you can fit in your routines to help you improve the quality of your life in 2019! What's the first habit on the list that you would like to practice? Let us know in the comments below. Happy new, you!
Writer Nina Alexandra Palmares is a Cross-country Mountain bike racer for the Rhinohead Philippines team. Off the saddle, she loves to cook 'real' food and perpetually geeks about music, cult movies, bikes, and Game of Thrones . She graduated with a degree in Information Technology. You can follow her journey on Instagram with the handle @winkypalmares and check out her curated bike ride playlist on Spotify.