A recent Reddit thread asked, "What small habit, if done every day over the course of a year, can lead to the biggest personal improvement/gain?" Here are some of the best submissions:
1. Try reading for a set amount of time each day.
"If you read for 30 minutes every day, that's 3.5 hours a week, which is enough to finish a book every two to four weeks. Depending on what you choose to read, that's 12 to 24 books completed in a year!" —a_tame_zergling
2. Practice swapping 'sorry' for 'thank you' when the situation is right.
"I used to (and still do) have a problem with over-apologizing in basically every situation even when a serious apology isn't needed. When you get into this kind of habit, it may seem reactive to just apologize for everything you do to try to please other people. It can affect your confidence and also degrade the way other people view you because you become the person who's sorry for everything.
So, I've tried to consciously use 'thank you' to change that. Every time I get into a situation or catch myself about to say I'm sorry for something (that really doesn't warrant a heartfelt apology), I look for a reason to say thank you instead. Running late for work? Say 'thanks for your patience' instead of 'sorry I'm late.' Not only does this keep you from looking like a sad sack for apologizing all the time, it actually shifts focus onto the person you're apologizing to." —GizmosArrow
3. Don't just put things down, put them away.
"Wise words from my mate's grandma: 'don’t put it down, put it away.' So much of the mess around my apartment was thanks to me leaving things out instead of taking the extra minute to put them away in their correct place.
I’m not perfect but this has helped!" —2funk2druck
4. And do your dishes every single day.
"Do your goddamn dishes every day and you wont feel f*cked up every two weeks with a pile of them." —Mlkaan
5. If something's going to take you less than two minutes, just do it then and there.
"Live by the rule if something takes two minutes or less to accomplish, just do it.
You’ll notice how many things really aren't that bad, but also how much of your difficulty with accomplishing things is just a mental block." —PoutineKing65
6. Try to go to bed and get up at similar times each day.
"Recovering insomniac here! Ensuring consistency in your sleep/rise times is one of the most important parts of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBTI). It makes waaaaay more of a difference than you'd first think." —Alsedarna
7. Actually start flossing your teeth every day.
"Honestly, the sense of satisfaction when you answer 'yes' to the dentist about flossing daily after a lifetime of the guilty 'no' is well worth it. Plus, my mouth feels pretty decent now." —gwarsh41
9. Make a plan for the following day before you go to bed at night.
"Plan the next day before going to bed at night and write a to-do list. The next day before repeating the process, review your to-do list. It sounds really simple, but it's a real procrastination buster." —4noop
10. Practice a new kind of handwriting, like cursive or calligraphy.
"Practice from an online cursive chart until you reach typing-like speeds, then integrate as many of the techniques and forms as you can into your printed handwriting. You don't need to know cursive these days, but you're not just learning cursive — you're learning how to write quickly and fluidly, where and how to place extra lines for aesthetic reasons when needed, and where to start and end your strokes. If you're tired of your handwriting looking like a 6-year-old's, learn cursive. You may never use cursive again, but your printed handwriting will become Christmas-card worthy and three times as fast." —Bartisgod
12. Get into the habit of writing in a journal daily.
"It is cliché but it works. I used to do it, but when I felt like my life was on track I just stopped. It led to me falling into a lot of bad habits and being able to convince myself I was fine. Keeping a journal has a way of keeping you honest with yourself — you aren't writing for anyone else. You aren't trying to present your best self. You can just work through your thoughts honestly and openly. You can reflect in a way that you otherwise wouldn't. You can just let it all out without worrying what that exposure and vulnerability will mean. It really helps. I'd recommend this to everyone, especially people with anxiety." —7V3N
May I take this moment to recommend the journal I've been writing in daily for almost six years.
13. Run for as long as you can...and then run again the next day, and the next.
"Get a good pair of running shoes and take off! You would be surprised how easy it is to run five kilometers after a few weeks." —Kookaburra2
14. Make your bed every morning before you leave the house.
"It's the best thing to come home to. It almost feels like someone else made my bed, like I have a servant — except the servant was a very sleepy me that doesn't remember making their bed. It looks nice, makes me happy, and I feel good." —naznazem
15. Add new and healthy foods to your diet rather than focusing on removing other food groups.
"Instead of taking away something from your diet, add something healthy each month. In January, add an apple a day. In February, add a handful of plain almonds each day. In March, add one extra glass of water, and so on. You won't feel deprived, and you will increase your healthy habits painlessly." —PianoManFan
16. And try meditating, starting with just five minutes a day.
"Then work yourself up to 20 minutes a day. It's the biggest change I have made in my life. It's incredible how crazy and out of control our minds are, and as the old saying goes: if you don't have 20 minutes to sit, you should sit for an hour." —1976Hoosiers