We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share the good habit that improved their lives this year. Here's what they shared:
1. Start a positivity journal, in which you take note of all the good things that happened in your day.
I began keeping a positivity journal where I write everything that happened in my day in an over-the-top positive way. For example, when my kids flooded the bathroom I wrote: "My kids had a lot of fun in the bath today". Not only has it helped me laugh and find the good side of frustrating things after the fact, I've found that when I'm dealing with annoying things in the moment, I'm thinking: How will I write about this in a positive way? It's changed my attitude.
2. Swap "I'm too busy" with "that's not a priority".
When considering how to allot my time, I stopped thinking and saying “I’m too busy” to do something. Instead, I now say “it’s not a priority.” It really makes you think about what is worth spending your valuable time on. There are days when running is “not a priority” because I'm making a conscious choice to relax and watch Netflix, or when staying at work past 6 p.m. is “not a priority” because I want to go for drinks with coworkers, etc. The habit is about acknowledging that most of us have more control over how we choose to spend our time than we realize.
3. Plan your day at work in one hour increments to get more done.
I found a printable daily calendar that's a full page with a box for each hour of the day. I print one each day and fill each box with two or three things to do that hour. I've found I get a lot more done this way, especially at work. I used to complete three or four projects a day, but now I find it easy to get a lot more done.
4. Quit, or take a break from, social media.
I just stopped using social media. It had become a vortex for my time and attention. I now try to focus my energy on things that actively add to my life, like cooking a meal or watching a documentary.
5. Or just don't check any social media apps until you've crossed a few things off your to-do list.
I work and study from home and while I always eventually complete my goals for the day, it was always draining and I began to lose interest in things I really liked. That's when I realized that catching up with my friends was taking up a good three to five hours of my morning. I'd talk to them while I did my work, which was really distracting. Once I stopped doing that my entire day became easier to deal with and less tiring, plus my friends and I now have more to talk about since we're not constantly FaceTiming.
6. If something will take less than five minutes to do, just do it.
If it can be done in under five minutes, do it. This has completely changed the way I keep up with house stuff and has totally changed the way my house looks.
7. Do your dishes every night before you go to bed.
This is so dumb, but doing the dishes every single night, so that the kitchen sink is empty when I go to bed, really makes my life feel more structured and put together.
8. Learn how to properly stretch your body, then do it regularly.
Stretching in the morning. I have really bad neck and shoulder pain, and this hasn’t cured it by any means, but simply doing very basic stretches (touching my toes, pulling each arm across my torso, reaching up to the doorframe, etc) for a few minutes after my shower every morning really helps.
9. Repeat to yourself when needed: It's okay to not be okay.
This year, I adopted a new mantra: “It’s okay to not be okay”. Sometimes depression or anxiety causes me to feel miserable, and I have to put on a brave face for friends and loved ones so I don’t burden them. But by adopting this new habit, I’ve learned that’s it’s okay to not be emotionally okay 100% of the time. The people who love me will support me.
10. Start using meditation apps to help you fall asleep when you're having trouble.
Listening to meditation programs for falling asleep has seriously changed my life! I used to struggle so much with falling asleep, tossing and turning for hours. Now that I’ve made a habit of listening to a meditation program on my phone every night while in bed, I’m usually totally out within a few minutes. I don’t think I’ve ever been this well rested! My personal favorite is Headspace, but there are tons of great apps out there.
11. Swap plastic straws for stainless steel ones and help save the sea turtles.
I bought a pack of metal straws on Amazon and not only do I feel good knowing I'm helping turtles, but I'm also drinking more water, because I always drink more when I have a straw.
12. And find other new ways to drink more water.
I keep a water bottle at my desk all the time, and drink water every time I remember. It's helped me keep hydrated because I don't forget to drink water this way! I've become way healthier after doing this every day and I feel way better.
13. Adopt a tiny pet — like a tortoise — if you're in the right situation to care for one.
Adopting a baby tortoise. I know that pets are a great responsibility but tortoises are very easy to take care of and they are fun! I’m 18 and I live alone, so it helped me gain a sense of responsibility while having a cute little companion with me when I feel alone.
Just make sure you don't buy a sulcata tortoise!
14. Get into a healthy breakfast routine and take vitamins as needed.
I only started in November but recently decided to start eating better and taking vitamins. Oatmeal instead of breakfast sandwiches or burritos. More water, less coffee. At least one salad a day and a dose of daily vitamins. I'm sleeping so much better, and wake up feeling ready for the day.
15. Start therapy.
I started therapy, which I knew I needed, but never thought would help as much as it does.
16. Try out one new eco-friendly habit each month.
I wanted to reduce my carbon footprint as much as possible, so every month for this year I've added in a simple change.
17. Create a chore system for your family, if cleaning tasks are not being distributed equally.
A chore chart. I was sick of cleaning up after four people. We do an incentive system now so that my 7-year-old is constantly trying to earn points. The house has never been cleaner, and I haven't been this relaxed since before having kids.
18. Start a morning and nighttime skincare routine.
I created a morning and night skincare routine that I've stuck to every day for over seven months. It’s made a huge difference in my skin and I can also start to understand where my limited breakouts are coming from. Since I know I’m taking care of my skin I can workout if my diet, stress, or PMS are the cause of my breakouts. This helps me make adjustments to my routine.
19. Give up chewing gum to save money and your digestive system.
I gave up chewing gum entirely. I had such a chewing gum addiction that I was chewing between three and four packs a day. Not only did it become costly, but it was wreaking havoc on my stomach. I have a money jar and contribute the amount of money I would have spent on gum every day. I can’t wait to count it at the end of the month!
20. Quit soda if you feel that you're drinking too much.
I cut soda. It was a simple enough task but I wanted to make larger diet changes without freaking out, so I started small. I found it easier to cut other things after just doing soda first. I've noticed that I have more energy since replacing soda with other drinks.
21. And make your bed every dang day.
Making my bed every day, and not getting back under the covers until bedtime. Honestly, it sets a tone for the whole day. It makes me more productive, especially when coupled with taking the TV out of my bedroom.