1. Each month (or pay cycle) buy a gift card to put toward holiday gifts at the end of the year.
If you find it hard to resist withdrawing money from your savings account through the year, buy a pre-paid Amazon, Amex, Mastercard, or Visa gift card once a month and hide it away until the end of the year. By the time the holiday season rolls around, you'll have a pile of cards, which you can put toward gifts for your favorite people.
2. Or download the Digit app to help you save a little money every day.
This app draws a small amount of money out of your account each day (you can set a maximum saving amount, so it never takes more than you want it to!) and holds it until you choose to withdraw it. You can also add “saving goals” where you tell the app how much money you want to save by a set date, then leave it to do the savings work for you.
3. Set your phone background to black and white if you want to limit your social media time.
This little hack is especially helpful for anyone who wants to spend less time on Instagram or gets easily distracted by those little red notification bubbles. It’s also super easy to do! If you have an iPhone, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Display Accommodations > Color Filters > then select "grayscale." You can also set up a shortcut that turns grayscale off when you hit the home button three times, which makes it easy to toggle between the two when you want to take a photo.
4. Every time you find a dollar or coin in your pocket, pop it in a jar.
Sure finding forgotten cash in one of your jacket pockets is cool, but you know what really feels great? Putting that bill or coin in a specific jar each time you find one and seeing how much money you saved at the end of the year.
5. Memorize two or three phone numbers in case of emergency.
It feels pointless to know someone's number by heart now that we're ~living in the future~, but if you're ever in a bind and you don't have your phone on you (or it's run out of battery), it's extremely useful to have your partner, parent, or roommate's number memorized so you can call for help elsewhere.
6. If you want to be productive around the house, put on a pair of sneakers.
There's something about wearing athletic shoes that puts you in an active mindset, and makes you less overwhelmed by running up and down the stairs, taking care of chores, and crossing items off your to-do list. Feeling those sneaks on your feet keeps you from curling up in a ball on the couch and signals to your brain that it's time to Get Shit Done.
7. Reach out to an old friend you’ve lost touch with.
They might be an old coworker, college roommate, or your middle school best friend — no matter who they are, reconnecting with people is a wonderful feeling and a great way to extend your friendship circle without, you know, having to actually meet new people.
8. Get into the habit of doing your dishes every night before bed.
For such a tiny thing, this task can have a huge impact on your mood in the morning. Waking up to a clean kitchen makes it easier to throw together a wholesome breakfast and makes your entire home feel like a nicer and tidier place to be.
9. Sleep with your phone in a different room.
Raise your hand if the very first thing you do each morning is reach for your phone. Sleeping with your phone in another room means that, at the very least, your brain will have a few moments to wake up before being bombarded with notifications, news updates, and emails. If you rely on your phone’s alarm to wake up, consider investing in an alarm clock or smart home device that can wake you up instead.
10. And try waking up at the same time every day.
According to sleep experts, waking up at the same time every day — yes, even on weekends — will help you sleep better. Rather than sleeping in late on weekends, experts recommend getting up at your usual time, then taking an afternoon nap if you need one. This helps your body maintain a healthy sleep routine the entire week.
11. Make a list of all the tasks you’ve been putting off, then slowly start working through them, rewarding yourself as you go.
You know, things like booking your annual physical, scanning those old photos for your mom, or taking your boots to the cobbler. Getting your to-do list out of your mind and onto paper will make each task feel more manageable.
12. Find a hobby that you can do with your hands.
Whether it’s pottery, knitting, bread making, or doing puzzles, using your hands to create something is an excellent feeling and great way to spend a little less time mindlessly scrolling on your phone.
13. Practice giving compliments, and give at least one every day.
It could be something as small as commenting on how neat your coworker's handwriting is or complimenting a friend’s new keychain. It’s nice to be nice, and when you start actively looking for things to compliment people on, you’ll likely notice just how many wonderful things you’re surrounded by each day.
14. Find a healthy and easy breakfast that you actually love.
Building a good breakfast routine is a little thing that can make a big difference. While what constitutes a “healthy breakfast” for you will be totally dependant on your personal needs, finding a meal that’s delicious, easy, and nourishing is something your body will definitely appreciate.
15. Get mindfulness reminders from Calm.
Even if you can't commit 10 minutes to meditating every day, downloading the meditation app Calm is still worth it, if only for the free daily mindfulness reminders. They appear on your lock screen just like any other app notification, except instead of finding out who liked your photo, you'll receive a soothing message like, "The quieter you become, the more you can hear" or "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes... including you."
They're sweet little messages that remind you to take a breath and come back to the present moment. Once you download the app, go to More > Settings > Mindfulness Reminders, and pick what time you'd like to receive them.
16. Study something, just for fun.
It might be the history of the city you live in, the life of your favorite artist, the science of why the sky is blue, or something completely different. Becoming an expert in a topic, person, or event you’re interested in is just plain fun, and will also make you an excellent trivia team member and dinner party guest.
17. Become a member at your local library.
There is SO MUCH to take advantage of at your local library: books, movies, music, video games, online courses, e-books, passes to local events and attractions. It's all free! It's all fun! It all supports your community! Literally what are you waiting for — sign up for a library card right now!!!
18. Practice saying “I get to” instead of “I have to."
If you want to change your perspective on your to-do list, tell yourself that you "get" to do things, which allows you to view tasks and events as opportunities, not obstacles. It'll boost your feelings of gratitude (which is great for your mental health) toward everything from calling your parents to meeting friends for drinks. For example, thinking "I have to meet them for drinks" reinforces the idea that socializing is a chore, while "I get to meet them for drinks" is a nice reminder that you're lucky to have friends in your life who want to catch up.
19. Take a selfie after every great haircut you get, so you have them for future reference.
Unless you're getting a buzzcut, it can be tough to explain to the stylist exactly what you want done. And we all know that even if you hate how it turns out, you're going to say, "Perfect!" when they reveal the finished product. So, take a photo of yourself after every haircut you get — that way, you can choose which one you like most and simply show it to your stylist. Also, you'll get to see how your appearance has changed over time.
20. Take a class in something you’ve always wanted to learn how to do.
Most of us have something we wish we knew how to do: properly pair wine with food, make pasta, speak French, paint watercolors. Luckily, in this the year 2019 (!!!), almost everything is available to learn online or in an IRL class. Courses also make excellent gifts, so keep yours in mind next time somebody asks you what you’d like for your birthday!
21. Unsubscribe from emails as you get them, instead of just deleting them right away.
Moving unwanted emails directly into the trash folder may give you instant gratification, but it doesn't nip the problem in the bud. They'll just keep pouring in, even though you don't remember signing up for Pottery Barn deals?? It only takes an extra few seconds to open the email, scroll to the bottom, and click "unsubscribe." Do it for Future You.