Setting fitness, health and mental wellbeing goals can seem overwhelming. You want to become an athlete, but where the hell do you start? You want to lose a stone, but how are you supposed to get there? The power of making small life changes is underestimated.
Believe it or not, the biggest life changes come from the smallest behaviours. Things don’t happen overnight and goals should excite you, not overwhelm you. Instead of visualising one big goal, focus on small, manageable milestones that will help you achieve what you want.
Whether you have life coaching sessions with me or watch my videos, you’ll often hear me talk about 1% changes. These are small things you can do in your day-to-day life that cultivate healthy habits, create a clear roadmap to success and ensure you remain consistent. Incorporating micro-habits into your everyday routine helps you adjust to change, instead of planning a complete overhaul and sacking it off after 2 weeks.
Here are 10 impactful 1% changes you can make.
1. Keep a gratitude or mood journal
If you want to improve your mental wellbeing, mood journaling offers plenty of benefits. Take 10 minutes each day to capture your key moods and emotions, as well as things you’re grateful for. This helpful exercise helps you connect your moods to situations or people in your life and can be the catalyst that sparks those bigger changes.
2. Practise positive affirmations
Self. Talk. Matters. This is something I repeat to clients all the time. Negative self-talk and impostor syndrome hold us back from becoming the best version of ourselves. When setting a goal or starting a new venture, we limit our chances of success if we continually bully ourselves.
Would you let someone speak to your partner, kids or friends the way you speak to yourself? No chance. Repeating positive statements to yourself daily can give you the confidence you need to take action.
3. Limit screen time
How often do we tell ourselves we’re going to do a digital detox? Instead of going cold turkey, spend one hour a day without looking at your phone whatsoever. You can also reduce device time by banning phones at the dinner table, turning off notifications for certain apps or having a dedicated time in the day when you reply to messages and emails.
These seemingly small actions can cultivate a much more positive mindset and help you connect with the world around you, not to mention save you heaps of time.
4. Eat one more healthy food each day
Struggle to stick to a diet or nutrition plan? If junk food is your Achilles heel, gradually add more healthy foods to your diet. This can be more effective than quitting treats overnight only to ditch your diet a week later when all-consuming cravings take over.
Eat at least one healthy meal per day. Add one more portion of fruit or veg to your daily diet. Swap one unhealthy snack for a healthier alternative everyday. Making smaller, incremental changes and allowing your body to get used to them is more impactful than you think. It becomes more manageable than completely changing your routine overnight as well as making changes sustainable.
5. Reduce caffeine intake
Ah, caffeine. We can’t live without it, but it wreaks havoc on our sleep and creeps hidden calories into our bodies. For some of us, living without coffee is simply unimaginable. But you don’t need to quit completely.
If you drink 5 cups of coffee or tea per day, reduce it to 4. Then go down to 3. And everytime you cut down on a caffeinated drink, replace it with water. When you wean yourself off caffeine and gradually swap it for something healthier, you’re much more likely to stick to it and feel the benefits.
6. Get up 5 minutes earlier
Do you find yourself feeling exhausted and wishing there were more hours in the day? Improve your sleep hygiene. Sleep and recovery are crucial for our bodies. So cut back on the Netflix binges, turn off your Xbox and stop stalking people on Instagram until 1am.
Go to bed half an hour earlier than normal and set your alarm 5 minutes earlier everyday. Ban technology from the bedroom. Over time, you’ll enjoy a better quality of sleep and you’ll wake up earlier without hitting the snooze button.
7. Go for a 10 minute walk each day
You don’t need me to remind you of the countless benefits of exercise. Sedentary lifestyles are taking years off our lives. Add a bit more physical activity into your daily routine to boost your energy levels and improve your fitness. Why not go for a walk on your lunch break with a colleague? Take the stairs instead of the lift. Get off public transport a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. When done frequently, all of these small activities add up.
8. Give someone a compliment
Pay someone a compliment – and mean it. When you spot someone doing something well, tell them. Show a loved one affection by giving them a hug. Smile at a stranger. Bite your tongue when someone does a mildly annoying thing and let it slide. Ask someone how their day was with the intent to listen.
This is one of the small life changes that has a huge knock-on effect. When you have a positive influence on those around you, it pays off in so many ways. Whether it’s your family, social relationships or work, these small behaviours make a difference to how people see you and how you feel about yourself.
9. Throw one useless item away everyday
Stressed out by the house being a mess all the time? Throw away, recycle or donate one item you don’t need. If you can’t do it daily, do it weekly. Focus on one room at a time. The useless junk you hold on to doesn’t just clutter your home, but your mind too.
10. Get in touch with someone you care about
Social media brings people together, but when you’re passively liking snapshots of people’s lives, this isn’t a real connection. If there’s someone you haven’t heard from in a while, send them a message to let them know you’re thinking of them. Ask a family member for a brew and a catch up. Do more than just sitting on the sidelines of people’s lives. You’ll feel much better for it and your relationships will improve.