Dr. Kristen Mitteness
20 Small, Impactful Habits for 2020
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
It's another year for us to not only look forward, but also to reflect on the previous year (and possibly decade). Are you looking to make some positive habit changes in 2020? If so, I would start by reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. Until then, here are 20 small, yet impactful habits you can make for 2020. I truly believe that small, yet consistent changes will be much larger and impactful in your life.
1. Do something active for 10 minutes every day. If exercise or movement is something you want to do more of, don't make it so time consuming and complicated that you can easily say no. Just 10 minutes every day will make a much bigger impact than you realize. You can walk, do one of my #NoExcuses Workouts, jog, take the stairs or park further away.
2. Automate your savings. Choose an amount you know you can save each week. It can be $10 or $100. Automatically set your account up to move that money from your checking into a specific savings account. Don't touch it. Simply watch the account grow without even trying.
3. Read 5 pages a day. If reading is something you want to do more of this year, choosing to read just a few pages per day will get you there. Keep your book of choice in a place you know you'll see it regularly to remind yourself to pick it up.
4. Prep food ahead of time. When good choices are available, you'll be way more likely to choose them. Having veggies cut and roasted or meat cooked up, makes eating good, healthy meals easier when your tired or short on time.
5. Write things down. Keeping a planner or journal where you can write things down not only means you don't have to rely on your memory as much, the chances you of remembering it actually increases simply by writing it down.
6. Take a course. Whether you want to advance in your career or learn a new skill, taking a course in person or online can help you build your skill set. There a tons of free or low cost courses online, through your local community centers or work associations. I find taking courses helps re energize and ignite my passions which makes work or hobbies so much easier to find time for.
7. Meditate, pray or give thanks. In as little as one minute per day, you can implement some form of mediation, prayer or gratitude practice. I utilize the Ziva Technique every morning. Commit to trying something for just 30 days. If you love it, keep it up! If you don't, you don't have to keep doing it or you can try something else. I am actually amazed at how much a meditation practice changed my outlook. Totally worth it.
8. Give back. Whether it's your time or money, give back to a cause that you believe in. You can do this once per year, once per month or once per week. Looking to make change in the world, rather than in yourself can spark emotions and perspective you may not have had otherwise.
9. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier. Most of us don't get enough sleep to be able to handle the busy-ness of our days. Getting to bed just a little earlier adds up. Even if you are simply laying there, you are still resting rather than being busy.
10. Say something nice to someone once per day. Whether it's a simple "thank you" for holding the door or a compliment on a shirt that looks good on someone, a few nice words can go a long way.
11. Learn to take a compliment. When someone says something nice, simply say "thank you" No need to go into explaining your bad hair day or where you purchased your shirt (unless they ask). If someone says something nice to you, say "thank you" and move on. You don't have to compliment them back. It's okay to accept a few nice words.
12. Clean out a drawer. Cleaning the whole house can be overwhelming. Choose one small spot can help kick start the journey to a clean house but doesn't require a lot of time and energy.
13. Donate or recycle one item. Chances are your house has plenty of things you really don't need. Why not give it a new life by donating or properly recycling it?
14. Make your first meal of the day count. I don't care when you eat breakfast, but choose something of quality. Meat and veggies are my fave. They provide enough protein, fat and fiber to keep your energy stable without the crash. Don't stress about making everything you eat perfect, simply focus on a good, quality breakfast.
15. Monitor your self talk. Every time you find yourself criticizing something you did or said, correct it. OUT LOUD. And in the third person. Actively replace, "Ugh, that was so dumb" with, "It's okay, Kristen. You can do it differently next time. Keep trying." Kindness and grace, even for ourselves, can do a long way.
16. Limit your social media or phone time. Have you ever tracked how much time you spend scrolling through Insta? I do. It's embarrassing sometimes. Think of those hours every day I could be spending with my friends and family. My general rule is no social media scrolling after 8:30pm. It also means it's easier to fall asleep if I don't have a screen shining into my face for an hour before bed.
17. Walk instead of drive. Is there an errand you can do by foot rather than by vehicle? Or is there a place you can park that allows you to get to two places you need to be rather than driving between? This can encourage a bit more exercise in your life and limit utilization of your vehicle and gas.
18. Bring reusable bags. Getting into the habit of this simply requires making it more accessible. Keep them in your car so you can grab them. After you bring them into the house to empty the contents, bring them back into the car or put them near your keys so next time you go to the car, you bring them with you. It takes resources to make these reusable bags and it requires them to be used hundreds of times to actually be less wasteful than plastic bags. You gotta put in those reps to make it count!
19. Spend a few minutes outside every day. You can dress for any type of weather. It's pretty incredible what a little fresh air will do for you. Make a point of getting outside for just a few intentional minutes every day and reap the benefits.
20. Savor the moment. Getting into the habit of focusing on what's right in front of you can make any chaotic situation a little more bearable. Focus on your breathing. Pay attention to the sights, sounds and smells you are experiencing. Try not to focus on the outcome or what got you to this immediate point. One breath and step at a time.