Take Charge!

These Super Specific, Life-Changing Habits Require Almost No Time At All

A viral Reddit thread proves that you only have to make small adjustments to improve your life.

Originally Published: 
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Everyone’s been there: maybe you’re not getting as much exercise as you’d like. Maybe you’re more winded running up the stairs after your kid. Maybe you’re constantly feeling distracted, or the hassle of cooking is a chore so profound that you keep ordering takeout or eating cheese and crackers for dinner (no shade!). Or maybe you’re more or less doing well — you just have one or two bad habits you just can’t seem to break your way out of. Whatever small, bad habit you might have that’s making your life harder — you’re not alone. But it might seem impossible to break out of, especially when you’re juggling work, kids, home responsibilities, and all the stresses in between.

However, a recent Reddit thread proves that you don’t have to make sweeping changes to improve your life — and that super small changes can add up over time to make your life much, much easier.

In Reddit’s popular Life Pro Tips community, Reddit user u/prawn185 asked the group for the small changes they’ve made that pay off in the end. He asked the subreddit for life pro tips that could change your life.

“What other ‘take the stairs instead of the elevator’ everyday tips can you recommend[?],” u/prawn185 asked. “I'm looking for things that might be very small and seem insignificant, but they add up a lot. Another example might be to park a bit further away from the store to get those steps up.”

The thread, which was several thousand comments deep, was filled with practical and actionable low-lift advice that could make your life much easier — so long as you’re consistent.

1. You only have to take small steps to increase your daily exercise and health.

If your main problem is that you feel you need to get to the gym more, remember that you don’t need to immediately start working out every day of the week for hours at a time. Yes, exercise is great for you — your heart, bones, and mind — but simply adding in a little bit of extra movement each day is no joke, either.

“Walk a bit each hour,” u/ kumquatrodeo suggested. “Doesn’t have to be much, but stand up and move frequently.”

If fitness is just something you can’t work into your daily schedule, maybe consider working it in to other daily chores — like brushing your teeth. “Brush your teeth like a flamingo,” u/ the_real_log2 wrote. “You should take roughly 2 minutes to brush your teeth, stand on 1 leg for 1 minute, then switch to the other, or just stand on any leg for the full 2 minutes. It may not do much when you're young, but it will greatly improve your balance the more you do it.” It might seem simple — and maybe not even that important — but being able to balance on one foot is a very important indicator of your health and a great way to measure your functional fitness.

u/Livingsimply_Rob’s advice is to utilize TV time and stop being such a couch potato. “Every time a commercial comes on the TV that you’re watching, get up and walk around until the commercials are over,” they wrote. “It’ll blow your mind how many steps you can get in and how long the commercials actually are.”

u/kRe4ture added, “Get yourself a designated water bottle and always have it next to you at work/university/your bed. Make it a habit of drinking the water and immediately refill it when it’s empty.”

And if you’re worried about your posture? Here’s one simple hack: “Adjust your rear view mirror high so you sit up straight in the car,” u/wtfOverReddit wrote.

2. If it’s a small task, do it right away.

However you approach cleaning your home — a once-weekly deep-clean, a mad dash to clean up while your toddler naps — trying to keep things tidy as the day goes on can make that big clean that much easier. One tip? “Don't put it down, put it away,” u Electronic-Donkey shared. “Keep your place tidy easily.”

u/dmarsh23 follows advice they heard that said, “if it takes 5 minutes or less to do, do it now, don’t put it off.” Some examples u/dmarsh23 said include “dishes, take the trash out, change batteries in a smoke detector, change a lightbulb, put something away.” That’s great advice when it comes to those small, simple projects that are so easy to put off — and take months to complete despite being super minor.

For u/slashthepowder, removing the ‘snooze’ option every morning will improve your life. “

When your alarm goes off in the morning, put your feet on the floor,” they wrote. “For me, it’s [non-negotiable] and became a habit. This also helps getting me to bed at a reasonable time.”

3. Prep your meals and clean as you cook.

“Clean as you cook. While you are waiting for your meal to cook on the stove or microwave, clean something,” u/cjerin suggested. “Might be the dishes or utensils you just used to make the meal, might be dishes in the sink or the counter. If there is a timer it’s a challenge to get as much done as you can in that time. Makes the waiting for the food to be ready go faster and the kitchen cleaner.”

For u/InternalAd3893, being practical for meal time saves time and encourages eating nutrient-dense foods. “Batch chopping of vegetables etc. I’m way too lazy for [full-on] meal prep. Instead if I’m cutting a couple carrots for whatever I’m cooking, I cut up ALL the carrots in the bag, and put them in a tupperware so next time I cook I can just throw them in,” they wrote. “Makes future cooking way less overwhelming. Anything I don’t think I’ll eat within a couple of days goes in the freezer, so I’m not just letting a bunch of stuff go bad.” This is also a great tip for parents who want to pre-prep snack time for their kids or have a lot of different options on hand for when their kids are being, well, picky kids.

For those of us with limited kitchen space, thinking like a chef and cleaning as you go goes a long way. “Wash your dishes/pans along the way when you are cooking,” u/oneislandgirl added. “That way you don't end up with a huge mess at the end and feel overwhelmed.”

4. Compliment your kids — and others.

A simple way to improve your mental health is to practice gratitude: for people when they do good things, for your own place in the world. One simple way one Reddit user practices gratitude is by complimenting people in their lives, which also is an excellent way to begin setting up positive rewards — and consequences for behavior. This advice works for kids, but it’s also a great way to set up expectations in romantic, professional, or friend relationships.

“Catch people doing good things and say it out loud. It also works with kids and dogs. It has several important functions,” u/hecandbella explained. “It starts to teach people what you expect from them without being harsh. u immediately improve your relationship/bond. When you do eventually have to set a firm boundary or have a difficult conversation, the relationship should be in better place to handle it. If you mess up within reason, someone is more likely to forgive you because they have context of you being a reasonable person.”

5. Brush your teeth after dinner.

Self-care isn’t just having a bubble bath or taking a walk. Sometimes it requires discipline — and discipline in relaxation.

One tip that’s not all sunshine and rainbows? “Brush your teeth after dinner,” Sparky-Malarky wrote. “Brush thoroughly and floss. Doing this early in the evening, you’ll do a better job than when you’re sleepy, and you’ll be less tempted to snack.”

Another sure to annoy? u/sracluv wrote, “Start your day really early. I wake up at 6 to do some 20 min chair yoga and 20 min gentle pilates. Helps me begin my day feeling very calm. I get things done earlier, eat better, and have good down time by the later part of the day.”

But the best tip of all is that when you’re resting, really rest. Don’t feel bad about it. “Resting is not laziness. Relaxation is important,” u/Idkawesome shared. “If you Embrace resting as a positive thing, then that will improve your general happiness. When it comes time to exercise, you just have to embrace that is a good thing also.”

You can read the full thread on Reddit.

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