1. Saying “thank you” when someone does something little-but-kind throughout your day. When someone holds a door, helps you grab something, or lets you go first, they didn’t have to do that, and making sure to thank them will make them want to do it more.
2. Doing those little-but-kind things yourself throughout the day. When you’re at that weird moment of “Do I or don’t I hold open this door for the person who is a little bit behind me,” do it.
3. Smiling at children who are smiling or looking at you. Kids are perfect, in that they think most people are generally good and nice, so don’t shatter that image by frowning or looking away from them.
4. Listening to music for the mood you want to be in, instead of the mood you actually are in. If you want to cheer yourself up, don’t sulk with Death Cab albums from your high school “artist” phase — put on some Disney soundtracks!
5. Giving someone at least one honest compliment per day, about something other than their weight if possible. (Even if someone lost weight, it’s much better to say “You look great!” rather than comment directly on the pounds, because that often comes with a lot of baggage.)
6. Putting more fruits and vegetables on your plate, and eating those first before treating yourself to the less-healthy things. Making the choice to eat better is often very simple, and only involves being more smart about what you put in front of you.
7. Answering your text messages right away (even if they stress you out), because you know how you feel when someone leaves you hanging. Also, you have a tendency to say “I’ll get to this later” and then forget about it completely, and that’s just rude.
8. Putting your alarm across the room so that you have to get up and go turn it off and can’t accidentally hit “off” in your sleep and never actually wake up.
9. Saying “hi” to your neighbors when you see them, and maybe even asking how their day was because, come on, you basically live together.
10. Preparing breakfasts, snacks, or lunches to take with you throughout the week. There’s only one way to avoid paying a lot of money to eat terribly at the last minute, and that’s by planning ahead.
11. Not obsessing over the stupid/embarrassing thing you said two years ago to keep you from sleeping or make you freak out in the shower. (My technique with this one is to actually say the thing out loud, laugh at myself, and force myself to think about something else.)
12. Calling, texting, emailing, or in some way acknowledging your parents and find out what they’re up to today/let them know that you love them.
13. Freezing grapes, because that shit is delicious.
14. Writing down a list — ideally on a dry erase board or something, where you can see it every day — of the things you need to do. And actually going through this list, one by one, and checking them off. I promise, it feels almost better than sex to see the whole thing crossed out.
15. Telling a friend you love them, or you’re thinking about them, or you hope they’re doing well.
16. Pointing out at least one thing in the mirror that you actually like about yourself, and that you’re excited to see.
17. Reminding yourself that the body you have is more than just an object for people to observe, it’s also an amazing thing that allows you to run, jump, hug, eat, and exist in this world.
18. Finding at least one thing on the internet to get excited or happy about, instead of just surrounding yourself with negative information, things and people to criticize, or hate-reads that you use to feel righteously angry.
19. Stretching. Especially in the morning.
20. Taking at least a few minutes out of your day to think about things that you are happy about, things you can improve, and this you want to do differently tomorrow. Allow the feeling of gratitude to fill you up and motivate you to carry the good things over and leave the pointlessly negative things behind.
21. Realizing that you are not perfect, that no one else is, and that it should never be your goal. The more you compare yourself to people you think are happier or more successful, the more you turn them into characters and not human beings. Every single person you pass on the street is real and has their own story, and their own flaws. Remembering that they’re struggling, too is the quickest way to make yourself a better person.