51 Little Habits That Will Change Your Life

And let me know when you master all of these, because I’m still struggling with many of them myself — but I’m trying.

1. Listening to your voicemails right when you see the notification, because it might be important.

2. Responding to said voicemails when they are important, just like you would want someone to do with you.

3. Making your bed first thing in the morning.

4. Always keeping a small vase of fresh-cut flowers somewhere in your house, even if they’re little cheapies you got from the corner store. (This especially applies when it’s rainy and gross outside, because flowers are basically sunlight you can purchase.)

5. Saying “please” and “thank you,” with a smile, so as not to look sarcastic or insincere (because you shouldn’t be).

6. Eating breakfast.

7. Replying to emails when you get them, even if they don’t merit a really long response.

8. Recognizing that moment when you know you’ve had too much to drink, and you therefore want more to drink, and stopping it in its tracks.

9. Being unexpectedly kind and patient to people when they make mistakes, and they assume that you’re going to get angry.

10. Eating your veggies first, then the rest of the things on your plate (so you’ll be less hungry for buttery mashed potatoes or BBQ pork).

11. Paying attention to what you say “thank you,” for, as we often say it too much for things that don’t matter and not enough for when it really does.

12. Learning what is and isn’t a good use of your anger, like writing nasty things on the internet or gossiping about a mutual friend behind their back over a petty disagreement.

13. Writing down a list of things you have to get done that week, and going through to actually check them off.

14. Keeping a bar of good dark chocolate in your house at all time.

15. (And a bottle of nice wine.)

16. Investing in some decent Tupperware so that you can make some food ahead of time and freeze it in servings, so you can have a healthy/homemade dinner to heat up whenever you’re low on time/energy.

17. Learning how to cook, at least one new recipe per month, until you’re no longer one of those people who “uses their oven for storage.”

18. Giving family members real, squeezy hugs, and not lame double-pat ones.

19. Keeping your shoes clean, shined, and looking nice. Sad shoes make for sad people.

20. Wearing at least one thing that is very you, even in restrictive office dress codes. A brooch of the Tardis or a little scarf aren’t much, but they make you feel just that much better.

21. Saying hello to puppies, because they are adorable and want to say hello to you!

22. Petting said puppies when their owner says it’s ok to.

23. Keeping a few good books by your bed, either ones that you know and love or ones that you mean to read, that you can read a chapter or so of at night to put yourself to sleep.

24. Keeping candles in your house, and actually lighting them.

25. Calling your parents out of the blue, just to find out how they’re doing and tell them you love them.

26. Sending postcards, because something actually arriving in the mail from a friend has become a novelty and a special event in our society.

27. Kissing good friends on the cheek when you see them. (It’s not just for Europeans and Real Housewives!)

28. Not making snarky comments about the food other people eat.

29. Spending less time on Facebook.

30. Freezing your candy bars. (If you’re not already doing this, I don’t even know if I can speak to you, honestly.)

31. Only bringing a certain amount of cash to lunch so that you’re forced to spend less money.

32. Printing out pictures to actually frame and put up somewhere, because a picture that you can hold is worth, like, a billion times more than pictures online.

33. Drinking more tea, but not so much that you become a snob about it.

34. Eating something before going to the grocery store so you don’t act like an insane person and walk out with one of those oversized barrels of Utz Party Mix.

35. Donating clothes you don’t wear anymore, because someone needs them.

36. Donating a toy around Christmas, at least one little one. You can afford it, and it would make a world of difference to someone.

37. Listening to people when they talk, forcing yourself to hear and process everything they say before you even think of your response.

38. Mastering a good handshake, but not a weird one that feels like a challenge to a gunfight.

39. Eating three square meals a day, and not replacing them with aimless snacking on things that you imagine to be healthy but are really just empty, sad calories.

40. Learning at least a little bit about all the major religions in the world, so you’re not completely ignorant when they come up in conversation. (Shout out to 10th grade Comparative Religions with Mr. Greenfield!)

41. Not engaging in internet arguments, because come on.

42. Making a list of movies that you know you should have seen by now, and picking out a time to watch them one by one. (This is also very good at alleviating the pressure on your going-out budget.)

43. Seeing at least some of the really important monuments in our country, even if you think they’re cheesy and field-trippy.

44. Listening to early-60s motown music, because it puts anyone in a good mood.

45. Having people over on a semi-regular basis for wine and cheese. (This often leads to very intense discussions about love, life, politics, and the future.)

46. Writing down some of the things you talk about in said intense discussions, so that you can remember them years later.

47. Saying a proper goodbye to friends who are moving away, and telling them honestly what you’re going to miss about them.

48. Walking when it’s an option, instead of taking a car or public transport.

49. Getting real exercise regularly, the kind where your heart rate is up for a sustained period of time and you actually leave feeling tired and fulfilled.

50. Eating at your favorite restaurant at least once a month, and always trying to order something new.

51. Saying hello to people you pass in the morning, and honestly hoping that they have an awesome day. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

image – Fahim Fadz

Chelsea Fagan founded the blog The Financial Diet. She is on Twitter.

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