We're all looking for ways to better ourselves and our lives. But sometimes, it's the small changes and consistent habits that make the biggest difference.
So redditor u/kx.rll asked, "What is something that has improved your life so much, you wished you did sooner?" Here's what people said.
1."I stopped living my life just waiting for the weekend. When you work five days a week and have just two days off, it's not good to always be waiting for those two days. I've started to plan something meaningful or fun to look forward to every day, even if it's very small."
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2."I've gotten really into audiobooks. It's so enjoyable, and listening to a book makes chores go by much faster too. Mowing the lawn? Shoveling snow? Doing laundry or the dishes? Just pop in your ear buds. Or I'll listen while I'm having a drink by the fire at night. It's such a richer escape than you get watching TV."
3."Flossing my teeth. Actually, I started out flossing, and now I use a water pick. My dental hygiene and cleaning visits are a breeze now, and I haven't had a cavity in years."
4."I started a flower garden. Gardening is really relaxing, and you will see results all summer. I've had lots of successes and failures, but with the failures bring improvements. Sometimes I listen to audible books while I'm at it. As someone who works a desk job, gardening has been so beneficial for me."
5."Quitting drinking. It's the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental and physical health. Giving up alcohol has done nothing but improve my relationships. Since quitting, I've had the best year and a half of my life."
6."Doing at least one chore every day. You would be amazed at how well getting something done (even if you hate it) can counteract certain depressive mentalities, particularly the feeling that you're useless or are a burden."
7."Carving out a little time every single night to read. I love to read, but my interest in books ebbs and flows. Sometimes I can easily read for hours, engrossed in a book, but other times I find it hard to concentrate. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I've created a rhythm for myself where every night I set aside some time — whether it's 20 minutes or an hour, no excuses — to read. Not only have I been getting through more books, but it also helps me sleep better, falling asleep to reading and not to the glare of a TV screen. It's become one of the best parts of my day."
8."I went back to school to complete my college degree. I got my bachelor's degree at 47 years old and my master's degree at 50 years old. I doubled my salary in four years. I was just getting by, but now I'm on track to retire at 60."
9."I took the plunge and moved away from the state I grew up in. I didn't realize how unhappy I was there until I finally left town. I had gotten so used to being miserable, but now that I'm settled in a new place, I feel like I'm a completely different person."
10."Exercising every single day. I've found that since beginning a daily exercise routine, my anxiety and depression are much easier to manage. Also I gained some confidence I haven't had in years."
11."Hiring someone to clean my home. I grew up in a house where money was tight, and whenever I heard people talking about their housekeeper, I assumed they were super rich. I'm not rich. In fact, I'm very much middle class. That being said, my wife and I both work full time, and we have a lot on our plates. We found a local person who has a small cleaning business. We keep up with quotidian cleaning tasks like doing the dishes, laundry, wiping surfaces down, etc. Then one day per month, we hire a cleaning person to do a deep dive, focusing on more time-consuming tasks. It costs us about the same as a date night, and it does so much to help us stay on top of things."
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12."Learning to set boundaries and say no to things."
13."I've started embracing a new tactic that I call the 'triple 30.' Every day, I spend 30 minutes on household chores, 30 minutes exercising, and 30 minutes doing something that feels like self-improvement — for example, practicing guitar. I get home from work and knock off my triple 30 in an hour and a half, and it's worked wonders for me. Not only does it annihilate the looming stress of housework, but it's also helped me kick my anxiety in the ass. It's not gone, but it's much more manageable."
14."Not everyone can afford this, but for me, moving closer to work has been an enormous, positive change. My commute used to be 45 miserable minutes of traffic as I saw glaring in hatred at the tail lights in front of me. Now, it's a pleasant 15-minute bike ride. I get an extra hour of free time every day, plus it's better for my health."
15."I started reading science fiction and fantasy books instead of books that are considered 'great' or 'literary.' I've found I love reading things I enjoy more than reading what other people deem relevant or worthwhile."
16."I went to the doctor to get a proper diagnosis. I think I'm like a lot of people when I say I questioned myself for years, wondering what was wrong with me. When I finally got diagnosed, it was such a big relief. It's changed a lot of aspects of my life for the better."
17."Walking every damn day. It's one of the best things I've done for myself. It's a stress relief, and it has helped me maintain my weight. It's also something I can hopefully keep doing into old age for as long as I'm mobile."
18."Boxing. Taking boxing classes has been huge for me. I feel stronger for sure, but it's also a form of therapy for me. It feels so good to take out my frustrations or stresses in a manner that is also good for me."
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19."Managing my weight by eating dinner or a late snack at work. Too often I would leave work hungry, which made me tempted to get an unhealthy meal from the Chick-fil-A or the taco shop on my way home. Now, I eat something while I'm still at work, and it's helped keep my weight under control for a couple of years now."
20."I got a job working from home. I used to work 55 hours a week in a warehouse, but now I work 40 hours a week at home. I have so much more room for activities and to do things that make me happier."
21."Switching to lower-impact cardio for exercise. I absolutely loved to run, but it destroyed my legs. So I made the switch to swimming, and now I can swim my little heart out."
22."Getting laser surgery for my vision. I finally got mine done a month ago, and it's the best money I've spent in a while. It was annoying for the first two weeks or so, but now it's already so freeing. I love not having to scramble around for my glasses first thing in the morning."
23."Finding the right therapist for me. I've been in therapy since I was 9 years old, but I only found the right one at 23. It’s only been about six months, but I’ve already unpacked so much more trauma in that small time than I did all the other years I wasted with a therapist who wasn't the right fit for me."
24."Starting to practice yoga. I started doing yoga every day about two months ago, and already I feel so much better. My body doesn’t hurt constantly, my work injuries give me less trouble, and I'm just happier overall."
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25."Getting a divorce. Thinking back, I should have done it about 12 years sooner than I did. It would have saved me a whole lot of stress, heartache, and money. I'm a much more relaxed and easygoing person than I was when I was married."
26."Eating a healthier diet. I found the type of diet that worked for me, which is different for everyone. I've also started thinking more about serving sizes, incorporating more vegetables into everyday meals, thinking about everything in moderation, cutting back on meat and introducing more meatless meals into my diet, embracing the joy of cooking at home, and bringing my lunch to work. Together, all of these things have helped me feel much healthier."
27."I've started viewing things as experiences rather than just opportunities for achievement. For example, in the past I would take a class and only focus on the final grade. If I couldn't get a good grade, I didn't like the class. Then I realized the purpose of classes (and books, and so many other things) was to learn. Now I see that the things that are the most challenging are often what I learn the most from. This has translated into my social life as well because I've started taking more risks and telling myself that at the very least I'll learn from new experiences."
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28."Waking up 10 minutes earlier every morning. That's it, just 10 minutes. This small extra bit of time has motivated to get a move on and check off a few quick tasks from my bucket list before I leave for work. It's such a little adjustment, but it feels so good."