9 Easy Cost-Effective Habits to Dramatically Improve your Life
Updated: Mar 11
NEW YEAR, NEW ME...?
NAH! New Year, Same ME...NEW TRICKS :) And here are some great ones to get started.
Every New Year, millions of people make their New Year's Resolutions. When they're boiled down, these resolutions are nothing more than habits that wishful thinkers hope to magically adopt over night & consistently schedule into their daily lives...
...whelp! Ya'll don't need me to tell ya how this story ends.
The problem is that the self-help space has made the process of "adopting new habits" a 30 day (or 60 day, depending on which book you've picked up) hellish time trial. You endure this 30 (or 60) day trial, thinking that "this time is different," that "this time, I won't run out of willpower. 30 (or 60) days isn't so long..."
So you're telling me that magically something is just going to "click" & somehow you're going to override decades of other habits & lifestyle factors in just 30 (or 60) days?! Haha I don't think so! It even sounds absurd, and yet we all fall for it..every.single.year.
That, my friends, is how the self-help space is still boomin', supported by your generous cash donations & crowded living room book shelves.
Any one who tells you that they'll change your life in 30 (or 60!) days is...
1. Definitely trying to sell you something.
2. Has not a clue how to spell NEUROBIOLOGY.
We can get into the neurobiology of habit creation later (I even created a lecture series on it, which you can check out here). But for starters, you've got to start small. Like microscopically small. Ones that deliver BIG bang for their SMALL buck, i.e. they've got to be cost-effective.
Here is a list of my favorite swear-by-small-easy-to-adopt-habits that have had the greatest impact on my health & wellbeing, from disease prevention to athletics to work life (in no particular order). Use these to get your gears turning, as you think about all your "out with the old, in with the new" self-chatter &...of course, feel free to adopt any!
Tongue Scraping. Your body detoxes at night. Much of that gunk accumulates on your tongue (it's also the source of bad breath). Scrape it all off first thing in the morning, or wash it back into your body with your morning coffee (eeewwwwww). Tongue scrapers can be found for $8 on Amazon, at your local drugstore, in your grocery store...
2. 32oz of water with electrolytes before coffee. You're the most dehydrated first thing in the morning, and especially during the winter. I'm not just talking about water, you need to replenish your electrolytes too. My favorite brand & the only one that I recommend to my clients is LMNT. Plus they often have a free sample pack for you to try out.
3. Dry brush before you shower. Get those dead skin cells ready to be whisked away by the warm water! Always brush in the direction of your heart to promote lymphatic drainage. Also helps with circulation! :)
4. Keep a notebook & pen by your bedside. When you sleep, your brain consolidates the day- making new memories, solving problems that you struggled with when you were awake..etc. I can't tell you how many times I've come up with a thesis for an english paper (back when I was in school) or thought of the perfect blog post at 2:30am- things that I struggled with for hours that day. When this happens, I grab that notebook & write it all down. Trust me, you won't remember your brilliant, middle-of-the-night ideas when you wake up and you won't sleep trying to force yourself to not forget them. Write it down and fall back to sleep. It'll save you a lot of hours & stress.
5. Don't drink liquids with your meals. This one might come as a surprise, but you're actually impeding the digestive process by drinking liquids with your meals by not allowing your digestive enzymes to do their job. This impedes proper nutrient absorption from your food & is likely to cause you to bloat after eating. Save your liquids for before or 30min+ after eating, but not during. And please for the love of all digestive enzymes that work so hard, don't chug a ton of water after a meal because you think it'll "push the food through faster." There's too many things wrong with that statement to unpack here😬
6. Figure out your chronotype & adjust your schedule accordingly (as other aspects of your life allow.) Chronobiology is fascinating, every cell in our body runs on a unique clock, our unique clock. My clock is different from yours, which is likely different from your best friend's. Forcing yourself to wake up at 5am does nothing for you if you aren't naturally productive during those hours. Not waking up at 5am DOES NOT MAKE YOU IMMORAL in any way, shape, or form (another nod to that good ol' self help industry🙄). Check out this quick overview of the four chronotypes for more info. & help determining yours.
7. Switch your coffee to one that is 3rd party lab tested to be mold & mycotoxin free. Essentially our standards here in the US are not overly high when it comes to things like chocolate, coffee, wine..etc for what is considered "safe" for our population to drink, in fact we have amongst the lowest standards. Check out this post for all the deets.
8. Get sunlight in your eyeballs & on your skin within 30min of waking. Also spend safe time in the outdoors when the sun is at its peak.Vitamin D from the sun just hits differently. No, but actually. It is absorbed differently in your body than a supplemental form is- this has major implications for the many hormonal processes & biochemical reactions that it's involved in. Every cell in your body has a circadian rhythm, getting morning sunlight is vital to it (and therefor your health). Spending enough time outdoors in the summer also helps you to build up your D stores for the non-sunny winter months. A healthy tan in the summer months is incredibly beneficial to your health year-round. Supplementing with vitamin D is fine, but it is absolutely not a replacement for getting enough sunshine.
9. When you really need to focus, listen to coding/hacker music. As someone who can get distracted easily...as in, I can't listen to music with lyrics when I need to get work done well and quickly. Don't get me wrong, lofi beats have their place. But often times I find myself too relaxed, starting to dose, or slower getting things done. Coding/hacker music keeps my adrenaline slightly elevated & my focus steady, sharp, & in the zone. And it isn't distracting.
And there ya have it! No crazy 30 (or 60) day challenges, no stress to develop an eight pack over night....just some small habits, that are easy to incorporate, and when done consistently over time yield huge results.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! (to the same beautiful YOU!)