Five daily goals might seem like a heavy lift in 2020. This year, some big picture dreams, like saving for a home or climbing the corporate ladder, might feel further afield. (But the good news is that small, actionable steps are the only way we actually achieve our big goals anyway.)
I start every day by jotting down these five things in my day planner. In aggregate, it may feel like a lot. But each of these can be broken down to their smallest selves and still have impact. Checking them off throughout the day gives a major sense of accomplishment during an otherwise really distracting year.
And science shows that is not just for us list lovers. Dopamine is released every time we check something off of a list, reinforcing our mind’s willingness to do that task again, and helping cement the habit. I’m also loving planners from female-founded small businesses, The Daily Page and Silk and Sonder, both of which have habit tracking built right into your other scheduling needs.
Short, daily meditation is the cornerstone of my 2020 wellness. The optimal amount of meditation time is up for debate. But, some meditation studies show that consistent, smaller sessions produce better results than a larger block of time.
This news is comforting, because most days all I can manage is a short 5-10 minute stretch of quiet and focus. Apps like Headspace are well known for their excellent variety of meditations. I’ve also been turning to the free app Insight Timer and it’s been fun to explore the more informal and wide varieties of global takes on music, messages, and meditation.
There is a reason this doesn’t say “work out.” Staring at a “to-do” that used to represent beloved classes, some much-needed gym time, or a long run just isn’t a motivator for me right now. It feels much more achievable to commit to move, every day, even for just a little bit.
Some days this takes the form of stretching while I’m on a conference call. Others it means going on a walk while I listen to an industry webinar. And on my best days, I’m setting up shop with my home gym and exploring new favorite at-home workouts.
3. Vitamins and supplements
Vitamins and supplements are a super personal choice, and should be tailored to our particular health or wellness considerations. I have a little line up of collagen, a multi-vitamin, and a few other supplements that after a lot of trial and error, I’ve found work for my daily routine.
Making this a daily goal feels like an easy win because it’s baked into a series of other things I’m always sure to do in the morning, like grabbing coffee and making my bed. It also reminds me that in small steps, I’m working toward larger wellness goals, and it encourages me to be sure I’m fueling up my body as effectively as possible the rest of the day.
4. Money management
Reviewing my checking account every day is a financial behavioral change that has yielded big results for me. I can easily lapse into being an “avoider” on my financial wellness, especially when things feel uncertain. Being home more means I’ve had fewer excuses around tending to personal admin. Truly understanding your holistic financial picture, even when you’re in the middle of tough times, is a key piece of money management.
I have gotten this down to a five-minute review, either first thing in the morning before I start my work day or just as I’m wrapping up at night. It literally takes me just moments to kick open my banking app and scan for any unexpected charges, update a bill pay, or send a few dollars to savings. Some apps like YNAB even make a daily check in explicit as part of managing your budget, highlighting that it’s a key cornerstone to achieving bigger financial goals.
My fellow introverts are probably cringing hard now. Networking in the best of times can feel like a heavy lift, so doing it daily might feel impossible. But I’m finding that again, taking the very smallest molecule of this task and giving myself wide room for how to interpret it feels like a success. My goal here is that relationships don’t languish while we’re all socially distant and to stay in touch with key contacts, especially if the economy and job security feels less stable.
I’m also taking advantage of our virtual-first world. It makes it easier to cold pitch an introduction on LinkedIn, or join webinars and follow up with notes to the host. On my most energized days, I try to think of two people in my network who might not know each other, and introduce them over an article or piece of content I found interesting that they may both enjoy.