I am typically not a big resolution gal, but at the start of 2021, I decided to make a list of some basic changes I wanted to make to my routine. They are not really goals, but instead just some simple habits that I want to incorporate into my everyday life. This way of looking at it helps me to remove the pressure of “New Year’s resolutions” and the inevitable disappointment when I don’t achieve them.
As everyone knows, the last year or so has presented us with not only more challenges than we could’ve ever expected, but an entirely new way of living. So what better time than now to reevaluate our routines and make some changes? Personally, I’m working toward an overall more wholesome and fulfilling life, and I feel like these small things have helped me nail down just how to go about that.
Here are the eight small changes I’m making to my daily routine in 2021:
1. Come up with a real plan to drink more water
I have been telling myself to drink more water for what feels like a lifetime now, and it’s something that I always struggle with. However, I purchased a half-gallon “motivational” water bottle at the beginning of January, and I have never been so hydrated. I am trying to drink at least 64 oz. per day, and I am also aiming to drink at least about 20 oz. before my first cup of coffee to be sure to start my day hydrated.
2. Make time for the things I care about and genuinely enjoy
As we go into another year while we are staying at home and needing to find more ways to entertain ourselves, I really want to make more time for the things and creative outlets that I enjoy. I feel as though when I was younger, I was always reading, learning, and making art in my free time, but now I tend to just feel exhausted and want to watch Netflix during that time. I am making a conscious effort to take time to express myself through these creative outlets I love and work on learning and refining some skills like cooking and illustration.
3. Eat more well-balanced meals
Rather than making a New Year’s goal like “eat healthier” or “lose weight”—which just never works for me and often ends up making me feel negatively about myself—I decided that I wanted to make more nutritious and well-balanced meals for myself at home. I am doing this by incorporating more fruits and veggies (trying to get in at least one serving with every meal), making simple swaps like regular pasta for chickpea pasta or regular tortillas for low-carb ones, and trying to not rely so much on processed foods. I also have been on a mission to cook at home for a majority of meals—and I have to say, I have been loving it and can’t wait to continue on this journey of becoming a *Top Chef*.
4. Wake up earlier
This has, by far, been the hardest change on this list for me to make. I have never been a morning person, and I am a chronic snoozer, but whenever I do wake up early, I genuinely enjoy it. I like having extra time before work to really just start my day slowly and allow myself to wake up, so I’m trying to get to the point of doing that regularly. The problem comes from the physical process of opening my eyes and getting out of bed (LOL). I have been slowly but surely setting my alarm earlier and working on getting out of bed with more and more time before I log on for work for the day. Maybe eventually I can add a morning workout in?! I’m dreaming big here.
I have also switched to this sunrise alarm clock versus my phone alarm. It provides a gentler way to wake up (light and nature sounds) and prevents me from grabbing my phone first thing in the morning.
5. Read before bed instead of being on my phone
I have a bad habit of getting in bed at night and then scrolling on my phone for far too long. I have decided that instead of just saying “I’m not going on my phone before bed anymore!” (because that would never work for me), I am working on replacing that time with reading, even if it’s just a few pages. My Kindle has been key in achieving this because of the ease of holding it in bed and the fact that it’s backlit (no reading light required).
6. Incorporate more movement into my routine
This is another modified version of a classic New Year’s resolution that tends not to work for me (in this case, “workout more”). I am working toward adding more movement into my daily routine, in the simplest way possible. This could come in the form of a full-blown workout, but I am just trying to get outside and walk more, do a quick yoga flow in the morning or before bed, or even do a few minutes of floor exercises whenever I can fit them in.
7. Upgrade my WFH space
At the beginning of the year, with no back-to-the-office date in sight, I decided it was finally time to upgrade my work-from-home space. I invested in a couple items—a laptop stand, keyboard, and mouse—that have really made my experience a lot better. Not only has the new setup made me feel more productive, it now feels like I have somewhere to be, rather than just opening my laptop wherever I am and calling it a day.
8. Do something every day for the mind
When a new year comes around, we often make goals that have to do with our physical health without really considering what changes we can make in regard to our mental health. After the year that 2020 was and the things we are still going through, I felt like there was no better time than now to take inventory and decide what I needed for my mind this year. I’m keeping it simple: trying to read more, incorporating yoga and meditation into my routine, napping when I need it, and even coloring and journaling to relax.