With the new year upon us, it is time to look forward and set those goals for making our live better. Here are a few life changing habits that I started in 2015 and have made my life much more organized and healthier.
- Everyone knows that drinking water is very important, a lot of people don’t know that it helps you stay alert. Don’t reach for a 5-hour heart-attack or a Monster headache, just refill that glass of water. My co-workers make fun of me because I drink (horror-filled gasp) city water. I keep a giant glass with a straw at work and sip at it throughout the day. I can tell if I haven’t had enough water because I start feeling worn-out and tired (that 2pm doze off mood). When I keep hydrated (yes, even with city water), I feel energized and much more able to do my job.
- Keep a calendar. Are you feeling stressed out with deadlines, bills to pay, or remembering last minute birthdays that you have to buy a present for? There are wonderful things called calendars, and even better, they are included in those devices permanently attached to most people’s hand’s – phones. In my phone’s calendar I set appointments or note down things, like: “Cell phone service ends on January 2nd- buy another phone card”. I can set reminders for myself anywhere from 10 minutes in advance to a month in advance; now I don’t miss an appointment or feel like I am forgetting something important.
- Turn on the tunes. Scientists agree that music can help a person’s attitude and physical well being. Once I get home, I put on some fun music (my daughters and I are currently obsessed with Owl City), I start dinner and get work done around the house while having a dance party with my little ones. I feel amazing, I spend time with my children, and I get all my chores done while having a great attitude because of the uplifting melodies.
- Don’t turn down a nap. We have a rule – Sunday afternoons after church are spent at home. This is the only day that we are guaranteed to stay home and I look forward all week to that afternoon. After lunch we all curl up in my big bed and take a nap together. For a while I felt guilty that I was sleeping rather than getting anything done, but after an hour and a half nap, I feel like a new woman. I have more patience with my daughters and have much more energy to tackle the household chores. I think I get more done in the several hours after nap time than I get done in an entire day when I don’t nap with my kids.
- Pack a lunch. This is one of my biggest beliefs. Even packing something simple like a PB&J sandwich with a handful of chips and some carrot sticks will make a world of difference. You will be eating healthier (hopefully) by not going to a fast food restaurant, and you will be saving $6-$7 A DAY, by using your own ingredients or packing leftovers.
- Get your coffee at home, or at work. I asked my boss if I could buy a coffee maker to put in my office so that I am not buying coffee on my way to work each day. Even a regular cup of coffee costs $2 anymore, that’s $10 a week and $520 a year spent on just regular coffee. If you are addicted to lattes, those run about $4.50 a cup, that is $22.50 a week and $1,170 a year, that’s not including tip or weekends. So sacrifice the few minutes it takes each morning to make your own coffee, or you could buy your own coffee shop and get other people to spend their money there.
- Have a vegetarian night. I am all about meat. I grew up hunting and I love a good steak just as much as the next country girl. Then I went to a college with people from all over the world, and I discovered that you don’t have to eat meat every meal. I love to try new dishes and I love for my daughters to try new things too, so at least twice a week, we have nights where I make vegetarian meals. Simple dishes like Quinoa stuffed Acorn squash, Black Bean Burgers, or homemade Lo Mein are a great way to add some flavor and new dishes to your weekly meal plan.
- Following up number 7, make a meal plan! It is so easy to plan out your meals for the week, and it will save you so much money and stress. I used to come home and worry about what I would make for my children that was healthy and quick. We would usually end up eating Mac n’ Cheese, Fish Sticks, or other pre-packaged food that didn’t require any prep or creativity. I plan out my menu now and when I get up in the morning, i just check the menu board and ‘Bam’, I know what ingredients to set out for when we get home from work, or what I need to throw in the crock pot before we leave.
- Make a routine. I have a few things that I complete every evening before I sit down for ‘me’ time, I load the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, sweep, vacuum, and wipe down the kitchen surfaces. Then right before bed I start the dishwasher so I can unload it in the morning. When I get home from work I put the clothes from the washer in the dryer so I can fold them after supper. I set down every evening enjoying a clean house (until my children wake up), if you have children make sure to involve them as well. My three year old already helps me put the dishes from the dishwasher away when they are clean, as well as “helping” me fold clothes.
- Put down that phone! There is nothing that disrupts my day more than my phone. I discovered how to download books from our library and since then have been fighting with my phone. It somehow, magically ends up in my hand when I should be going to bed or when I have a productive afternoon planned. I have a strict ‘no-screens’ policy with my kids, when they are awake I do not do any work on my computer nor do I interact with my phone. It keeps me focused on them and I find that instead of cruising Facebook while the kids are coloring I am motivated to clean the fridge out or complete another chore instead.
These are a few of my favorite habits that I have cultivated in 2015. I am looking forward to finding new time and energy saving shortcuts in 2016.
What are some of your favorite secrets for making life easier and better for you?