Most of us are drawn to dramatic change, if only for the entertainment factor. We love extreme makeovers, drastic diets, big moves. After the stasis of day-in, day-out, a big shake-up is so satisfying. Woo-hoo, life is really changing! The trouble, of course, is when we try to make over our lives from top to bottom and before the weekend is over, we're right back to our old ways. We creatures of habit can't handle too much change all at once. So what if we set ourselves up to succeed by implementing small changes? Instead of deciding to do a 10-day detox, how about just getting one more serving of vegetables a day? It might not have the drama factor, but when you give yourself one little life alteration and then fully adapt to it before taking on something else, you set yourself up for lasting change. Pick one of these practically instant life-improvers to try this upcoming week.
- Make your afternoon snack a fruit or veggie. Baby carrots and hummus or an apple and a wedge of cheese, this is a great way to get in a couple more servings of fruits and veggies a day.
- Do it for 5 minutes. Sometimes the sheer magnitude of a project keeps us from getting started. Take the most manageable bite possible, and spend 5 minutes going through a junk drawer, scribbling an idea for a novel, or looking for a new job.
- Start walking. If you don't live somewhere where you can start walking instead of driving, make your lunch break a time to pop out and walk. If there's no interesting scenery, load up your iPod with great podcasts.
- Talk to someone face to face. In place of an email, text, or phone call, make face time with one person, either by walking to your co-worker's cubicle or meeting a friend for tea.
- Create a docking station. This is the landing strip for the mail, your keys, your wallet, your phone, your purse --- all the vitals that tend to go missing. And while we're at it...
- Sort the mail over the recycling bin. Ideally outside. Don't even bring junk mail into the house if you can help it.
- Use the good plates. If you're waiting for a special occasion to haul out the wedding china, consider this: today is a special occasion.
- Turn off the TV and power down your cell. For 30 minutes during dinner or, if you're more ambitious, a couple hours before bedtime, shut out the constant buzz of the outside world.
- See what you're spending on. Tax day has a way of making us wonder where all our money went. Sign up with an online money manager like mint.com to track all your spending and saving.
- Laugh every day. Watch Chris Rock's stand-up, read knock-knock jokes if you have to, but laugh every day. Preferably with someone you love.
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