If you’re like me, you’re already struggling not to fall back into your old habits as the first month of 2017 comes to a close. I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions per se, but I did set a goal to take better care of myself. But, let’s be real. Self-care is hard. It requires investment, dedication and a commitment to change our habits in a way that puts our needs first. So this year I listed out some small habits I could change that will benefit my time, my health and make me feel better each and every day. 

Eat mindfully

Instead of my usual Netflix and snacks, I’m trying to eat mindfully. No watching TV, listening to music or talking on the phone while I munch on my favorite foods — just eating. Eating mindfully is amazing because I eat slower and focus on tasting the food, which, in turn, is great for digestion. 

Open the blinds and windows every morning

I used to have blackout curtains that I kept closed at all times. I essentially lived like a vampire. But when I moved apartments, I no longer had those curtains, and with windows that face east, have been forced to confront the sun every morning. After being forced to receive sunlight, I started to notice slight improvements in my mood. Now, I wake up every morning and open up my windows to let sunlight (and fresh air!) into my apartment. 

Shower and change when I first wake up — even on weekends

It’s so tempting to sit around all day in my cozy PJ’s, especially on weekends when I don’t have to do anything or be anywhere. But I’ve found that I feel so much better — cleaner, more productive, more excited for the day — if I shower and change into my clothes for the day right when I first wake up.  

Only take phone calls when I actually want to talk

Last year, I noticed that I almost exclusively complained when I talked to friends and family on the phone. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in complaining. But I realized I don't want to be that person, the one who’s constantly complaining. That means I’ve had to be careful about when I choose to answer phone calls and what kind of mood I’m in when I do answer them. I make sure that I only answer or return calls when I’m ready to talk and listen — not just complain about my day.  

Limit the time I spend responding to texts

I am constantly on my phone, and if I’m on my phone, I’m usually texting. But constantly responding to texts means I’m missing the opportunity to be present in the moment. I’ve been trying, instead, to limit the times during the day when I respond to texts, which helps me set boundaries for myself (such as not responding to texts after I’ve gotten into bed) and increases my productivity (since I’m not stopping every five seconds to respond to a text). 

Switch out my playlists for podcasts

I used to always listen to music when I had downtime. And although I still love music and often get joy from it, I’ve found that adding podcasts into the rotation has helped me exponentially. My favorite podcasts (like Another Round, The Read and Sooo Many White Guys) push me to reflect on what I know about myself, how I think about the world and the areas in which I need to grow. 

Protect my time

I spent so much time last year on people I should not have invested in, and it hurts — not just because the people end up hurting me, but because I can't get that time back. There is nothing more precious in this world than time. I’m going to be doing everything I can this year to ensure I protect my time. I’ll be saying “no” more often to the people and activities that won’t grow me, I’ll say “yes” to more of the things I love to do — like taking dance classes, hanging with my dog or walking in the park. 

Protect my money

This goes hand-in-hand with protecting my time. I don't want to look back on 2018 and think about all the money I wasted on people and things I didn't actually care about the way I did for 2017. I will be using my money carefully, investing in my retirement, saving more and spending on the experiences that will bring me joy. 

What are some habits that you’re working on this year? Help us stay inspired and share some of the changes your making!