Make Your Year Better (With Minimal Effort)

Sarah's Thoughts Simple Living + Minimalism

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Wouldn’t it be great if after Christmas this year, you felt content, wealthy, and self confident? 

Why not make that happen? Great things aren’t intended for “other people” they’re intended for you too! Being ‘happy’ is a lot like losing weight, it takes effort and dedication. It’s not as painful as you’re thinking though, and the effort is much less painful than jogging that last mile (but if jogging is your thing, check out this post). 

Here are some excellent, fast, free, and pain free ways you can improve your 2017.

When you wake up in the morning:

1. Wake up early. I’m not suggesting setting an alarm for 5am if your usual time is 9am, but wake up early enough that your morning isn’t a rush. Perhaps fifteen minutes more than you usually allot yourself?

2. Quit checking your phone. Seriously, be mindful of the sunshine coming through your window, enjoy your heavy quilt, bathe in the silence- whatever it is, don’t touch that phone until you’ve stood up. 

3. When you get out of bed, flip your covers open. If you can stand it, open your bedroom window(s) while you get ready for the day. Your bed will breathe and the sunshine will kill a lot of the bacteria that hides inside your sheets. Your bed will feel fresher too. 

4. You don’t have to eat right away, but make breakfast the largest meal of your day (Big Breakfast, Medium Lunch, Small Supper). Breakfast should also be your favorite meal of the day. You don’t have to eat breakfast style foods either. If you like sugary foods, it’s completely fine to pair that with something that’s not sugary. In Europe, it’s pretty common to eat chocolates and sugars with breakfast. It’s better to eat your junk food earlier in the day rather than later.

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5. When you brush your teeth, use hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash.

6. Drink your water! And lots of it!


Take care of and appreciate your body.

It’s the only one you’ll ever have, and you shouldn’t forget that. 

1. For every two hours of television, you should exercise for thirty minutes. Walking, biking, and yoga do count as exercise! If you don’t want to walk or bike on public roads or join a gym- you can always YouTube free workout videos.

2. Spend more time and money on moisturizers, retinol, and cleansers than you do makeup. Rodan + Fields is my personal favorite! 

3. Wear your sunscreen, and stay away from tanning beds.

4. Wash your hands thoroughly, and often. Avoid hand sanitizer.

5. Don’t overdo the alcohol, stay away from tobacco and e-cigs, avoid sleep aids, and don’t try drugs not prescribed to you. It’s simple, really.

6. Do your annual health checkups.

7. Skinny does not mean healthy. Fat does not mean strong. Ignore the scales and BMI charts, and work on eating healthier and moving more. Even if you body isn’t ideal for you, appreciate what you can about it right now, and work on making it better. 

8. Drink that water!

Be a financial genius

1. Keep track of your weekly and monthly finances. I’ve got a great chart that I personally use- you can find that here.

2. Understand that chances are, you already make enough money. You’re probably spending it wrong though, and that’s easy to fix. 

3. But also have a side hustle- those are pure profit, and you should put that money to savings (to perhaps treat yourself with later). Make it something you love to do!

4. Find smarter alternatives. $150 hotel? Try a $45 AirBNB instead.

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5. Know your credit score. Checking your credit score (such as a website like Credit Karma) is not a hard pull, and it will NOT affect your score.

6. Take care of what you have. Who cares if your shoes only cost $15? You should still wipe them clean and treat them with respect. Oh, and you probably don’t need as many clothes as you think you do. Name brands are also irrelevant. 

7. Pay off your debts ASAP. Rent-to-Owns, and payday loans are not your friends. 

8. Check out this post about thinking like a top earner, and read this very helpful financial blog post of mine.

9. Once a week, try to avoid eating meat for a day.

10. If you don’t have the money for something, don’t do it! You don’t have to go out to eat, you don’t have to have to drive a new car, and you don’t have to treat yourself.

11. Stop saying “I’m too broke for ____” and start saying “It’s not in my budget to _______”. 

12. Save money by drinking more water instead of soft drinks, beers, and milk.


Love and be kind to yourself


1. You is kind, you is smart, and you is important. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise either!

2. Listen to the radio when you’re driving alone, and make yourself sing along. Feels good, doesn’t it? Don’t forget that seatbelt!

3. Do something every day that relaxes yet grounds you. Television is not it! For me, I read and rewrite paragraphs out of books, word for word. It’s meaningless, but soothing. For you, that could be reading, playing with legos, or exercising. 

4. Even though your clothes should be within your budget and easily paired- you shouldn’t wear clothes that make you unhappy, or fit wrong. When you lose weight, you can sell your big clothes to buy new ones. Quit forcing yourself into clothes that you hate.

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5. Your friends are also like clothes in the sense that you outgrow some of them. If they don’t genuinely care about you, it’s okay to stop initiating contact with them. Be near people who are positive, kind, and honest with you. Check out this post about that.

6. Do something that makes you feel smart, like taking a class, listening to an intellectual podcast, or watching TED talks like these.

7. If some of your Facebook friends are emotionally draining, it is completely okay to ‘unfollow’ or even ‘unfriend’ them. 

8. Put the dang phone down when you’re with people. Not just your mama and significant other, but try talking to strangers in lines too. Compliment them and they’ll never forget it. 

9. Being *busy* isn’t cute or sexy or better. Quit bragging on yourself, and don’t glorify it in others. Don’t forget the tortoise and the hare.

10. Set small goals, but don’t take your big goals *too* seriously. Your five year plan is probably garbage anyways

11. Quit going to the same places for vacation. It’s okay to have one steady annual vacation, but step out of your comfort zone and visit new parks, states, and areas.

12. Write a bucketlist and get on it! Here is my personal list.

13. Don’t give up so easily and appreciate the little things in life. Even hard times get better. 

14. Take refreshing showers, enjoy bubble baths, lounge by the lake, and drink lots of water. 

What suggestions do you have to make this a better year than last year? Comment those below please. As always, thanks for stopping in!