Over the weekend, I made some tweaks to the Positively Present site (if you're viewing this in an email or a RSS feed, click here to check out the new look). You'll notice a new logo (it's simple, but I've been working on it for weeks!) and some design changes to the site. I've been meaning to make these updates for quite some time (ever since I took the amazing Creating an Identity 101 course over at Nicole's Classes), but making the small yet tedious tweaks continually kept getting postponed, with "Website Updates" making my to-do list on a daily basis for weeks and weeks. I finally got around to doing it this weekend and, man, did it feel good to draw a line through that one on my list!
As a drew a line through that to-do item, I realized that it wasn't just the act of completing the task that was making me so happy. My job was also brought on by the act of tweaking something I see and interact with every single day. As you may have read here before, I'm a big fan of my routines and change isn't my strong suit, but after revamping Positively Present, it occurred to me that maybe little changes—tweaks, if you will—are a great way to keep things fresh without the daunting task of tackling a big change.
Little tweaks are something we can all do to reap some positive rewards on a daily basis. We don't need a big overhaul to make life feel fresh and new; all we need are a few little changes to inspire and revive us. And the great thing about little tweaks is that we don't have to wait to make them—we can do them right away. Here are some suggestions for small changes you can make today:
1. Switch up your typical responses. When someone asks how you're doing, do you often reply in the exact same way, such as with the word "Fine." or "Great!"? Most of us have a pretty standard default setting for the way respond to questions we hear all the time. To switch things up, start altering your responses. Really think about the question and answer honestly.
2. Travel an entirely new way to school or work. It's common to take the exact same route every day (mostly because it's the fastest or easiest one to take!), but what if you switched it up and took a different route? Even if it takes a little more time, it's worth traveling down a new road just to give your brain a new point of view to take in. You don't have to switch it up every day, but it's worthwhile every once and awhile.
3. Throw out / replace something you complain about. Is there something you're always complaining about? An appliance that doesn't work right? A shirt you don't like but for some reason wear anyway? Most of us have something like that—a thing we moan about but don't do anything about. Today, throw it out or replace it with something else. Sometimes our complaining is simply a habit—and it's up to us to change it.
4. Focus on doing one single thing at a time. If you're a notorious multitasker like myself, focusing on a single activity can be a big challenge—but it's a worthwhile pursuit. Apparently, studies have shown that you're more effective if you do only one thing. And, for most of us, intently focusing on a single thing is actually quite a novel activity in itself. Keeping your attention narrow gives you a chance to stay more present too!
5. Take a break at an unusual time and go for a walk. Being outside, even for a short while, seems to offer all sorts of benefits. Take a break at an unusual time—say, 10am instead of 1pm—and go for a short stroll. Switching up the timing of your break will break you from a rut, and enjoying the outdoors gives you an opportunity to appreciate the world outside of your daily routine.
6. Get into bed an hour earlier than usual. Like it or not, you need sleep. Most of us know how much we need, but rarely actually get that amount. Even if you can't fall asleep right away, getting into bed an hour earlier—with a good book or even a journal—can tweak your nightly routine and, if you're lucky and can fall asleep, it can also provide you with some additional rest.
7. Enjoy a meal you've never had before. It's perfectly fine to have culinary preferences, but there's something to be said for trying a new meal. Whether you order in or cook it up yourself, give something new a try. Even if doesn't make your list of favorites, the experience of trying something new will be invigorating and, at the very least, will help you switch up your routine.
8. Turn off the TV + pick up a book. Mindless television watching can be lovely, particularly after a long day, but tweaking your evening routine and throwing in a book (or magazine or something other than a screen) can provide you with a new kind of relaxation. Even if you're not a big fan of reading, just give it a try. You might find it surprisingly enjoyable, snuggling up with a good read.
9. Spend time with someone unfamiliar. Now, don't just go running over to some stranger to switch things up. It's important to spend time not with someone random, but with someone you know but aren't too familiar with, like a coworker you interact with frequently but don't know well. Ask him or her to grab lunch or coffee with you, even if it seems a little random. You never know when you might make a friend!
10. Reverse a habitual schedule. Do you have a pretty standard morning or evening routine? If so, trying reversing it. Instead of brush teeth—wash face—brush hair, try doing the reverse. Or if you normally eat breakfast at home, try grabbing a bite on the way to (or at) work. It might seem silly, but small little tweaks to your routines can be really useful, especially when it comes to being more mindful.
Making tweaks in your daily routine seems so small (and almost silly), but it often has a big impact (usually in some odd and unexpected way). It's easy to stay on track by keeping things routine and sticking to what works, but even I, lover of routines, admirer of habits, can't deny that a small, simple tweak can have a big, positive impact. Give one—or all!—of these little tweaks a try to see if you experience something positive!