12 Little Daily Habits That Can Make A Big Difference For Your Life In The Long Run

It’s an oft-repeated piece of advice: If a big task you’ve got on your plate looks overwhelming and intimidating, try breaking it down into smaller tasks in order to make it more manageable. But while these words of wisdom are frequently applied to very specific situations (at work, for example), they’re useful at just about every other time, too. In fact, there are loads of little daily habits that can make a big difference for your life in the long run — and adding them to your regular routine is a lot simpler than you might think.

That’s what Redditor u/jacla4 was getting at when they posed the following question recently to the denizens of AskReddit: “What small habit, if done every day over the course of a year, can lead to the biggest personal improvement/gain?” And indeed, as the nearly 1,500 comments in the thread indicate, there are a lot of these kinds of habits out there. But hey, guess what? Getting into these kinds of habits doesn’t take a ton of effort. According to Stanford University psychologist B.J. Fogg via Quartz, it only takes three steps to make small but meaningful adjustments in your life: First, identify a goal you want to achieve; then, identify a “tiny habit” or two that will help you accomplish that goal; and then, identify a habit you already have (a “trigger”) and peg the new habit to that existing one. Building the new habit into an old one will make it that much easier to adopt — and before you know it, voila! Goal achieved.

This isn’t to say that you have to put all of the habits suggested in the AskReddit thread on your to do list; what works for one person might not work for another for any number of reasons, so the whole thing is an extremely personal process. (You do you and all that.) But if you’re looking for a few ideas, here’s a good place to start; head on over toAskReddit for more.

1Put Things Away When You’re Done With Them

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Just putting them down is how you end up with growing mounds of clutter all over your house, which you’ll eventually have to carve out significant time to reduce and clear up. Better to get ahead of it than to let it pile up on you.

Related:

2Don’t Put Off Doing The Small Stuff

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Hemming and hawing over whether you want to read that catalog that came in the mail? Make a decision on it: Either keep it, or don’t, and if you keep it, know where it goes and then put it there. Is your dishwasher full and clean? Take a second and put everything away. Need to get more cat food for your pets? Make the darn Amazon order, already. Getting the small stuff done will prevent actual clutter from building up in your home (see: list item number one), as well as keeping metaphorical clutter from mucking up your to do list.

Here’s another useful way of thinking about it:

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Truth.

3Make A Spare Change Jar And Use It

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This Redditor explains exactly how lucrative just taking a second to drop in those pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters can be:

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Or, if you tend to use cards over cash, try this:

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Here are some options for that last one; there are tons of apps that will get it done for you. Have at.

4Get Your Tasks For Tomorrow Lined Up Before You Go To Bed Tonight

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It makes a huge difference; just ask this Redditor:

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Additionally, just getting the tiniest bit organized in advance can help you tackle any anxiety you might be having about your upcoming workday or week. Works wonders for me.

5Take Your Pets For Actual Walks

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Your pets benefit. You benefit. Everybody wins!

6Practice Getting Rejected

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No, really — give it a try. As this Redditor points out, you’ll probably actually get rejected a lot less than you think you will — and for a few added bonuses, a) you’ll get better at asking for what you want, and b) you’ll get better at handling rejection when it does happen.

7Read

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I love the way this Redditor thinks about books:

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A plus, my friend. A plus.

8Floss

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It only takes a minute, and your teeth and gums will be so much healthier for it. Remember, teeth don’t grow back — if you lose ‘em, that’s it.

9Start Meal Prepping

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I mean, I would argue that there’s a time and a place for pizza (because pizza is delicious), but spending some time meal prepping — whether it’s one big meal prepping session once a week or a tiny bit of meal prepping every day — will ensure you have tasty foods ready pretty much whenever you want them, no matter how busy your life tends to be. Check out some useful meal prepping tips here.

10Do One Thing That Scares You Every Day

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Doing one small thing that scares you every day does wonders for getting you comfortable with things that make you uncomfortable. (Within reason, of course; I'm talking about "Ugh, I hate talking to people on the phone" uncomfortable, not "My coworker is harassing me" uncomfortable here.)

11Use Short Waiting Periods Productively

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The waiting period doesn’t have to be a video game loading screen, and you don’t have to use that time to do pushups; that’s just one example of this idea inaction. Think of all the times you find yourself waiting during the day: If you’re on hold on the phone, put your phone on speaker (as long as you’re in a place where doing so won’t annoy everyone else around you) and get something else done while you’re waiting for the person on the other end to pick back up again. If you’re microwaving something, same deal. Standing in line? Same. You get the picture.

12Say Or Do Something Nice For Someone Else

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Research supports the idea that doing nice things for other people makes you feel awesome, too. So why not get in the habit of doing it daily?

AskReddit has plenty more ideas where those come from, too, so truck on over there for more. Happy habit-building!