If you’ve still been putting off that workout, journaling, or becoming ‘that girl’, it’s never too late to try with these habits.
Just like that, we’re in the ber months already and before you know it, we’ll be waking up in 2024. By now, we’re reflecting on the goals we set for 2023 and considering what we can do differently in the coming year. Whether it’s walking more, practicing positive thinking, or becoming ‘that girl,’ building better habits remains at the forefront of our New Year’s resolutions. But what about these three months leading up to 2024? Are we wasting a few more months when we could still make progress?
TBH, those trends pushing for a grindset mindset and becoming that girl made me feel overwhelmed, resulting in procrastination and unhealthy habits that yielded no progress at all. It’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that the most effective way to build better habits is by taking small, sustainable steps. While scrolling through TikTok and witnessing others apparently achieving their goals, we’re eager for instant results. However, the truth is that meaningful change demands time, effort, and consistency. So, don’t compare or cram your way into becoming the best version of yourself. Here are some steps to consider as we wave goodbye to the year and work on building better habits. And as always, choose what works for you.
When we struggle to build better habits, we often say something like, ‘I just need more motivation.’ After realizing it’s more than that, we set ourselves on a path toward a downward spiral of comparing ourselves to others and losing motivation altogether.
And while you’re doing this for future you, don’t focus on the results—it’s overwhelming like that. Only concentrate on what you could achieve today. New habits should feel relatively easy, especially in the beginning. If you remain consistent and gradually increase your habits, it will get good enough fast enough. It always does.
Don’t Set Your Alarm for 5 AM
Contrary to those Pinterest and TikTok posts, you don’t need to subject yourself to the sound of your alarm at 5 AM when building better habits. With different work and academic schedules, some are morning people, sipping coffee before the sun rises, while others thrive at midnight like night owls. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but it’s important to prioritize getting enough sleep instead.
Stay Hydrated (With Water)
Have you ever experienced a random headache and realized it’s because you haven’t taken a sip of water the entire day? I know we heard this over and over again, but stay hydrated. I won’t ask you to stop your daily cup(s) of caffeine, but adding hydration into your regular routine will help you get in the habit of drinking more water. Remind yourself to take a sip every hour, or try to finish half of your water bottle by lunchtime to ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day. On top of that all, hydrating with water is good skincare, and also boosts your energy.
Whether it’s a self-help book or the most random YA booktok recommendation, read something. After all, it’s always an opportunity to learn new words and escape into different worlds. But more than that, reading has these things I wish we knew sooner.
Need recos? Try Atomic Habits by James Clear or A Gentle Reminder by Bianca Sparacino. These personal picks helped me practice giving gentle and kind reminders to myself (which we all need, by the way.) Then there’s also a long list of booktok recommendations for every trope that you’ll enjoy!
Block Those Toxic MFs
Blocking and unfriending toxic people, whether on the internet or in real life, is low-key important when you’re striving to become a better person. Regardless of the reason, staying around toxic individuals can influence your thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors in negative ways. By cutting ties, you reduce the likelihood of adopting their harmful attitudes or behaviors.
Remember that blocking or unfriending someone doesn’t mean you can’t be compassionate or a sign that you’re thin-skinned. It’s a choice to prioritize your well-being and maintain a healthy environment for personal growth and positive relationships. After all, you deserve people who are more than willing to grow with you.
Declutter to Destress
Unleash your inner Marie Kondo. Clutter can overwhelm your mind, creating a constant backdrop of unfinished tasks and distractions that can lead to stress and anxiety. A clutter-free environment is visually calming, whether it’s in your bedroom, home, or even on your phone. When you remove excess items, the space becomes more visually pleasing and less chaotic. You know what they say: the state of your space is a reflection of your mind.
Short Walks and Small Steps
If you’re like me, who works nearly the whole day sitting down, it’s no wonder that we’re experiencing back pain at 20-something. Don’t stress; I won’t tell you that you need a complete workout routine—just take small steps, literally.
I won’t get into burning calories and the science side of things, but taking a walk releases natural endorphins to the body—one of the emotional benefits of exercise. It makes you feel more productive and gives you a better mood.
Body, Hair, and Nail Care is Skin Care
Whether you’re a cleanser-serum-sunscreen girlie or you’re religious with a 12-step routine, I would wager that you pour more attention (and money) into your skincare routine than your hair, nails, and body.
We look in the mirror more often than not, so it’s important that our faces aren’t the only things looking glowy. When we see our nails clean, our hair showered, and our body moisturized, it’s guaranteed to make you feel more put together, which can carry you through any good (or bad) day. That said, take small steps to ensure that your body, hair, and nail care are also part of your skincare routine.Remember, it doesn’t have to be an appointment outside your home—a DIY pamper day can be your next best friend.
Complement, Don’t Compare
Complimenting others for their progress and achievements can create a positive and supportive environment. It encourages a culture of celebrating success rather than toxic competition. It’s hard when you’re in a competitive class, industry, or office, but it’s important for your mental wellbeing.
Instead of feeling discouraged by comparing yourself negatively, you can take inspiration from their success stories to improve yourself. To my surprise, giving compliments can also boost your own self-esteem. When you genuinely recognize and appreciate the efforts of others, it reinforces a positive and confident self-image which can help you stay committed to building better habits.
Reflect and Reward
Building better habits is a long and challenging process. Recognizing your small wins and rewarding yourself along the way can help maintain your motivation, especially during difficult times.
Remember that what you’ve achieved, even if it’s a small step, serves as evidence that you are capable of change and personal growth. By focusing on these achievements to nurture a positive mindset, you can redirect your attention away from potential setbacks or failures, fostering a more optimistic outlook on your habit-building.