So you want to get healthier, achieve your career goals, and feel happier? Sounds nice, but it’s always easier said than done. Where do you even start making such major changes? If lofty goals and ambitious resolutions feel overwhelming, know that you don’t need to immediately rearrange your entire life, spend $$$, or have unlimited time to achieve your best life. In fact, you need just one minute. That’s right: the difference between who you are and who you want to be might be just 60 seconds. Try these one-minute habits that will transform your life when done consistently. Add in lots of habits throughout your day or start with just one, but either way, one minute is all you need to change your life.
1. Get out of bed right away
If I have one weakness (besides a good cheese plate *swoon*), it’s scrolling through Instagram after waking up. While it seems like a harmless habit, the body won’t fully wake up until you get out of bed and move around, but also because you lose the full 10, 30, or 60-minute morning routine before you open your laptop for work. Get out of bed as soon as you wake up and fill your mornings with as many peaceful, productive, and fulfilling minutes as possible. Your inbox, TikTok explore page, or iMessage app can wait.
2. Breathe deeply
Deep breathing (or diaphragmatic breathing) is crucial for mental and physical health, but many of us never focus on our breath. If you think about it, oxygen is the one thing we can’t even go minutes without, so making sure we’re getting more of it can only be beneficial. When you’re feeling anxious or stressed, take a few deep breaths to get more oxygen in the lungs and slow the heartbeat, which can help with anxiety. Try it right now (yes, I mean right now): slowly inhale, count to five, and then exhale, relaxing the entire body. It’s like instant medicine, right?
3. Take movement breaks
Whether an hour-long workout is a daily essential or you barely have time to change sweatpants before work starts, the body isn’t meant to sit for hours at a time, much less all day long. At least once every hour, take a minute to flow through yoga poses, do some stretches, or turn on your favorite song and dance. 60 seconds of movement is enough to energize the body, reset the mind, and will help you focus better for the rest of the day. Plus, if you don’t think you have time to work out, one-minute periods throughout the day add up.
4. Add lemon to your water
Squeezing a lemon into your go-to water bottle takes a couple of seconds, but can result in lasting benefits. Lemon packs nutrients like vitamin C, which plays an important role in the immune system and can boost skin glow. Stefanie Wilkerson, RDN, explained, “Vitamin C helps produce collagen and works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals that can damage our cells.” Hello supple, smooth skin! Bonus: while it is acidic, lemon has alkalizing effects in the body, meaning it might help balance pH levels. A squeeze of lemon basically turns a glass of water into a cocktail of super nutrients. As if you needed more convincing, adding delicious lemon will make you want to drink more water, and staying hydrated always comes with health perks.
5. Mute negative social media accounts as they pop up
In 2021, it’s high time to rethink whether the bloggers, celebrities, and brands we follow on social media make us feel inspired or bad about our lives. Want to feel instantly happier? If an account or post pops up on your feed that doesn’t leave you feeling inspired, happy, or confident, you know what to do: unfollow (or mute). That also means muting or unfollowing the frenemy you had in high school or your sorority sister’s ex-boyfriend’s cousin that you met a few times. Instead of watching other people live their lives, you can actually go live your own. Use social media to make you better instead of worse by replacing negative accounts with accounts that inspire you or bring you positivity whenever you’re tempted to scroll (like, IDK, @theeverygirl, for a totally random example).
6. Tidy up before bed
That’s right: you only need 60 seconds of tidying up to make a major difference in your life. Whether it’s clearing the dirty laundry off the chair in your bedroom, organizing the bedside table, or wiping the kitchen counter, do a super quick decluttering or cleaning before hitting the hay. Not only can a cleaner environment help you sleep better, but you’ll wake up feeling stress-free and ready to start the day. That pile of dirty laundry on the bedroom chair really knows how to harsh one’s mellow (if you know, you know).
7. Express gratitude (out loud)
You probably already know that gratitude is the secret to boosting mental health or fostering healthier relationships, so practice it beyond gratitude journaling in the morning. For example, whenever you say “thank you,” reflect on how grateful you feel, instead of just going through the motions. If your work wife offered to help with a big project, let her know how much you appreciate having her support, or if your roommate cleans your dishes, tell them how much it made a difference in your busy day. But it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t be) just the times when you’d say “thank you” anyway. Text your mom out of the blue to say thanks for being there for you, or let your partner know how much you appreciate having them in your life. Express gratitude wherever and whenever you can, and watch how your life transforms.
8. Add a finishing touch to your OOTD that makes you feel confident
Whether you’re dressing up in business-casual, rocking a button-up and sweatpants (for Zoom meetings, of course), or never bother changing out of your pajamas to start the day (no shame), try adding one finishing touch that makes you feel like the badass you are. Depending on what makes you feel good, try a fitted pair of jeans, a swipe of mascara, or a trendy hair clip to add a little something to your OOTD. The goal isn’t to look better, it’s to feel better, so play around to find what small touches make you feel more confident, energized, or motivated. Never underestimate the power of a structured work blazer or swipe of red lipstick.
9. Check your bank account
Self-care doesn’t always mean bubble baths or face masks; sometimes, self-care means being an independent adult and doing what you can to feel in control of your finances. While having a detailed financial plan and setting goals can help you reduce money-related stress and achieve what you want out of life, feeling in control of your finances doesn’t always require a lot of time and energy. Every few days, take a minute to glance over your bank account and credit card statements. Getting in the habit of frequently checking can help identify fraud early-on, but will also give you a good idea of where you’re spending and where you can be saving.
10. Use visualization
Do you get nervous before a first date or big presentation? Do you ever lack motivation with health goals or feel stuck in your career? The fix to any negative thought could be as easy as visualizing an alternative. We get nervous, stuck, or unmotivated when we visualize the worst-case scenario: a bad date, a failed presentation, a boring job, or too-difficult workouts. So why not replace the thought with a more positive one?
If you’re feeling nervous, imagine yourself acing the presentation or being your charming self on the date. When you lack motivation, visualize that you are the kind of person who prioritizes workouts and loves eating nourishing foods. And if you’re feeling stuck? Think about what you want the outcome to be, and then picture what that looks like. Visualization may be another name for imagination, but it can serve as the minor confidence boost you need to achieve the desired outcome.
11. Make your bed
I know I sound like your mom, but please make your bed. Not only will it feel good to get into a made bed at night, but it’s important for the success of your day. Making your bed first thing every morning means one small win before you even have a cup of coffee, which subconsciously will motivate you to achieve thousands of small wins throughout the day (and you know what they say about small wins: they lead up to big ones). Plus, Gretchen Rubin found in her research that it’s the easiest and most common daily habit you can do to boost happiness.
12. Fix your posture
Bad news for all the other slouchers out there (guilty): your posture might be affecting your physical and mental health. Practice better posture by straightening your back and relaxing your shoulders (and stop looking down at your phone, damn it!). Did you sit up taller just now? Good. Improve your posture throughout the workday (yes, even while working from home) by setting reminders with phone alerts, sticky notes, or as your phone wallpaper to remind you to correct your posture whenever you check the time or read a text message.
13. Set a mantra or intention
Everyone has a mantra, whether we’re aware of it or not. It’s that one phrase you hear in your head over and over, or what you tell yourself repeatedly. Many of us are plagued by phrases like “I’m not good enough,” or “What if something goes wrong?” We hear these phrases in our heads so often that we believe them. So what if we could replace these thoughts with phrases that are not only better for us, but can help us be more confident, feel less stressed, and live our best lives? Every morning, pick a mantra or daily intention and write it in your daily planner so you don’t forget it. If you find one phrase you particularly relate to, repeat it to yourself whenever you’re feeling stressed, scared, or not enough.
14. Apply a layer of SPF at the end of your skincare routine
It’s easy to remember SPF when the sun is out, the temperature’s warm, and we’re spending all day outside. But in cold weather, or even when we’re spending all day indoors, it’s a little less obvious. To set the record straight once and for all, yes, you still need sunscreen when it’s cloudy outside and even when you’re indoors. Wearing a daily SPF is not only good for skin glow (prevents aging, hyperpigmentation caused by sun exposure, keeps an even complexion, etc.), but is crucial for your health. Click here to find the perfect sunscreen for your skin, and click here for non-toxic options.
15. Add a handful of leafy greens to your meal
Being healthier does not have to be a dramatic transformation. It’s actually more sustainable when it’s a gradual series of small habits. The best place to start achieving a healthier diet is not cutting out entire food groups or limiting what you “should” and “should not” eat (which can lead to bingeing or an unhealthy relationship with food). Instead, start transforming your health by adding a handful of leafy greens to your meal. For example, add spinach if you’re making an omelet, throw kale into a pasta sauce, or order a side salad when you’re eating out. Not only are leafy greens superfoods that pack a lot of benefits and are easy to fit into the meals you’re already used to, but small, non-restrictive tweaks can snowball into an overall healthier diet and lifestyle.
16. Set your alarm 60 seconds earlier
If your mornings feel more like a race against the clock than the peaceful start you imagine, the fix is waking up earlier. However, a full 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes, might seem like you’re missing out on too much sleep. Instead of trying to transform your wake-up time (which would just make you hit “snooze” a couple more times), set your alarm one minute earlier every day. While it sounds like a small change, after 10 days, you could have 10 extra minutes in your morning without even noticing it. Whether you spend that time meditating, indulging in a luxurious skincare routine, or just brewing a cup of coffee with a moment of silence, you won’t miss the 10 minutes of sleep.
17. Master the art of listening
Perhaps the #1 life hack and most life-changing habit? Listening. And I mean really listening. Caring about what other people have to say can transform your personal relationships and strengthen (or build more) professional relationships. Your communication will be more effective, and you’ll experience more meaningful connections. You’ll feel less self-conscious when you’re less focused on yourself, and less unsure when you look for answers outside yourself. Of course, utilize important cues like eye contact and follow-up questions, but the best way to listen? Genuinely get curious about what other people have to say. Empathy, understanding, and curiosity will not only transform your life, but will transform the world too.