We often see self-improvement as a daunting task, but truth be told it can be as simple as making slight changes to our daily schedules that play out in the long run. We don’t have to change our whole world in order to make our lives a little better, we just have to make small changes that can have bigger effects. It akin to maximizing profits, sometimes the investments with the smallest buy in can have the largest returns.

We always like to have instant gratification, and this is both the best and worst thing about self-improvement. We often send grandiose goals that take time to achieve, and when we don’t have that instant gratification that we crave, we tend to give up and move on to something else. On the other hand, if we set smaller goals, we can get our returns right away. This leads to a positive feedback loop that we can build upon, and start going after our bigger goals.

With the New Year right around the corner, we are all looking for ways to help us achieve our New Year’s Resolution. Below is a list of small steps that you can take to help better yourself and achieve your goals.

Write Things Down, Make a List

The world now can seem so hectic. We have so many distractions in our lives that it can be hard to keep track of everything. It helps t write things down. Whether it works best for you to go old school and use a productivity notebook, or use a task app like Astrid, writing things down will help keep you on task.

Make a Budget

Too often now we see people living extravagant lives on Instagram, and we think, “Why not me?”. We tell ourselves that we deserve to be spoiled and spend more than we have. There’s an old phrase, “Living a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget”, and a lot of us are guilty of it. We run up credit card debt instead of investing our money in something useful. This leads to unnecessary stress as then don’t have money when we need it. Set a budget for yourself and stick to it. Set aside an emergency fund, food budget, rent, and savings.

Give Someone a Compliment

This is a simple task that may not have instant gratification for us, but it can make someone else’s day, and karma always pays forward. It can be as easy as complimenting a new co-worker’s haircut, or saying how much you appreciate when someone helps you. Just something simple, and nice to brighten someone else’s day.

Exercise for 30 Minutes a Day

You don’t need to go to the gym and hit heavy bench press every day, but some physical activity everyday is going to greatly increase your mood and happiness. It can be as easy as just going for a short walk, maybe doing some push-ups and stretching. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day is a proven way to put you in a better mood and increase positivity.

Drink More Water, Less Soda

When it comes to neglecting their bodies, the first thing that people often do is dehydrate themselves. We underestimate how much water our bodies need in a day and assume that coffee or soda will be fine. At the end of the day, your body needs water, not juice, milk or any other substitute – but water. By drinking at least a liter per day you can help clear up your skin, feel better, and improve your day to day life.

Spend 15 Minutes and Clean Your Desk / Office / Home

A clean house or work space has been proven to help increase productivity. You don’t need to spend hours cleaning every nook and cranny, just take a quick 15 minute break from what you’re doing, or fit it in before you start your day, and neaten up or organize. It helps to make you feel more productive and will help set your mood for the rest of the day.

Take a Step Back, Breath Deep, and Relax

I cannot stress this step enough. Too many times we rush into things, and resort to knee jerk responses to complex problems, which just leads us to even more problems down the road. Take your time, think things through, and make your decisions based on logic and reason, not emotions. Take a deep breath and think things through. This will help you make better decisions and help you prosper in the long run.