20 Little Changes You Can Make That Will Actually Make 2017 Better

It’s the first week of January, and by this point, I’m sure you’ve thought of a few big-picture new year resolutions you’d like to accomplish this year. Maybe it’s something popular and cliche, like losing a certain amount of weight or working out more or getting more sleep. Or maybe it was something a little different, like starting a bullet journal or learning how to surf. Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s great, and I’m not trying to discourage you. I have some lofty goals myself, and I’m not going to abandon them just because the new ~cool~ thing to do is talk about how big resolutions never work. But… uh, large resolutions sometimes don’t work.

This isn’t because your goal is too big (I truly believe that if you really, really want to do it, you can), but because you have the wrong mindset. Focusing on only life-changing goals isn’t going to get you far. At first, you’ll have a plan and you’ll feel willing to wait, but when nothing happens in a few weeks, you’re going to feel frustrated and abandon it. Instead of doing that, why not try some little changes that will make 2017 better?

You can – and should – still keep your bigger goals in mind, but you should do so while incorporating smaller changes into your routine. These can either be tiny stepping stones towards that big goal (for example: a small change would be working out for 15 minutes three days a week if your big goal is to get to a place where you work out for an hour four times a week) or they can just be random little things that will improve your lifestyle. Accomplishing these small things will feel awesome and will motivate you to keep going – they’ll also keep you more organized, happy, and stress-free. Ready to make some goals you can definitely keep? Here are a few little changes to make that will really and truly make 2017 better:

1. Start waking up a little bit earlier each day.


I am not a morning person, and maybe you aren’t either. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try! Waking up earlier really can improve your day. Last year, I wrote something for Bustle where I tried waking up an hour early every day for a week. It was torture getting so up early, but the end result was worth it. I had more time for myself, I felt more put together, and it improved my AM routine. But waking up early is hard, so start slow. Set your alarm five minutes earlier than usual for a few days. Once that starts to feel more normal, set it for five minutes earlier than that. Once that feels okay, add another five minutes, and so on. Doing it slowly will make it easier, and after a few months, it will feel more comfortable – and your life will be a little less hectic.
 

2. Get a plant and keep it alive.

QT ?

A photo posted by Heather ? (@heatherbache) on


I know this sounds weird, but hear me out. Plants (real ones, not fake ones) are awesome. They really add something special to any room, automatically making a space look brighter and more *alive.* They are also good practice for being more responsible, because you have to take care of them – they need to be watered and fed with sunlight, and they need to be watched. Get a plant that requires a little bit of work instead of something that requires no work or way too much of it. Something delicate, like an orchid, is probably not a great idea, because it’s too complicated; something effortless like a succulent is a little too easy to forget about. But a leafy plant that requires a medium amount of water and low light could be perfect.
 

3. Devote at least one hour a night to being away from social media/technology.

✨GIVEAWAY TIME!! ✨ . I'm starting the new year off right… with a giveaway!!! First, I'd like to say happy release day to History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund!! Now… would you like to win a copy of this stunning book?? Well, here's how! I've teamed up with @groveatlantic (and @obviousstate who made this gorgeous wolf card! ?) to bring you all a chance to win a copy for yourself! ? HOW TO ENTER: • Follow me (@lisa_lostinlit) & @groveatlantic! • Tag three friends! • Comment below and tell me your favorite reading spot! ? RULES: • US only. • Ends 1/10/17 at 8 pm EST. • No giveaway accounts. • Must be 18 or have parental permission. ? Good luck!! And if you're not sure what this book is about yet, I'll leave the synopsis below! ? ? (Disclaimer: this giveaway is in no way affiliated with Instagram.) ————————————– ?Synopsis: Linda has an idiosyncratic home life: her parents live in abandoned commune cabins in northern Minnesota and are hanging on to the last vestiges of a faded counter-culture world. The kids at school call her 'Freak', or 'Commie'. She is an outsider in all things. Her understanding of the world comes from her observations at school, where her teacher is accused of possessing child pornography, and from watching the seemingly ordinary life of a family she babysits for. Yet while the accusation against the teacher is perhaps more innocent than it seemed at first, the ordinary family turns out to be more complicated. As Linda insinuates her way into the family's orbit, she realises they are hiding something. If she tells the truth, she will lose the normal family life she is beginning to enjoy with them; but if she doesn't, their son may die. Superbly-paced and beautifully written, HISTORY OF WOLVES is an extraordinary debut novel about guilt, innocence, negligence, well-meaning belief and the death of a child. ————————————– #historyofwolves #emilyfridlund #GroveAtlanticxObviousState #ObviousState #giveaway #bookgiveaway

A photo posted by Lisa ⚯͛⠀ོ☁︎ (@lisa_lostinlit) on


I love technology and social media, and life wouldn’t be the same without it. But as much as I hate when people say things like, “Ugh, get off your phone and LIVE,” I have to admit that we’re all on our phones way too much. Forget your goals of giving up social media and do something smaller. Plan 30 minutes or an hour each night as a break from technology. Turn off your phone, put away your computer, and hide your television remote. Spend that time reading, napping, coloring, talking to friends… whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t involve technology. It’s relaxing and will help you accomplish more than you think.
 

4. Take a beauty risk, like changing your hair color.


New year, new you, right? Sure, but uh, don’t feel like you have to go too crazy. Instead of trying to change a million things at once, try to change one thing. Why not take a beauty risk, like dying your hair a new color? It can be something fun and colorful, or something more basic, like blonde highlights or a darker shade of brown. It’s exciting and not even that difficult, and it will really make you feel like you’re getting a fresh start.
 

5. Get outside more.


I know it’s winter and, in most places, it’s cold and gross out. It gets dark early, it’s dreary, and did I mention it’s freezing? Sorry, though – you should still try to get outside a little bit. Set aside 10 minutes for a quick, brisk walk. That’s it! It can be fast. It can be as simple as walking to the store around the corner instead of driving. Just get outside more. The fresh air really is good for you, guys. And if you suffer from seasonal depression, being outside, even without a lot of sun, can be helpful.
 

6. Plan ahead the night before.


Want to make your mornings more efficient? If that plan doesn’t involve waking up earlier (or even if it does), try planning ahead more. It will only take a few moments of your time at night, but it will make the next day less hectic. Set aside clothes for an outfit so you don’t stand in front of your closet for 20 minutes, get breakfast ready, take a shower the night before… whatever you need to do, try to get it down ahead of time.
 

7. Meal prep throughout the week.


If you’re trying to be healthier in the new year, then meal prep is a must. Eating healthy is time consuming, but planning and prepping meals beforehand makes a huge difference. Instead of devoting an entire night to cooking for hours do it throughout the week. Example: On Sundays, prep breakfast and lunch for Monday and Tuesday. On Monday, make extra dinner to save the rest for the next night. On Tuesday night, prep breakfast and lunch for Wednesday and Thursday. And the cycle repeats.
 

8. Straighten up your room 10 minutes each night.


I hate cleaning so much, but I really hate when my room gets so messy that it takes me four hours just to get through the clothes on the floor. To avoid this, I try to dedicate 10 minutes a night to straightening up. This is easier said than done, but if you can do it (even if it’s just three nights a week), it really does make such a difference.
 

9. Make some sort of inspiration board.


Make something fun to look at so that you can inspire yourself to achieve your goals this year. An inspiration board can be filled with whatever motivates you or things that just make you feel good. Take some time to create yours, then hang it somewhere you’ll always see it.
 

10. Take a self-care challenge.


Self-care isn’t just a trend, it’s actually important. The problem is that we get so caught up in everything that we have to get done that we forget to do something for ourselves. If you’re having trouble putting aside time for yourself, try taking a self-care challenge. The prompts for each day are usually simple and quick, but they’ll inspire some relaxing time that you desperately need. You can find them all over social media or try out the one above.
 

11. Start trying out the Pomodoro method.

Trying something new today #pomodoromethod

A photo posted by Kate Spencer (@katespencer) on


The Pomodoro method is a great way to beat procrastination, to get things done, and to stay more organized. It goes like this: you work in sets of time and get breaks in between. There are a few variations, but I like this method the best. Work on something with no interruptions or distractions for 25 minutes. When 25 minutes is up, take a five minute break to do whatever you want – just really take the break. After that, work for 25 more minutes. Do this cycle a total of four times. The fourth break will be 15-20 minutes instead of five, and then repeat the cycle again. It’s easy to follow and definitely worth trying.
 

12. Use a sheet mask at least three times a week.

Last week's mask empties: last week was still crazy busy at work, but I managed to go 5/7 with masks and throw in a foot mask! — ??Mediheal Paraffin Foot Mask: not a life changing mask, but for $2 this is an awesome way to keep things looking fresh between pedicures, WR ??My Scheming Snail Essence Hydrating & Repairing Black Mask: how in love with black masks am I? Umm… seriously in love! How do they always fit so well? And stay wet for so long? I don't know, but I'm now on a search for every brand/type of black mask. Suggestions, please!! ??NRK Bitter Melon Anti-shine Purifying Mask: this was a good mask, I did feel the tiniest bit less oily the next day. I think this week I will do this mask the night before I do my new fave AM mask combo (glacial clay and oil control splash mask) and see if together they work even better! ??Too Cool for School Pore Tightening Egg Cream Mask: I love this line of masks, did I notice a difference between this and the original? No. Was it still just as amazing? Yes! ❔Banobagi Vita Cocktail Aqua Foil Mask: the packaging claims the foil helps ingredients to penetrate more deeply, and the mask to stay wetter longer. It was a good general mask experience, but I want to try a few more before I make a final review. ❔Leaders Insolution Snail Therapy First Ampoule Mask: I love the fabric, and the amped up ingredient content of this mask (100% Snail secretion filtrate) but the packaging lead to let's of the mask. It being fully saturated, I want to trouble shoot this before I a final review. — How were your masks this week? What was your favorite? — #kbeauty #koreanbeauty #koreanskincare #koreanbeautyblogger #asianskincare #asianbeauty #asianbeautyblogger #tbeauty #tawainesebeauty #tawaineseskincare #beauty #skincare #sheetmask #empties #skincarejunkie #beautyblogger #bblogger #bbloggers #mediheal #myscheming #naruko #narukous #toocoolforschool #banobagi #leadersusa

A photo posted by Muriel (@thebeautybalance) on


If you’re not using sheet masks yet, I don’t know what to say. They’re amazing! They’re pretty inexpensive, they help your skin, and they’re easy to use. On top of that, they’re relaxing as hell. Get yourself some sheets masks, and put one on at least three times a week. Not only will you be improving your skin, but it’s also a great excuse to sit back and relax for 20 minutes.
 

13. Start coloring in an adult coloring book.


By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with the adult coloring book craze that’s been happening. But just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it isn’t genuinely great. Coloring is such a fun way to relieve stress and tension, and to just chill out. Get yourself a cool coloring book and put aside time each day to color. This could be a great use of time when giving up technology for a bit!
 

14. Get into candles and tea.

Probably never leaving this spot ??☃️

A photo posted by Jessica Booth (@jboothyy) on


Need to relax more? I personally am a huge fan of the classic combo of a cup of tea and a nice candle. Nothing is more relaxing! Put on comfy clothes, get a warm blanket, light a yummy smelling candle, make some herbal tea, and just chill out. Do it a few times a week for best results.
 

15. Make a list of things that make you smile.


I know it might sound lame, but making a list of what makes you happy isn’t a bad thing to do. Create the template for a master list, then every time you do or are reminded of something that makes you smile, write it down. It’s a nice reminder.
 

16. Take more selfies.

Iconic ? #TheYearOfRealizingStuff

A photo posted by Jessica Booth (@jboothyy) on


I don’t care about the negative things people have to say about selfies – they can be fun, and a great way to boost your confidence. Take a selfie if you’re feeling good about yourself, then publish it and stop thinking about what others will think. You don’t need to go overboard, but it’s definitely not a crime to celebrate how you look.
 

17. Eat vegetarian once a week.

Vegan Pancakes with Coconut Yogurt, Fruits and Berries by @ps.ny ? Ingredients: 2 cups flour 2 tbsp raw sugar 1 tbsp baking powder ¼ tsp salt ¼ cup cold vegan butter  1¾ cup vanilla almond milk ½ tsp vanilla Instructions: 1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, cut in vegan butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add milk and vanilla and whisk until mixture is relatively smooth. 2. Heat an ungreased, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour ⅓ cup of batter into the center of the pan. Cook until the edges start to look dry. Flip and cook the other side until golden. 3. Remove from pan and place on a serving plate. Repeat until remaining batter is used up. Serve hot, with coconut yogurt, fruits and berries. #bestofvegan

A photo posted by Best Of Vegan (@bestofvegan) on


I know, I know, who care, right? IDK guys, I just think that devoting one day each week to being vegetarian could be helpful. As much as many of you would like to fight it, meat products aren’t great for you, and eating veggie once in a while is a healthy decision. Just try it!
 

18. Make a list of goals and put it somewhere you can see it.

?? #positivevibes #2017goals #letsgo

A photo posted by mandapanda728 (@mandapanda728) on


Make a list of everything you want to do this year. It should be everything, from small stuff to really big things. Make this without the thought that you have to do everything in 12 months. Put it somewhere you can see it all the time, and use it as a reminder to be better.
 

19. Set up a homework station.


Want to get better grades this year? Make a section of your room or house into a homework station. Set up everything you need to get work done (office supplies, snacks, motivational posters, etc.) and sit there every time you need to work on school stuff. It will definitely help keep you organized.
 

20. Save a few dollars every day.

Hoping this page can keep my spending a little bit more sensible this semester! #leuchtturm1917 #bujo #student #habits #savingmoney

A photo posted by Catrine Emilie Jensen (@norwaycat91_bujo) on


Saving money… sucks. So do it slowly this year. Instead of putting away huge chunks of cash, have a fund and add three to five dollars to it every day. It will add up more than you think, and putting aside that small amount of money isn’t very hard.

Which one of these small changes are you going to try? What are your resolutions for the new year? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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