Monday, January 28, 2019

The Declutter Dare

You can declutter 100 things in an hour.

Yes, you really can.  Here's how.

Make a list of some of the following areas (or come up with your own) so you don't have to waste time deciding where to start.  Grab bags for trash and boxes for donations, put on some great music, set your timer, and GO!

  • 10 things from the bathroom such as old makeup, products you tried but didn't like, décor that clutters the counter.
  • 20 things from the kitchen like chipped plates or glasses, the pressure cooker you're afraid of, unused specialty gadgets, refrigerator magnets, corporate giveaway cups.
  • 10 things from your bureau, for example: stretched-out underwear or bras, orphan socks, that nightgown you never wear.
  • 20 things from your closet such as clothes that are stained or faded, that don't fit, that your sister gave you when she cleaned out her own closet.  Don't forget shoes that give you blisters and the outerwear you won't need unless you move back to Minnesota.
  • 10 things from your computer starting with blurry photos, junk email, bookmarks for websites you never visit anymore.
  • 10 things from your car like extra travel mugs, empty water bottles, the broken umbrella, old receipts, forgotten junk that has migrated under the seats.
  • 10 things from the linen closet, for example: the bedspread you replaced two years ago but kept "just in case," stained or frayed towels that could be donated to an animal shelter.
  • 20 things from your TV/family room such as old game consoles, videos and games your children have outgrown, the second couch, TV trays.
  • 10 things from the living room like extraneous throw pillows, décor you don't love, the uncomfortable chair no one sits in.
  • 10 things from your book shelves, for example: last year's bestsellers, books you bought but have never read, classics you think you should read but don't really want to.
  • 10 things from your home office starting with the dead printer, the pile of rubber bands, last year's appointment calendar, the filing cabinet that's empty since you digitized most records and shredded the rest.
  • 20 things from your hobby room like dried markers, scrapbooking tools you haven't used in years, the cross stitch sampler meant for your baby nephew (he's 10), anything that makes you feel guilty and keeps you from creating something new.
  • 20 things from your child's room such as clothes she's outgrown and toys she doesn't play with, torn books, broken crayons, freebie junk.
  • 20 things from storage starting with exercise equipment you used twice, baby equipment you have no intention of using again, the 1960s tent and sleeping bags passed down from your dad.
You'll be amazed at what you can accomplish in just one hour.  Celebrate your lighter, freer life!

Friday, January 25, 2019

A Body In Motion Stays In Motion

It's a law...Newton's First Law.  Maybe you learned it in high school science.

A body at rest stays at rest.  A body in motion stays in motion.

So decide to be the body in motion.  Don't stayed mired in situations that don't fulfill you.  Take one step, any step, to start moving in the direction you want to go.  Starting is the hard part, but once you do it, you'll have momentum to keep going.

Want to get more active?  Take any tiny action and do it consistently.  A body in motion stays in motion.
  • Do stretches as soon as you get out of bed.
  • Park further away.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Walk around the block.  Don't worry about speed (unless you feel like power walking), just take the walk.
Want to get out of debt?  Try one of these.  Then try another one.  Be the body in motion.
  • List what you owe, to whom, and the payment amount.  Add it all up.  This knowledge may give you the kick you need.
  • Cut up one credit card.
  • Make a double payment.
  • Drop one perk (one restaurant meal, one movie ticket, one Starbucks visit) per week, and use the funds to pay down debt.
Want to eat healthier?  Start today with just one improvement.  You know the law.
  • Add vegetables to every meal, including breakfast.  Onions, mushrooms, bell peppers, spinach and other veggies can be added to egg dishes.  Add shredded carrots and zucchini to your pancake or muffin batter.  Spread whole grain toast with natural peanut butter and top with thinly sliced cucumbers and radishes, or put cottage cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds on a small baked sweet potato.
  • Eat protein at every meal-- eggs, nuts, beans, plain Greek yogurt, lean meats and poultry, seafood. 
  • Eat dessert only on the weekend.
  • Drink smarter.  Coffee and tea are zero-calorie drinks and healthy in moderation; added sugars and syrups are not.  Soda is a nutritional disaster; have ice water with a fresh citrus or herb garnish instead.  Watch out for smoothies made with juice or flavored yogurt.  Cut down on alcohol.
Want to get rid of clutter?  Start with the easy stuff.
  • Toss or donate duplicates, such as kitchen utensils, blankets, tools, makeup, etc. 
  •  Delete the junk drawer.  You will never need all those rubber bands and twist ties.  Or those expired coupons.  Or power cords and keys for items you no longer own.
  • Get rid of clothes that don't fit, that aren't comfortable, that don't go with anything else, or are permanently stained or otherwise damaged.
  • Pinpoint one to three areas where you tend to impulse buy.  Books?  Shoes?  Kids' clothes?  Candles?  Music or apps?  Being more mindful of your tendency to buy what you don't need is a key to getting clutter (and spending) under control.
Want to lose weight?  Use these tips to start moving in the right direction.
  • Use a smaller plate for smaller portions.
  • Don't touch the bread basket.
  • Split the entrée.
  • Get a little snobby.  Would a successful, well-educated, classy person stuff themselves with Cheetos, Oreos, or M&Ms?  No way.  They might nibble on one piece of organic fair trade extra-dark chocolate, a small handful of raw almonds, or some crisp apple slices instead.
Want to improve your marriage?
  • Turn off text and email alerts before dinner and don't check them again until the morning.
  • Treat your partner with the same consideration you would like to receive.  I know we pay lip service to this, but so often we don't do it.  Ask questions and really listen to the answers; let him know how much you appreciate the value he brings to your life.
  • Find one fun activity you can both enjoy together such as a choir, a dance class, bicycling, hiking, gardening, fishing, photography.  Whatever it is, make time for it.
  • Let it go.  He's not perfect, you're not perfect.  Let patience and humor rule the day.

Whatever your goal or desire, reaching it always begins with the first step.  You may think, "A tiny step won't make much difference in my life.  How can cutting up one credit card get me out of debt?"  It won't.  It's only the first step on a journey.  Keep taking those tiny steps and I guarantee you'll get somewhere.  Keep doing what you always do, and a year from now you'll still be in exactly the same place.

Wouldn't you rather look back and be glad you took that first, tiny step today?

Monday, January 21, 2019

Why Minimalism?

A lot of people think of "minimalism" as a huge white room with a white couch, a glass table, and some modern art.

That is one minimalist style or design aesthetic, and it might be appropriate in the expensive penthouse apartment of someone who has a trust fund but no family, no pets, and whose hobbies are travel and yoga.  However, most of us don't (and don't want to) live like that.

So what do I mean by "minimalism"?

To me, minimalism means living with less clutter, busyness, debt, and stress so I have room for what really matters to me.  I want to enjoy, appreciate, and savor the people, activities, and things that bring value to my life, while minimizing everything else.

There are many reasons to explore minimalism, and the "why" will be slightly different for everyone.  Figuring out your "why" is key to finding motivation and endurance when you encounter obstacles in your minimalist path.  So settle in with a cup of tea and a notebook and pen, and think about what has brought you to this place in your life.

  1. You're stressed and overwhelmed, and you're hoping minimalism will be the cure.  You can't find your keys or your shoes or the permission slip you're supposed to sign.  You can't clean the house without spending a ton of time moving the clutter so you can vacuum, and you hate dusting all the knick knacks.  You can't walk down the hall without tripping on one of your kid's toys.  You can't shut your dresser drawers.  You can't cook a meal without scooting things around the counter to find room to chop an onion, so you serve processed convenience foods way too often.  You can't sit at the table to eat anyway, because it's covered with three days' mail, kids' homework, your purse, a water bottle, and (oh, there they are) your keys.
  2. You're in debt and juggling the bills, and you're hoping minimalism will help you get your money under control.  You shop to reward yourself, to relax, or because you're bored.  You don't need or use half the stuff you buy, and the debt keeps piling up.  You feel burned out by work, but still can't make ends meet.
  3. You're overwhelmed with activities, and you're hoping minimalism will help you use your time more effectively.  Your schedule is jam-packed, and you feel guilty every time you say "no," so you just keep adding more commitments.  You want to give your kids every opportunity, and you're afraid of missing out on something important, so you go-go-go every day.  You're craving a real day off and some extra sleep.
  4. You've developed some health issues, and you're hoping minimalism will help you focus on the needs of your body and your spirit.  Maybe it's too many late nights, maybe it's too much fast food, maybe it's too many desserts to reward yourself or too many drinks to numb yourself, but you realize something's got to change before your health is permanently compromised.
  5. You've become so worried about keeping up with the Joneses that you're not even sure who you are any more, and you're hoping minimalism will give you the space to figure that out.  You feel like you're chasing goals you didn't choose, and wouldn't choose if you could do it all over again.  You're worried that you're caught in someone else's life and that there's no way out.
  6. You don't converse anymore, you just discuss logistics, and you're hoping minimalism will help you deepen your relationships.  You believe that people are more important than things, but if you're honest, you know you give more attention to your phone than you do to your loved ones.  You spend more time thinking about what to buy or see or do next than you spend being fully present with anyone.  Your "family time" consists of doing chores around the house, rushing to kids' lessons and games, and shopping.
  7. You've become focused on what you don't have, and crabby about all that is expected of you, and you're hoping minimalism will give you a new mindset.  You want to learn gratitude and optimism before the frown lines are indelible.

Minimalism can help you design a life with more of what you love, and less of what you don't.  Keep reading...there's more to come!

P. S.  I'm so excited and honored to be the featured Real Life Minimalist today on Francine Jay's blog, Miss Minimalist.  Please visit!

Monday, January 14, 2019

14 Ways to Cheer Up, Minimalist Style

The holidays are over, the weather is cold and gray, and maybe you could use a bit of cheer.  Many people eat or drink or shop when they're a bit down.  What would a minimalist do?

by Ginny at Small Things (

  1. Light a candle.  Try pure beeswax.  The wax is made by bees who feed on honey, which starts as nectar from spring and summer flowers.  The delicate honey fragrance is delicious!  But any candle will add a heartening glow to a gray afternoon or a dark night.
  2. Keep green plants.  A pothos vine, sansevieria (aka snake plant), or a succulent jade plant will thrive indoors.  So will a beautiful weeping fig (ficus benjamina) with a braided trunk, or an air-purifying peace lily.
  3. Wear cheerful clothing.  Pull out that bright silk scarf or tie and those red gloves.  If you need new snow boots or a new umbrella, pick a bright color or a sassy print.  It may be just what you need to lift your wardrobe and your spirits.
  4. Take a walk in the rain or snow.  Bundle up.  Breathe deeply.  Look for birds.  Notice how colors appear brighter against the monochromes of winter.  Be refreshed!
  5. Listen to music.  Choose music that makes you want to dance:  jazz, swing, traditional Irish bands, disco, or your favorite oldies.  Go someplace to hear live music.  Move to the beat!
  6. Bring out old photos.  Remember friends and family, special celebrations and wonderful trips.  Display a sunny snapshot.
  7. Plan your garden.  Where I live in northern California, we can start looking for daffodils in mid-February, and blooming almond orchards soon after.  But perhaps you still have weeks to go before you can enjoy such beauties.  Don't despair -- January is the perfect time to plan your summer garden.  At the very least, you can browse through some inspiring seed catalogs.
  8. Buy a bunch of flowers.  You don't need something exotic or expensive.  Grocery store carnations will stay fresh for a week or more, and their lightly spicy fragrance is said to encourage a positive, energetic outlook.
  9. Minimize sugar and caffeine.  Their buzz will pass and leave you feeling down and dull.  Try Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Herbal Tea or Yogi Super Antioxidant Green Tea instead.  Indulge in the healthy sweetness of an apple baked with cinnamon, or some One Ingredient Banana Ice Cream.
  10. Play a fast-paced family game.  Uno, Spot It, Catch Phrase, and Pictionary are great games that can involve everyone.  Or do something physically active like Simon Says (really funny when adults play too), Balloon Volleyball, Indoor Basketball (use a bucket and a rolled-up pair of socks), or Freeze Dance.  Be sure to laugh!
  11. Stay hydrated.  Adequate water intake is good for your muscles and skin, and helps rid your body of toxins.  Filtered tap water is best; fill a pitcher and add lemon, lime, and orange slices, or try chunks of pineapple with a sprig of mint.  The Yummy Life has even more delicious ideas.
  12. Fill a bowl with oranges and tangerines.  Their sunny color, juicy sweetness, and burst of Vitamin C make them perfect for wintertime snacks.
  13. Count your blessings.  Go ahead, make a list.  You'll be amazed and grateful at how long it is.
  14. Sleep in a cool room.  Indoor heat dries your nasal passages, which can lead to snoring and a sore throat.  It also makes your skin dry and itchy.  So turn down the thermostat at bedtime, and snuggle under a warm quilt and a cotton blanket or two.  Get seven to eight hours sleep each night to feel refreshed in the morning, but don't oversleep.  Get up, get moving, have a great day!

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Beauties of Sleep

Shakespeare had it right.  Sleep not only "knits up the raveled sleeve of care," it is as necessary to life as food, water, and exercise.

The final ingredient for our minimalist, whole, and healthy lifestyle is one we too often overlook, especially in our modern over-busy, over-stressed lives.  Yet a deficiency in this area is linked to increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.

Sleep is not the enemy of productivity; it is not what you do when there's nothing good on TV.  It's essential.

How should I sleep?
  1. Without proper sleep, all your positive food, drink, and exercise choices are useless.  Lack of sleep interferes with the production of leptin, a hormone which controls appetite.  With increased appetite, it's easier for you to reach for comfort, convenience, and fast foods.
  2. Make sure you're getting at least six hours of sleep every night, preferably seven or eight.  Getting less than that can lower your metabolism by 15%, meaning you'll gain pounds even without eating any more calories.  Like your mother told you...go to bed!
  3. Turn off all devices, including your phone, at least one hour before bedtime, and leave them out of the bedroom.  Multiple studies show that LED lights in screens disturb production of the sleep hormone melatonin.  
  4. Darkness is essential to sleep, as it signals the body that it is time to rest.  Light exposure at the wrong times will interfere with your body's sleep-wake cycles.  If necessary, use blackout shades or a sleep mask.
  5. Adequate sleep helps build long-term memories.  While your body rests, the brain processes and consolidates information from the day so it can be recalled later.  Without adequate sleep, your ability to learn and retain new information will be impaired.  That's why kids need bedtimes too!
  6. Take time in the early evening to talk through problems or areas of conflict with your spouse.  Don't stew!  Keep a "worry" or prayer list so you can write about issues that trouble you.  Try to leave those concerns on the page as you get ready for sleep.  Things often do seem easier to resolve in the morning.
  7. Use a bit of lavender essential oil in a reed diffuser in your bedroom or as a pillow spray.  Lavender improves sleep by lowering blood pressure and heart rate and calming anxiety.
  8. Transition to a great night's sleep with one or more of these activities:
  • take a hot bath or shower
  • pray or meditate
  • write in a gratitude journal
  • do some yoga or stretching
  • read a printed book (all devices off!)
  • get pressing tasks off your mind by making a to-do list for tomorrow
  • listen to relaxing music
  • make love with your partner.

Sleep repairs your body, improves your memory, and just makes every day better.  

Have a good night!

Monday, January 7, 2019

Simply Move More

Food and drink are absolute necessities, but our minimalist, whole, real lifestyle for health is missing a couple of important ingredients.  Diets don't work without exercise, do they?

A truly healthy body is flexible, strong, full of energy and stamina.

I watch my three-year-old grandson.  He's constantly bending, squatting, getting down on the floor, then up on his toes, climbing, skipping, reaching.  He often gets sweaty, but he's never out of breath.  He has a good appetite and he sleeps like a log.  And he's cheerful, curious, inventive.  The picture of health!

Now, I'm 55 years older than he is.  Obviously my stamina and agility are no match for his.  I'm also unfortunately quite overweight, which means my joints are somewhat stressed and I do occasionally get out of breath.

But improvement through baby steps and consistency is the name of the game.

How should I exercise?
  1. Vigorous exercise in the morning before you eat breakfast is better for weight loss, while exercise mid-afternoon is better for strength and endurance.  Vigorous exercise will be different for everyone, depending on your age and current level of fitness.  You want to get your heart rate up to about 80% of your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) for about 20 minutes. 
  2. Get moving as soon as you get out of bed to speed up your metabolism.  Start with stretches, then maybe some pushups or leg lifts and jumping jacks, and end with a brisk walk or run around the block.
  3. Can't find time to go to the gym?  Make it a habit to do 25 jumping jacks every time you come out of the bathroom and during every TV commercial.  It won't take any real time from your day, but it will improve your health and fitness.
  4. Pay attention to your posture.  By simply having better posture, your body is able to burn 10% more calories.  How do you know your posture is good?  Stand or sit with feet flat and shoulder width apart, clasping your hands behind your back with your arms fully extended (your hands will be near your tail bone).  This tends to push your rear in, your sternum up, and your shoulders back yet down.
  5. Do not spend your entire day or evening sitting!  For every hour you sit, spend five minutes standing, stretching, jogging in place, or taking a short walk.  Drink a glass of water or a cup of green tea before resuming your seat.
  6. Think of ways to get more movement into every day.  Always park at the end of the lot, take the stairs, ride your bike or walk rather than taking the car for short errands.
  7. Resurrect activities you used to love but have neglected lately.  Did you dance, bowl, play tennis or softball, swim, hike?  Think of ways to ease back into doing one of those things.  If it's a matter of time, consider whether your health is less important than all of your other commitments.  Is there one you can set aside in favor of getting more movement every week?  Can you shift some time from TV viewing or social media browsing to improve your healthy lifestyle?
  8. If you're new to exercise, or just getting back into it, follow these tips:
  • Make sure to begin by stretching.
  • Get some new sneakers; wearing your worn-out pair will not lead to success.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Do intervals at first:  choose a slow pace for two minutes, then as fast you can for one minute.  Continue this alternation for 20 minutes, ending with the slow, cool-down pace.
  • Keep your goals small.  The important thing is to build consistency.

Remember, you're not trying to be impressive, just consistent.  Simply move more!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Better Drinking

How are you doing with your minimalist (unprocessed, whole, real) food lifestyle?

In my experience, a diet means sudden, radical change.  I'll be highly motivated for a while, and then I hit a plateau and get discouraged.

By using tiny habits, there are many more ways to be successful.

If I think in terms of tiny habits, my focus is different.  Rather than worrying if I don't lose weight one week, I can look at my success in maintaining habits.  I can easily meet and exceed my tiny goals, which means I'm always making progress.  Continuing to make better and better food choices should be permanently sustainable, which means that over time I will see bigger changes.

It also means that I'm not measuring the success of the entire lifestyle solely by whether I lose weight, but also by improved health in many different ways due to the gradual accumulation of new, better habits.  There are many more ways for me to be successful than just a number on a scale or a piece of clothing.

There are other facets of the minimalist whole food lifestyle I haven't written about yet, so today I want to bring up the question of what to drink.

Generally speaking, don't drink your calories.

This is an important idea that might challenge your thoughts about what is healthy.

Smoothies are a thing right now, and many people swear by them.  But with multiple servings of fruit, not to mention juices, frozen yogurt, milk substitutes, and giant servings of nut butter added to many smoothies, they are sugar, fat, and calorie bombs.  Even if kale, beets, or chia seeds are in the mix, the fiber of all ingredients is torn and crushed by blending, meaning that our bodies burn fewer calories digesting a smoothie than if we simply ate the unprocessed fruit or vegetables.

As an example, one smoothie by Odwalla has 270 calories (not enough to replace a meal) and a whopping 47 grams of sugar.  With only 2 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein, those sugars are going to hit your system quickly and all at once.  The insulin surge is going to help you store fat.  And in spite of the fact that more than 2 oranges and a cup of blackberries were juiced (plus other fruits), the resulting product is "not a significant source of vitamin C."  What a waste!  And you'll still be hungry after you drink it.

Here are better hydration strategies:

  1. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into 2 cups of cold or hot water and drink it first thing in the morning.  Drinking lemon water after fasting all night stimulates your liver and helps it to detox.  It provides vitamin C, freshens breath, improves skin quality, and promotes weight loss!
  2. Drink 2 cups of water before every meal.  Dehydration is not only dangerous for all systems of your body, but it will stall weight loss.
  3. Observe Dry January.  One beer, glass of wine, or cocktail is roughly 150 empty calories.  Since alcohol is one of the biggest drivers of excess food intake, abstinence will also make you less inclined to overeat.  It's a win-win situation for your diet.
  4. Drink several cups of green tea throughout the day to help boost your metabolism.
  5. Caffeine also boosts metabolism, so enjoy up to 2 cups of coffee or black tea per day.  Just be sure to limit caffeine intake to morning hours so your sleep patterns won't be disturbed.
  6. Don't use sugar or sweeteners in your tea or coffee, but you can add a dash of cream if you like.  The fat in cream helps stabilize blood sugar.
  7. Are you craving a slightly sweeter drink?  Add a few drops of vanilla extract to your cup of coffee.  Brew coffee or tea with cinnamon sticks.  Add an orange wedge studded with whole cloves to your steeping tea.
  8. Caffeine may boost metabolism, but no amount of metabolic boost can burn off the empty calories in energy drinks.  The typical energy drink contains 1/4 cup of sugar which will hit your system all at once, triggering an insulin response and fat storage.
  9. Treat soda and thirst quenchers such as Gatorade like they're candy, not a drink.  Most sodas and candy have equal amounts of sugar.
  10. Don't substitute diet versions to get your fix either.  Artificial sweeteners play havoc with the body's normal metabolic response, actually increasing appetite!
  11. Instead of fruit juice, which is high in sugar, drink water infused with fruit.  Lemon, lime, orange, cucumber, or pineapple slices are all delicious.  Mint and basil leaves will also make a refreshing tonic.
  12. Remember to allow yourself a "cheat" once a week.  You never need to feel deprived, since nothing is permanently off limits.  This is your chance to indulge in a tall Frappuccino or a glass or two of wine. 

I'm not going to try to do all of these things at once, as this would be a huge change for me.  My daily Starbucks and Diet Pepsi habits will gradually be replaced as I add new, healthier habits.  Join me, won't you?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Resolutions That Work

Consistent baby steps get you where you want to go.

Like most people, I have both good and bad habits.  On the plus side, I floss and brush, put items away when I'm done with them, turn off lights, and never leave clothes on the floor.

Unfortunately, I also eat out too often, exercise too rarely, don't save enough money, and occasionally binge on carbs.

My good habits come easily, probably drummed in by my mother or natural to my personality (I have a need for order).  The bad habits continue to flourish because of laziness, greed, and lots of excuses:

"I'm too tired to cook."
"We're in a hurry; it's faster to go out than to cook."
"I deserve a treat."
"I got a work out when I deep-cleaned the house yesterday, so I don't need to exercise now."
"It's way too hot (or cold, muggy, rainy, etc.) to take a walk today."
"It's not realistic to give up sweets forever."
"I'll just buy this one thing now and save more next month."
"I save more money than most people...more than nothing, anyway."

I'd like to change these habits and eat more healthfully, exercise regularly, lose weight, stay out of debt, and build savings.  I make plans and resolutions, but I don't keep them.

Maybe you can relate.  Your good and bad habits may be different from mine, but whatever your weaknesses, you feel stuck in them.  You know some changes would improve your life, but you keep failing to make them.

Being stuck like this makes me feel I can never change.  Not a joyful thought!  But is it true?  Can't I have more control over myself?

Too Small to Fail

Leo Babauta says that change is easier when you take small steps.  It's hard to tell yourself you're too tired or too busy if your daily habit is tiny.  Stephen Guise says that the most effective new habits are "too small to fail."

When you do a tiny habit every day, you enjoy immediate success, find it easy to exceed your goal, and continuously move forward.  You control your behavior by completing a very simple task, and over time this practice creates new, better habits.

You know huge sudden changes tend to fail.  Remember those "whole new you" plans that last less than a week?  (Believe me, I've done it too!)  Take smaller steps.  Choose just two or three tiny changes to start, and allow those to become firm habits before you try more.

Don't try to be impressive; just be consistent.

Improve fitness by making one of these a daily habit:
  • Jog in place, dance, or do stretches for one minute.  (I know, one minute sounds ridiculous.  So what's stopping you from doing it right now?)
  • Do one push up or pull up.  (You'll probably do more, but you don't have to.  Just do the habit every day.)
  • Park at the far end of the lot and speed walk to your destination.
  • Walk or run up and down one flight of stairs.
  • Walk once around the block.
  • Put on your gym clothes and go to the gym.  (Actually working out exceeds your goal, so you'll probably hit this one out of the park.)

Improve your diet by practicing one of these habits every day:
  • Eat one fresh (whole, unprocessed) vegetable.
  • Eat one fresh (whole, unprocessed) fruit.
  • Drink one glass of water before every snack and meal.
  • Use a smaller plate.
  • When you snack, put one serving into a bowl (instead of eating out of the bag).
  • At a restaurant, ask them to remove the bread basket.
  • At a restaurant, split the entrée.

Declutter by adding one of these daily behaviors:
  • Make your bed.
  • Empty and clean the kitchen sink.
  • Toss or donate one item.
  • Deal with today's mail -- recycle, file, or pay as necessary.
  • Completely clear and clean one counter or tabletop.  Keep it that way.
  • Hang or fold and put away clean clothes; put dirty clothes in a hamper.
  • Clear your email inbox (reply/take action, delete, unsubscribe).  If you've neglected this for a while, start by deleting everything more than one month old.

Save money by doing one of these every day:
  • Reduce impulse buys.  Keep a dated wish list for anything that isn't food, gas, or toiletries.  Wait three days, then decide if you still want the item.
  • Reduce a spending habit and deposit the savings.  For example, at Starbucks order a tall instead of a venti.
  • Put $1.00 in a jar; deposit to savings every month.
  • If you smoke or drink, wait longer (even 5 or 10 minutes) before lighting your next cigarette or buying another round.

Be more productive at work:
  • Decide on the one thing you need to accomplish today.
  • Delete email alerts, and check email only two or three specific times a day.
  • Stand up, walk, and stretch for one minute every hour.
  • Ask one customer how you could serve her better.
  • Call or email one new sales or networking lead.

Eat more home-prepared meals:
  • Keep bags of pre-washed leafy greens in the fridge.
  • Spend 5 minutes chopping vegetables for later use.
  • Keep a bowl with fresh seasonal fruits, washed and ready to eat.
  • Always cook twice as much rice, pasta, or quinoa to save for later use.
  • Keep the fixings for 5 Ingredient Chili on hand.
  • Perfect one method for cooking eggs.
  • Get a magnetic grocery list pad and use it.
  • When cooking, clean as you go.

Improve your outlook on life:
  • Write down one thing you're thankful for.
  • Connect with one friend.
  • Help one person.
  • Smile or laugh for 10 seconds (this triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins in your brain).
  • Hug one person.
  • Get outside in the sunshine for one minute.
  • Pray or meditate for one minute.

Take one step at a time, and in a week or two you'll be in a different place.  A year from now, you'll be so glad you started a tiny habit today!