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10 Small Habits With Major Payoffs
10 Small Habits With Major Payoffs
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Even the smallest habits can have a considerable effect on your life; the key is practicing them consistently. While major changes are intimidating for most of us, if you continuously take small steps in the same direction, you might be surprised where you end up. Results aren't instantly visible, but finding the willpower to continue encourages long-term success. Work one of these incredibly easy habits into your day, and watch huge returns manifest.

01

Add fruit and veggies to every meal

woman eating fruit Moyo Studio / Getty Images

While overhauling your diet isn't always doable, it's easy to work more nutrition into every meal. A handful of berries, a slice of watermelon, carrot sticks, broccoli and dip — whatever your favorites, a small serving is all it takes to make a difference. These tasty choices do more than boost nutrient input, however; they decrease hunger, balance your metabolism, and help maintain a healthy weight.

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02

Watch your posture

woman with good posture TwilightShow / Getty Images

Research reveals that posture can affect both physical and mental health, so sitting up straight is more beneficial than you might think. Avoid slouching by straightening your back, relaxing your shoulders, and positioning your neck slightly forward. Consistently noting your posture and straightening up will help improve your well-being while providing a more confident, self-assured appearance.

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03

Tidy up

woman making bed fotostorm / Getty Images

If your bedroom or workspace is a mess, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Tidying up can make all the difference in your mindset, helping boost productivity and increasing calm. Consider the cleaning process your day's first win; making your bed or clearing your desk are accomplishments in and of themselves. These small wins might not seem like much initially, but they'll subconsciously encourage you to keep going through the day's real difficulties. Plus, if you're sitting at your desk the rest of the day, these breaks will get you up and moving.

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04

Embrace the present

couple embracing the moment David Lees / Getty Images

Rather than stressing about what's next, focus on the moment and appreciate it for what it is. Good or bad, you'll never experience this same moment again, so make the most of it. Rather than thinking, "maybe I'll be happier if..." or, "I'll be much better when...," simply embrace the present and everything that it has to offer you. This focuses your senses on exactly where you are, who you're with, and what you're doing, so that you can live every day to the fullest.

This doesn't sound like a small habit, but incorporating a two or three-minute gratitude or mindful breathing practice into your schedule once or twice a day is small, and the dividends are exponential.

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05

Spend 30 minutes in nature

man enjoying nature Ascent Xmedia / Getty Images

Too many of us spend our days locked inside, neglecting meaningful interaction with the world around us. Connecting with nature has countless rewards, from improving mental clarity to helping reduce anxiety and depression. Carve out just 30 minutes to enjoy a walk, a quick picnic, or a relaxing break by the water or in the nearest park. Moving outside gets you out of your own head and heightens your senses, making you feel like one with the world. Can't slot in 30? Shoot for 15.

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06

Save at least 10% of your income

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By setting aside just 10% of your income each paycheck, you'll benefit from a hefty nest egg down the line. Every dollar makes a difference, and even $10 a day results in an extra $3,650 in savings per year! Whether you have a major purchase in mind or want a lavish retirement, big savings start small. Cutting out unnecessary expenses like unused subscriptions or extra Starbucks runs boost it even more; when you look at the big picture, even the most minuscule amounts add up over time.

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07

Set deadlines

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Deadlines establish a time frame for goals of any scale, whether you want to redecorate your apartment, take a vacation, or relocate across the country. With a due date, you'll find ways to get the job done; deadlines act as the ultimate motivator and help keep you accountable. Consider your goals and establish realistic deadlines for achieving them, then work your way there. This practice helps you realize your true potential and understand that everything lies within reach.

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08

Ask open-ended questions

people having conversation Morsa Images / Getty Images

You can learn so much more about people by taking this one simple step. Take the focus off your own opinion, and ask questions such as, "How would you feel about...?" and "What would you do if...?" When respondents have to go beyond yes and no, they reveal more about themselves, and you can enjoy conversation at a deeper, more personal level. Through open-ended questions, you can relate more to others, understand where they're coming from, and make friends who genuinely appreciate your perspective. By listening — not just asking — you'll also show them you're a trustworthy and supportive friend.

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09

Engage with the neighbors

neighbors helping neighbors Fertnig / Getty Images

You see them on the daily, so the next time you spot a neighbor, consider doing more than just smiling. Say hello and ask how their day went; you might be surprised how willing they are to interact. The more friendliness you display, the more it will be reciprocated by most people around you. As a nice side effect, down the line, you might find those same familiar faces helping carry heavy groceries, assisting with yard work, or offering to pick something up for you on their latest dash to the store.

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10

End your days with encouragement

woman falling to sleep Adene Sanchez / Getty Images

Every night before bedtime, take a moment to appreciate life's pleasures, no matter how small. Consider one thing you're thankful for, and give yourself a word of encouragement, too. What have you accomplished today? When encouragement is a daily practice, you can put bad days into perspective and see the bigger picture.

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