By Leo Babauta
We’ve just started the third month of the year, and with the realization that this year is slipping past us so quickly … I’m issuing a challenge to all of you.
My March Challenge is to pick one small change that will have a big impact on your life. One small change you can do every day. Then do it every single day, at the same time every day.
Small changes can add up to having a huge impact on our lives in a few ways:
- They can lead to long-term change, even .
- They can be expanded slowly to bigger changes.
- Even if they aren’t expanded, they can make us feel healthier, more energetic, more mindful or calm, and so on … and that can spread to an impact in all other areas of our lives.
- Better finances or health (for example) can lead to less stress, which can lead to us being more present, grounded and sane in our relationships, jobs and responsibilities.
So pick one small change that will have one or more of these effects on your life (or other great effects you might think of). Then commit to doing it every day for this month.
Some examples of small changes with big impacts:
- Meditation — just 5 minutes of meditation, applied every day, can lead to a lifetime meditation habit (if you take it seriously). This can have incredible benefits in many areas of your life, beyond the 5 minutes of sitting.
- Pushups — if you do just 10 pushups every day (or whatever level you think would be easy and doable), you’ll get stronger over the course of a month. And that might lead to a slow expansion of the exercise habit, so that in April perhaps you add lunges, then bodyweight squats, then chinups … soon you’re fit and feeling good all the livelong day.
- Veggies — add green veggies to one meal a day, and it will have a good effect on your health over the long term. Especially if you expand that to two meals a day, and slowly add veggies so that you’re eating 4-5 servings a day. Wow!
- Writing habit — even just 10 minutes a day of writing can lead to a book, a blog, or maybe a lifetime journaling habit.
- Declutter or clean — spend 10 minutes decluttering one shelf, one space on your counter or in your closet, and over the course of a month you’ll have made a huge dent in your clutter. If you’re fairly clutter-free, you can spend a little time cleaning different areas of your house. A clean environment can get you in a great mindset for being focused, calm and present for everything you do.
- Finances — spending a little time paying bills, cutting costs, working on a budget, or tracking your expenses, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day, can have a big long-term effect on your finances. Or maybe you work on increasing your income, getting a side freelancing gig or selling something online, to improve your finances — just a little work each day can make a huge difference.
- Go for a walk — a daily walk can make you feel better, give you space to think, to breathe, to get away from distractions (don’t look at your phone or listen to anything when you walk). You get healthier, enjoy the outdoors. It’s like a meditation with exercise benefits.
- Reach out to people — calling or writing to a few people every day can improve your relationships. Or it might help you with job prospects, increasing your network.
- Replace negative thinking patterns with gratitude — this can be more difficult because you have to be more aware throughout the day. But when you notice yourself with a resentful or complaining thought pattern, interrupt the process and think about what you’re grateful for. Or allow yourself to feel the pain of what you’re feeling, without going down the resentful path, choosing gratitude instead. This has a huge effect on your happiness and relationships, not to mention long-term health.
- Do a small kindness for others — pick a few small acts of kindness and do one a day for a stranger, or pick something small to make a loved one feel loved. It will have a big impact on others and get you out of the narrow self-centered perspective that most of us get stuck in.
- Sleep & wake a little earlier — I find that shifting my sleep a bit earlier can give me time to meditate, exercise, read or write. All great things!
So are you up for this challenge? Let me know on Twitter, then tell people you know that you’re doing it (get them to join you!) and update us all every week. Do a final review at the end of the month — how did it go? What did you learn? What got in the way? What success did you create? (Be sure to set a reminder each week and at the end of the month for these check-ins & reviews.)
Support for the Challenge
If you’d like to do the challenge with me and others, join my Sea Change Program … we’re doing it this month, and there are over 20 video courses in Sea Change to support your habit change.
We also have:
- Weekly check-ins
- A Facebook group where you can get support
- A live video webinar with me during the month
- Accountability groups if you’d like them
Source: Zen Habits