Happy New Year to you! Hopefully we are all enjoying a little down time today with the family, so this episode will be short and sweet but I hope you’ll join me in thinking ahead to next year…
I don’t mean this in the sense of typical New Year’s resolutions — those lofty goals that we often forget about too quickly — but I mean the chance to challenge ourselves to make small but significant changes.
As I think about the habit shifts I want to focus on this year, there are 21 mini-challenges or goals that come to mind that have really helped me in my life. My list is always growing and changing, so I hope you’ll share your “aha” moments with me in the comments as well!
Episode Highlights: My Mini-Goals for 2019
- Reduce or eliminate single-use plastics — saying no to straws, cups, water bottles, shopping bags.
- Focus on gratitude and simplification — finding little things to be grateful for.
- Use a kitchen safe during family dinner.
- Drink lemon water or plain water in the morning.
- Get morning sunshine or take a walk.
- Set a bedtime on my phone (and put phone away somewhere besides my room).
- Keep a challenge journal.
- Make time for silence.
- Bullet journal when I can’t sleep.
- Create a positive phrase as a daily reminder. (Mine is: “Everything will work out perfectly.”)
- Read for just 5 minutes a day.
- Check email and social media only once a day.
- Say no a lot more (and why).
- Write a note a week to someone I love saying thanks (fun stationery linked below!).
- Create a social group or dinner party that meets on a regular basis.
- Listen to TED talks in the morning.
- Listen to a podcast.
- Write down “top three” MITs daily (most important tasks).
- Create 10 ideas a day and write them down (see James Altucher article below).
- Set reminders in your phone to stretch and move.
- Get enough protein in the morning!
- Why I Don’t Make New Year’s Resolutions & What I Do Instead (+ The Best of 2018)
- 2015 study on gratitude
- Kitchen safe for cell phones
- JustThrive probiotics
- Oura ring
- Four Sigmatic reishi
- Funny stationery to start writing notes/letters
- Branch Basics (concentrated natural cleaner to reduce plastic use – code MAMA15 gives 15% off starter kits)
- Blog post: How to Become an Idea Machine (James Altucher)
Books I Recommend
- Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance
- Forever Fat Loss
- The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman by Tim Ferriss
- The Metabolism Reset Diet and The Adrenal Reset Diet by Dr. Alan Christianson
- See this post for more of my favorite books!
Podcasts I Enjoy
- The Tim Ferriss Show
- Found My Fitness (Dr. Rhonda Patrick)
- Stuff You Should Know
- Ben Greenfield Podcast
- Hardcore History
- 298: Getting Back to Happy With Marc and Angel Chernoff
- 229: How to Use Atomic Habits to Change Your Life
- 124: Happy New Year 2018! Setting Challenges + Experiments Instead of Resolutions
- Health Benefits of Gratitude (& Why We Have to Work at It)
- How I Reduced My Cortisol Levels Naturally With Food & Light
- How to Reduce Plastic Use in the Home
- The Dangers of Plastic
- Ecotherapy: The Health Benefits of Nature
- How Your Phone Is Changing Your Brain
- How to Increase Happiness in 5 Minutes a Day
- The Importance of Writing Thank You Notes
Ok, I’m listening and ready to take notes… I learn so much from all of you and I’d love to hear even what you plan to experiment with this year! Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let me know!
Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast,” and Happy New Year. I cannot believe that 2018 has come to an end, and I’m so excited for the new year ahead. Thank you for joining me. I know it’s often a busy day, and you’re hopefully making your own plans for next year and spending time with friends and family.
So this episode will be short and sweet. But I hope you’ll join me to think ahead to the next year, and as I share 21 tiny habits, based on my own experience, that can drastically change your life.
And this year, this past year has been tough for so many people on a large scale. We’ve seen disasters like the hurricane that rocked my local area and the fires that devastated so many people in California. And then all of us have had our own trials in our own lives and our financial ups and downs, and our own personal struggles.
And the beauty of the New Year is in its uncertainty. I’ve heard it said that tomorrow is the first day of a 365-page book, and we all get to choose how we fill it. And while I’ve talked before about how I don’t make resolutions specifically, if I do make mini goals, this is part of my process for the next year and figuring out what those will be. So I invite you to join me as I talk through some little tiny habits and changes that I feel like can make a big difference. And I don’t mean this in a sense, like I said, of setting lofty resolutions that we will only keep for a week and then pretend that we did not set, but that we have the chance to make really small but significant changes that can improve our lives and the lives of others next year.
I’m sharing my ideas today like I said, and I hope that you will share yours with me in the comments. Also, if you have two minutes, I would be so, so grateful if you would go to whatever app or way that you listen to the podcast, whether that’s iTunes for most of you, or Stitcher, or any podcast app, and just leave me an honest rating or review. This helps me learn and continually get better hopefully. And also, it’s a way that many new people came to find the podcast.
I have some exciting new guests lined up for next year. Several I cannot wait to share with you on many of the topics that you guys have requested. So please leave me a rating or review, an honest one, I’d love to hear your feedback. Let me know who you want to hear from in the future, and I’m super grateful for your couple of minutes of time in doing that.
And without further ado, here are 21 tiny changes you can make that have a big impact long-term, and these will all also be in the show notes. Many of them I have written blog posts about or simple how-tos. You can find the show notes at wellnessmamma.fm. So you can find links to all of those there. Yeah, so we’ll go through the 21.
Number one is reducing or eliminating single-use plastics. This is a topic that has been in the news a lot lately because, obviously, we’re starting to really understand the global impact of plastics in general. And I’ve written about this quite a bit. I have a post called, “The dangers of plastics,” and I will link to that in the show notes. But especially single-use plastics, we’re realizing just how harmful those are to wildlife, to the ocean. We’re finding estrogenic compounds in ice in the Antarctic. Pretty much this is a problem that has literally and truly saturated our planet. And thankfully, it is something we all have the power to do something about.
Again, I’ll link to a post that explains, in your home, how you can reduce plastic exposure overall, which also in the long term saves money and reduces our waste. Because when you replace plastic containers that will eventually wear out in the kitchen with metal containers that will essentially last forever, and that are more versatile and that can be put in the dishwasher, it makes your life a little easier. And you’re also really helping the planet.
Beyond that, I’ll be sharing a post early next week about actionable changes specifically related to single-use plastics. Things like bringing your own cup to coffee shops and restaurants, opting out of straws, not using disposable plastic wear in our homes or even at parties and how to do that. And then just different ways that we can reduce packaging. Things like, for instance, my favorite cleaning product is called Branch Basics, and it’s incredibly versatile to the point you truly can actually use it for shampoo and to remove eye makeup, but it also works to mop floors, clean windows.
It is an all-purpose cleaner as a laundry detergent. And because it’s a concentrate, it requires much less packaging so you can drastically reduce your single-use plastic by using something like that or by making your own products from bulk ingredients, and then you have only one bottle that makes many, many, many, many months of cleaning products for your house. So I’ll share a link to that in the show notes as well.
But just these small changes that if we all made them would not only save us money but over time really make an impact on the planet and on our own health because we now understand that most plastics can be really problematic for our health as well.
Daily habit number two is finding ways to incorporate gratitude and simplification. And just like step number one, this is not something that can be tackled overnight, certainly. But little shifts, and just being more grateful or simplifying our life in little ways can lead up to big changes over time.
And there’s actually a direct health correlation here as well. A 2015 study published by the “American Psychological Association” backs this up. They found that the higher gratitude scores a subject had, then they also scored better in mood, sleep, positive health-promoting habits, less inflammation, and improved heart health. And also in studies, they found that even when problems do come up, people who have more gratitude tend to deal with those problems better.
We all know, of course, that stress has a negative impact on health. But research is finding that an attitude of gratitude can be the successful antidote to even very serious external stressors. So just some quick tips that I found really helpful to just incorporate this mindset is to have a short daily list. So one thing I do daily is to make a list of just a few things that I’m grateful for, for that particular day. It could be little things like my dishwasher working, especially it’s been not working for a couple of weeks, or for my kids or my husband, and I found that this just helps keep the focus on the good things in life.
And also, I try to do a little bit longer of a practice as well with gratitude letters. So once in a while, just writing a quick letter to a family member or a friend thanking them for their influence in my life and just telling them all the reasons that I’m grateful for them. Small things like little acts of kindness, or just little acts of service for other people can also help re-ignite our own gratitude. And then beyond that, you can just post some little reminders of gratitude around the house. You can print them out, make them with your kids. We have one in our dining room to remind us to talk about that every night when we’re having dinner.
Number three is to get a kitchen safe or just be disciplined about this and to detach from technology during family meals. And this is something that seems very simple and logical, but it’s something that, statistically, a lot of families are not doing. And hopefully, it’s as simple as just having a designated area where technology goes so that when you’re enjoying time together as a family, you aren’t on your phones, or your iPads, or checking technology the whole time.
But if that is a struggle, especially maybe if you have teenagers, I’m not there yet, there is something called a kitchen safe that I will link to in the show notes. I think it was actually designed to put junk food in to keep you from being able to eat it until the timer went off. I would recommend just not having junk food in the house or getting healthier alternatives, but this little safe is awesome for like digital days off, and for technology.
Obviously, if you don’t have a landline, you might want to have one phone out of it in case of emergencies. But all technology can go in this, and it can be locked for anywhere from one minute to, I think, 10 days. But you could lock it for 20 or 30 minutes while you’re eating dinner and not have the distractions of technology.
But even without an extreme measure like having to lock your phones up, just making that little effort to have time without technology, focused on actual people can make a big difference. Because we’re now finding that while we’re technically so connected in today’s world, we’re actually much more lonely when they poll people are more lonely and less vulnerable, less in close relationships even though we have these social media relationships with more people.
Number four, drinking lemon water or even just plain water in the morning. So it turns out that we lose a decent amount of liquid while we are sleeping just through breathing, and all the processes that happen while we’re asleep. So first thing in the morning is a great time to rehydrate, especially before we start eating. So I’ve written before about lemon water and how I feel that this has helped my own digestion and my energy levels. But even just drinking a big glass of plain water first thing in the morning is a great way to rehydrate the body and to give you a boost of energy without needing necessarily caffeine or anything to wake you up. And I’ll talk more about it in a little while.
But another tiny habit that’s easy to do is just to make sure you’re getting enough protein in the morning after you’re hydrated. A lot of people don’t get enough protein in the morning, and experts like Dr. Alan Christianson explain how protein is important in the morning to signal the body to have all the right hormonal processes throughout the day. So just finding a way to incorporate that little bit of hydration in the morning, whether that is sleeping with a big glass of water on your nightstand so you see it first thing and can drink it, or adding lemon water is the first thing you do as part of your morning routine. Just finding little ways to get that hydration in.
In a similar way, number five, getting sunshine in the morning or going for a walk in the morning outside. This is another tip that comes from Dr. Alan Christianson who has written several books about thyroid health and adrenal health. And he said that getting sunlight in the morning, even if it isn’t a super bright day, so even on a cloudy day is really important for circadian rhythm because it signals the body that it’s now awake time, and it helps the cortisol pattern follow the correct way that it’s supposed to. And it can have a really drastic long-term effect on your sleep and your energy levels.
And I have noticed this in my own life. It’s such a simple thing, and it’s completely free. And it may make a huge difference because even if it’s a cloudy day, it’s still much brighter outside than it is indoors. We may not always feel that. But when they use measurements that actually measure the light output, it’s always so much brighter outside.
And unfortunately, the light through a window or if you’re inside is not the same as if you’re outside. So I love to take time in the morning to just have some quiet, or to go for a walk, or just to breathe outdoors, get a little bright light, get some fresh air, and get some movement. And it turns out that has some really beneficial long-term health effects as well, and it’s completely free.
Number six. Set a bedtime on your phone and put your phone away somewhere besides your room. So most of us set an alarm when we get up, but a lot of us stay up a lot later than we should according to statistics and are not getting enough sleep. And I was as guilty as this of anyone. And one thing that helped me was to start setting a bedtime reminder on my phone about 30 minutes before I actually needed to be in bed.
And this gave me time to turn off my phone if I was still on it at night, which hopefully I’m not usually, to wash my face, get ready for bed, drink some tea if I was going to and just calm down. A favorite at that point for me is to drink some Reishi tea from Four Sigmatic which really helps improve my sleep, which I track through my Oura Ring. And that’s been really, really helpful for me over the long term with tracking just to have a really, really good sleep.
But I feel like this is something adults can learn from kids because most of us enforce bedtimes with our kids pretty strictly but not so much with ourselves. And there’s many reasons that kids are typically healthier than we are, but they’re not losing sleep as much I think is a big one. So find a way, whatever it is in your life, whatever is going to work best for you just to make sleep a priority, and have a bedtime routine instead of just a morning routine.
Number seven is to keep a challenge journal, and I’ll explain what that is. Several of the things on this list that has been helpful for me involve journaling in some form. I mentioned gratitude as an example. A challenge journal has been an interesting journey for me because it started by keeping a list of all the things that I thought or was relatively certain that I believe to be true. From there, I made an active choice to challenge myself on each of those points line by line.
So if I thought I believed in something, I would find books or articles that directly challenged that. And my reasoning behind this was that if I was right, I was only going to strengthen my own viewpoint by researching and reading more, and in the process that I would hopefully gain perspective for those who disagreed with me. And that would make me more loving and empathetic toward them. And if I was wrong, and it was something I thought to be true, especially if it was something I really firmly believed and was, like, willing to die on that hill that I believed it was true that it would be really important to know if I was wrong.
This was a really illuminating process for me, and I was shocked how difficult it was at first. Because we tend, I guess, to be innately much more likely to find things that we agree with and that affirm our viewpoints rather than to challenge ourselves. So as an obvious example here, I’ve always consumed animal protein in some amount, although there have been times when I haven’t just for health reasons, or just to try it. But for the most part, animal proteins are part of my normal diet.
So one of the things that I put on that list was that animal proteins are healthy for you. And that was one of the things that I challenged myself on really heavily to make sure that I still felt that way when I did more research. And so I would read, for instance, vegan books and vegan blogs, and try to understand that perspective a little bit more. And certainly not everything I’ve had on that list I changed my mind on, but it was a really fascinating journey to go through that process.
And this is something I did a couple of years ago, but I’m still now even adding to that list as I think of new things that I believe or as my beliefs shifts. And I realized that list has gotten shorter and shorter as I’ve challenged myself, and as I’ve realized very few things are completely absolute in this world. But the things I’m left with are things that I do feel absolute certainty about, things like that we’re supposed to be kind and loving to each other, and that we are all connected in some way. And it’s been really illuminating.
And so even those things are on the list, I still constantly challenge myself on. But I have a little tiny book now, it started as a Google Doc, and now is a little tiny book that’s by my bed. That is my challenge journal, and that’s where I just constantly keep challenging myself on ideas.
Number eight, make time for silence. And I know that some of you are moms, and I am probably suggesting a near impossible task because I know just how difficult that task is for me, and I also know just how important it is. And something else that I have to actually schedule on my phone and oftentimes for silence could be that morning time to go for a walk outside without the kids, or there have been times with newborns where it was truly just hiding out in the bathroom for five minutes while the baby slept.
But in today’s world, we have so many opportunities for stimulation, and for the noise, and for conversation or interaction on our phone or social media. We truly never get to be bored or be silent anymore. And how often if we’re even, if it’s still in quiet or there’s nothing going on for more than a few seconds, do we pick up our phones and start scrolling? So those are times that we can instead make a conscious choice for silence and be still with our thoughts and explore those and actually get to experience them and to see where they might lead versus always just getting stimulation from outside sources.
Number nine. To keep a bullet journal by my bed. I told you there’ll be a lot of journals on this list. This one helps me sleep because I feel like sometimes, it’s difficult to get my brain to turn off at night, especially if I have a lot going on at work or with homeschooling the kids or any project that requires a lot of thought. Because as soon as I lay down and get quiet and still, all the ideas start pouring in.
Same thing with meditation. It’s why I’ve always struggled with that. And I found that by keeping a bullet journal by my bed, when that starts happening, I can just start writing frivolously and just kind of dump everything in my brain on to papers that I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t have to think about remembering it, and I know that it will be there in the morning. Even if my thoughts aren’t racing, I’ll often just take half a page and just fast like, jot down some thoughts from the day or some ideas for the future. And that’s been really helpful for me just to clear my head before sleep.
Number 10. To create a short positive phrase as a daily reminder, especially when things get tough. So my personal one is that “Everything will work out perfectly,” and I got this from Tina of “Just Thrive Probiotics,” which is the probiotic I take. I love it, and she’s one of the most positive, uplifting people that I’ve ever met. And she says this all the time, and I love it. And truly, from the outside, it does seem like her life pretty well works out perfectly.
But more importantly, it’s a reminder that things are going to work out. And over the long term, most things that we think are so important truly aren’t. But other ideas that could fit your life better, this will be different for everyone, but maybe “I am stronger than I think,” or “I’m stronger than this problem.” Or, “I am learning from this experience.” Or, “I learn something from everything.” Just something that focuses on the positive and the benefit versus the negative and the struggle I have found can be really helpful just to refocus the mind.
Number 11. Make time to read for just five minutes a day. And just like the silence, I get it if you’re a mom. This is really hard to do. But just something to actively engage to the mind or to bring up new ideas has been a really cool thing for me. I try to read more than that actually per day. But when things get really busy, I’ll make time to read even just five minutes. And I used to try to do this before bed. But back to that point about keeping a bullet journal by my bed, I realized this didn’t help me sleep because it gave me too many ideas and got my mind racing.
In that sense, I’m probably the opposite of a lot of people. I actually like to watch movies or shows right before bed for just a couple of minutes because that kind of helps me turn my brain off and disengage from all my own thoughts, although I don’t do that much either just because of the blue light. But I found that for me, reading in the morning is really helpful or even at lunchtime. Whenever I take a break from work for a few minutes, I’ll try to just work in a little bit of reading. And this could be fun reading, this could be something you’re trying to learn a new skill, a business book, just something to engage the brain every day, which is also a great example for our kids.
Number 12, only checking email once a day. This also includes social media for me. So as I mentioned a little bit in one of the previous points, we always have our phones. We always have stimulation. And if you have notifications on, you pretty much always have someone dinging you, or texting you, or requesting your attention in some way. And there’s been so many quotes over the years about how emails just other people’s demands on our time or other people’s priorities for our day. But I’m even running a business, and even with six kids, I’m yet to find any emails that truly are life and death urgent that must be answered immediately. I found that if something’s an emergency, that person will have my phone number, and can call me or reach me in a different way.
So to save time, and to prioritize, and to be more efficient, I have learned to only check email once a day and only to check social media once a day. It’s a tough thing to make the habit of because we’re so used to just responding when we hear that ding. It’s almost like a click reaction for us. But I have freed up so much time even put one of those trackers on my phone that lets me know how much time I’m spending on my phone each day. So if it starts going up, I know and just to keep that to a minimum.
In a similar vein, number 13, is to say no, a lot more. And I don’t know if it’s difficult for all women, but this is something that’s been very difficult for me because it seems to be built into me to want to help and to like, be involved with others, and to volunteer. And those things are all wonderful, and I still certainly do that, but I also had to learn to say no. And to realize that you can say no to someone when it’s not a good fit, and still, it will hurt the friendship, it won’t hurt the relationship.
And so with six kids, as you may imagine, there’s many activities that pop up. There’s many demands on time, and we prioritize the only time and everything above and beyond that, I very often say no. Because my marriage, my family, are top priorities and beyond that, and the mission of “Wellness Mama” is my top priority and so I’ve had to learn to create really strong boundaries about that. And I have had to say no to some amazing opportunities and amazing people, and I’m sure things that could have made a lot of money or gotten a lot of recognition, but they didn’t line up with my non-negotiable priorities of spending time with my family, having family dinner, or they just caused too much stress in the family unit.
Number 14. Once a week, write a note to someone you love to tell them thanks for something. And in this, I also find it’s really helpful to get fun stationery. I have a friend of mine, has my favorite of all time. I can’t repeat it because it has a word that’s not allowed on a non-explicit podcast but pay attention. It was one of my favorite stationery notes to receive, but I have a little bit more boring of a stationery. And once a week, I try to write a note to someone just to tell them, thank you or to call out a positive quality in them or to tell them how much they mean to me. And also, that goes back to the gratitude point. It just helps me refocus as well on all the many things to be grateful for in life.
Number 15. Create a social group or a dinner party that meets on a regular basis. I talked about this quite a bit in past podcast episodes, but we are living in a really odd time where we’re incredibly connected in a digital way. We have access to all these people we know all the time, like, almost can never escape it, but we have much less interaction with actual human beings outside of a work environment. In our parents and grandparents generation’s, people were much more consistent and cognizant of creating social groups or going to dinners together, creating dinner party groups and potlucks at people’s houses, and this is a trend I would love to see us bring back.
Whether it be just getting together with neighbors once a week or forming a mom’s group, or men’s group, or whatever it is for your state in life, finding a group of a few people that you can develop a really strong relationship over time and that you have regular check-ins with. Because this is one of the long lists of things that occur in Blue Zones that they think might be responsible for why people in Blue Zones tend to live longer.
And I think the more I learn that the value of community cannot be underestimated. This is something that we, my family, we largely schedule our time and our life around, and we’ve chosen this day in the neighborhood that we moved into thinking it would be temporary because the community is so strong. And while we could build a house, we would like a little more somewhere else, which was our plan, we will always choose the people over things. And so we choose a little bit smaller of a house and people we love instead.
And hopefully, for you that doesn’t require moving or choosing a house you don’t like but just finding those people in your life. If you have to be very intentional about that, do it, but find those people, find your people, and build your tribe. Where I used to live, actually I found people that I thought shared pretty similar interests. They were at church at the time, and I basically picked them. I was like, “Let’s have a mom’s group. Let’s go to dinner.” And it actually goes on to this day. It’s something that continues, and I’ve stayed in touch with them. So it may take time, and it may take a lot of intention on your part, but I think that’s one of the most positive things I’ve done in my life recently.
Number 16, watch a “TED Talk” in the morning. So we actually watched three, and this is something that we implemented with our kids at the recommendation of a previous podcast guest, Naveen Jain, when I asked him if he could be in charge of the education system, what would it look like? And that was one of the things he said. And now, I have seen the brilliance in it after having done it for about a year because I realized kids are naturally wired to try to find patterns and to make sense of things and to connect the dots. It’s an ability I feel like we lose a little bit as we age because school tends to dim creativity and make it more difficult. But kids have this really innate ability to do that.
And so if we watch “TED Talks” on different topics, so not three on robotics, and not three on psychology, but three on different topics each day, then kids are naturally gonna be wired to try to find patterns that probably don’t actually exist and to start connecting dots where no one has seen them before. And that’s going to encourage creativity and critical thinking and innovation, which is something we desperately need in the next generation.
It’s also unique because, in order to do a TED Talk, someone is typically considered the best in their trade. And they practice their talk for weeks. They distill years and years of learning into 14 to 18 minutes. And so we get to glean in just a few minutes, what sometimes is a lifetime of research and work. And so to give that gift to our children, to give them those little bits of knowledge and let them start to connect the dots. Like I said, we did it for the kids. We’ve learned so much through the TED Talks as well that it’s become very much a part of our daily life.
Number 17, listen to a podcast. Okay, so you’re already doing that, and I’m a little bit biased about this. But it’s amazing to me that in today’s world, we have access to some of the smartest minds in the world through podcast interviews for free at any time. One that I love anytime he’s interviewed is Naval Ravikant. He’s a fascinating thinker, and I love listening to his interviews.
But there are so many amazing podcasts out there. I’ll link to a few of my favorites in the show notes. But just the amount of knowledge truly you could find on any topic you want, and make use of time when you’re driving the kids to school or driving to the grocery store. Or I even have earbuds in when I’m grocery shopping. Just time that we could normally be multitasking or cleaning the house, you can now learn while you do that. Such a cool time to be alive. And like I said, I’ll share some of my favorite podcasts in the show notes.
Number 18, have a daily top three. I call these my MIT’s or most important tasks, and that’s another thing I journal. So yes, back to the journals. I write down, in the night before, the three top priorities I have to get done the next day. Typically, referring to business, but this also refers to the house. So I have three for the house and three for the business. But I will write these down, that way I go to sleep anticipating them.
And when I wake up, I know what I have to hit the ground doing, and I’ll try to tackle those before I tackle anything else. Because then if I can at least get those done, I’ve accomplished some of the most important things I needed to get done that day. I’ve checked things off the list, and I’m keeping things moving forward in the business. So it could be a simple post-it-note. It could be a note in your phones, so you don’t have to use any paper, but just keeping those most important tasks. That also keeps us from having to balance everything in our head and remember everything and so things are less likely to fall through the cracks.
Number 19, to write down 10 ideas a day. This is another journal. So what is that? Five now things I journal? This one I do keep in my phone because I like to have it digital. And in the Notes app, I just write down 10 ideas a day. I believe I got this from James Altucher. And basically, the idea is to just keep the mind constantly focused and honed on creativity, new task, and moving forward.
And it doesn’t have to be anything structured, and it doesn’t have to be anything connected. It could be 10 ideas about anything, and they could be as crazy or as realistic as you want them to be. The idea is just to think of ideas and to write them down.
So for me, these are often blog post that I want to write or a podcast guest that I want to ask on, but it’s really could be anything. It could be things you want to organize in your house or ideas of things you want to do with the kids. It could be anything. And I’ve come up with some of my favorite blog post and favorite decorations in my house, just favorite a lot of things by doing this. I’ve also come up with a lot of stuff that will never see the light of day, but just the practice of doing it has helped me learn to think of ideas and to be able to dismiss the ones that aren’t good more quickly.
Number 20, to stretch each day. The more we sit in today’s world, which we do, we sit a lot more than previous generations, the more we need to stretch. But the good news is, it does not have to be anything complicated. We don’t have to do hot yoga twice a day, just moving a few minutes a day can make a huge difference, especially if we have to sit for work.
So if you have a job or you’re mom, where you’re sitting quite a bit, nursing a baby, you’re playing with toddlers or working with your kids on homework, whatever it may be, just set little reminders in your phone every hour or so, and wake up and just do some simple stretches or some jumping jacks or something to move the body and recalibrate the spine. A great book on this if you want to get really detailed is called, I believe, “Becoming a Supple Leopard.” I call it a supple leopard. I know that there’s more words to it than that. I’ll link to it in the show notes as well, but it is by Kelly Starrett at, and it walks through all of the aspects of mobility and flexibility, and how to have an optimal functioning body. And super fascinating, super detailed, and it gives you some good guidelines for just things you can incorporate to be better at movement.
Number 21, get enough protein in the morning. So I touched on this earlier, but this tip is…I’ve heard from so many experts, especially my friend Ari Whitten who I think holds the record right now for the most listened to podcast guest on this podcast, and I really respect his work. He’s one of the best researchers. I know his background is in both medicine, and he almost had a Ph.D. as well. He’s a fascinating person. And all the people in the health space, he’s one that I respect the most. And he talks about the importance of protein. He has a book called “Forever Fat Loss” that explains this.
But even if you’re not trying to lose weight, protein in the morning helps your hormones function optimally. It helps you have energy for the day. It helps increase your satiety for the rest of the day, so you’re not starving by 10 a.m. And it also just signals, so, like I said, so many different hormone processes that are important for health. In fact, lead Tim Ferriss also talks about this in “The 4-Hour Body” that his dad started doing that eating 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up and didn’t make any other changes and noticed that he just started losing weight and felt a lot better.
So a simple habit. We have to eat breakfast anyway. Make sure it’s protein and not dessert like many breakfasts. And those are the 21 tiny habits that I have found had a really big impact on me within this past year, and that are relatively free, most of them, and easy to adopt and over time can lead to really big and positive changes.
But I would love to hear yours as well. So if you’re listening and you have time, please go to wellnessmama.fm. Leave me a note in the comments, and I would love to hear the little habits that you’ve implemented at any point in your life that have led to big changes for you. And again, if you have two minutes, I would be so grateful if you could leave a rating or review, give me your honest opinion so that I can improve and also so that more people can find this podcast, and we can spread the message.
As always, as we wrap up this year and ring in the new year, I want to just thank you for being willing to share your most valuable asset in your time with me of all the things we’re given in this world. That’s the one we have the most limited amount of, and I do not take it lightly that you share yours with me. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being part of this podcast. And as always, I hope that you will join me on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”