The 30 days leading up to my 30th birthday I wanted to make some changes. I wanted to go into this new decade feeling my best, and more than reaching any one particular goal, I knew that meant setting new, healthier habits.
I ended up with eight little tasks I could fit into my daily routine. I listed them across a top of my new Do What You Love notebook, then numbered out the next 30 days along the left side of the page. Each day I just put a simple check mark under the activity I completed. It sort of became my new To Do list for the month as I focused on little ways to live better.
It worked great. It helped me hold myself accountable, I started feeling better, and even noticed I dropped a couple pounds from a weight I've been at for over a year. I decided I needed an easy-to-print checklist so I could keep up the changes--these or even setting new ones.
Get the blank 30-Day Printable Checklist >> here.
I started with some goals I've had for a while--to get healthy (and even lose a couple pounds), to grow more community, and to break some bad habits. To do this, I thought of what small, doable tasks I could do everyday for a month to get close to those goals. Eight of my most important, most needed changes went on my 30-days-until-I-turn-30 checklist:
1. Simple morning exerciseI've been trying to at least do 4 exercises every morning. I anchor it into my morning routine and it only takes a couple minutes.
2. Tea instead of coffeeI've never been much of a coffee drinker and need lots of sugar and milk with it. So it was a pretty bad habit for me to pick up when my third baby was born--I wanted the caffeine but was also getting plenty of other things that made it hard for me to lose my baby weight. I'd been working myself off of it, and finally switched out the little bit of coffee I was still drinking with a mint green tea. Less caffeine, and I don't need to mask it so much.
3. Dark chocolate instead of other treatsMy husband and I were getting treats on weeknights far too often. While he was gone for a work trip, I reached for dark chocolate since I couldn't leave the kids alone while I went out for ice cream. This is a habit I plan to maintain. A little treat every now and then is fine, but drowning my stress in expensive and unhealthy ice cream will not lead me where I want to go in life.
4. 1 hour or less of TVWe don't have cable, but Netflix and Hulu make it so easy for us to find a new show we like and watch All The Episodes. I decided it was time to reclaim my evenings for reading and writing and going screen-free so I could settle down to sleep quicker.
5. Evening stretchingPart of those better evening routines that don't revolve around the TV is evening stretching. I always feel better--less stress and less headaches--when I maintain my stretching routine. I can do it while I watch TV. Even better if I stretch to calming music before bed.
6. Daily movementThis is separate from my morning exercise. In addition to squats and burpees, I want to maintain a daily active lifestyle. I usually get this done by walking the kids to and free school. On the days we don't walk, I want to make sure I'm taking an evening stroll or hitting up the gym.
7. Reach out to someoneI wanted to continue growing my connections with people and establishing a sense of community with the people in my life. Instead, all day every day at home can leave me feeling detached and lonely. So, my new habit is to reach out to someone everyday. A phone call or text, starting a group message to plan our next girls night, writing a note of encouragement. It may not seem like much, but these little connections every day over time lead to real, lasting relationships.
8. Family worshipI always want our family to have morning devotional and prayer together, as well as evening worship with a Bible story and prayer. I love the days we do both, but even doing at least one of them is a treasure. And if I'm not careful, we're slowly not doing either.
Having a place to check these habits off holds me accountable to how often I'm actually doing them. It helps get me closer to the goals I have for myself, in small everyday tasks. And it builds momentum for better living.
What's one habit you'd like to improve over the next 30 days?
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