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100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

100 Tiny Swaps That Can Make Your Life Totally Different

Small things add up. If you want to improve your life, check out these 100 small swaps you can make today to improve various aspects of your life, making you happier, healthier, and more productive.

Happiness

1. Swap texting for a phone call. Even if you initially feel shy or awkward, once you are used to making phone calls you will find them faster and more enjoyable!

2. Swap sitting on social media for an hour for Skyping with a friend. You will have more fun and you will strengthen a bond with someone you love.

3. Swap each complaint for gratitude. The world will seem like a more positive place when you change your outlook.

4. Swap watching television to reading a book. It is more peaceful and relaxing, and nothing feels better than getting lost in a book.

5. Swap playing on your phone for taking a walk. People can waste hours checking Twitter and Instagram on their phones – instead of looking at filtered pictures, go get some fresh air and enjoy the outdoors.

6. Swap stressing for meditation – it is much more likely to relax you.

7. Swap frowning for smiling – it will help you to feel happier and more positive.

8. Swap safe clothes for your favourite top to feel more confident.

9. Swap falling asleep whenever for setting a bedtime – this will improve your sleeping habits and the quality of your sleep.

10. Swap seething for venting. If you feel annoyed, talking it out will help to relax you and clear your head.

11. Swap ignoring strangers for smiling at them. It will improve your mood – and theirs!

12. Swap over-planning for saying “no.” If you don’t want to do something, be honest. You will be happier for it!

13. Swap being alone for throwing a gathering with your friends. It is better for your mental wellbeing and a great way to maintain friendships!

14. Embrace your flaws instead of worrying about them. No one is perfect, and everyone should embrace their uniqueness.

15. Instead of forcing friendships, let some people go. Not all friendships last forever and trying to maintain bad ones is often stressful.

16. Swap sitting inside for sitting outside when the weather is good. The park is a beautiful, atmospheric place to read a book or get some work done.

17. Swap passive-aggressive behaviour for upfront honesty. It is better for your emotional state to work out problems rather than skirt around them.

18. Instead of being pessimistic, be optimistic. You weren’t born one or the other; it is a choice how you choose to see the world.

19. Swap uncomfortable heels for shoes you love. If you are comfortable, you will be happier and more confident.

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20. Swap driving alone for carpooling. You will save money on petrol and have fun with your coworkers!

21. Swap worrying about previous mistakes for focusing on the future. The past is set in stone, but anything could happen in your future.

22. Instead of overeating when you are upset, journal your feelings. This will help you to deal with and work through your problems.

23. Instead of criticising yourself, try praising yourself.

24. Instead of sitting at home with no plans, volunteer with a local charity.

25. Instead of trying to please everyone, realize that you can’t actually please everyone. It is better to focus on pleasing yourself and your loved ones.

Productivity

26. Instead of doing nothing on your commute, do some work to make it more productive.

27. Instead of under-planning, write a to-do list when you start work so you know exactly what you need to do.

28. Instead of treating yourself when shopping, start an emergency fund. You never know when you will need it!

29. Instead of procrastinating, improve your resume.

30. Swap working late for starting early. Most people are at their most productive when they first wake up.

31. Swap procrastination for planning. If you don’t feel like working right now, you can at least set a time to start.

32. Instead of working a job you dislike, create a start-up company that you feel passionate about.

33. Swap a lay-in for an early morning to have a more productive, successful day.

34. Swap daunting goals for small milestones so you can watch your progress more accurately.

35. Instead of spending freely, set a budget so you know where your money goes.

36. Swap a cluttered workplace for a clean one for a more productive working day.

37. Swap working on lots of tasks for working on one. Research shows that we are less productive when we multitask.

38. Instead of buying a new car, start to save for your retirement.

39. Instead of watching TV, take night classes to advance your skills.

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40. Instead of emailing throughout the night for work, switch off your phone and reply to all of the emails during work hours.

41. Instead of emailing throughout the working day, set times aside to check your email so you can focus on your other work.

42. Instead of being unsure of your progress, set goals so that you can see your success.

43. Instead of keeping your keys on you, set aside a place in your home where you can keep them so you never waste time looking for them.

44. Swap spending for saving. Simply saving $10 a week will make a huge difference after one year.

45. Instead of making a list of things to do in your mind, write it down so you can see what you need to do.

46. Instead of feeling baffled, use the internet to find the answers to all of your questions.

47. Instead of struggling to focus at work, try to accomplish something every hour.

48. Swap excuses for honesty. You will achieve more when you are realistic about yourself!

49. Swap too-much technology for the right amount. Delete social apps you don’t use and install new ones that will help you to work.

50. Instead of working endlessly, work for 50 minutes, take a 10-minute break, and repeat.

Exercise

51. Swap driving to work for cycling. It is great for your body and the fresh air will help to wake you up.

52. Swap taking the lift for taking the stairs.

53. Instead of taking a nap, go to the gym to wake up and get your blood pumping.

54. Swap doing nothing before your shower for some exercise. You’re already washing yourself, may as well get sweaty first!

55. Swap driving to the local shop for walking.

56. Swap guessing how to get fit for a personal trainer.

57. Swap getting a taxi for getting a bus. The walk to the bus will be good for your heart.

58. Swap playing online for playing on the Wii. There are tonnes of fun games that get you moving around!

59. Swap a workout you hate for a workout you enjoy. If you don’t like squats, don’t do them!

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60. Swap exercising immediately for warming up.

61. Instead of working out alone, work out with a friend to make it more fun.

62. Swap no exercise for 10 sit-ups before you go to sleep.

63. Swap running on a treadmill for running outside. The terrain is often more rocky and uphill so you get more of a workout.

64. Swap your office chair for an exercise ball.

65. Instead of holding the bar when you run on a treadmill, go hands-free. This will challenge your body more, so you will get more out of your workout.

66. Swap a movie date for an active date. Walking around the park is just as fun – and cheaper!

67. Swap running for walking if you are unfit. Run until you can’t, and then move to walking – this way you can build up your stamina.

68. Swap planks for crunches to get great abs.

69. Swap sitting at work for standing for 10 minutes every hour.

70. Swap no exercise for a morning jog. This is great for your heart and mental health!

71. Instead of working out in old clothes, work out in new workout clothes that you love. It will help you to feel more confident in yourself, pushing you to achieve more.

72. Instead of doing the same old workout, make it more intense. This will push your body and improve your fitness quickly!

73. Instead of watching your children play, join in with them. This is one of the most fun ways you can work out – and your children will love it!

74. Swap taking the escalator for taking the stairs.

75. Swap snoozing for doing some yoga next to your bed for 15 minutes.

Diet

76. Swap depriving yourself of food for moderation. You can still enjoy food while being healthy!

77. Instead of eating out for dinner, cook for yourself. It will be cheaper – and often it is more healthy.

78. Swap a meat dinner for a vegetarian dinner. This is often better for your body and the environment.

79. Swap a glass of OJ for an actual orange. You miss out on the fibres when you drink juice, so you don’t get the full benefits.

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80. Swap buying fruit and vegetables at your local store for your farmers’ market. According to the USDA, it may be healthier, and it promotes local food trade.

81. Drink a glass of water instead of a fizzy drink. It will be better for you, but equally as hydrating.

82. Swap pre-made dressings for your own. You can make a great dressing with just lemon juice, pepper, and balsamic oil!

83. Instead of deep-frying food, pan-fry the food to make it healthier – but just as delicious.

84. Swap popsicles for frozen grapes. They are just as sweet and refreshing!

85. Swap normal tea for green tea to help detox your body.

86. Instead of overeating at a restaurant, take a doggy bag home for later. The food will still be good!

87. Eat slowly instead of quickly to improve your digestive system.

88. Swap a quick breakfast for a healthy breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, so eat something healthy to set yourself up for a productive day.

89. Swap lettuce for other dark leaves. Spinach and kale have more flavour and more vitamins!

90. Cook with whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta to get more fibre in your diet.

91. Swap soda for tonic water as a healthier alternative.

92. If you like dips, go for salsa instead of cheesy dips. It is just as tasty, but it is far better for you!

93. Swap crisps for popcorn if you want a healthier salty snack.

94. Swap beef for fish once a week. Fish is great for your heart, and you can make some seriously delicious meals with it!

95. Instead of skipping meals and snacking, make sure you always eat 3 meals every day.

96. Pack lunch for work instead of buying sandwiches while you are out – it is much cheaper and healthier!

97. Swap white rice for brown rice when you are cooking at home as a healthy alternative.

98. Swap mayonnaise for mustard if you want to keep the flavor but cut down on calories.

99. Swap bacon for turkey if you like to eat meat but you want to cut down on salt.

100. Use avocado instead of butter on your toast in the morning for a tasty, healthy breakfast.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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Last Updated on August 4, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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“Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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