Want to Be Happier and Live Better? All it takes is ONE Minute a Day to Make all the Difference

Heather Jauquet

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All you need is 60 seconds

Yes! ONE minute or 60 seconds is all it takes to make you happier and to live a better life. That sounds too easy, doesn't it? But it's true. If make one small change a day that takes only a minute, you could be on your way to living a happier life. What could be better?

Let’s face it. It’s the beginning of a new month and January’s resolutions are already a memory. But it’s still early in the year.

Here are one minute habits that will change your life. You don’t even need to incorporate all of them at once.

Choose one for the month and make it a habit. Choose another one the following month to add to the first one and you’ve got two new habits. All it takes is a minute of your day. Literally. Try it!

1. Get out of bed right away

Get out of bed, otherwise you’re just sitting there scrolling your phone and you’ve easily lost a half hour. If you keep hitting the snooze button you never get fully rested.

When you wake up, get moving, and you’ll start your day on the right foot. Have a routine ready to go whether it’s drinking coffee, having time for prayer or mediation, or just soaking up the few minutes of a quiet house before everyone else wakes up.

Personally, I set out my running clothes the night before so as soon as I wake up, I change, and head out for my run. It’s the perfect start to my day.

2. Make your bed

Now that you are out of bed, make it.

In 2014, Admiral McRaven shared this bit of wisdom at the commencement speech at University of Texas, Austin: “If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another," he said. "By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.”

3. Breathe deeply

Take a minute and breathe deeply. It resets your system and takes out toxins. It helps reduce anxiety and it will even help you sleep better. Take a minute or two when you get up to take that deep breath.

Take a break in the middle of your work day and focus on your breath and not the hundreds of emails on your computer.

Or take that breath before you go to bed at night. Concentrate on your breathing. Focus on those deep breaths and it will make you feel better.

4. Take movement breaks

Most of have been us have been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s easy to work for several hours and forget to give your brain a break and stretch those limbs.

But research says that you should move to improve brain function. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, make a point to get up and move. Eat in a different space. During the day get up and stretch or walk around your desk a few times. Get the blood flowing and the heart pumping to boost your brain function. It will also put you in a better mood.

5. Add lemon to your water

Adding lemon to your water is an easy way to support your health. Take half a lemon and squeeze the juice into your water.

Do it once a day to increase hydration and encourage weight loss. Research has shown that lemons have polyphenol antioxidants which are thought to boost digestion, brain health, protect against heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

6. Add veggies to your meal

When I was frustrated with the perimenopausal (yes, that is a thing) weight gain, I hired a nutritionist to help me understand what was going on with my body. One of her suggestions was to add a fistful of raw veggies to every meal.

Go for your leafy greens. They are full of fiber and vitamins. Veggies can assist with weight loss. But they can also protect you from heart disease and diabetes.

But roasted veggies are my favorite and easy to do! Just cut up a squash, break apart some broccoli or cauliflower crowns, or my favorite, roasted brussel sprouts! Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt and you’ll have delicious veggies with dinner with very little work.

7. Share something good that happened today

When I had a particularly terrible boss I would come home exhausted and demoralized. I felt like nothing I did was right and I hated going in the next day.

My husband and I started the practice of “Tell something good that happened today” before bed. It helped me look for the good in the day instead of focusing on all the negativity.

It also helped me sleep more peacefully. I wasn’t focused on my terrible boss before bed, instead I was focusing and looking for the good. When I was actively looking for it, I was able to find it and as time went on, I would notice them when they happened. It made for a better day. Try it!

8. Talk less, listen more

Aaron Burr gives this sage advice to Alexander Hamilton, “Talk less, smile more…” This is good advice not just in business, but in relationships.

One thing I have learned over the last few years is to listen to people, really listen. Listen to what they’re saying, take in their expressions, hear their tone. And most importantly stop solutioning, unless they ask for it.

Don’t give advice unless they are seeking it out. Sometimes it’s not easy to figure out what people want, but a simple, “Do you want me to listen, or do you want me to help you?” Is all it takes.

Most of the time, they just want you to listen. So talk less, listen more, and throw in a smile while you’re at it.

9. Tidy up before bed

Granted, this takes me more than a minute. I don’t move that fast and with four kids, there’s more debris around the house than I would prefer. But I have started setting aside 15 minutes before bed and do a quick clean up.

A friend of mine tells me that he always makes sure all the dishes are put away before he goes to bed so that he wakes up to an empty sink.

It’s so disheartening to walk into a kitchen and see last night’s dishes still on the table or in the sink.

Take a minute to clear the table and load the dishwasher. As you head to bed, pick up the floor and put things in their rightful place. The more often you do it, the less you’ll have to pick up every night.

Just start with one new habit

Whether you choose one thing to do or all nine, it will improve your life. You don’t always have to make big changes. Lots of little changes can make one big change. Try one and let me know how it goes! Do you have another one to add to the list? Leave me a comment.

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Certified educator K-12 and Reading Specialist with a focus on the adolescent brain. I write about how educational decisions affect parents, students, and staff. As an educator and parent I also focus on community events for the whole family.

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