Is the adage ‘New Year, New Me’ feeling kind of… stale? Over the years, I’ve started shedding the mentality of reinventing myself every year. Instead, asking, “What can I do better with what I have?” has helped reframe my perspectives.

In particular, I’ve noticed that some good habits don’t require spending to start. This path of less financial resistance usually helps turn the keys in the ignition. If you need a little nudge, here are some simple habits to start with – the only thing you’ll need is yourself.

1. Take your pet self on walks

1. Take yourself on walks
Image by Ave Calvar.

If you’ve been spending more time indoors and feeling a little low, perhaps it’s time to take yourself for a walk. Head to the nearest park or somewhere outdoors with a little bit of green, bask in the sun to get that Vitamin D in your system, and take in the atmosphere around you.

From my experience, after periods of being chronically indoors, walks like these help lift my spirits, with the added bonus of sleeping better at night. Just remember to slap on some sunscreen before you head out!

Pro tip: If you have pets, you can walk your pets and yourself at the same time.

2. Adjust your sleeping schedule

No, I’m not suggesting the well-known tip of waking up at 5am daily. Sure, some people may find that this works for their lifestyle, but it’s not for everyone. The most essential thing you can do for yourself is to get that good seven to nine hours of sleep per night.

Once you’ve had that pat down, then you can naturally move forward to adjusting your waking and sleeping times as needed.

3. Working out from home

3. Working out from home
Image by Miriam Alonso.

No budget for the gym? No problem. We live in an age where information is easily accessible for most of us, and that includes an abundance of exercise routines. Even if you don’t have the equipment, chances are you can use your walls, floors, and blankets to begin.

However, for your safety, invest in a yoga or exercise mat. There are many affordable mats out there, or you could also get secondhand ones from Carousell or a friend.

Make sure you’re doing exercises with the correct postures so you don’t injure yourself. If you’re unsure, it’s always worth investing in a class once in a while or in chiropractor or physiotherapist sessions if you’ve hurt yourself. Safety should be your utmost priority.

If you’re unable to move around physically, breathing exercises and meditation are great ways to mindfully move breath and air through the body.

4. Dust off some books (a.k.a. read)

Yes, we see you, book hoarder. We know there are a few or perhaps a bunch of books lying on your shelf (or bedside table) waiting to be read. This is the year to flip some pages! Set aside a minimum of 20 minutes daily to sit down and read. It’s that easy. Now, pick one up and get to it.

5. Journal, use that pretty notebook

5. Journal, use that pretty notebook
Image by Alina Vilchenko.

I didn’t mean for this to turn into a call-out session, but I see you. You’ve got that pretty notebook you’ve been saving for that one magical day. That perfect moment is here, and you’re going to start journalling.

If you’re unsure where to begin, there are plenty of journal prompts sitting and lying in wait for you on the interwebs. You’ll find many kinds of journalling styles that don’t start with “Dear diary”. We’ve evolved way past that, dear friend.

Whether it’s travel journals, sketch journals, scrapbooks, gratitude journals, morning pages, or free writing, there’s a style out there for you.

6. Volunteer at soup kitchens, animal shelters, or teach remotely

Do you feel it in your soul to help the community around you? Perhaps it’s time to set time aside in your planner for some volunteer work. If you’re unable to help physically, there are plenty of remote options too.

7. Cleaning up after yourself (and sometimes others)

7. Cleaning up after yourself (and sometimes others)

If you have children or pets, it’s hard to keep most spaces clean and tidy all the time. But reframing our perspectives may help.

It could be more about the moment of tidying (the process) than the pursuit of a perfect end result. It’s about tending to your sacred space, your home, or sometimes just the kitchen sink.

8. Making time for loved ones or dates with yourself

How often do we intentionally set time in our calendars for loved ones? This may be a common obligation for family members, but what about time with our significant others or friends?

Or is your situation the other way around, where you don’t get time alone? It may be time to book that cafe brunch date with yourself.

9. Hello, hydration, my old friend

9. Hello, hydration, my old friend
Image by Maddi Bazzocco.

I know plenty of people around me who survive on a cup or two coffees daily without adding water to the mix. Yes, this is me reminding everyone to drink water, please. Your body will thank you.

There are water reminder mobile apps that’ll help keep you hydrated. If you hate the taste of plain room-temperature water, cold water and carbonated water are some alternative options. Take care of your kidneys; they’re valuable assets.

10. BYO reusables, reduce waste

No, you don’t have to go shopping for a spanking new collapsible container or coffee cup right now. Although those are nice and space-saving, to be honest. BUT, I’m sure there are plenty of options in your kitchen cupboard right now. Even the plastic containers from your last takeout can be packed into your daily backpack for use.

Reducing waste one day at a time will help build a better future for the planet and for us. It starts small, with what we already have in our homes.