How to Improve Your Life With Little Effort

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on June 08, 2022 # Lifestyle

Kristin BealeMore than ever (or so it seems), our culture is obsessed with improvement. We’ve become obsessed with improving ourselves, improving the people around us, and improving the world around us. I’m thankful for people who work to improve the world, and I’m cautious about people trying to improve other people, but I’m fully on board with the work to improve ourselves. No matter how good you are or how awesome you think your life is, there are always little efforts you can take to make yourself and your life better.

This part might be known, but here’s your reminder: improvement doesn’t have to take a lot of effort. Here are a few (of many) small ways to upgrade your life, easily.

  1. Exercise on Mondays. Exercise on more than just Mondays, but the first day of the week is a good place to start. Starting your week with a workout will either improve your mood or sink your teeth deeper into the bullet that is a Monday. Either option leaves you with a good start for the busyness ahead, and it’s one step toward getting it over with.
  2. Eat colorful foods. I don’t mean to eat confetti cake or Pop-Tarts with rainbow sprinkles, but rather to eat fruits and vegetables with every meal. The most vibrantly colored of those foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. I’m also not saying to avoid confetti cake and Pop-Tarts altogether, but try to balance out the sugar with [some other kinds of] color.
  3. Find your emotional blind spot. We all have one, and you would benefit from identifying yours. Understanding that about yourself will help with interpersonal relationships and giving yourself grace.
  4. Sharpen your kitchen knives.
  5. Laugh at your own jokes for two reasons: 1. Maybe no one else will; and 2. Laughing makes everyone relax. Who cares if you’re the only one who thinks you’re funny? It’s their loss.
  6. Set limits for your screen time. If I’m on Instagram for more than 10 minutes, my phone sends me a “maybe you should take a break!” message. It’s annoying, but useful. Go to your phone Settings and set some limits on social media, emails, and overall phone usage.
  7. Be polite to rude people. This is so satisfying. Slamming them with undeserved kindness usually makes them change their perspective, and it bounces the metaphorical ball back into your court.
  8. Put away your phone. Don’t put it away before you drive to the city for several hours at night (oops, lesson learned), but try leaving it at home while you walk in your neighborhood or read a book. Disconnect for a little bit – it’s refreshing.
  9. Turn off notifications. Cutting down on the constant phone popups allows you to manage and give your focus to one thing at a time. You don’t need to know the same minute there’s a sale in your shopping cart, or someone reaches out via text. That stuff can wait until you get to it. Prioritize yourself and your attention.
  10. Floss. I used to work with someone who had really bad breath because she didn’t floss her teeth. How do I know she didn’t? I could see (and smell) the browned, rotten food between every tooth. It was nasty. Floss your teeth, people.
  11. Check-in with people. A simple text saying “Hi!” or “Have a great day!” is simple to send, and it’ll mean a lot to the person receiving it. Something quick to let people know you’re thinking of them can go a long way.
  12. Drop your shoulders and stop slouching.
  13. Try a new recipe, and add some color to it! Do as I say, not as I do – I married a chef, so I don’t have to cook anymore. Ha! But I guess some people enjoy it?
  14. Make a friend from a different generation. The older, the better. Those of us who have lived longer have much better stories and often better advice. Listen to them, and try to learn from it.
  15. Change your sheets. Bonus points if you take a shower before bed. It feels so good.

I don’t need to say it, but I will anyway: life can be tough. No matter how good of a season you’re in, there are always things you can improve upon. Making small changes in your routine to improve your everyday life will make your life easier and happier. Pay attention to the things that lift your mood, and get more of ‘em.

  • Does the color yellow cheer you up? Buy more yellow clothing and wear it often.
  • Does the nightly news put you in a sad or bad mood? Turn it off and listen to music instead.
  • Are you dreading an upcoming social event? Politely decline the invitation and go for a walk instead.

The first step in showing up for others and your best version is to show up for yourself first. Living your best life is all about maintaining. You get it: eat that Pop-Tart for breakfast, but fill your plate with broccoli or blueberries at lunchtime. Then, go floss your teeth.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.