10 things I changed to improve my life this year and might help you to improve yours.

This year was of incredible growth, thanks to the systems that I implemented in my life that lead me to gain more self-awareness, will power, self-discipline and sense of direction.
First, let’s talk about the power of tiny changes.

A small change usually leads to the bigger and more difficult changes.
As mentioned in the power of habit by Charles Duhigg, will power is a muscle.
It gets tired but it also needs to be worked out to make it stronger.
That is exactly what a tiny change means. A tiny change helps to exercise our will power without making the muscle fail.
The following are the 10 things I changed to improve my life this year, and might improve yours as well.

1. Leverage on technology for simple things in a good way.
In a world full of technology, it is very sad to see how most of us misused technology.
Technology and some apps can truly improve your life in a way you wouldn’t expect. I started using one note at the beginning of the year just to make lists; now I use it to keep track of my goals and projects, to store information, to write as my journal, and also as a digital brain.
Everything I know I might forget I write it in One Note.
I also started using google / outlook calendars and "ok google" for my personal activities, not just for work.

2. I stopped drinking soda and coffee, and changed to water and tea. I used to drink coke way too often. 3 times a day. Coffee once a day with 5 spoons of sugar.
It was a tiny change (hard though), but now I have to say I made it. Now, I drink coke or coffee occasionally (when I'm offered). I believe it was after this tiny change when more things started to change for me and within myself.

3. Track my expenses and have a monthly budget.
When I started tracking my expenses consistently (since last year), I knew where my money was going; although that didn't stop me from buying stupid things.
I stopped buying stupid things when I started setting up a monthly budget (this year), I also took a minimalist approach to my purchases after watching a documentary and reading about minimalism.
Now, I can say I buy just what adds true value to my life. I do not buy impulsively.

4. Pay myself first.
Thanks to the previous point I was able to start living on 50% or less of my income. Leaving the other half exclusively to save and invest.

5. Read books / listen audiobooks.
It is embarrassing for me to say that from January to September I read half book. :(
From October to December I read 13. I even made summaries of those books just for pleasure, so I get to keep on my one note all the important things and the parts that I enjoyed the most from each book.
How I did it is more the consequence of the following point.

6. Social media diet
This point was very hard. I started a social media diet with the intention to spend less time in facebook and instagram, as well as watching tv; I was hoping to use that time to do more productive and quality activities.
I used the time I spent on social media plus some night tv time to do another activities I read 13 books in 3 months, and finished 2 online courses thanks to that time.
I think it was worthy. Now, I log in Facebook and Instagram every 4 days (average) and I spend 5 to 10 min there.

7. Exercise
I enjoy exercise but I have been very inconsistent.
I chose to become more consistent about exercising and more conscious about the quality of the food that I eat. (I love processed foods and saturated fats, as well as eating outside).
I decided to start cooking more. I do not like cooking, but I'm eating better and even taking lunch to work, which have saved me more money than I thought it would.

8. Set up monthly, weekly or daily goals.
I'm not a master on this one yet, but everything I achieved during the second part of the year it is because I didn't lose my focus, thanks to this point.
Setting up weekly and monthly goals is very useful to keep you on track.

9. Journaling:
Journaling has been a huge help to gain self-awareness.
Writing and reflecting, having self-talks gives you a better understanding of who you think you are and why you do things the way you do them.

10. Take risks:
During my life I've passed from "fearless" to "fearful" back and forth.
Lately, I have taken what I would define as "fearless but cautious" approach.
This just means to have a strategy, to plan better before the jump but taking that jump anyway.

Bonus 1:
Watch the content you are consuming.
Memes are funny. Netflix series are hilarious. I enjoy many of those things, and I still do them but I think there is a point where we need to get our priorities clear. Moderation is the key.
What is the value of my free time? Or what value do I want to put on it?

Happy New Year!


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