29 Days of Small Changes

Editors’ note: This post has been edited after publication. We review every post to ensure this place is a safe and inclusive space for all our readers and regret that we didn’t remove the polarizing language before publication. Thank you to the commenters who used their voice to speak up! 

The majority of us want to make one change or another in our lives, but how do we get changes to stick? Or when’s the perfect time to try a new thing you’ve been wanting to? What are some small changes to make your life exponentially better? Sometimes change can be uncomfortable, and that’s okay. Breathe and lean into the discomfort. You know yourself best and what’s best for you right now, so pick and choose from these ideas below accordingly. Start anytime, and do as many as or as few as you’d like. 

  1. Put a water glass by every sink and at your desk
  2. Figure out how much sleep you need and GET IT
  3. Abandon social media for a day
  4. Take an alternate route or transportation to work
  5. Avoid doing emotional labor for others in your workplace
  6. Get a lynda.com subscription and learn something weird or new
  7. Buy a houseplant and research how to take care of it (then, take care of it)
  8. Sit at the bar with a friend and order all the small plates
  9. Unsubscribe instead of delete unwanted emails
  10. Try kombucha or kvass to improve your gut’s health
  11. Have two friends over that don’t know each other, but should
  12. Start making your bed. A fresh bed is so much better to get in to.
  13. Get a library card (And use the online request system! It’s amazing.)
  14. Put a nail file in your car
  15. Go to the movies by yourself in the middle of the day
  16. Practice what you’d say if you witness racial or religious discrimination
  17. Stay home on Friday and write emails to your representatives about what matters to you
  18. Practice saying, “Hmm, I don’t know.”
  19. Pay attention to only one reliable news source, once a day
  20. Try doing breathwork
  21. Make an effort to check in with your neighbor(s)
  22. Delete all emails more than 30 days old (and never look back)
  23. Put five snacks in your work bag
  24. Put a lamp where you always need one
  25. Say no to plans that don’t sound fun
  26. Delete that toxic person from your phone
  27. Start practicing intersectional feminism
  28. Try oysters
  29. Get a fresh notebook—always the best feeling.

If you’re feeling inspired, check out my last post about bettering your everyday life in small and meaningful ways to avoid the dreaded self-help inception.

Image via Jen Peters

Kate O’Reilly  can’t follow directions but manages to find plenty of work somehow. Always: good food, multiple beverages, houseplants, loads of affection, and a big stack of things to read. Never: uses the internet to argue or win things. She lives in Minneapolis with her family and you can find her on Instagram daily @cleverkate.


  • I’ve listened to some of my favorite podcasters describe their experiences doing breathwork, it was honestly fascinating. I think they were more surprised than anyone with it, especially since their show is all about being skeptics. If the opportunity arose, I’d do it in a heartbeat!

      • I agree with Lucy that this should be changed in the piece. It implies you imagine your entire readership is white.

      • Seriously, I agree with Anna & Lucy. Why do you assume we’re all white and that’s the norm? (Not asking for an answer, but it’s worth examining yourself.)
        It’s especially galling in a prescriptive list positioned as ‘what to do’ vs ‘here’s what I’m doing’. What a tone-deaf sentence and response.

      • Thanks for commenting. The idea has been taken down, because we all realized it was poorly worded. Again, thanks.

    • Lucy, we review every post to ensure this place is a safe and inclusive space for all our readers and regret that we didn’t remove this polarizing language before publication. Thank you for using your voice to speak up. I appreciate your comment.

  • I’ve unsubscribed from a few e-mail lists I was put in and it literally is the best decision ever. Also, I’ve been trying to get a fresh notebook myself! I’ve never tried kombucha though.
    I really adore this list, and the small changes seem really doable.
    Have a lovely weekend xo

    Joanne | With Risa: A Lifestyle Blog

  • Did you know a lot of libraries offer free access to Lynda.com? It’s such a great tool! Love a lot of these and will probably start implementing in my own life… perhaps starting with abandoning social media tomorrow?!

  • What wonderful ideas! And I appreciate how manageable they all seem, nothing too ridiculous.

    I love this list, thank you so much for making this, Kate. 🙂

  • I love this list! I started 2018 with a plan to implement little changes like this in my life by using a habit tracker in a bullet journal. Little things like “Moisturize each night before bed” and things like that. It really does a make a difference in your daily life!

    • Christina, I deeply apologize that I did not catch and remove this note before publishing, I review every post to ensure this place is a safe and inclusive space for all our readers and regret that we didn’t remove this polarizing language before publication. Thank you so much for your comment.

  • I’m with you on the fresh notebooks. I have stacks of them, all with about three to five pages used. Still, I buy more. I’ll add to your list two things: put floss in your car, and take a bath – a real bath, with epsom salts and body oils and dim lights and no interruptions and a book. It works best if, after an hour, you have to add more hot water.

  • I agree with the several commenters who have bristled at #9: read an article about using your whiteness for good. This is tone deaf. So is brushing off the gentle reminder to not assume all your readers are white as “use whichever word works for you!”

    Four individual commenters have taken offense at this. Might be worth recognizing that.

    • Hey, Amy. Not assuming at all and I personally have recognized that it bristled some folks. Some of these ideas will be for some people, and some won’t. I appreciate your taking the time to comment.

    • I deeply apologize for not catching this note before publishing this article, we review every post to ensure this place is a safe and inclusive space for all our readers and regret that we didn’t remove #9. Thank you for your comment, I appreciate you speaking up.

  • I agree on everyone’s sentiment’s on the now edited #9. It took me a few days to process and diminished a once daily read into a pure avoidance. Perhaps, this little place of the internet, is also another avenue in which white women declare their authority on morale and good excluding all others in the process. I really am taken aback by the tone of the writer’s dismissive attitude in her replies to comments she received. The utter tone deafness, “some of these comments will be for some people, and some won’t” is the exact issue with the writer. I understand it cannot apply to all, but please remember your privilege in all senses. It is not a privilege to abstain from the consequences of your words and feign ignorance. Practice what you preach.