A resolution a day keeps the inertia away!
January 4, 2011 6:14 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for daily and weekly routines I should try to incorporate into my life over the next year.

For the last few years I've set new year's resolutions that were along the lines of "lose 50 pounds, go to the gym everyday and get perfect uni marks." Amazingly enough, these have not stuck. This year I'm trying a new approach and setting mini-resolutions. So, on January 1, I took a photo, which is a habit I'm trying to start (I want an album with the whole year in it). On January 2, I took a photo, and I also abstained from chocolate for a whole day. On January 3, I did the first two things, and I also made my bed (for the first time in *mumble mumble* number of months). Today, I added a weekly spin class to the routine.

So far, I've come up with about a month's worth of mini-resolutions. Some of it's stuff like "remember to floss" and "drink some damn water instead of all that Pepsi Max." I've also listed some other hopefully life-improving things, like buying more flowers, and cooking new recipes, and typewriting letters to friends on a weekly basis. Now I'm starting to run out of ideas.

What are some simple, not-too-time-consuming daily/weekly routines I could add? I have some overall goals, like eating better, and exercising more, which I'm trying to break into manageable chunks. I'm also looking for little things, like remembering to wear earrings (I wind up having to re-pierce my ears on a more regular basis than I would like), or putting all loose change in my piggy bank instead of letting it roll around in the bottom of all my handbags. Or cumulative things like "put an extra $5 toward *some amazing trip/experience/automated-foot-rubbing-machine everyone should have*."

If it matters - I'm female, twenties, no children, student, near Sydney Australia.

(Disclaimer: I have read threads like this thread and this one. The are good, but a lot of the advice leans more toward ethical stuff (don't be a jerk, give people the benefit of the doubt) which is valuable but not what I'm looking for, and things like "save money", which I already do. If I missed a good thread though, please let me know. Also I'm not sure if this is too chatfiltery, and if so, apologies in advance. I'm new here!)
posted by jaynewould to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 125 users marked this as a favorite
- Get a juicer. Make a fresh juice every morning. It's a fantastic way to start the day.
- Don't buy anything ready made. Get into a routine of making what you eat yourself.
- Buy seasonal; an extension of this is buy products that are both local and do not use carbon intensive farming techniques.
- Start a recipe blog. Cook from it at least x times a week.

If you want a good way to save money - whether you put it towards something ethical or not - then choose a note or coin and ensure that every time you get one you don't spend it, but put it in a savings pot. For example, a AUS$5 note. Or if that is too much, a $2 coin.

My thing is to try and learn a new language or skill each year. I've learnt Spanish, Moroccan cooking, magic and got a motorbike licence. I can't profess to being an expert or keeping things up, but each time I've been rewarded tangentially - finding new friends or a new perspective on things.

Go a month or a fortnight getting up really early, and go out and do something. Walk the city. Take photos. Go for a swim. Learn to rollerblade. It's hard doing a long project, and it's natural to want a rest, so have a defined start and end date so you don't wear yourself out.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:23 AM on January 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

Spend ten minutes a day cleaning your room. When I stick with it, I'm much happier. Thanks for the reminder!
posted by cider at 6:25 AM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


1. Breathing exercises. Take a minute to do some deep breathing.
2. Have a grateful thought.
3. Say thank you to someone.
4. Go for a ten minute walk.
5. Wake up ten minutes earlier.
6. Stretch.
7. Do some pushups.
8. Write a short journal entry.
9. Take ten minutes after work to lie on the couch with a warm compress on your eyes.
10. Wash the dishes.


1. Clear your inbox.
2. Eat out alone.
3. Balance your checkbook.
4. Donate five dollars to a charity.
5. Go vegan for a day.
6. Play a game.
7. Go to a new place.
8. Do some indulgent body thing - a face mask or a self-pedicure.
9. Sweep and mop!
10. Empty out your junk drawer/basket.

And for the earrings thing - the only thing that worked for me is keeping a few pairs everywhere I go, so that when I do remember to put them in, I've got a pair on hand.
posted by punchtothehead at 6:27 AM on January 4, 2011 [11 favorites]

Response by poster: These all brilliant, and exactly what I'm looking for, thank you! Keep them coming please :)
posted by jaynewould at 6:32 AM on January 4, 2011

I have certain days of the week when I do certain things, so I know they will be done at least weekly. Because trash day is on Thursday, Wednesday night I clean the litter box and empty all the little trashcans in the house, and clean out the old food in the fridge. Sunday I do laundry. Monday I go grocery shopping. Just imposing a set routine - and remembering to stick with it - helped keep all my resolutions in order, and kept them from falling by the wayside.
posted by sarling at 6:36 AM on January 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow, my AskMe searching skills are clearly...not good. Not sure how I managed to forget to search for the word "routine."

In other news, I am not nearly as original as I thought.

Thanks folks!
posted by jaynewould at 6:55 AM on January 4, 2011

This was my list.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:28 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Routines that I live by:

1. Floss every day.
2. Do the dishes every night.
3. 15 minutes a day doing SOMETHING -- straightening the house, decluttering a drawer, deep cleaning a cabinet, something like that.
4. Lay out my clothes the night before.
5. Weekly meal planning and grocery shopping.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:32 AM on January 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow, my AskMe searching skills are clearly...not good. Not sure how I managed to forget to search for the word "routine."

FYI, I found most of those by Googling [site:ask.metafilter.com routine floss]. I figured most threads along these lines would have an answer that said to floss (and you mentioned it in your post).

So here's my resolution: add unusually specific terms to your searches.
posted by John Cohen at 7:46 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I recently picked up the Time Flies app and it's great because it tells me how long it has been since I've done something (such as floss or taken my multivitamin). I've only had it for a week, but right now I have the following in there:

- Pullups (I'm doing the Twenty Pullups thing. When I get to 20, I'm going to do One Hundred Pushups)
- Take multivitamin
- Read Instapaper article ( aiming for Instapaper Zero )
- Floss
- Wash bedding
- Vacuum (I don't have a lot of carpet, so I tend to put this off)
- Bite nails
- Bought a coffee

The list is sorted by most recently completed, so there are some items I want at the top of the list (floss, multivitamin) and others I want at the bottom (bite nails and bought a coffee).

I'll probably add some more like:

- email some of the people I met travelling and haven't talked to in a while
- played guitar
- studied spanish

So, if you have an Iphone (I believe there is a not-as-polished version on the Android from another developer as well), it's a nice app to use.
posted by backwards guitar at 8:39 AM on January 4, 2011

About nine months ago I got into the habit of writing in a journal every night. At first, I'd write some facts: how much money I'd spent, what I'd eaten, if I'd exercised and for how long, and a general description of the day. Now I do a more thorough description of what happened during the day, about a page long in an 8.5 x 11" notebook. I feel guilty if I miss a day, and I always go back the next day and fill it in. So now I have nine months of memories! I like to think that my future g-g-grandchildren will get a kick out of it (and of course I get a kick out of it myself).

Like you, I have a long list of things that I'd like to do regularly, but it's hard to get 'em to stick. However, I do make my bed (almost) every day and I floss every night.
posted by sucre at 10:33 AM on January 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Flylady — which, lemme warn you now, is covered in cloyingly cutesy and bizarrely sexist window-dressing — is just this at its core: a program of tiny little housekeeping habits that you accumulate one at a time.

You might find some interesting ideas in there, if you can filter out the dreck about getting closer to God by picking up your husband's underwear for him.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:00 AM on January 4, 2011

Stare out a window for a full three minutes.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 6:25 PM on January 4, 2011

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