Woman meditating with text overlay: 20 Small Things You Can Do to Improve Your Wellness This Year

[Wellness Wednesday] 20 Small Things You Can Do To Improve Your Wellness This Year

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome back to Wellness Wednesday! Wow – can you believe it’s a new year already???!!!

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? For some of us they can be helpful, but for others, they just feel like we’re putting more pressure on ourselves. Though I don’t make resolutions, I do always take stock of how I did with the previous year’s goals and set new goals for the upcoming year.

When it comes to wellness, it’s helpful to have a plan, but even if we don’t, there are small things we can do to improve our wellness throughout the year.

Of course, we don’t want to attempt to do everything at once; if we do, we run the risk of becoming overwhelmed and giving up completely. We can simply choose one small thing to concentrate on at a time and once we have developed that habit, we can add another one. Before we know it, we’ve established healthy habits and improved our wellness fairly easily and painlessly.

20 Small Things To Improve Wellness

To simplify things, I’ve broken them down into the eight dimensions of wellness. Since all the dimensions overlap, some that are helpful in one dimension might benefit other areas as well.


  • Learn to recognize ANTs. As we discussed in Lessons From The Carrot Patch, ANTs are Automatic Negative Thoughts. This term was coined by Dr. Daniel Amen, founder of the Amen Clinic and author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. These ANTs are the thoughts that pop up and make their way into our brains (and into our bodies via chemical changes) before we even realize we’re having them. As we’ve discussed before, our automatic thoughts can’t always be trusted. They don’t always tell the truth.
  • Start a gratitude journal. According to Harvard Health, “Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”
  • Try meditation. More and more studies are showing the benefits of meditation. Whether it’s Mindfulness Meditation or Christian Meditation, learning to calm our anxious thoughts and focus on the present helps us to stop being ruled by our emotions.


  • Organize your pantry. Having an organized pantry sets us up for success when we’re trying to eat more healthfully.
  • Use less-toxic cleaning supplies and ditch those chemical-laden air fresheners. We can have a clean home without using a bunch of chemicals. We used to have to choose between natural and effective, but not anymore. Companies are listening to what people want and are making more natural options that really work.


  • Make a spending plan. As we discussed in Does Budgeting Have To Be Such A Pain, we get to tell our money where to go. Our spending plan is our tool for doing that.
  • Pay yourself first. Each month, put a portion of your paycheck, even if it’s only a few dollars, into a savings account. Having a ‘cushion’ in case of emergencies is vital. Having money set aside can keep us from going into debt when we have things like unexpected car repairs, an HVAC unit that goes out, etc.


  • Learn something new. Learning new things, whether it’s a new game, hobby, or skill, can help our brains make new connections, which contributes to overall brain health.
  • Read. Reading can help expand our horizons, teach us something new, or engage our brains in problem solving.


  • Purposefully look for meaning in your work. Remember, any kind of work, paid or unpaid, can be meaningful. No matter what type of work we do, we have the potential to improve both our lives and the lives of others through small, intentional actions.
  • Intentionally seek balance between your work and home life. It’s easy to get caught up in the “rat race” and allow our personal lives to be pushed aside, but we need to remember to look at the big picture of what’s most important to us.


  • Add one serving of vegetables to your daily diet. Vegetables are little powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Even adding one serving can make a difference.
  • Read food labels. Know what you’re putting in your body. With so many “food-like substances” on our store shelves these days reading labels is our best way of knowing exactly what we’re eating.
  • Make a meal plan. Planning our meals ahead of time can help ensure we’re getting all the nutrients we need and keep us from stopping at the drive-through because we don’t know what to cook for dinner. You can find a meal-planning template here.
  • Make it a point to get up and move around each hour. We’ve all heard the saying that sitting is the new smoking. Making an intentional effort to move around at least a few minutes each hour can help reduce the effects of a sedentary lifestyle.


  • Talk to a friend on a regular basis. With the busy lives that we lead it’s easy to lose connection with our friends. Making an “appointment” to talk to our friends regularly can help us maintain those relationships that are important to us.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Whether we’re actually going out and mingling with people or we’re interacting with them online, we have to be careful who we surround ourselves with. Hanging out with negative people usually results in us becoming more negative as well.


  • Volunteer. Spiritual health is defined as expanding a sense of purpose and meaning in life, so volunteering for a cause that’s important to us can give us that sense of purpose and meaning.
  • Set aside time each day to connect with God. As with any other relationship, if we want to have a relationship with our Creator, we have to be purposeful in cultivating that relationship.
  • Memorize Scripture. When we’re going through the stresses and struggles of life, being able to remember Scriptures that apply to our situation can give us hope and comfort, and even help calm us when we become anxious.

These are just some of the small things we can do to improve our overall wellness this year. The important thing to remember is that we don’t have to make big changes to make a positive difference in our wellness. Small, sustainable steps we can build on are much better than huge changes that we can’t maintain.

Do you plan to make any wellness changes this year? What area of wellness would you most like to improve? Please share!




  1. Thanks! I’m trying my best in improving in my workouts and reading stuff as I get bored easily – but want to make changes this year. Even when the books I carried is that boring, I just want to read it. And I believe with the help of God, am gonna get over it.

    1. Thanks for your comment! Congratulations on improving your workouts and reading. Sometimes it’s hard to finish a book that doesn’t hold your attention, isn’t it? I don’t like to leave a book unfinished, though, so I usually keep reading until the end anyway. Blessings to you in this new year!

  2. You have some great suggestions here. I spend a big chunk of every January figuring out my goals for the coming year, so I don’t know quite what I am shooting for yet. I definitely want to be healthier and towards that I intend to make on changes that will boost my happiness. I know my emotional health is affecting my physical health, so it’s time to focus on that for a bit. I’ve already started a daily spiritual practice that is helping, so I’ll keep that up for sure. Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you so much Kit! It sounds as if you’re very thoughtful with setting your goals. It’s amazing how connected our emotions and physical health are, isn’t it? I think we’ve always kind of known this intuitively, but now the medical community is looking at the physiological changes brought about by our emotions. To me, that just underscores the need to take care of all dimensions of wellness. I hope this upcoming year is your best yet!

      1. I’ve put a lot of time and energy into physical changes (diet, supplements, etc) but I am still not as well as I would like. So it’s time to try something different and see if it will help my body to heal some more.

  3. Terri, many great suggestions here. I already employ quite a few, but do want to spruce up a few things.
    Thank you for explaining ANTS! That is a really great tip.

    1. Thanks so much Resa! I’m glad you found the ANTs concept useful. I really like Dr. Amen’s work. When I did one of my Wellness Coaching certifications, he was one of the presenters. He does such a great job of explaining how the brain works and how we can keep it healthy. I wish you much success with your sprucing up!

  4. These are such great reminders, especially at the beginning of the year, on how we can make our lives better! Thank you, as always Terri, for providing such helpful and encouraging information! Bless you.

    1. Thank you so much Wendi! I hope your year is off to a great start, and that this one turns out to be your best yet! Blessings to you!

  5. YES I love this, breaking things down into small, manageable steps, just ideas and little changes or things to try without the pressure or expectations. I think you’ve done well categorising things in this way too because you’re capturing the ‘overall’ wellness, our holistic, full lives that can be rich and diverse and with lots of areas, from social to intellectual and emotional and physical. Another fantastic post, Terri. Wishing you a very happy New Year – I hope 2019 is as bright, healthy & happy as possible for you  ♥
    Caz xx

    1. Thank you so much Caz! Taking the small steps does take the pressure off, doesn’t it? I love your point that our lives can be “rich and diverse.” That pretty much encapsulates true wellness. I hope this year is a wonderful one for you! Hugs!

    1. Thank you so much! You’re so right about preparation – It reminds me of that definition of ‘luck’ -Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.😊 Wishing you a new year filled with blessings!

  6. I will be more deliberate about moving and stretching every hour – it’s something I sometimes forget to do, yet remind the readers of MY blog to do on a regular basis. You have many great suggestions here, thanks for sharing your list. Happy New Year!!

    1. Thanks so much Pamela! My Fitbit reminds me at 10 minutes before each hour to get up and move around so that’s helpful for me.😊 Happy New Year to you too! I hope this is one filled with blessings for you!

    1. Happy New Year to you Amanda! I hope your year is off to a great start! I’m glad I could introduce you to something new.😊 I just hope we don’t have to experience the negative consequences of a sedentary lifestyle….guess we have to keep moving, huh? Wishing you all good things throughout this new year!

    1. Thank you so much – I’m glad you found them useful! Hope this year is your best yet!

      1. Indeed Terri. Many times we keep carrying forward the same baggage filled with the same issues (or unknown or festering issues), year after year. I am not saying that addressing these issues would be to make a new year resolution. But addressing them on any accord would be a spiritual cleaning for one’s overall health and well being. Cheers!

      2. You make such a fantastic point about us carrying the same baggage over from year to year. If we don’t address these issues, they just keep getting more deeply entrenched and harder to deal with. Thanks for the reminder that we need to take the time to open and unpack our luggage from time to time. Blessings to you!

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