Changing your life doesn’t have to be this big grand gesture. Many people avoid making changes for the better to their life because they are overwhelmed by what they think it will take.

The reality is, changing your life doesn’t need to include some seismic shift. Focusing and committing to a few small changes can be just as effective over the long term.

Here are nine little things that can make a big difference in your life.

1. Try to Stay Positive
I know, I know — easier said than done. The keyword here is “try,” though. While you can’t just turn yourself into a positive thinker overnight, simply being aware and trying to think positively as much as possible will help. At the very least, it’s a start that could blossom into something bigger.

2. Get up A Little Earlier
A good night’s sleep is important, but most of us could get up a bit earlier and be fine. Getting up a little earlier gives you more time to get things done. It’s also the perfect time to reflect, journal, or just bask in quiet.

I love my alone time early in the mornings. When the weather is nice, I like to sit in my backyard with my feet in the grass listening to the birds wake up and the beginnings of a new day. Simply sublime!

3. Write a Paragraph
No matter what your career is, the ability to communicate via the written word can be helpful. Writing can also be a powerful self-help tool. When you commit to writing just a single paragraph each day, you sharpen your skills and tap into the therapeutic effects of journaling. Just watch how fast that paragraph turns into pages. Want to write a book? Just keep in mind that it starts with just one sentence, one paragraph.

4. Read a Paragraph
Reading isn’t only a nice pastime, it’s a great way to learn. When you commit to reading more often, you open yourself up to all sorts of learning opportunities. An easy way to build a reading habit is to start a little bit at a time. A single paragraph today could blossom into a lifelong reading habit.

I love to read. Reading is at the top of my list for self-care. I read trashy novels when I’m in the mood, and self-help or business books when I’m wanting to learn something.

5. Do One Thing You Have Been Avoiding
We all have a set of tasks we know we should (I hate that word) be doing, but are putting it off for some reason. If you focus on finishing just one of these tasks, you will feel so much better. You will get something done that needs to be taken care of, plus you will be boosting your esteem and self-worth.

Whenever something needs to be done that you’re avoiding it takes up space in your head. We often make things much worse when we don’t deal with it right away. Bite the bullet. Get it out of your head and off your mind — no matter how it turns out — and get on with your life.

6. Explore Your Neighborhood
How often do you get out and walk around your neighborhood? If you are like most people, not as often as you should. It might not seem like a big deal, but getting out and about in your neighborhood can boost your mood and health. On top of that, you might meet some new and interesting people.

I have always loved going to a new city and taking the city tour atop a big bus. You may want to take a tour of your own city, you know, the one ll the tourists take. You’ll learn an amazing amount about where you live.

Years ago, the first time I went to visit an old college friend in San Francisco, he asked me what I wanted to do while I was there. So I named off all the things I wanted to do and see and he said, “But, Marty, those are all touristy things.” And I said, “Bob, I AM a tourist!” So we got to see all the tourist sites and he enjoyed himself immensely because he got to do and see things he might not have done on his own.

7. Lend a Hand
It doesn’t take much effort or time to help another person. Besides boosting the moods of everyone involved, it is a good way to feel more personally fulfilled. You never know what you’ll learn or where an offer of help will lead either.

I’ve always believed in the Law of Attraction, in that, what we put out we get more of. So if you find yourself always short of time, donate some of your time to someone else, and you’ll be surprised at how much extra time you’ll then have for yourself. Funny how that works out that way. Every single time.

8. Say “No” More Often
It should be easy to say “no.” After all, it’s only two letters. Even so, we struggle to say it even when we know we should. By simply saying no more often, you will set expectations, free up your time, and keep yourself open for any new opportunities that might pop up out of the blue.

And don’t stall by saying “I’ll think about it and get back to you” unless that really is the case. If your plan is to just say “no” later, go ahead and just say it now. Otherwise, that request that you’re planning to turn down anyway will just nag and nag at your brain and conscience and make you crazy.

9. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
If we all took more time to focus on our own goals and stopped worrying about where others were doing, we would be better off. It might not be easy at first, but the effort is worth it if you want a happier life. Same goes for if you think you’re less than adequate compared to someone else. You are you and that’s a beautiful thing.

Actionable Steps

  1. Set Your Alarm 15 Minutes Earlier. Getting up earlier isn’t always easy, but almost all of us could manage fifteen minutes less sleep. You can use these extra 15 minutes however you see fit. Maybe to…
  2. Write One Line a Day. Developing a journaling habit isn’t easy for everyone. Some people find it overwhelming and hard to stick to. That’s why focusing on writing one line a day is a perfect place to start.
  3. List The Things You Have Been Putting Off. Simply creating this list will help relieve some stress in your life. Once the list is made, choose one thing to start addressing, then another, then another.