Tiny Changes I Made That Led to Better Gains

Tiny Changes I Made That Led to Better Gains

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How often do we reflect on the changes we make and how they will impact our lives? I personally have a tendency to overlook changes in my life. I don’t typically dwell on them too much; they inevitably happen, and I move along with the twists and turns of the days I encounter. While I’ll give some thought to major ones, I’m less inclined to focus on the ripples that tiny changes have on my well-being.

Changing Things Up

A sense of restlessness creeps in when life becomes too stagnant. Sure, there’s something to be said for the comfort of routine, but it can also feel confining to me. Where’s the challenge? How can I keep learning? I find myself searching for change. I crave growth, like a deep-rooted tree stretching its branches towards the sun. And, much like a tree, I shed versions of myself as the seasons shift and change, only to reemerge with renewed energy.

I believe that life is a constant work in progress. Changing things up keeps life interesting. Fun. Challenging. Ultimately, it lets us know what we can handle. It lets us know we’re alive.

While it can be easy to point out the outcomes of significant changes faced, both within and outside of our control, the effects of micro-changes aren’t as easily identifiable. So, here I am, sharing my tiny changes with you today.

Alcohol-Free Livin’

The last time I imbibed was the first week of December. It was during a joyous get-together of graduation excitement, a job well done, and a night of celebration. Since then, I’ve been alcohol-free. This isn’t too terribly rare, as I have limited my alcohol intake throughout the years, sometimes for months at a time.

This is, however, the first time I’ve really focused on what I have gained from being alcohol-free. Maybe the effects are more noticeable now that the years seem to flash by so quickly? In any case, I love how it feels.

Alcohol-free livin’ has brought me:

  • Deeper, more peaceful sleep
  • A sharper and clearer mind
  • More productive time
  • More mindful and active socializing
  • Fully energized and focused mornings
  • Better hydration
  • Less bloating (!!) and a leaner, stronger body
  • Calories to enjoy more delicious foods
  • A healthier mindset with less anxious thoughts
  • More money to save and invest

It’s funny how I can try something on and off for years, like taking a break from drinking, and not fully realize how much that small change truly impacts my life. My mind and body feel healthier—which, of course, makes sense since drinking alcohol is essentially micro-dosing poison.

Will I stop drinking indefinitely? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I won’t be drinking today, probably not tomorrow, and that I really do love what I have gained from being alcohol-free.

Avocado Smoothies at Home

I used to indulge in Avocado Boba Smoothies pretty often, especially whenever we were near local Vietnamese joints. They’re incredibly delicious, a blend of savory and sweet with a green hue that offers the illusion of “healthy enough.”

It wasn’t long before I began to notice how much it cost me, in terms of calories and money. It occurred to me that these smoothies weren’t often made with a whole avocado and, in fact, were sometimes made with avocado powder! Moreover, the devilish, lingering sweetness left on my palate left me wondering just how much sweetened condensed milk and brown sugar I’d ingested. Don’t let the boba fool you; they’re tapioca balls made of starch that have been soaked in brown sugar. Hello, sweetness!

So, I started to make avocado smoothies at home, and I haven’t bought one since. Here’s my super simple, low-sugar recipe:

Low-Sugar Avocado Protein Smoothie

  • 1 ripe medium or large avocado (pitted and scooped out)
  • Half of a frozen banana
  • 1-1/2 cups of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 scoop of soy protein isolate powder

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

I think my homemade smoothies are even better than the ones I used to buy, but that’s because I realized how much I didn’t love or need the extra sugar. Brian isn’t the biggest fan of my “chalky-tasting” smoothie, but I think it’s healthy and great-tasting. More for me!

Avocado smoothies at home help me enjoy more smoothies at a discount (we buy .49 avocados!), improve my protein and healthy fat intake, and keep me fuller for longer periods of time.

Little to No Caffeine Consumption

It’s been one year since I had a fully caffeinated beverage! Brian and I used to drink regular black coffee that was so strong, it made us feel jittery, on edge, and was not-so-affectionately referred to as “tar” by others.

Brian limited his caffeine intake only a few months ago, but both of us have noticed improvements just the same. We are just now experimenting with a 1:3 ratio for caffeinated coffee after our initial morning decaf coffee. The caffeine hasn’t impacted us too greatly, though to be fair, we dilute it pretty well with our fondness of herbal teas and plain ol’ water.

Changing our caffeine consumption has resulted in:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Falling asleep easier
  • Better-quality sleep
  • More natural energy
  • Decreased heart palpitations
  • Improved hydration

Granted, cutting down on caffeine is a big change for some, but it was a tiny change for me. One day, I just decided that I wanted to try it out. I had no idea it would benefit me as much as it has.

Invest More Than Save

I’m a natural saver, so it was initially difficult to transition into an investing mindset. No matter how much I learned about investing, my brain wanted to interpret it as “spending.” Though it is spending, it’s doing so strategically for the purpose of building wealth.

Investing more than saving, especially in a down market, eventually breathed more life into my portfolio. It earned more than the cash I had sitting in my high-yield savings account.

With our emergency fund completely funded, it is a strategic decision to direct additional funds towards our separate and joint investments. This tiny change will continue to earn us greater gains in the future due to compounding interest, exponential growth, and, of course, time.

Color-coded Planning

I was recently gifted an official planner. I cannot begin to explain how much my Type A heart loves this gift.

Full disclosure: This is one of those items I am too cheap to buy. In fact, I have used my 20-year-old printer to print free “planner pages” from the internet. I always have this charming idea to bind them together somehow and utilize them the way one would use a planner. The truth is, though, I never get around to it. They remain loose, with half-hearted lists and random notes jotted across them. Crumpled sticky notes make an appearance on and off my desk and in and around drawers. Don’t even get me started on the disinterest I have in maintaining a digital calendar… I begrudgingly use one, but it’s nowhere near my favorite.

Do you know what my favorite is? A tangible, coil-bound book of intention-setting sheets, weekly guides, and dedicated space for streamlined notes; in other words, it’s an organized system of sunshine and happiness—at least it is to me.

Not only am I thoroughly utilizing the complete offerings of my new source of joy, but I am doing so with color-coded enthusiasm. The tiny changes I made by committing to weekly (if not daily!) use of my planner and color-coded notes have helped me stay focused and on task with to-dos and goals while keeping a peaceful and positive mindset.

Better Gains

I didn’t realize how much I would gain by making these tiny changes. They happened quietly, while I was distracted with more immediate concerns related to house projects and job stressors. The effects of changes, both large and small, have impacted me in ways that…keep me on my toes. Let’s go with that.

Altogether, my tiny changes have paved the way to deeper sleep, better health, a clearer mind, and a stronger financial standing. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would have gained so much! It occurred to me that recognizing and reflecting on tiny changes and their effects is simply another way to practice gratitude.

Tiny Changes For The Win

We don’t often pat ourselves on the back for the little things, the little changes. But what if the little things are really the only things that matter? What if the little things are the building blocks, the foundation, for the bigger things we experience in this life?

Changes are inevitable; they are the only constant. They help us learn, grow, and build character. They are a part of us. Why shouldn’t we spend more time appreciating change in our lives?

So, thank you, Tiny Changes, for all of the goodness you’ve passed along to me. Though not every change has positive consequences, it’s still an opportunity to learn and grow. That’s worth it, in my book!

What tiny changes have you made recently that have benefited you?

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