Have you ever learned something that blew your mind but simultaneously made you regret all of the time you spent not doing it? Like meal prepping  on Sunday evening, watching your favorite Netflix show while walking on the treadmill, or working remotely instead of commuting. We are always on the lookout for ways to improve the quality of our lives, so why not hear some tips from others online too? 

2 weeks ago, Reddit user Kxrll reached out asking others to share the things that improved their lives so much they wish they had started doing them sooner. The comments were flooded with time-saving tips and habits people developed that increased their happiness. So we hope you enjoy reading the responses below, and maybe you’ll even be inspired to start reading every evening or eating healthier as well. Be sure to upvote the replies that resonate with you, and then if you’re interested in finding out more small habits that can have an impact on your daily life, check out this Bored Panda piece next.

#1

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Doing at least one chore a day.

You would be amazed at how well getting *something* done, even if you hate it, can fight back against certain depressive mentalities, particularly the ones that convince you you're useless or are a burden.

Raetekusu , Anton Report

Thea
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, everybody should try this. Doing the laundry and making my bed all pretty gives me so much acomplishment.

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We all know that certain things on this list are good for us: exercising daily, eating healthy, taking walks, avoiding conflicts with strangers on the internet, etc. But as with anything else in life, developing healthy habits is easier said than done. We can decide that we want to cook more meals at home to save money, but executing that plan does not happen overnight. Humans are creatures of habit, and to develop a new routine, we usually have to disrupt our current one.

There is a widely held belief that it takes about 21 days to break a habit, as Dr. Maxwell Maltz claimed that most people need about three weeks to get accustomed to a new home, new facial features from a plastic surgery operation, or losing a limb due to amputation. This three-week rule does not always apply though, as getting used to something new is not necessarily the same as kicking a habit you have had for years, like smoking cigarettes or eating processed sugar every day.  

#2

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Stopped arguing with random strangers on internet.

SuvenPan , Kaitlyn Baker Report

Jennik
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't know - winding up obnoxious people can be fun

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#3

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Moved away from the state I grew up in. I didn't know how unhappy I was. I had gotten used to being miserable and now that I'm in a better area I'm a completely different person.

jasenzero1 , Michal Balog Report

Alexia
Community Member
8 months ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Big upvote. For me it was moving away from my toxic, abusive family. I needed approx. 1 year to get used to the calm, quiet atmosphere in my rented apartment. It was unbelievable that days can start without slammed doors at 6 am, with no yelling, arguing and insults. Wish I had done this earlier, instead of desperately hoping that my family would change and treat me better.

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If you are really interested in breaking a habit to make room for a new one, there is unfortunately no perfect timeline to follow. There are various factors coming into play like how long you have had the habit for, how often you do it, what rewards you receive from it, whether other behaviors or those around you enable the habit, and what your motivation is for stopping. For example, quitting drinking will be a lot harder if your partner has a glass of wine every evening, and your plans with friends always involve alcohol.

Some research from the University College London even suggests that a more realistic gauge of how long breaking a habit will take is about 10 weeks. Don’t let that discourage you though; sustainable changes take time. Be patient with yourself and implement small changes first. If you want to reduce your sugar intake, for example, do not go cold-turkey. Begin by banning sugary drinks and/or candy from your household. Then slowly work up to cutting out baked goods and frozen desserts as well. If you are torturing yourself, your changes are not likely to stick.

#4

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner I stopped living my life just waiting for the weekend. When you work 5 days a week and have just 2 off, it's not good to be always waiting for those 2 days. You can plan something meaningful or fun every day, even if it's just a small thing.

cake_or_cookies , Yasmina H Report

#5

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Getting a dog

taste_the_equation , Marliese Streefland Report

Jiminy
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But please... Don't get a dog if he would be alone the whole day, if you cannot afford a vet, or if you have no idea what to do with him when you go on vacation the next time.

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On the bright side, it is typically much easier to develop a new habit than to break an old one. So after you finish this list and are feeling inspired, start making arrangements to do at least one chore every day or find a therapist that suits your needs. While all changes take time to get used to, picking up a new hobby or healthy habit that improves your life will always be worth it. For tips on how to get started, I consulted James Clear’s blog post “How to Build a New Habit: This is Your Strategy Guide”.

His first recommendation is to “start with an incredibly small habit”. He notes that often we assume that we lack the willpower to achieve a goal, but willpower is just a muscle that we need to strengthen. If you have a goal of doing 50 pushups per day, for example, remember that is your goal. You can start out doing 5 a day. Then maybe 10 the next week. There is no reason to rush when it makes a small habit seem unattainable. 

#7

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Stopped caring what others think about me.

JerkCircleton , Gian Cescon Report

ace axolotl (she/her)
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

this is really hard. i always tell myself not to care too much and that in twenty years i'll think, "why did i care so much about what others though?" however it's really hard to let go of this thought process. maybe it'll come with age.

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#8

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Learning to set boundaries and say no

Electronic_Pain_9329 , William Pearce Report

#9

Cut toxic people out of my life

Upper-Job5130 Report

Matt MacFarlane
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I did that too. Ended up being alot of people, sadly...

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Once a very small habit has been developed, James recommends increasing it by 1% every day. “Rather than trying to do something amazing from the beginning, start small and gradually improve,” he writes. “Along the way, your willpower and motivation will increase, which will make it easier to stick to your habit for good.” Once you have built up a habit, James notes that it is important to keep your goals reasonable to maintain momentum. Don’t be afraid to break up your 20 minutes a day of meditation into two 10 minute chunks or your 50 pushups into 5 sets of 10. It is much better to have manageable goals then to become overwhelmed and throw in the towel altogether.  

#10

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Reading books way more

bobbyfreshcuts , Priscilla Du Preez Report

Laura Ketteridge
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Audiobooks are a great way of adding books into a busy life. I use audiobooks on my morning commute, and before bed.

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#11

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner I started viewing things as potential experiences rather than just opportunities for achievement.

Before that, for example, if I took a class then I was only focused on the grade. If I couldn't get a good grade, I didn't like the class. Heck, I wouldn't even start a book if I thought it might be too hard or too long and I might not finish it.

Then I realized the purpose of classes (and books and other things) was to learn and that hard ones were likely the ones I learned the most from, even if I didn't get the best grade.

I started doing all sorts of stuff with the idea that I just wanted the experience. Even if I was the worst one out there, who cares? I wasn't there for the achievement, I wanted to learn things.

This works socially as well and I started taking way more risks, telling myself that, at the very least, it would be a learning experience.

I saw a saying once: "It's only a failure if you stop trying, otherwise, it's an experiment." I love it.

zazzlekdazzle , Fuu J Report

#12

Left my abusive relationship of 14 years.

Sticet Report

WordWeaver
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well done, you! They had the chance to learn to be a better person but didn't - now you go have a better life. Arohanui

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Inevitably, there will be a few moments where you slip up or fall out of your routine. Life just gets in the way sometimes, with things like injuries, family emergencies, and holidays disrupting our plans. James writes, “Rather than trying to be perfect, abandon your all-or-nothing mentality.” Nobody is perfect, so your aim should be consistency. Don’t beat yourself up for falling off track on occasion, just continue along as normal. Lastly, James says to be patient and “stick to a pace you can sustain”. Long-lasting changes do not happen overnight, so don’t give into the temptation of letting impatience discourage you. If you really want to develop a sustainable habit, there are no shortcuts, but the effort will be worth the reward. 

#13

Stopped going to church. Not going to church is such a big part of my life now. I wish I had not gone sooner.

SimonFerocious76 Report

Drive Bee
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

THIS! Best decision I ever made. I tried for so many years to make it work, kept making excuses for everyone and everything there, and then one day I thought to myself, I don't have to come here if I don't want to. The freedom and relief I have had since then are immense and I see things so much more clearly from outside the bubble.

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#14

Quitting drinking is the best thing I’ve ever done for my mental and physical health and it’s done nothing but improve my relationships. The last year and a half have been the best I’ve ever had

TLB1023 Report

Lyone Fein
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Congratulations. Your efforts are valuable to yourself and those around you.

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#15

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Walking! I’ve got stamina again

KeyMathematician1337 , Jeffrey Grospe Report

BiscuitOfDoom
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm in complete agreement with this. I went from hardly ever walking to 4 or more miles a day over the past year and it feels great.

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While reading this list, you might be realizing that your life could stand to have some improvements too. It is important to appreciate what you have and find a way to be content wherever you are, but there is nothing wrong with a little self-reflection. Maybe you’re realizing that a healthy habit you once had disappeared somewhere along the line over the past few years. Somehow that 6am daily workout got phased out of your life after taking on a new job or moving farther away from your gym. It is easy to slip into a routine on autopilot and forget that we have the power to make changes, however, making an effort to set and work towards goals is a great way to bring motivation and excitement to our lives.  

#16

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Eating dinner or a late snack at work. Too often I would leave work hungry, and the temptation driving past Chick-fil-A or the corner taco shop was too much. I've kept my weight under control for a couple of years now, having dropped from the 220s to the 170s.

poe_todd , engin akyurt Report

#17

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Got a proper diagnosis. I think a lot of people that for years questioned themselves “what’s wrong with me?” when they finally got diagnosed it’s a big relief and changes a lot in a better way

popcornostar , National Cancer Institute Report

#18

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Bachelor degree at 47 years old. Master degree at 50 years old.

Doubled my salary in 4 years, from just getting by to on track for retiring at 60.

scientistzero , Mark Timberlake Report

SheamusFan1987
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Life is one big classroom without the walls, you never stop learning and you never should.

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Professor of Psychology Leslie Riopel wrote a piece for Positive Psychology titled “The Importance, Benefits, and Value of Goal Setting” that breaks down the reasons why we should all have aspirations. She notes that it is normal for our goals to change over time as we get older and develop our priorities, but they are still important to have so that our lives don’t become stagnant. It’s easy to feel aimless or meaningless when we don’t have anything to look forward to. But when we set goals, particularly very specific ones, we have something driving us. According to research in goal-setting theory by Edward Locke,  “Over 90% of the time, goals that were specific and challenging, but not overly challenging, led to higher performance when compared to easy goals or goals that were too generic such as a goal to do your best.” It is assumed that we all want to be happy, do our best, etc, but not everyone wants to run a marathon in the next year or get a promotion at work before their next birthday. Set your sights on goals specific to you.

#19

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner When I was told that I would lose my eyesight it made me pay more attention to how beautiful the sky was. I can still see and I enjoy watching the clouds on a level I can't even explain.

DaniB3 , CDC Report

Autistic apricot
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes, we should all look at the sky, just make sure you’re not looking at the sun

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#20

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Meeting my wife. That woman fills my heart in ways words can't describe. It just can't be too much sooner because then I wouldn't have my awesome step-sons.

StartSmalls , Cody Black Report

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#21

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Learning how to do everything myself. Car issue? Look it up. Fix my fence? Look it up. Just do it all myself. Replace valves? Look it up.

If they don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

AJackOffAllTrade Report

Julie Cipale
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I replaced a hard drive in my laptop & I'm not even "techie"!!

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Goal-setting can also be an important factor in taking care of our mental health. Riopel writes that, “Goal setting has been shown to help improve the outcome in treatment, amongst studies done in adults with depression.” Battling depression can take a huge toll on an individual, but by setting goals in treatment, like slowly implementing routines including taking a daily walk or cleaning their apartment, patients can feel proud of what they accomplish and more motivated to keep fighting. Their goals can be reminders that their lives can get better, slowly but surely. One study even found that patients who participated in goal-setting exercises were more willing to accept a mental health referral, which can be crucial to improving their health. 

#22

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner listening to the sound of rain to fall asleep

LaylaZoldyck , Anna Atkins Report

#23

working out and deleting most social media like twitter

ritamoren Report

#24

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Not everyone can afford this but: moving closer to work.

My commute went from 45 miserable minutes in traffic glaring in hatred at the tail lights in front of me to a pleasant 15 minute bike ride. I got an hour of free time every day and better health.

munificent , Nhi Dam Report

Lee Macro
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

After my old job made me redundant as I didn't want to relocate to the big smoke, my new job took my commute down from 1-1.5 hour drive to a 10 minute walk. It was quite a drop in salary and although the commuting costs saved didn't quite make up for it, the amount of time I got back more than made up for it

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Setting concrete goals can also yield more success than working towards vague aspirations. Dr. Gail Matthews, a clinical psychologist from Dominican University of California, found that individuals who write down their goals, share them with a friend and send weekly updates on their progress are on average 33% more successful than their peers whose goals are simply floating around their minds. Though it seems so simple, there is power to putting our goals on paper or speaking them out loud. Making a firm commitment to a task may seem scary, but it also makes us much more likely to be successful.  

#25

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Quitting smoking.

strungup , Marina Khrapova Report

#26

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Daily exercise. It doubled my energy for an hour out of my day.

WokeIsSoTeens , Jamie Ginsberg Report

Anna
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd lose it if I didn't excercise and get out into nature every day.

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#27

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Trying to be more positive in general.

shadyfortheshade , Brooke Cagle Report

Jon Clingenpeel
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes! It’s so easy to be the negative Nelly at work, I have to catch myself not to criticize unless it’s going to help or if I have an answer. I never have the answer btw

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Has this list inspired you to take up a new hobby or adopt a new healthy habit? It has certainly reminded me to stop slacking off on some of my "routines" that used to be daily but are now falling into the "weekly occurrence" category... Whether you aim to learn a new language, cut toxic individuals out of your life or quit smoking cigarettes, write that goal down and say it out loud. Once you have developed the habit, you'll probably be wishing you had done it sooner. Remember to upvote all of your favorite responses, and then let us know in the comments what improved your life so much that you wish you had been doing it all along.

#28

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner No one has said it yet, but Lazer eye surgery.

Best money I've ever spent.

-ElysianFields- , Brands&People Report

Carries
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes! I had this done and it's one of the best decisions I've made

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#29

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Finding the right therapist. Been in since I was 9, and found the right one at 23. It’s only been maybe 6 months but I’ve already unpacked so much more trauma in that small time than I did all the other YEARS wasted in therapy.

tomatobee613 , Mark Williams Report

Ziggyc
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bravo for you,just finishing 3 years of it for CPTSD ,can finally day I know who I am and I love me scars and all

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#30

30 People Share Things That Improved Their Lives So Much, They Wish They Had Done Them Sooner Exercise every day. Anxiety and depression are much easier to manage, and I got some confidence I haven't had in years

darodardar_Inc , Sven Mieke Report

Tigerpacingthecage
Community Member
8 months ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Yes. Movement and working out is really key to keep my anxiety at a manageable level. Even if I don't like it - I know it will help. When I want to do it the very least it helps the most. I don't have time to go to the gym everyday with work and kids but try to involve some movement for days when I can't. Like, I bike everywhere (that really makes a difference) and have some dumbbells and resistance bands at home - that way I can always fit in a 20-30min session and feel much better afterwards. I wouldn't say it is the magic cure to end anxiety or depression but it can absolutely make a difference.

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