Want to pick up some good habits? The best approach is to start small.
In the Quora thread “What are some good ‘mini habits’ to practice each day?” readers shared the simple habits you should follow every day to become a happier, healthier, or more productive person. The best part is, each one only takes about five minutes to complete.
Here are some of our favorites:
1. Brush your teeth and floss
Brushing and flossing your teeth not only prevents gingivitis and tooth decay, but it can also save your life.
The American Dental Association recommends you brush twice a day for two minutes and floss once a day. If you don’t, you could be putting yourself at greater risk for developing dementia, diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer, among other things. —Pinkish Bamotra
2. Smile at yourself in the mirror
Just after you brush your teeth, look at yourself in the mirror and smile, holding the smile for 10 seconds. Dr. Robert Zajonc, a famous psychologist, believed facial action leads to changes in mood, and in a 1989 study he found that participants who watched themselves smile in a mirror experienced a greater boost in mood than those who simply smiled. —Nistha Tripathi
3. Make your bed
Starting your day by finishing something and doing it well provides a small self-esteem boost early on. And when you come home tired from a long day at work, there will be nothing between you and a good night’s sleep. —Rizwan Aseem
4. Write down the day’s most important task
Also known as “eating the frog,” decide on the one task you must perform that day to be successful and do it first thing when you get to work. —Patrick Mathieson
Meditation only takes a few minutes every day, but it can bring many benefits like a decreased risk of mental illness and brain degeneration, increased serotonin production, lower blood pressure, decreased anxiety, and much more. —Joshua Raichur
If you have no clue how to meditate, try simply sitting in a quiet place and counting your breaths. Your focus should be on your breath and not your thoughts. Restart counting as soon as your mind distracts you and you find yourself thinking of something else. —Nistha Tripathi
6. Express gratitude
“My days go so much smoother when I remind myself: ‘dude, you could just as easily have been born in a Sudanese refugee camp. You’re one lucky mo-fo.’ —Patrick Mathieson
7. Listen to a podcast
There are plenty of five-minute podcasts out there, and if you can’t sit and read a book, they can be a great way to learn while doing brainless work. —Saranya Krishnamurthy
8. Dress slightly better than the occasion calls for
If everyone at work wears casual clothes, wear casual clothes with a sports jacket — it’s easy to do, you’ll stand out from the herd in a positive way, and important people will take notice. —Rizwan Aseem
9. Become uncomfortable at least once a day
Summon the courage to do something that makes you anxious, like speaking up during a work conference call or saying hi to someone new. As self-improvement coach George Addair once said, “Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” —Patrick Mathieson
10. Try something new
Be it taking a different route to work, talking to a new person, or experimenting with something you haven’t before, don’t let your curiosity and awe die in the daily grind. —Nistha Tripathi
11. Deal with clutter
As soon as you’re done using something, put it back where it belongs. This will help you drastically cut back on the clutter in your life and save you the time you would otherwise waste looking for something.
And before you go to bed, pick up the clutter left around one space at a time. This could help you have a cleaner mind, have clearer thinking, and focus on things that you really want to achieve. —Rizwan Aseem
Writing every day can help you keep track of your progress, feel good, and stay motivated to make even more progress. —Saranya Krishnamurthy
13. Walk more
Walk to work if you can, take the stairs, walk around the office when you’re stuck on a problem, get outside and walk during lunch, and walk home again. The exercise isn’t just good for your body, it can also boost your energy levels, creativity, and mood, too. —Aggregated from multiple Quora users.
Author: Rachel Gillett
Rachel is a careers reporter at Business Insider. She previously wrote and edited for Fast Company’s Leadership section. Her work as a multimedia journalist has also been featured on PopPhoto.com, AOL.com, The Huffington Post, and elsewhere.