6 Little Life Upgrades You Can Make From the Comfort of Your Couch, According to Life Coaches
It’s the time of year for making resolutions. But before you commit yourself to promises that verge on impossible, remember that self-improvement isn’t a line you cross, it’s a path you take.
“I always recommend to clients to get clear on their values before setting a goal, because it’s essential to understand why something is meaningful to you before you put action toward it,” New York City-based life and career coach Sarah Bogdanski tells Apartment Therapy. “This ensures it’s a goal that you really believe in, and not an unrealistic idea or expectation.”
Whether you’re hoping to land your dream job in 2021 or simply be more mindful in the months to come, there are several small steps you can take to improve your overall quality of life. From searching for a better job to learning a new language and more, here are six expert-recommended life upgrades you can make without ever leaving the house.
Look for job that better suits you
Spending just five minutes a day searching for a new job online can help you stay on-track towards your dream career. “Visit your favorite job search site and do one quick search a day,” Manhattan-based life coach Julie Melillo says. “You can also spend a few minutes a day brainstorming career paths that sound interesting, or researching different jobs in that field. Either way you’ll be taking steps toward a better future without overwhelming yourself.”
Dr. Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite, a career and executive coach in New York City, also suggests connecting with colleagues on LinkedIn who can offer insight into a company you would like to work for, or who work in a field you would like to transition to. “These days, I’ve found that people are more willing to network and connect online,” she says.
Home in on your creative interests
If your goal is to strike a better work-life balance in the new year, Horsham-Brathwaite says developing or intensifying a creative or artistic hobby, such as painting, DIY crafts, and journaling is a great place to start. “I find this strategy particularly helpful for people who have to do a lot of thought-based work as part of their job,” she explains. “Artistic pursuits help us to use other parts of our brain, and create space for us to awaken new ideas about what is next in our lives.”
Practice focusing on the present
A little mindfulness can go a long way when you’re trying to make positive life changes. “Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment, so you can let go of thoughts that take you too far into the past or future,” Bogdanski explains.
Bogdanski says that one way to practice being more mindful is to set aside time every day to focus on an activity that requires you to concentrate on what’s happening right in front of you, like working on a puzzle, cooking a meal, or meditating. “Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, focusing your attention on the present moment can help alleviate stress and anxiety, and help you develop a healthier mindset over time.”
Start a side gig
If generating extra income or paying off debt is one of your priorities in the new year, Melillo says all you need to get started is a computer. “Whether you want to sell handmade items online, tutor someone, or become an online personal assistant, the internet makes it possible to start a side hustle from your couch,” she explains.
If you aren’t sure what kind of remote gigs will work best for you, start by making a list of all your unique talents—think everything from DIY to computer and cooking skills—and then research all the different ways you can sell yourself (or your goods) as a service. “Start by limiting your side job search to just 15 minutes a day,” Melillo advises. “You can always add more time, but this can help you from feeling overwhelmed as you begin to learn the ropes.”
Express your gratitude more often
Whether you’re giving thanks to others or yourself, psychology research suggests that expressing gratitude can make you a happier person. “Develop a daily gratitude practice by writing down three to five things you are grateful for each night,” Horsham-Brathwaite advises. “It is especially helpful to see that there’s light even when things may seem dark.”
Giving thanks to friends, family members, and romantic partners can also improve your relationships—and mental well-being. “Write an appreciative letter or email to a loved one at least once a week, and simply list some of the things that they do that you’re grateful for” Bogdanski says. “Not only can this help strengthen your relationships, sending positivity out into the world will instantly brighten both of your days.”
Learn a new language
Not only is learning another language a scientifically-backed way to improve your concentration, memory, and decision-making skills, you can do it from home in your sweatpants! Apps like Duolingo, which uses fun games to teach you new words and phrases, and HelloTalk, which connects you with native speakers around the globe so you can practice your foreign language skills in conversation, are free to download and allow you to become more multilingual from the convenience of your smartphone.