It’s the little things.
I used to think that getting some of the results I want in life, from better skin to tighter abs, would require a major life overhaul, and that the only way to achieve these goals would be to wake up at 5 a.m., spend 2.5 hours on my morning routine, and eat only kale.
The kale part is accurate, but the rest of it is up for debate. 🙂
Fortunately, the latest science on habit formation explains why many of our best plans and intentions fall apart before we even get started. We set ourselves up for failure. Instead of “go big or go home”, the new thinking is to break down our goals into tiny habits (also the name of an amazing new book). When we can turn our big goals into ten-minute tasks, we make them realistic, and we get over the mental hurdle that often comes with change.
Can’t get started on your exercise routine? Commit to doing the workout video or the Peloton for 10 minutes. (It’s called Microexercise). Daunted by your 7-step skincare routine. Commit to simply washing your face and applying 1 product in the evening, and doing the same thing in the morning.
Remove the intimidation factor, and you remove that resistance to change and start creating momentum.
Here, my suggestions for small habits that can create lasting change in your beauty, style, and health.
Spread the Skincare
Skincare. It’s not just for faces, anymore. Even though most of us know that the neck and the backs of the hands are the first places to show signs of aging, few of us regularly use skincare in those areas. Make it a habit that whatever you do to your face, you do to your neck and chest (down to the middle of your bustline) as well as the backs of your hands.
Have any half-used skincare products that you’ve been meaning to toss out?
Use those on your body, instead. We age all over, so applying a skincare product that doesn’t work for your face (or simply isn’t a favorite) to your upper arms, legs, abdomen, etc. is a great way to take care of your skin all over while still saving money.
Turn It Over
One healthy, easy and relaxing habit we should all begin is spending some time every day or night with our legs elevated. Propping your legs up against the wall for a few minutes every day helps with circulation, prevents varicose veins, and takes the pressure off of your overworked leg muscles.
Take Your (Hair) Vitamins
Although the research is inconclusive, many women have experienced tremendous relief from hair loss and general hair rejuvenation using a targeted program of supplements and haircare products. The key is to start early, at the first sign of hair loss. It’s much easier to prevent your hair from falling out than it is to regrow it once it’s gone.
Collagen and biotin both have hair strengthening and regrowth properties, or try a hair vitamin like Viviscal Professional (NOT the regular one, which is not as effective). Adding a hair treatment like a biotin spray and adjusting your haircare routine to include some hair regrowth products is also beneficial.
Many women have seen incredible results in hair regrowth from customized haircare lines like Function of Beauty and Prose, as well as brands like Monat and hair regrowth treatments like Vegamour and For Hers. You can check out all of my favorite recommendations for hair loss and thinning hair products right here.
Having trouble sleeping? You might not be taking time to decompress. Building in a little extra time in your evening (as little as 10 minutes helps!) to unwind and maybe indulge in a pampering ritual can be so helpful in so many ways, and set you up for a better night’s sleep and prepare you for the next day. Your evening unwinding ritual might include:
- Bubble bath or shower
- Face mask
- Mani touchup
- Prayer time
- Outfit prep for the next day
- Tweezing your brows
- Writing your to-do list and appointment in a planner or on your phone
Taking this time at the end of the day to prepare yourself for the next one can ensure that the next day goes smoothly and alleviate so much stress! (You can find my favorite planner right here.)
I’ve been saying this for years, but if you want a stylish, stress-free morning, put out your entire outfit the night before like a schoolkid. Right down to the shoes and accessories. This has multiple benefits:
- You will wear more of your wardrobe.
- You will save time in the morning.
- You’ll be able to take that extra minute or two to add polish and personality to an outfit.
Once you’re dressed, make sure to look yourself over, front and back, in a full length mirror. And finally, snap a mirror selfie of your outfit.
Daily outfit pics will give you so much more clarity than the mirror alone, and provide a tangible record of what worked and what didn’t. Keep your faves in a folder on your phone and you’ve created your own seasonal outfit lookbook.
Get Up & Get Dressed
Commit to getting fully dressed (including neat hair, minimal makeup, even an accessory) almost every single day. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with taking a day off here and there, but if you make getting fully ready a habit, you’ll find that you’re more productive, positive, and purposeful in your day.
Plus, you’ll be ready for anything the day brings.
Five Minute Fix
Set your alarm clock 5-10 minutes early to buy yourself a little extra wiggle room in your schedule. If your alarm is set for the last possible minute, you will start the day with a frenzied, stressful pace that can spill over into the rest of the day. Giving yourself a few extra minutes to get going can make all the difference.
One of the ways that you can ensure that you look your best, every single day, is by making sure that your clothes are ready to wear. This means doing a quick once-over every night after removing them. Do you need to:
- Dry clean or add to laundry hamper? (You might want to keep these separate!)
- Spot treat a stain?
- Air an item out if you will be rewearing it
- Using a lint brush or a fabric shaver
Also, make it a habit to steam or iron anything that needs it before it goes in your closet. I have a hanging rod in my laundry room, and my clothes go from the dryer, to the rod, where they are steamed if necessary, before going to my room.
Once they’re in my closet, they will not get steamed. It just doesn’t happen.
And I hate ironing.
Whatever works for you, have a system to ensure that your clothes are always ready for use.
Summer style can be tricky because it is so casual that it can border on sloppy. So how we do stay stylish in the heat while still keeping it cool and casual? One word. Accessories.
Whatever your daily summer uniform is, elevate it with a single well-chosen piece, whether that’s a stylish necklace, a great bag, or a pretty pair of shoes. One elevated accessory is all you need to take it from casual to cute.
Start with Superfoods
There’s been a ton of buzz about superfoods lately, but that’s because these nutritional powerhouses can make eating a healthy diet so much easier. I know this might not seem revolutionary to you, but it blew my mind when I realized that if I wanted to eat the foods that I loved that were actually healthy, I needed to be more intentional about having them around and including them in every meal.
I was already eating blueberries with breakfast, but now I make it a point to never skip them, and I’ve added eggs, avocados, and MCT oil to my daily diet as well.
Which of these can you add to your daily diet?