40 Simple Things To Do Now That Will Make You Proud of Yourself In a Year

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While many people are awaiting the coming of the holiday season, others are excitedly wrapping the end of their new year resolution challenges. The rest of you might be cringing as you realize that yet another year is ending and you still haven’t come close to accomplishing your goal. You are not alone. If you are one of the people in the latter thought camp, you have more company than you think. In fact, only eight percent of people accomplish their resolutions according to Forbes.

If you’re part of the 92 percent that didn’t accomplish the goal you set early this year you might just be wondering what you can do to turn things around for the following year. Of course, there’s probably one part of you that just wants to avoid the potential of disappointment completely by ditching the whole resolution idea. You can calm down because making yourself proud isn’t as difficult as you may think. There are several things you can do now that will make you feel proud and accomplished by next year. The best part is most of them don’t cost much money, require little commitment, and benefit yourself and those around you.

Reframe your life by making SMART Goals. Do these things today and be proud in a year.

No need to persist endlessly and tirelessly only to throw in the towel on a yearly goal by March. Persistence at a goal has its place, yet it’s still overrated.  If there is one thing I’ve learned from the 2020 pandemic, it’s that working hard is for the birds.  Of course, everything in life doesn’t come easy, but when it comes to setting goals for yourself it’s ok to let some of them come easy. Feeling deflated while working tirelessly to reach goals is a common feeling. So I came up with a list of 40 easy things you can do that require little effort.  Even though the tasks may be easy, the results can still bring big reads. Plus, you’ll continuously reap the benefits of some self-pride.

So read on and find out what simple things you can do TODAY to make a change in your life and be proud of yourself in a year (maybe sooner).

Do any of these 40 things today and be proud of yourself by next year. No lofty goal or lengthy process necessary. Click To Tweet

  1. Ditch the coffee/wine/gum or whatever you overindulge in

Yes, it’s cliche but skipping the coffee or whatever it is you overdo it in really is the smart move to make. Not only can it help keep more money in your bank account, but it kicks the “addiction” Hopefully, that will make room for addiction for something else that serves you well and brings peace like endorphins from exercise.

2. Shop off-season

Sure winter may be around the corner, but that’s no reason to stop you from buying that killer bathing suit that’s 75 % off if you know you need one. It may not be used now, but you’ll be happy you purchased it at a steep discount once summer rolls around next year. Make it a point to shop off-season whenever you can and you’ll never pay full price again.

3. Make the switch to LED

We all know that fluorescent lights are a no-no, but CFL bulbs aren’t exactly the best choice either. Instead, use LED bulbs.  At up to $20 per light bulb, it may be a bit of an investment now, but you’ll be thrilled once you see your electricity bill drop.

4. Choose a cause you like and advocate for it.

Sure Breast Cancer Awareness month has passed and World Birth Defects day is some months away, but that doesn’t mean you completely missed the boat on supporting a cause. Think long and hard about a cause or ideal you feel passionate about and do everything you can to help it prosper. Wear the colors associated with the cause, give money to the organization, run a 5k in its honor, write a blog post about it, run a donation drive or simply tell your friends or family about it. Regardless of what you choose to do, you’ll be proud of yourself for selflessly dedicating yourself to something as you look back on the progress made.

5. Open a high-yield savings account

If you’ve only got your money in a traditional bank you’re saving all wrong. With banks, you’re probably only making .0001 percent on your money. Why do that when you can make anywhere from 1.6% at online banks like Ally.com or up to 3.2% at your local credit union? Ditch the bank today, open a high-yield account, and you’ll be patting yourself on the back when you see all the interest you’ve made in a year.

6. Start a family or friend tradition

I can’t be the only one who has conversations in the middle of spring with friends about lofty dreams about going away on vacation together during the summer. Of course, it never happens because we didn’t plan, save, organize, etc. Today is the perfect time to nip that in the bud and start a yearly tradition. It can be something as grand as traveling to Mexico on Cinco de Mayo or something small like painting your nails together every month. Whatever it is, you’ll be proud that you were thinking ahead and well organized.

7. Plant something

You have the power to help the environment with your hands. Even if you are no good with pets or horrible with your hands, you’ll feel a sense of pride knowing that you are responsible for something naturally beautiful. Plus, if you choose to plant fruits or vegetables you’ll save on your grocery budget.

8. Write a letter to yourself

On a good day, write a letter to yourself listing all your accomplishments, talents, and traits. Then hid it somewhere in your home. Hopefully, you’ll find it later on when you need it most.

9. Get rid of the toxins

Yes, it seems that society is getting “all natural” obsessed but it’s for good reason. You never know what all those chemicals are doing to you and the environment. Swap out the toxic cleaning products, tooth pastes, etc as you can. You’ll suddenly feel a bit fresher once you do.

10. Stock up on cards

Nothing is more frustrating than going to an event and realizing last minute that you forgot to get a card. Of course, that means you end up stopping at the closest store you can find and spending $6. If only you had remembered the card in advance you would’ve been able to save some money. It’s a predicament I used to find myself in all the time. That’s why I stock up on special occasion cards and blank cards whenever I have time. So if a birthday comes up unexpectedly I just head to my card stockpile and pick one that’s appropriate. And if it’s something more unique, I simply take a blank card and write a personal message. Stocking up on cards is a huge time and money saver! You’ll be happy you did it throughout the year.

11. Make a sellers account on Zazzle.com

Since I’m actively trying to pay off my student debt, making money while I sleep is important to me. In fact, I’m big on doing something once and continuously getting paid for it. Luckily, my shop on Zazzle has been allowing me to do that with no sweat. Simply put your creative juices to work and post something for sale on the site and leave it alone. In some time you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank once you get to request payments from all the royalties earned on your merchandise.

12. Get hooked on the library.

Why pay for what you can get for free? Instead of purchasing magazines, books and movies get a library card and borrow them instead. Plus, you’ll have access to tons of great workshops and events at libraries.

13. Shop smile.amazon.com

Instead of using regular ole’ Amazon.com, make a switch to the donation portion. When you shop using smile.amazon.com .05% percent of your purchase prize will be donated to a charity of your choosing. Just log into your Amazon again, select your favorite charity and smile as you shop knowing you are helping those who need you most. That’s definitely something to be proud about.

14. Update your Linkedin profile

Whether or not you are looking for a job, your Linkedin profile needs to be on point. Long gone are the days, when getting a job depended on faxing your resume. You need an online presence. Let your best side shine on your Linkedin profile today and reap the benefits in the year to come. Feel free to follow me on Linkedin in the event you need some ideas on what to post on yours.

15. Unsubscribe to email newsletters

It’s never fun to open your inbox and see over 2,000 unread emails. I know because it’s the story of my life. What makes it worse is that it’s mostly junk mail… junk mail that I signed up for. Free your mind and inbox, by taking sometime to unsubscribe to those.

16. Read Cashing Out

If you are struggling financially and think of your current situation as poor, you need this book. Now’s the time to read this and change the way you look at money. It will truly improve your financial outlook. You’ll thank me in a year once you finally realize you need to stop working for money, but make the money work for you.

17. Sign up for cash back sites

Friends don’t let friends shop without earning cash back. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be getting rewarded for your shopping trips. Signup for cashback sites and apps like Receipt Hog, Receipt Pal, Swagbucks, Mypoints, Ebates, Upromise or Ibotta.

18. Hide the remote

Yes, you read that right. Hide the remote to the television. It will be annoying at first but you’ll be patting yourself on the back when you realize how much more physical activity you get from having to get off the couch more. And don’t even think about getting a remote app on your phone!

19. Sign up for meetup.com

I don’t care how busy or popular you may be. Everyone loves and needs companionship. Sign up for meetup.com to get alerts on groups with like-minded individuals and then go mingle. The human interaction and possibility of new relationships just might make your heart smile.

20. Work on your credit with self-lender

Whether you rent, own, or just need to get new car insurance everyone could use good credit. A Self Lender is a  credit builder account in which a CD account is held in your name for a year. As you make payments to fund the account, your payments are reported to credit bureaus. In a year when the account is funded, you get the money and a shiny new credit score. Definitely, a reason to be proud!

21. Write letters to your child

Whether it’s an email address for a new baby or notes in a book, write letters (or just one) to your child for a year and then give them to him or her on their next birthday. Seeing them smile will make you smile and you’ll be proud of yourself for sticking to it. If you don’t have a child, write to a parent or another child in your life.

22. Set up automatic transfers for a savings account

By now, we should all know the importance of paying yourself first. If you make it an automatic transfer you’ll never have to worry about forgetting. Set it up now and then smile in a year when you see how much money has rolled in.

23. Create a Good Things jar

It’s so easy to get caught up with all the bad things that happen in a year. That’s why you should get a jar and fill it with notes about good things that happened during the year. This way if you lose your job or your car breaks down, all the positive things will overshadow it and leave you smiling when you reflect on the past year.

24. Delete a social media account

I know some people need it for a living but hear me out. Social media is so exhausting. Facebook, Pinterest, Spapchat, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok. Keeping up with all the changes is tiring and a huge time suck. I say delete the one that drains you the most or isn’t beneficial and feel the weight lifted off your shoulders. Even getting rid of one can lighten the load a lot and make you feel so much better.

25. Create an elevator speech

Opportunity is everywhere. You never know when you’ll run into a promising business connection. Have your elevator speech prepared so when that opportunity comes around you’ll be ready.

26. Find an accountability partner

It will be a lot harder to give up on your goals if you have someone keeping you accountable. Make sure whoever you choose will be willing to check in on you consistently. All that tough love will pay off sometime.

27. Keep your toiletry bag packed permanently

Whether you prepare ahead of time or pack last minute, packing a toiletry bag can be so frustrating. It’s almost certain you’ll be rushing to stuff a toothbrush, lotion, and deodorant in your bag just before leaving for your flight. All signs of chaos can be avoided by just having a prepacked bag. Next time you head go shopping stock up on extra toothpaste, travel-sized skincare, shampoo, and even a comb-in brush to keep in your toiletry bag. It may be an “unnecessary expense” at the time, but you’ll be proud of yourself when you can leave for your next vacation without having to worry about leaving your toothbrush behind.

28. Buy a domain name

We’ve all had website ideas before and never acted on them. Buy that domain now and it could come in handy in the future. You might actually start building that business. Or if you don’t, it’s possible someone else would want to buy that domain name from you.

29. Set an alarm for daily affirmations

In case, you didn’t already know, this blog is called Terrific Words because my mother always drills the importance of speaking kindly to yourself with loving words. Plus, my name is in it. (Yes, I’ve been all about mindset shifts long before it was cool!)  So it should come as no surprise that I make sure speaking to myself aloud at specific times of day is part of my routine. Start speaking aloud to yourself religiously and you’ll see the changes in your life unfold.

30. Invest in bed linens and pillows

Never underestimate the power of a good night of sleep. When you’re well rested you are most likely happy, healthier, less stressed, and more productive. And it all starts with an inviting bed and comfy pillows. A night of good sleep can surely make you unstoppable. If you don’t know where to start, try investing in some silk pillowcases. They are ridiculously soft. Plus, your hair and skin will thank you.

31. Learn your neighbor’s name

Do you live in a neighborhood or do you live in a community?  Based on all the studies sharing how Americans are lonely and have no support, I’m guessing you live in a neighborhood. And your neighborhood likely lacks any camaraderie or support other than waving at each other on the way to work each morning. If all you know about your neighbor is the kind of car they drive, take a chance and ask their name. And if you already know that, get their phone number. It’s the first step in connecting and building that community. Besides, you’ll likely appreciate it when you have someone who can text you to let you know you left your garage door open.

32. Sign up for Masterclass

While I may think college is largely overrated and believe that for 10+ years now, learning something new is not. Fortunately, paying a LOT of money for college isn’t the only way to gain new knowledge. Masterclass gives you access to over 180 classes taught by leading industry experts for $15 a month billed $180 annually. (Don’t worry, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.) Considering you’ll have access to a songwriting class taught by John Legend, the personal branding class taught by Kris Jenner, a self-expression class taught by Rupaul, and more, it’s definitely money worth spent. Invest in your expanding horizons now and you’ll certainly be glad you did in a year.

*For a Limited time Masterclass is offering two subscriptions for the price of one so you can gift to someone for the holiday season.

33. Get the rewards program

Whether it’s a Happy Meal every Friday for the kids, the Charged Up you splurge on every Monday at Panera, or the quick stop at CVS on the way home from work, there are clearly some recurring expenses in your budget. If you aren’t signed up for their rewards program you could be leaving money on the table and spending more than you need to. Even signing up for a rewards credit card like the United Gateway from Chase could be helping you save. After several months in the program, you might be surprised and even proud of how many points/freebies you racked up.

34. Delete someone or something on social media

Maybe it’s a high school friend who is clearly racist or maybe it’s a distant relative who keeps trying to sell you Mary Kay. Whoever it is, if you can’t stand to see their updates whenever they pop up on your feed, it’s time to delete them.

35. Make some email folders

Develop an email organization system. After several years of living with 13,000 emails I FINALLY landed on an email organization system that works. It took several hours of me researching and googling, which was mentally exhausting. BUT several months later and I’m so proud that I did it.

36. Join a group

It could be your local chamber of commerce, maybe something like Black Girl’s Wine Society or even a knitting group on Facebook. Whatever it is, sign up today and you’ll be glad to surround yourself with likeminded individuals.

37. Print and hang THAT picture

You know which one I’m talking about… that picture and frame that has been collecting dust in the corner for the last 5 months? Maybe it’s time you actually get that thing off the floor and print that photo you’ve been thinking about printing for weeks now. You’ll be happy you finally did it every time you walk by it.

38. Avoid handwashing

If you are the type of person who has a strong disdain for cleaning dishes and laundry, do yourself a favor and stop by anything that says, “handwash only.” Whether it’s a pretty new mug or a fancy dress, read the label before buying it. That way you’ll know ahead of time if your purchase just comes up with an additional 20 minutes worth of housework. Make the decision to be intentional of avoiding “handwash only” and you’ll likely be very proud in a year when you notice how much shorter your laundry routine has gotten.

39. Delete photos and videos in your phone

I’m not to proud of it but at this moment, I have 4,284 photos and videos on my phone. And I know one day it’s gonna give me a headache. Don’t be like me. Spend some time today deleting all those random photos of things you were gonna buy and screenshots that don’t even matter now. You’ll definitely be proud of yourself as the year progresses and you have enough storage in your phone to continue capturing meaningful moments.

40. Plan some personal surprises for the next 6 months

If you use a paper planner, get your hands on some fun planner stickers and stick pictures of treats such as donuts, ice cream, wine glasses, etc on different days throughout the planner. On the days with a sticker on it, treat yourself to the corresponding treat. As the days go on, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that you have to treat yourself to a donut before doing work that day. Plus, you’ll be equally pleased with yourself for having the foresight to do that.

What small things have you done that ended up making you proud in a big way?

TERRIfic Quip: Do something today, that will make you want to thank yourself in the future.







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  1. Loved ALL your advice! Specially I think I’m going to put in practice as soon as possible “Start a family or friend tradition”! It’s a great idea to have with my friends because that will keep us together. I would like to do something monthly, maybe visit a different coffee shop every month! 😀

  2. These are so great and it’s so true. You’ve got to start somewhere when it comes to getting stuff done and you don’t want to spend the whole year without achieving anything!

  3. That’s quite a long list! Everyday, I’m trying to dispose anything that I don’t need. My goal is to live a minimalist life. My weakness is that, I keep on buying accessories and clothes whenever I don’t feel good. Hahaha!

  4. Meal planning/prep is a small change in my weekly routine that really makes a difference. It makes it easy to not overspend at the grocery store, and I know I’ll have nutritious meals for the week that I can grab and go.

  5. This is a great list, and it makes me feel good to know I’ve done several of these. Unsubscribing from emails is so freaking liberating. I’m trying to get this meal prep down, some weeks are better than others.

    I am determined to get it right before school starts.

  6. These are really great ideas. I’ve cut back on my cable, and just the other day I thought I need to just get basic. We are barely home to watch anything.

  7. Girl, you’ve got some great money saving tips here! I do a lot of these but I need to work on a few like my elevator speech, and cleaning up my emails.

  8. I’m actually doing many of these. My challenge right now is figuring out how to lower the cell phone bill. It makes me cringe…feels like such a waste of money.

  9. These are all great suggestions, thanks for the tips! I love shopping off season and getting great deals, I’m working on putting more money in my high interest savings account, and I’m signed up for Ebates!

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