Below, you’ll find a seven-day guide to earning, exercising, and smiling more. For each day of the week, we’ve listed the change you should make and why it’s key.
Sunday: Write your to-do list, and prep your workout clothes for tomorrow morning before bed.
Retired Navy SEAL commander Jocko Willink told Business Insider there are two things he does every night to get a running start the next morning — and that anyone can use them.
One, prepare your gym clothes tonight. The biggest obstacle for a person developing a workout routine is putting in extra effort to make it fit into their schedule. To make it easier on yourself, Willink said, prepare your workout gear at night so you can throw it on as soon as you slide out of bed.
Two, finish making tomorrow’s to-do list tonight. You already know what you have to accomplish tomorrow, and you’re better off planning your day quickly.
Monday: Set a savings goal based on your age.
To save 10% or 15% of your income each month, as experts recommend, you have to put in effort.
According to Fidelity’s recommended retirement-savings benchmarks, if you’re 30 years old and earn $60,000 a year, you should have the equivalent of one year’s salary ($60,000) saved. At 35, it should be twice that amount ($120,000). At 40, it should be three times that amount ($180,000). You can see the full chart here.
Keep in mind that you don’t have to set aside every penny of the amounts above to get to your goal. If you’re using a retirement account or other investment account, your money will be invested in the market and has the potential to grow.
Tuesday: Ask yourself: What do I want that I already have? What else, if anything, do I truly want?
“The more self-aware you are, the easier it’ll be for you to distinguish between what you like, and what you actually want to acquire,” she writes. “But how do we make that distinction? As human beings, we’re so used to wanting more as a default mode. More food, more money, more friends, more sex, more stuff, more time, more attention. So how do we start wanting less?”
It starts with the questions posed above.
The best way to protect yourself from experiencing financial mistreatment or abuse, according to Jenny Flom, a New Jersey lawyer at Cole Schotz who focuses on guardianship actions, is to make sure your estate-planning documents are complete, and that means more than just a will.
“Make sure your power of attorney and your healthcare directive are completed,” Flom told Business Insider.
A power-of-attorney form is a legal document that gives one or more people access to your financial accounts and the ability to make decisions with your money when you can’t. A healthcare directive does the same for medical decisions.
Thursday: Change your scenery to stay productive if you work from home.
Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback felt as if her productivity was suffering when she started working from home. But after about a month of trial and error, she found one strategy that worked: changing her scenery.
Loudenback now spends at least two hours every day away from her “work desk,” which is in her bedroom, and at least one day a week outside of her apartment at a coffee shop or elsewhere. Brie Reynolds, a senior career specialist at FlexJobs, told Loudenback that moving from one space to another is “a great way to stay focused and productive throughout the day.” Plus, it breaks up the monotony we all suffer from occasionally.
Friday: Set up a shopping filter in your Gmail to stop impulse spending.
Business Insider’s Libby Kane has found that the best way to resist the urge to spend money online is simply to set up email filters.
Now all her shopping emails get immediately filtered into a shopping folder — not her inbox — until she realizes she needs something specific. Then she clicks in and sees if any of her favorite retailers are having sales.
Saturday: Write down three things you’re grateful for.
In a commencement speech at UC Berkeley, Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg revealed one of the psychological strategies she’s been using to cope with her husband’s death: “Write down three moments of joy before I go to bed each night.”
“This simple practice has changed my life,” Sandberg said. “Because no matter what happens each day, I go to sleep thinking of something cheerful.”
Martin Seligman, founder of the positive psychology movement, found that, after six months, study participants who wrote down three positive things before they went to bed each night felt happier and less depressed.