A Better You in 2020? Here's How Your Home Can Help
As the first month of a new year and a new decade draws to a close, it behoves us all to look back on the promises we’ve made to ourselves. Are you making good on your resolution to lose weight and live healthier? How about starting up that side hustle that was going to help you to transform your household finances? Or getting more organized so that you can make better use of your time?
While there’s nothing wrong with setting ambitious goals for ourselves, there’s no need to beat yourself up if your progress hasn’t been all that you hoped it would be. Making changes to your lifestyle (and making them stick) is hard. Especially when you’re trying to make them all on your own. Even if you have your friends, family and colleagues supporting you, it’s easy to fall off the wagon.
Whatever it is that you want to change to become a better version of yourself in 2020 there’s an asset that you’ll have to optimize to give yourself the best fighting chance… your home. Your home can either aid you in your efforts or it can actively work against you. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which your home can help to inspire and assist you as you chart your course for self-improvement...
Start from the outside in
Most of us are pretty savvy when it comes to our interior decor, but we don’t give quite as much love and attention to our exteriors. This is a shame, because making changes to your exterior decor is about so much more than adding curb appeal to your home. Think about it! When you come home after a long day’s work and see wilted plants, a front door covered in road grime, a yard littered with rusting children's toys and a driveway full of potholes are you really going to feel inspired to cook something nutritious, work out in your spare room or work on that book you’ve been writing in your head for months? Maybe… but probably not.
Try and add some life and cheer to your exterior. Replace that tired old front door with beautiful new Provia front doors. Get some healthy and luscious potted plants out in your front yard. Try and get the front lawn as tidy and well manicured as possible. An orderly and beautiful front yard can help to calm and focus the mind to ensure that you want to do more than collapse in front of the TV when you get home.
Make the most of your natural light
If you aim to be more productive at home, you need to make the most of your natural light, not just in your home office (if you have one) but all around the house. To quote the Harvard Business Review natural light is the “ultimate office perk”. It reduces stress, aids concentration and makes your home look even more beautiful. So do all you can to make the most of yours (even if you don’t get a whole lot this time of year). Check out this previous post on how to add more light to your home.
Clutter -- it's gotta go!
The average household has a whole lotta stuff… so much so, in fact, that it can quickly get the better of us. Unless you get judicious with what you want to keep (or invest in smart storage) your home can quickly become cluttered. And clutter is not only distracting in the home environment, it can have surprisingly ill effects on your mental health. If you can barely see an unadorned surface on your home, this can actually add more stress than personality to your living space. Perhaps it’s time to carry out an audit of your belongings and ascertain what absolutely has to stay and what can be given to charity or sold on eBay.
A clean, tidy and well ordered home is much more conducive to both concentration and relaxation. Even if minimalism isn’t your decorative style of choice, there’s a lot to be said to paring down your decor to some carefully chosen statement pieces and leaving more visible surface space. Once you rid your home of clutter you may be pleasantly surprised to see how much more you enjoy your time there.
Smells like inspiration
We humans are a visually oriented species. But that doesn’t mean we should neglect our other senses. Our sense of smell, however, can play a huge part in helping us feel relaxed, motivated or even amorous when we’re at home. Scent has a powerful effect on our unconscious minds, and it’s safe to say that coming home to the smell of dirty dishes and used kitty litter isn’t going to leave you feeling very inspired or aspirational when you get home from a hard day’s work.
That said, be wary of using ineffective and potentially harmful plug-in deodorizers which use harsh chemicals. Instead, invest in some diffusers and fill them with essential oils which are appropriate for each room.
In the home office or workout room, for example, lemon or mint oils can be very effective in providing motivation and invigoration as well as stimulating the mind. In the living room, sandalwood, ylang-ylang or wild orange can help to create a relaxing but fresh and clean atmosphere. In the bedroom, lavender is the oil to use if you need to break the cycle of restless sleep. Or if you and your partner have pledged to get more passionate, jasmine is a nice sensuous scent to aid your amorous activities.
Working out how to work out
Pledged to get fit in 2020? Struggling to make time for the gym? You’re not alone. Distressingly, around 80% of Americans with gym memberships don’t actually use them. But, in all fairness, working gym opening hours around a busy working day and the responsibilities that come with raising kids can be prohibitive even with the best intentions.
Still, your home can lend a helping hand by allowing you to work out even when you can’t get to the gym. Don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune on weights and machines, transforming your spare room into a home gym. A little space is all you need for some isometric exercises which require nothing more than your own body weight to give you a comprehensive full body workout which burns calories and tones muscles.
Check out this full body workout which can be accomplished in as little as 20 minutes without equipment. If, however, you have a little space in which to add some equipment you can make a little go a long way. Some dumbells, kettlebells, a fit-ball and a yoga mat take up very little space in your spare room and can be more than enough to give you a great workout on those days when it’s too much of a hassle to get to the gym.
Tame your kitchen, transform your diet
At a time when so many of us are over-stressed and overworked, the allure of convenience can push us into some bad habits, causing us to rely on ready meals or take out night after night. All too often we make cooking into a bigger ordeal than it needs to be because our kitchens have become cluttered and difficult to navigate. Investing in some smart storage solutions that fit into your cabinets seamlessly and allow you to make the most of your usable space can make a huge difference. You can even make your own if you’re of a handy disposition.
When you’re spending less time searching for pots, pans, knives and crockery, cooking is much quicker and easier, so you can take control of your nutrition.
So, whatever positive changes you need to make in your life, help your home to help you!