8 Easy Ways to Refresh Your Routine in 2018
If You’re Scrolling Instagram Late into the Night…Try an Audio Book or Podcast
Since studies have shown that before-bed screen time adversely affects sleep, switching to a screen-free nighttime activity could help you catch more zzzs. For one week, try swapping your nightly scroll for one of our favorite audio books. Choose a classic, like Pride and Prejudice, or try a book that will get you chuckling before bed—just skip any crime thrillers that may get your heart racing and mind turning a bit too much before bedtime.
If You Wear Black Eyeliner…Try Brown or Bronze
Black eyeliner is a staple in many makeup bags, and because it’s part of your daily routine, you’ve probably never considered changing shades. But our beauty editors suggest trying a brown or bronze eyeliner instead. It will still provide definition, but it’s softer and will bring out any gold fleck in your eyes. If you’re not sure which brand to grab at the store, check out our list of favorite eyeliners, then make sure you read the packaging carefully to get the shade you want.
If You Keep Hitting Snooze…Try a New Alarm Clock
Switching out your usual alarm clock can have amazing effects on your sleep quality. Studies have found that using your phone as your alarm makes it more likely you’ll browse your phone late into the night and check it first thing in the morning. And all of that pre-bed screen time won’t help your insomnia. The quick fix? Leave your phone out of the bedroom and make a small investment in a new alarm clock.
Try an old-school alarm clock ($11) that looks retro, but comes without the annoying ticking noise. Or invest in a wake-up light ($130), that will wake you naturally with gradually increasing light. This tiny change will cut down on screen time and improve your wake-up routine.
If You Make Lasagna Three Nights a Week…Try a Meal Planner
When you’re crunched for time, feeding picky eaters, or in need of inspiration, it’s all too easy to fall into a recipe rut. Sometimes, the easiest way to make your dinners more creative is to take the decision-making process out of your hands. Commit to following our stress-free monthly meal plan for one week. Choose any of the four weeks you want, and let the printable shopping list simplify the prep work. Planning the menu in advance will prevent post-work dinner panic and help you avoid the drive-through.
If you want to skip both the recipe search and the shopping trip, sign up for Blue Apron. They’ll deliver the supplies to your door, so all you have to do is follow a fun new recipe.
If You Always Read the Same Author…Try a Fresh Recommendation
Reading the same author’s work can have a comforting effect, but it can also get a little boring. If you’re ready to break out of your reading rut, check out the 13 books Real Simple editors read again and again. These are the titles we turn to frequently, and chances are there are at least a few on the list that you haven’t yet read. Or choose from our favorite newly-released reads—which include novels, memoirs, and a simple guide to doing nothing.
If you’re a little hesitant to read a book at random and have a specific genre in mind, visit whatshouldireadnext.com. Type in the title of a book you love, and the site will recommend close matches. It’s a fun way to find a new book when your friends are all out of recommendations.
If You Wear Powder Blush…Try a Cream Blush
If powder blush has been part of your normal beauty routine for years, you might never have considered switching to a new product. But try a cream formula once, and it may convince you to permanently change your routine. For a fresh flush, our beauty editors recommend applying a cream blush to just the apple of your cheeks. In the best blush product test (our editors tried out more than 50!), the Bobbi Brown Cheek Glow Palette was pretty, versatile, and easy-to-blend. This simple palette comes with two shades: Dab the deeper color on the apples of your cheeks, and tap the lighter shade on cheekbones as a highlighter. This duo will update your routine and save space in your makeup bag.
To buy: $50; bobbibrown.com.
If Your Home’s Decor Feels Stale…Try Rearranging the Accessories
If your home's been decorated the same way for years, you likely don't even really see it anymore. Your eyes gloss over details like art and collectibles that were once carefully selected for impact and pop. To get out of this design rut, you don’t have to buy anything new (unless you want to)—simply moving what you already own to a new spot or a new room will make it feel fresh.
Take the painting that’s currently in your living room, and swap it for the photo print in your bedroom. Or move the candlesticks that typically live on your dining table to the top of the fireplace mantle. Live with that new arrangement for a week and see what you think—this mini makeover takes just a few minutes and is easier to reverse than a fresh coat of paint. Feeling inspired? Try these 8 other easy ways to revamp your home.
If You Wear a Center Part…Try a Side Part
Whether you typically part your hair in the center, on the right, or on the left, changing your part is the fastest way to switch up your style. Plus, unlike getting a new cut or color, this temporary change can be undone in minutes if you decide it doesn’t suit you. “You’ll get instant volume, a new look, and a healthy boost,” says Heather Muir Maffei, Real Simple’s beauty director. Here's why: Wearing your hair parted in a single spot year after year can cause more breakage in that area. Switching your part gives your hair a chance to grow in strong. A fresh (and commitment-free) look with a healthy perk? We call that a win-win.
To make this change, try adjusting your part while your hair is wet after a shower. After several days, your hair will naturally start to fall into the new pattern without coaxing.