Asian woman in pink holding a sparkler and a glass of wine.

If you've ever made New Year's resolutions only to find all your well-meaning plans stutter to a stop after a few weeks, you're not alone. Change can seem daunting, especially if you have big goals. But successful doesn't have to mean major life makeovers. Small changes can add up to a positive transformation. Whether it involves your health, well-being, relationships, or career, here are simple yet effective ways to help you change for the better.

6 Small Steps to Take for Big Changes

Change can look like different things for different people. It can include losing weight, nabbing that promotion, or overcoming a fear of public speaking. But it can also involve combatting negativity, , and learning to let go of anger. The important thing is to follow through with positive action to make change sustainable in the long run. Try these small steps to help you feel like a new person!

1. Breathe deeply.

This simple act is an effective tool in helping relieve . Stress is a major risk factor behind many chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and even anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that you can employ a deep breathing practice to reduce physiological and psychological stress.

So next time you're feeling overwhelmed or anxious, breathe deeply. Just count your breaths while inhaling through the nose and expanding the abdomen. Then slowly exhale through the mouth. This inhalation-exhalation technique helps calm your body after stress, enabling you to process emotions better, feel happier, and make better choices.

2. Laugh more.

A on laughter shows that while spontaneous laughter is closely linked to a positive mood, self-induced laughter – or even without humor – is enough to create chemical changes in the body that may reduce stress. Laughing can improve your mood, helping with anxiety, pressure, and depression.

So, watch a funny movie, tell jokes, or churn out a chuckle or two daily to feel better and make you more resilient to stress.

3. Walk often.

According to the , walking can lighten your mood by releasing painkilling endorphins to your body while strengthening muscles, supporting bone health, and improving circulation. Studies have found that it can also slow down mental decline and lower your risk for Alzheimer's.

Need a break to clear your mind at the office? Take a walk around the block. Skip the escalator and walk up the stairs to the movies. Walk around the mall after lunch.

It's easy to form a habit when you pair it with a . By walking consistently in the same context, you can develop a regular habit that leads to long-term rewards.

4. Perform random acts of kindness. 

Did you know? Performing random acts of kindness can increase happiness in both givers and receivers. shows that performing just one random act of kindness a day not only reduces your stress, anxiety, and depression but also floods your body with the same hormones that make you – and the person you helped – calmer, healthier, and happier. So, hold that door open for the stranger behind you or treat a co-worker to coffee.

Go one step further and learn to forgive. Research links forgiveness to reduced anxiety and depression, fewer physical health symptoms, and lower mortality rates. Chronic interpersonal stress can be harmful to you both physiologically and psychologically.

5. Take a break from social media.

Though social media has positive benefits, it can lead to mental health problems. Prolonged use can create a lot of pressure to be as popular as others and establish a stereotype for others to see.

Whether it's a few hours or even a few days, detoxing from social media can help you stop comparing yourself to others. It can provide you with more time for face-to-face social interaction, which has proven to be protective against mental disorders. It gives you more time to focus on your or pursue passion projects, which boosts your self-esteem and can help you feel fulfilled. It also eliminates those late-night scrolling so you can .

6. Wash your hands.

Regular hand washing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your health and reduce the risk of acquiring seasonal coronavirus infection. Pair the practice with LIFEBUOY Antibacterial Handwash Total 10. It fights 99.9% of germs for overall germ protection with its unique Activ Silver+ formula. Proper hand hygiene has been one of the best ways to stay protected during the pandemic, prevent the spread of infection, and even battle the rise in antibiotic resistance.

A change for the better doesn't have to be overly complicated. Set realistic goals and start small to develop the habit more easily. Bookmark this article for a mood boost the next time you're feeling stressed or stuck.