12 Tiny Behaviors That Take The Struggle Out Of Life

Challenge yourself to think small.

Behaviors that take the struggle out of life Ablozhka, Sparklestroke Stories | Canva

In 2005, as I watched a Staples commercial showcasing their EASY button, I was struck by a long-ignored yearning: the desire for change, the willingness to tread a path less traveled and eliminate the struggles from life's journey. In the phase of life that I experienced this surge for ease, my days felt like an endless list of tasks, challenges, and obstacles and I longed for a manageable blueprint to navigate life's stubborn twists and turns.


The desire for an easier life inspired mindset change, nourishing mind soul, and body in a way I hadn't before, and tweaking daily routines to find balance.

Here are 12 tiny behaviors that helped me take the struggle out of life.

1. Practice gratitude daily

Taking just a few moments each day to reflect on what you're grateful for can shift your perspective from focusing on what's lacking to appreciating what you have. Start a gratitude journal, list or write full stories about the people, places, things, and events that help your life along. When you run out of the obvious items, challenge yourself to seek out and bring your focus to the insignificant things you take for granted. Clean drinking water, work that provides for your family, or a good night's sleep are all examples of privileges we overlook.


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2. Use mindful breathing

When life gets hectic, take a moment to pause and focus on your breath. Deep, mindful breathing can help calm your nervous system, reduce stress, and bring clarity to your mind.

3. Set morning intentions and evening rewards

Instead of diving headfirst into your day, take a moment each morning to set intentions for how you want to feel and what you want to accomplish. In the evening, acknowledge what you achieved, the crisis you handled, or the hugs you gave. The intention practice can help you stay focused and aligned with your goals throughout the day, and the evening reminder acknowledges your abilities accurately, integrating a can-do mindset while boosting your self-esteem.

@awakeningmountains Starting your morning with a mindful morning routine can help set your day with intention to be present. What is your favorite way to start the day in a mindful way? What would you like to add to your morning routine this week? Please share in the comments! #mindfulness #mindfulmorning #checklist #morningroutine #mindfulpractice  ♬ original sound - awakeningmountains

4. Practice self-compassion

Especially when things don't go as planned, be kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same love and understanding you would offer a friend in a similar challenge, and give the grounded advice you would share with that trusted friend. Self-compassion is the positive reinforcement that helps you recover quickly and build resilience.

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5. Embrace imperfection

If you are driven and ambitious, embracing imperfection might sound like the courtship of failure and fear. If you are relaxed, imperfection can trigger shame and sadness. When I discovered that my goals could be achieved with my own “good enough” efforts, I was relieved and recognized that the mindset of high and unrealistic expectations was the culprit behind many of my struggles. Let go of the need to be perfect and embrace your flaws and mistakes as opportunities for growth. Remember that life is messy, and it's okay to stumble along the way.


She is smiling big to take the struggle out of life asife via Shutterstock

6. Practice “just one thing”

Multi-tasking deceived me into believing I could magically do more in a little time and, like many die-hard multi-taskers, I learned that over time I became more unfocused and stressed. Honing in on just one thing allowed me to complete and enjoy more tasks.

In that same season of struggle, with to-do lists rolling from one page to another, I was unsatisfied, tasks remained unfinished and there was little or no downtime. Work had become the ultimate goal and I longed for escape, silently asking, “To what end?” When task completion stopped being my big goal, I still accomplished the essentials with time for what I wanted to do.


7. Do what matters

Similar to “just one thing,” the quest to select only what matters leads you to discard the fillers, even choosing to delete pursuits, activities, habits, and relationships that no longer bring joy or serve a meaningful purpose. This mindset releases you to re-imagine a life you love and find balance.

8. Return to balance

Looking at the people I admired the most I learned a balance I describe as 8+8+8. Eight hours of sleep, with eight hours of work and eight hours of play. This allowed room for exercise, clean mindful eating, spending time with people I love, and restful sleep. It also allowed for a balance away from screens and towards connection with others, the outdoors, and my creative self.

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9. Get moving

The body longs to move and I discovered the mind-body benefit of a 5-minute stretching routine following the morning mantra or intention. This would complement other forms of exercise, and on busy days replace the usual workout.

10. Cultivate positive relationships

Surrounding yourself with people who uplift and support you and investing time and energy in nurturing positive relationships that bring joy and fulfillment to your life are classic examples of positive relationships.

Consider the relationships that don’t give back: the stranger at the mall, the waiter at your table, the store assistant who says “no” and even the homeless person who asked for change. As we invest in the wider community recognizing our mutual kinship as humans, make eye contact, pay it forward, and give to get.


Mental health is essential for your overall wellbeing, so prioritize taking care of it. 💙

♬ Infinite Lofi for Focus from the Calm app - Calm

11. Practice self-care regularly

Make self-care a priority by carving out time each day to do something that nourishes your body, mind, or soul. Whether it's reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or simply enjoying a cup of tea, find activities that replenish your energy and bring you joy.


12. Spend much less than you make

The cycle of spending more and earning more, overdraft, and credit card debt is a slippery slope that leads to overwork, stress, anxiety, and poor health. Start small by keeping a daily log of your spending and after a week if you are concerned, begin to set dollar limits on groceries, eating out, and incidentals. These are the first small steps to a budget.

Spinning in nature helps her take the struggle out of life Mix and Match Studio via Shutterstock


Most of us with jobs to do, children to care for, and homes to tend can’t make the big changes we long for. Incorporating these tiny behaviors into your daily life might seem inadequate. But over time, they have a profound impact on your well-being and happiness. Challenge yourself to think small and navigate life's challenges with greater ease and resilience. Remember, it's the little things that often make the biggest difference.

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Reta Walker is a relationship therapist with over 25 years of experience, specializing in helping couples get back on track.