The first one is obvious: save. Save money, invest in your 401(k), consider an IRA, and the list goes on. However, this is easier said than done. Besides contributing to retirement funds (which you should be doing), how does one save more money? Use cash instead of credit cards. If you don’t like to carry cash, then open some kind of free checking account. You spend less money, and feel the effects of what you are spending more, when you use cash or check. Try it as a 7-day challenge, or just keep it tucked away in the back of your mind.
Exercise, but not at the gym. If you don’t have the motivation or time to do the classic exercise routine– wake up early, put on your workout clothes, work out, shower– do not worry. This routine only works for a subset of people, and you can find your own thing. You can make small changes that will hedge against the ill health associated with lack of exercise. Walk to work, walk during your lunch break, join a running club, get a running app on your phone, find a 5K for a cause you support and train for it, join a pick up soccer team, play tennis with your partner on Saturday mornings. For all of these examples, you do not have to be athletic or particularly motivated, you just need to get out there and have fun. Before you know it, you will be feeling the benefits of a more active lifestyle, including a healthier future (statistically speaking).
Stop watching the TV just because you are bored. There is nothing wrong with TV. From PBS, to the news, to Gossip Girl, the TV has provided us with plenty of things worth watching. However, do not watch the TV just because there is “nothing else to do.” The TV does not create more things to do; instead, it traps you in to watching it for the rest of the night. Designate the shows you want to watch during the week (Project Runway, Dance Moms, whatever you like), and only watch those when they are on or you have recorded them. Do not sit down at the TV without a purpose. Why? Because you won’t get back up. The benefits of decreasing your TV intake are well known: more active lifestyle, varied interests, more social interactions. So decide when and how much TV you want to watch, instead of letting the TV decide.
Lastly, appreciate what you have right now. The easiest way to a better future is to start with a better right now. Appreciate now, enjoy it, love it, live in it, and you will feel the same way when you get to the “future” too.