physical trainerThis 3-part fitness series is written and sponsored by Samantha Costello, a Marine Corps spouse and owner of Core Fit. If you’re interested in joining a group to help you stay accountable with your at-home workouts, check out her Holiday Hustle Challenge starting December 1. This challenge includes 4 weeks of workouts you can do anywhere, anytime, along with nutrition guidance and an amazing group of like-minded women helping each other reach their goals. There’s also a chance to win a big challenge giveaway!


Almost everyone is working on self-improvement in one way or another. You might be aiming to improve your health, your relationships, your mind, or all of the above. Most of us work on some sort of improvement for the majority of our lives.

These are 11 small changes you can make to your daily life that will change it for the better. Pick one or two at first and once you master those, pick two more!

1. Understand your mindset

Mindset is a way of thinking, a frame of mind. It’s your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits. Our actions are a reflection of our mindset, and there are some simple ways to improve it:

    • Spend time around positive people
    • Have a vision of who you want to be
    • Set goals
    • Write your goals down daily
    • Learn from successful people
    • Use a morning routine
    • Avoid negative people
    • Develop your mental toughness
    • Take time to reflect

It takes a conscious effort to transform and have a positive mindset geared towards success, but it is possible. By slowly implementing these small changes in your daily life, you’ll be taking the right steps towards developing a winning mental attitude.

2. Build your mental toughness

Mental toughness allows you to have perseverance and passion to achieve your long-term goals. In other words, it means you can make your mindset work for you instead of against you. People who exhibit mental toughness do well in all areas of life. These individuals:

Do less of…

    • blaming others or external factors for their own choices and actions
    • taking everything so seriously
    • giving in to distraction
    • pleasing others. Do what is right and what you believe in.
    • taking things personally and wondering “why me?”

Do more of…

    • holding themselves accountable for their actions
    • celebrating other’s successes
    • owning their body and mind by practicing healthy eating, sleeping and workout habits.
    • embracing and celebrating change
    • investing time and energy into the present
    • focusing on tasks at hand
    • keeping your self-talk and thoughts positive
    • viewing failure as an opportunity to learn and grow
    • having tenacity. NEVER GIVE UP.

Mental toughness is the difference between those who succeed and those who don’t. 

3. Surround yourself with good people

You are the average of the five people you surround yourself with. This includes social media. Who are you following and what are they contributing to or taking away from your life? Make changes where necessary and surround yourself with good, uplifting individuals.

4. Move Your Body

Moving your body just 20 minutes a day will have huge benefits. Physical activity is an instant mood booster because of the hormones released, like serotonin and dopamine. Exercise can transform us both physically and mentally.  Other benefits include:

    • Improved mood and decreased feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress 
    • Help with weight loss
    • Boost in self-confidence
    • Increased muscle strength and bone density
    • Increased energy levels
    • Reduced risk of chronic disease
    • Improved brain function and memory
    • Help with relaxation and sleep
    • Potential reduction of chronic pain and high blood pressure
alarm clock for simple changes
Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash

5. Get Up One Hour Earlier 

I know – get up even earlier? Hear me out. Everyone can benefit from getting up one hour earlier than usual. It allows us to run our days instead of having them run us. We can’t create time, so we have to make time!

Most people say time is the number one factor that keeps them from reaching their goals. The truth? We have time for the things we prioritize, plain and simple! 

Even if you work full time and already feel tired; even if you’re an exhausted mom who can’t imagine giving up sleep; getting up early and giving yourself time is the best gift. It may be difficult at first, but it gets easier and will even motivate us to go to bed earlier. Getting up early and being proactive vs. reactive helps us have a good morning and sets the tone for the day. Studies have also shown that it helps to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.

The good news is that anyone can make themselves a morning person with some consistency! If you need more inspiration to start this practice, I suggest Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning. He makes this practice scalable to every person and lifestyle.

6. Write down your goals

Write them down and post it where you see it every day, or share it with an accountability partner. It’s amazing how simply writing something down makes you that much more accountable. The idea is no longer floating around in your head. It’s on paper and you can physically see it. 

It’s harder to skip an activity that you’re writing down and tracking! When you’re staring at the cookies in the closet, knowing you’ll have to write it down if you eat it (essentially taking responsibility for an action), it makes it easier to walk away.

Sharing a goal with an accountability partner helps when the initial motivation wanes. Choose someone who will call you out for all your excuses!

woman holding water bottle
Photo by Houston Max on Unsplash

7. Drink half your body weight in ounces of water daily

 Make water the only thing you drink aside from your daily cup of coffee. Water is important for so many functions like maintaining our core temperature, transporting nutrients to our cells, removing waste products and keeping our pH levels balanced. The National Association of Sports Medicine recommends simple change and has useful information on water’s importance for the body and mind.

8. Replace an unhealthy snack or dessert with a daily protein shake

If you aren’t sure if your protein shake is good for you, ask a certified nutritionist, dietician or someone qualified. Two of my favorites are Arbonne shakes and Fairlife Protein Drinks. These are some of the best tasting pre-mixed shakes out there.

The key thing to remember – you do not want to have a protein shake daily in addition to what you are already eating! You want to replace it with something that wasn’t serving your body. Maybe you always skip breakfast? Have it then! Protein helps to keep us full longer and helps with muscle repair and growth.

9. Get curious

Curiosity solves problems. It improves focus, stimulates creativity, and can have a calming effect. When you have a problem, instead of lamenting over it, get curious about it! You can almost always find a way to solve it.

10. Do deep work

In everything you do, from your workout to unloading the dishwasher to playing with your children, wholeheartedly focus on the task at hand. Schedule your time wisely to allow for deep work and push away distractions like your phone, TV, Instagram, and Facebook. This will allow you to be present in everything you do. You will master hard tasks and produce quality work and relationships.

11. Develop a mantra

Come up with a short meaningful phrase you repeat to yourself in distressing circumstances. Repeating a mantra can help to busy up your brain, creating less room for catastrophizing and obsessing over the problem at hand, giving a calming effect

Once you start implementing these 11 small changes, you need accountability to keep you going.

Being part of a group of like-minded people is the key to creating a happier, more productive life. The Core Fit Facebook group is a great place to start finding people who are on the same journey with you to become the best version of themselves. We share workouts, recipes, common struggles, and many other inspirational tips to help you reach your goals. Join us here! 

Find part 1 and part 2 of this series, here and here.


Core FitSamantha Costello is a Marine Corps spouse and owner of Core Fit. She’s making waves for other military spouses by encouraging them to pay attention to what really gives them purpose while helping them create a path forward in that direction. While it may require her clients to step outside their comfort zone, Samantha encourages them to do something they are passionate about every day to not only live out a dream career but to make a positive impact.