Readers Share the Tiny Changes They Made That Changed Their Lives

Updated: Feb. 14, 2023

Readers share the tiny tweaks they made to their daily lives—and what happened for the better as a result.

Sometimes a little change is all you need. Our readers have formerly shared the family traditions that shaped their own parenting, and told us how they found a silver lining during the pandemic, but now they are telling us about the life-changing adjustments they made that warranted big results. These tiny tweaks made a huge improvement in their daily lives—and maybe they’ll spark some changes of your own.

A real doll

Illustration of a name tag with "Barbie" written on itMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“I work at an amusement park, and when another Barbara joined the team, I changed my name tag from ‘Barb’ to ‘Barbie.’ It was funny to see how small kids related to me differently. ‘Is she really Barbie?’ they asked. I changed it at my other job too, and began answering the phone, ‘This is Barbie, how can I help you?’ Ninety percent of callers now respond with my name: ‘Barbie, can you tell me…’ Pronouncing that long ‘e’ sound forces your mouth into a smile. But I’ve found the smile is usually returned voluntarily.” —Barbie Bosco, Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Rice twice as nice

Illustration of a bowl of cauliflower riceMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“We replaced rice with cauliflower rice. There’s not much of a difference in taste, and it seasons well, cooks in minutes, and is a vegetable instead of empty carbs.” —Michelle Byrd, Marlton, New Jersey

Happy wife, happy life

Illustration of speech bubblesMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“Early in our marriage, my husband would come home from work exhausted, and I’d be exhausted from the kids. We were both tired and cranky, and we often ended up arguing. It got to a point where I worried we were on the verge of divorce. The day I realized it, I asked myself, ‘Am I the person I would want to come home to?’ I began greeting him with a smile and a kiss instead of complaining about my day. He’d smile back, and we’d talk calmly. We still have our differences, but one small change in attitude saved our marriage forever.” —Phyllis Verderame, State College, Pennsylvania

The sweet life

Illustration of a slice of cakeMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“I eat my dessert first. I am 95 years old.” —Paula Hassler, Tempe, Arizona

Ahead of the times

Illustration of a spoon and forkMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“We pre-sort silverware in the dishwasher. It takes no extra time loading and makes emptying much easier. We always smile when our kids, now adults, introduce friends to ‘Spoonland’ and ‘Forkland.’” —Kathleen Luck, North Olmsted, Ohio

Creating a paperless trail

Illustration of a laptopMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“My sentimental hoarding resulted in countless envelopes stuffed with playbills, flyers, ticket stubs, wedding invitations, graduation announcements, holiday and birthday cards, etc. I placed all the contents on a scanner and laid coordinating decorative paper over them for a background, then uploaded the scans to a folder titled ‘Paula’s Scrapbook.’ It felt great to clear so many excess papers and create a beautiful craft project of memories to share on my computer.” —Paula M. Crane, Tucson, Arizona

Throwing in the towel

Illustration of a pair of socksMaria Amador for Reader's Digest

“I raised nine boys on a farm. It was their job to bring their laundry downstairs. I spent a lot of time turning socks, underwear, and shirts right side out. So I stopped and just folded everything as it came out of the dryer. I never noticed the boys wearing their socks or shirts inside out—the underwear, I don’t really know.” —R.N. via

Read on to learn more about these chance encounters our readers had with strangers.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest