I'm thinking especially of things that will be useful for the rest of your life, and apply to almost everyone. Things with huge ROI.
More obvious things:
- Exercise 30-60 minutes a day. An obvious one, but more health means more energy and likely a longer life too. If you can make it a habit, requiring virtually no willpower (harder to not do), this will pay off for as long as you live.
- Permanently quit bad habits. If you can identify what these are and successfully quit for life, that frees up a ton of time, energy, and quite possibly also money. Depending on the bad habit, it might also lengthen your life.
Less obvious things:
- Improving typing speed. "Hunt and peck" typists average 20 words per minute. You can easily boost that to 80 wpm by learning to touch type. That's a 4x productivity boost for life. Dictation may be even better, since people on average speak at 150 wpm. Learning speed reading may have similar productivity benefits, even if you just double or triple your reading rate, given how much text we read now.
- "If hear alarm, then get out of bed." I programmed myself to do this with mental rehearsal. This is important because many self-improvement projects such as meditating, exercising, or writing really are only going to happen if they happen first thing in the morning. And you can't do that if you can't get out of bed when you want. Spend a mere 0.5-2 hours mentally (or physically!) rehearsing this if-then plan and it pays dividends 5+ times a week 50+ weeks a year.
I'm struggling to come up with many more things though. It seems to me there should be dozens and dozens of more or less obvious things. Learning to think clearly? (How specifically?) Communication skills? (Which ones?) Emotional resilience techniques?
Help me brainstorm here, smart people.