10 Micro Habits That Will Change Your Life
What is a micro habit versus a regular habit? A micro habit is something very small that you can incorporate into your day-to-day schedule without adjusting your regular habits too aggressively.
Integrating a life-changing habit can be difficult and often hard to maintain – just think about the success rate of New Year’s resolutions when too many things are attempted to be changed at once. Micro habits, on the other hand, are more sustainable, and if they’re specific enough, can lead to big behavior changes and mindset shifts.
How do you know which micro habits are a good idea to adopt? Micro habits are more general compared to say a New Year’s goal or resolution, so they won’t necessarily be specific to your vision – but that doesn’t mean they’re unrelated.
For example, setting a new micro habit to drink a glass of water upon rising is a health-related goal, but hydrating yourself early in the day may indirectly support productivity levels, too.
Micro habits can relate to health and wellness, relationships, productivity, or even the treatment of the environment – there is simply no restriction on where and when to adopt these tiny shifts!
10 MICRO HABITS THAT WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
1. WRITE A DONE LIST
Each day, before you close your laptop or leave your office, take a few minutes to write down everything you’ve accomplished that day. Humans are programmed to only feel successful when the entire to-do list has been accomplished, but it’s important for momentum and motivation longevity to celebrate even the slow, unproductive days, too.
2. SHARE YOUR IDEAS CONSISTENTLY
Be it in the office or even your own personal ideas, get into a (micro) habit of writing them down and planning their execution. No idea will ever come to fruition if it’s not well developed first, so be sure to keep a notepad on hand and make notes about your ideas whenever creativity and inspiration strike. Do this consistently and you’ll find that articulating your thoughts and opinions becomes easier, too.
3. TURN OFF NOTIFICATIONS
You may think it only takes a second to switch between email and writing the report that’s due tomorrow morning, but it actually takes your brain a lot longer to jump between multiple tasks at the same time. Schedule a block of time each day to work uninterrupted by emails, phone calls, texts, and social media updates. Do this consistently and watch your productivity soar.
4. REACH OUT
It can be challenging to stay in touch with friends and family, especially when they’re spread out across cities, states, and countries. Make a micro habit to reach out to one person daily, if only for a few minutes or to exchange a few texts or emails back and forth. By establishing this habit, you’re investing time in the relationship, which further strengthens your network and community, both near and far.
5. CREATE A STRESS MANTRA
Stress is inevitable, whether it comes from work, home life, or even as a result of current affairs and the media. Create a short manta to recite quietly to yourself when things get stressful. “This too shall pass,” for example, is a good reminder that in life, everything has its ups and downs. In a year or even 6 months, you won’t even be thinking about it.
Your mantra doesn’t even have to make any sense – some people prefer to use words like “pineapple” or “sunscreen” to shift their headspace from a place of stress to a place of calm.
6. GET OUTSIDE
This sounds easy, but with more and more people working from home, outside time is less common. Even in cold weather, fresh air can offer a few moments of relaxation, stress relief, and a different perspective. Getting outdoors can be especially effective if you’re struggling to finish a project or come to a decision when you’re at a critical fork in the road with a business or personal life decision.
7. REIGN IN SMALL SPENDING
A coffee here, a lunch there, and a new dress in between. It’s not the big purchases that derail your finances since those are usually better thought through. It’s the small expenses that individually don’t amount to much, but when combined actually withdraw a significant amount of money from your bank account.
Be conscious of your small spends and get on a daily budget for your small spend allowance. You’ll be surprised at how much you have left at the end of the month!
8. USE WHAT YOU HAVE
This goes hand in hand with reigning in your small spending and helping to get your finances under control. Eating at home or wearing clothes you already own are two great ways to get started with this habit. Look at the year ahead and decide on a few key events that you can buy something new to wear (like a wedding) or book your favorite restaurant (like your birthday) and work towards maintaining a use what you have mentality until those occasions.
9. OBSERVE YOUR BEHAVIORS
Challenged with procrastination? Instead of beating yourself up, observe closely what leads you to this point of unproductivity and distraction. If you’re trying to finish a project at the weekend, try waking up before others to get a head start – chances are, by the time they wake up, you’ll already be in the zone and less likely to get distracted because the finish line is so close.
The alternative is waking up with others, enjoying their company, and being less motivated to take yourself away to do work. Observe the why behind your behaviors and adopt micro shifts accordingly.
10. PRACTICE SAYING NO
While there are many benefits to saying yes, remember that your daily energy reserves are limited, and you should practice saying no to things that don’t serve you or your long-term goals. This micro habit is particularly effective for productivity since you redirect that time to work on your own projects and vision. With practice, you’ll become more comfortable with the idea of only giving your time to things that truly serve you.
If you want to see significant change or growth in your life, you need to start today. Big changes such as a cross country move or a new job can take months, potentially years of planning. With micro habits, you can begin to set the scene for change, adopt a new outlook, and be prepared for the bigger components of change, once they happen.
Micro habits may appear insignificant, but if you are patient enough to maintain a consistent routine, they can have a big payoff long-term. What micro habits can you set today?