When we think about making changes to our lives, most of us are familiar with changing big things. Things like diet, exercise, addiction, and therapy, those we know can have big impacts on our health and well being. What if you found out that you can still make large changes to your life by changing what are called “micro habits?” You would probably wonder what is a “micro habit” and how it can have such an impact on my life. Let’s get to it and dig into How Can Micro Habits Change Your Life.
What are Micro Habits
Most people make the same common mistake when they strive for self-improvement, they aim too high or for too much. You, like so many others, make promises to be healthier, more mindful in your thoughts/actions, and more patient, then we wonder why we can’t . Many of these goals are either too vague or hard to track. It can be hard to keep on target because life happens, if you have kids they take up time, your schedule is never ending, and simply put, progress requires consistency. When we don’t see the progress we think we should achieve it only makes it worse. How can we fix this? We need to start thinking smaller, much smaller. This is where micro habits come into play.
Micro habits are simple daily actions that are easy enough to implement into your established daily routine and require just a few minutes to complete. An example would be drinking a cup of water before you have your morning coffee so you can stay hydrated. Or you can perform breathing exercises to help with anger and anxiety.
The smaller bites of micro habits allows them to be much more achievable than our regular goals. This allows you to have smaller victories which can add up and make you feel better about your progress, as they are more noticeable. This can drive you to make more changes in your journey.
The best micro habits are ones that require no more than about three minutes to complete and fit easily in our daily schedules. You can also, if appropriate, tie them into other tasks you are doing, at a given time. Take for example your morning coffee routine, while it is brewing you can write down one thing you are grateful for. Or while you are brushing your teeth, you can take that moment to use a wall in assisting you with some squats to help with leg muscle and knee mobility. These smaller habits add up as they become a part of your routine and can easily be lengthened to make the more difficult or add additional functionality to them.
The Art of Thinking Small
Thinking small can be a difficult challenge, at first. First, we may not know exactly what is a small chunk to be added to our routine or considered a micro habit. Exercise is a prime example of this. You go to a gym and see someone close to your build lifting a specific amount of weight, you suddenly think that is where you should start and can do it in smaller amounts. This isn’t a type of micro habit, mainly because we do not know what all that person did to get to the point they are now, when lifting. You also aren’t factoring in what you are, currently, able to accomplish. The result is this needs to be broken down to smaller chunks.
Using the weight lifting example, start with a small amount of weight and lift for just a few reps on a given day. From that point you can increase as it becomes easier or add more reps until you become more strong. The point is, make each chunk as small as possible to create muscle memory and consistency to make it a habit.
Maybe you want to change how you react to situations. It is hard to just stop doing something or reacting in a certain way, what can make it easier is look at ways to change your perception in smaller amounts. Take a few minutes a day to write down a couple things you are thankful for or that make you happy. As that becomes your routine you can increase it into writing small bits about things that upset you. Once you have those ideas and routines started, you can start looking at ways to make small changes to eliminate the negative reactions you have. Build on what works and slowly remove those that do not.
12 Micro Habits You Can Add To Your Life
- Morning Meditation – Once you wake up in the morning, take one to two minutes to meditate and set your intentions for the day. Decide how you want to react to today and what you need to accomplish.
- Morning Stretch – Before you get dressed, stretch for 15 – 30 mins. This will help get your muscles moving and blood flowing. It also has the added benefit of helping you be more awake.
- Affirming Yourself – While you are brushing your teeth, repeat to yourself, five times what you want to do. Such as, I trust my instincts, I am not my mistakes or It is okay for me to be happy.
- Healthy for Unhealthy – Do you have a candy bar during the day as a pick me up? Why not replace one unhealthy snack for a healthy one. An apple or banana can produce the same pick me up effect as a candy bar and has fewer calories and better for you.
- Stop and Breath – Work can be stressful for us all and we are always looking for ways to make it better. Before you head into work, pause a moment and take five ling and deep breaths to calm your mind and focus on the day ahead. You can later add an affirmation to it, if needed.
- Work for Work – One thing we all want is to be recognized for our accomplishments at work. This leads to raises and promotions. What better way to do that than to read a paragraph of work relate literature every day. This makes it more manageable, since it is often dry. It also allows you to get through it easier.
- Celebrate Work Victories – When they happen, take a few moments to jot down that you had a good idea in a meeting, turned in a project early, or did your job especially well. This allows you to look at the positives instead of worrying about what may not be true.
- Fighting Anxiety – Is there a specific task or situation that causes you to feel anxious? Take about 30 seconds to a minute doing that activity or being around the situation to give your brain a chance to adapt to it. You may find that what was causing the anxiety was just your viewpoint on the matter.
- Get your Vitamin D – Being out in the sun has a lot of health benefits. Why not take a couple minutes each day to get outside in the sunlight and enjoy it. It can improve your mood and clear your head.
- Hydration is Key – Take one soda drink or unhealthy drink you do in a day and replace it with the same size or bigger in water. This has the benefit of helping reduce your sugar intake as well as getting your body hydrated for better health.
- Walk for Health – You probably think you walk enough on a given day, already. Truth is, you definitely need more. Instead of taking the elevator to your floor, why not take the steps. If you sit at a desk for extended periods, make it a habit to get up and walk for two minutes before returning to work. It gets you away from work and allows you to clear your head.
- Sleep is Key – Face it, we all need more sleep in our current times. This can be achieved more easily than you think. Try moving your bedtime up two minutes. This can increase each month as you get used to it. This has the benefit of giving you enough rest to get through your day and help with dealing with stress.
Micro Habits For Life
I know, you have read all of this and you are thinking that it is too easy to start with something like a small habit or doing something for 30 seconds at a time. The fun fact is that it makes it a much more achievable goal, right? Once you become used to them, they become second nature. That is improvement and one that can give you a sense of accomplishment to take on larger ones. It leaves you realizing that those far away goals aren’t as distant as you once believed.
Do you have micros habits that you use on a daily basis that I did not cover? Let me know in the comments below. You never know, your additions may help someone else along in their journey.