In other blog posts I have written about what Micro Habits are and why they are so useful. They are basically a quick easy action that takes minimal motivation or effort to complete. When you are feeling stuck, they are a great way to get moving again. And you can stack some of them on top of each other to really make quick and easy progress.
Sometimes, though, people can struggle with micro habits and then they get really frustrated because they seem so simple to do.
The good news is, you can make any micro habit succeed with just three simple steps:
Step 1 Focus on 1 micro-habit at a time
A common mistake people make with micro habits is thinking that because they are so small and easy to do that you can just create a whole bunch of them and fix everything all at once.
I did the same thing. I wanted to start doing yoga, eat healthier, drink more water, start meditating, and a bunch of other things. But I tried to do too many things at once and then felt like a “failure.” Can you relate? The good news is you can avoid this and learn from my mistake.
The issue is that making a change takes some focus, even if its starting a small micro habit. So instead of trying to do everything at once and getting nothing done, just pick one micro habit to start with. Start with one micro habit and make it successful first. Don’t start a second micro habit until the first one is well established and you are consistently doing it.
Step 2 Link the New Micro Habit to an existing habit
It is MUCH easier to create a micro habit when it is part of something else you already do. That makes it part of your routine. And when things are more automatic, it will be much easier for you to do the habit without much thought or effort. And that builds success, repetition and will give you a good feeling and increase your motivation.
An example often used is flossing. Most of us know that we should floss but we don’t. Can you relate?
So if you want to start flossing, connect the habit to brushing your teeth. Usually you brush your teeth and then floss. So you could tape the floss to your toothbrush. And the act of reaching for your toothbrush reminds you to floss and the brushing + flossing become two steps you do together. In other words, brushing your teeth becomes a trigger for the new micro habit and it will eventually become an automatic habit that you just do successfully without thinking about it.
If you are not sure what habits to connect, you might have to get a bit creative. Here are two questions to quickly come up with ideas:
- What time of day do I want to do this micro habit?
- Is there something else I usually do at the same time of day that I can connect this habit to?
Step 3 Automate Your Reminder (Cue)
A key in making great habits, especially when starting a new one, is to have a reminder or what psychologists refer to as a “cue” – that is the event that triggers the habit.
For example, if one of your micro habits you’re trying to start to is to drink more water. there are easy things you can do. First, you could add a reminder to your photo to remind you at different times during the day. Second, you could put a glass of water on your bedside table when you go to sleep so you could drink it first thing in the morning. The visual sight of the glass will help remind you. Third, you could post a reminder in the kitchen. Fourth, you could even try an app to remind you.
These are just a few quick and easy ways to automate the reminder or cue for the micro habit. I often overlooked this step, but its really important (and easy!) to help you succeed.
If you apply this type of thinking you can probably come up with a few quick ways to help set up a reminder or cue for the microhabits that are on your list.
In summary, with these easy stops, you can set up any micro habit for success. And if you are still having any struggles, make sure you set up a small reward for completing your micro habit. This is a critical step people often forget.
Please let me know how these steps are working for you and leave a comment below.