In other words, they are super important!
Have you ever tried to change a habit and gotten really excited about the change you want to make?
And felt defeated. And wanted to give up?
We all have! 🙁
The good news is that this is a common problem that is easy to fix.
I honestly believe that small habits are the building blocks to larger habits, and ultimately the path to success with any goal you may have.
Most attempts at forming new habits, or making big changes to our behavior (e.g. diet and exercise) fail, simply because we don’t have a successful plan from the start that is something we can do on a regular basis. And if you don’t have the right plan, you will fail.
Instead of biting off a big change, or a lot of little ones, the easy peasy way is to use micro habits to take charge of your life in bite-size chunks.
A micro habit is a quick action you can take in less than 60 seconds. They are so easy to do and especially if you’re feeling depressed, anxious, frazzled, stressed, or otherwise out of control, they give you some quick success and that will give you momentum with your daily habits.
In this post we will take you through a variety of ways to start micro habits, how to use them to get your day off to a great start, or even avoid feeling overwhelmed. And finally we discuss how to track them so you can stick with your habits and make them successful.
Okay, let’s get to it!
- 1 Easy Steps to Success with Small Micro Habits
- 2 4 EASY Micro Habits To Get Your Day off to a Great Start
- 3 Three Quick Micro Habits to Increase Your Emotional Energy
- 4 Feeling Overwhelmed Right Now? Try These Four Micro Habits
- 5 Track Micro-Habits To Stay Motivated
- 6 4 Tips to Make New Micro Habits Stick
- 7 The Proper Mindset to Make any Micro Habit Succeed
- 8 Summary of Micro Habits Guide
Easy Steps to Success with Small Micro Habits
Here are the key steps to success with small micro habits:
1. Start small – with ONE habit
Don’t try to change your whole world overnight. Remember that quote we all learned in high school: “Rome wasn’t built in a day!”
This is true. The key to success and feeling good about yourself while you start to change is to start small, so you can have success and stay motivated!
No sense in getting super high energy like you’re in a Tony Robbins Seminar, only to set yourself up for feeling bad the next day. Am I right??
So, let’s make this easy – pick ONE new habit right now. Just start with that one habit.
2. Make a commitment to that 1 habit right now!
Write down your habit right now and make a commitment to your habit. Write out on the piece of paper: “I am committed to do ____” for the next 21 days.
21 days will get you started toward making a change.
3. Link the habit to an existing habit that is already part of your daily routine
If you have a successful habit already in place, ask yourself what small thing you can attach or connect to it and build on it. For example, you might already be brushing your teeth every day. How hard would it be to add flossing to that routine? Take your floss and wrap it to your toothbrush with a rubber band. That will tie the 2 behaviors together literally.
4. Try an Accountability Partner
An excellent technique is to tell a close friend about your plan and have them be your informal “accountability” partner. Just ask them if they will check in with you every couple days with a check in on you and your self improvement efforts. And if they can offer praise if you’re doing the habit or encouragement if you’re not, that will help you stay on track.
Also, you can create a public accountability partner by using social media to post your goals and your progress. For some people this really works because instead of just one accountability partner, they now have dozens or hundreds of people helping them to be accountable.
5. Reward yourself
Celebrate every little accomplishment with a small reward. Something to keep you motivated and a reward for your new behavior change. The goal here is to make yourself feel good about the daily changes you are making.
6. Verbally Affirm the New Habit
Accept that this is the new you. The habits you’re building are going to change who you are, one micro habit at a time. Embrace your new identity by saying “I am the type of person who does _____” (the habit).
By following these steps, you will be able to quickly start a new micro habit. And that is pretty exciting when you see how easy it can be to start new habits – it will inspire you to keep going!
4 EASY Micro Habits To Get Your Day off to a Great Start
Everyone wants to have a great day. but sometimes our days seem challenging. One trick I’ve discovered over time is that happiness is simpler than most people think.
If you create a few micro habits to get your day started off the right way, you will set yourself up to be on the path to having an enjoyable, calm and productive day. And when you are having a great day it’s likely to rub off on those around you – your kids, husband, partner, co-workers – and you can actually help others have a better day too!
So, where do you begin?
Try these 4 Micro Habits to get your day off to a great start and put you on the path to having a great day.
Micro Habit #1 – Start your day off right with Gratitude
When you wake up, immediately think of something you are grateful for. Begin your day the right way…with Gratitude! You can train your mind to think or say one thing outloud you are grateful for and you will put your mind on a positive path before you even get out of bed!
Note: if you do use a gratitude journal as part of a morning routine, you can elaborate on your gratitude in more detail later. The reason this is a micro habit is because it is just ONE quick micro habit that takes a few seconds.
Micro Habit #2 – Have a quick inspirational morning routine
Remember that micro habits are generally quick things we can do or get started in one minute or less. For example, maybe you want to wake up to an upbeat song that puts a smile on your face.
Or maybe there’s a motivational podcast you like. Did you know that on most phones you can set the phone to use that as the wakeup alarm? The key here is to make these decisions and automate them.
So if there’s a song you love or podcast go ahead and set it up right now as your alarm for tomorrow! And if you want to chain other micro habits on top, do a quick list of what those are. Maybe you have a mantra or affirmation you want to say outloud too.
See how quick and easy this can be? You can have your alarm clock set to the song you love. And as you’re listening you can say one thing you’re grateful for and one affirmation or mantra.
Boom…you’re first 3 minutes with your eyes open and you’re already on the way to a winning day!
Micro Habit #3 – Meditate to Stay in the Moment
It’s often easy to get distracted especially in the modern era. It really helps to do a quick meditation to stay in the moment.
And again, we’re talking about micro habits, so always one minute or less to start. So close your eyes for a minute, focus on your breathing, find your inner calm and remind yourself that in this moment you are alive and you are calm!
Focus on the moment and what’s right in front of you.
And if you would like to try chakra meditation, be sure to see our new post – chakra meditations for beginners.
Micro Habit #4 – Take care of yourself (aka self-care)
Three Quick Micro Habits to Increase Your Emotional Energy
The key to having great energy throughout the day is to make sure you manage your emotional energy not just your schedule and to do list. If you get everything done on your to do list, but you’re always wiped out in the evening and don’t have energy for your kids, or husband/partner, dating, or friends, then you won’t be happy.
So, make sure you protect your emotional energy at different points throughout the day. This is a critical micro habit and often overlooked. Right now let’s do some brainstorming about what issues you might experience during the day.
This is a list I’ve come up with from my own experiences and in talking with friends. See what you can borrow from this list and apply to your own life.
- Take a quick walk – if you’re in meetings all day, go for a quick one minute walk. Even if you don’t have time, walk to the bathroom right now. You can even do a quick 1 minute meditation while you are there and come back to your desk
- Eat or Drink – do you stay hydrated throughout the day? If not, set a reminder to drink a glass of water and be proactive about fixing this issue – before it happens. Or if you get low blood sugar and throws off your mood, go buy a whole bunch of healthy snacks to have in your kitchen or at your desk.
- Mood – does your confidence flag later in the day? Do you need to put on an inspiring song to elevate your mood? Or maybe you need to say your mantra or affirmation to yourself. Even if you work in a busy open office you can make this happen.
Feeling Overwhelmed Right Now? Try These Four Micro Habits
When you wake up in the morning are you ready and raring to go? Or do you start dreading the day before you even roll out of bed?
Our lives have gotten so busy it’s not unusual to be overwhelmed. In fact, according to Gallup polls, eight out of ten Americans are feeling stressed out about their lives. What’s worse, stress leads to a whole host of health problems, and can even shorten your life.
Thankfully, you do have the ability to take back your life. What’s even more amazing, is that you can do so through something so unbelievably small such as micro-habits.
A micro habit is a small change that you make in your daily routine. These are such tiny changes that you hardly even notice them. But boy, do they ever have big results!
Let’s look at a few micro-habits guaranteed to take the overwhelm out of your day:
- Start the day in thankfulness. Before you even get out of bed, stop. Think for a moment about something for which you’re thankful. By starting the day in gratitude, you’re making a positive shift in attitude, which will help you to have a better day.
- Tidy your desk. We’re not talking about a marathon decluttering mission here, but just building the habit of putting things back when you take them out. By keeping your workspace neat, you are calmer while you work, and even have the added confidence of finding what you need, when you need it.
- Connect with someone who cares. By even just saying a quick hi or sending a text over lunch, you not only maintain but can help build the relationships that matter most. Not only will you build more intimate connections with those around you, but you’ll have that support group in place for those times when things aren’t going your way.
- Slow down your meals. Taking time while you eat not only leave you feeling more at peace and less rushed, but you will digest your food better, and even fill up faster so that you wind up not eating so much in the long run. A win-win all the way around.
You don’t have to make big changes to shift your day over to one of peace and productivity. By adding micro-habits, you can help protect yourself against being overwhelmed, leaving you space to be the person you want to be.
And one secret to turbo charge your micro habits is to track them! Just because the habits are small and “micro” doesn’t mean you can skip this important step.
So let’s look a few reasons why its important to track your micro habits and make them even more effective for you:
Track Micro-Habits To Stay Motivated
Having a record of what steps you’ve been taking to make a change will help you visually see the progress toward your goal you’ve been making.
Being able to visualize the changes and see progress over time is one of the keys to staying motivated – and staying motivated is key to staying on track with your micro goals.
If you ever start to doubt yourself, or have a bad day, its’ also a great objective reminder to look at which helps when you’re having a bad day.
Here are the main reasons to track your micro habits:
1. – You can see your progress
Progress goes with motivation above – being able to look at your tracking will help prevent you from giving up when you are having a challenging day or week. And that can be the difference between making forward progress on your micro habit or giving up. The visual feedback is a key part of being successful with any goal, habit or micro habit. Having a visual record of your micro habits will give you objective perspective on just how much effort and progress you’ve made. And that is key for the days where you want to give up.
2. Habits = Actions Performed Regularly
The literal definition of a habit is doing something regularly. So tracking it helps you make sure you’ve being regular and consistent with your actions. And if you’ve ever used SMART goals, the M is measurable and tracking helps you measure your progress. This will help you achieve success much faster than if you just make a sporadic or occasional effort.
In closing, tracking your micro-habits will exponentially increase your success in making positive life changes. Tracking things is one of the key component of measuring goals. By tracking you will have a record that you can refer to for inspiration on bad days. And you will have a historical record too. Being able to visually see your progress will make you feel better about your efforts too.
Please leave me a comment below and let me know how you are tracking your micro habits.
3. Easiest Ways to Track Your Micro Habits
If you are just getting started with focusing on changing your habits or micro habits, one of the best ways to improve your success is to start tracking them. If you’ve ever learned about goal setting, tracking is one of the key things that is always discussed.
It helps you keep on the right path and also gives you some visual feedback about your progress as well as a record to look back at and see your progress over time.The process of tracking works particularly well with micro-habits and will really help you be more successful.
When people first learn about micro habits they love them because they seem so easy and effortless. But often we all have a challenge on the follow through. I’ve definitely had this happen to me. Taking a slight extra step and doing some tracking will take your success to a whole different level of success!
So, here are are the 3 easy ways to track your micro habits:
3a – Write your Micro Habit down
By using a journal or some daily planner, you can see at a glance just what you have accomplished. Working with paper can be easier for some people because it’s easier to leave in front of you all day versus having to open your phone or computer.
Sometimes the “old school” ways work better and paper has its advantages. Also, writing with a pen and paper takes a little bit more of intention and effort and takes you away from being on autopilot on your phone. Many people report that pen and paper works well for them for tracking, so definitely give it a try!
3b – Put your Micro Habit in a Spreadsheet
If you are more technologically minded, and especially if you like numbers and data, try to track your micro habit in a spreadsheet. If you have an iPhone for example you could use Excel, Numbers, or Google Sheets to do this.
The nice thing about a spreadsheet is that you will have a n ice visual layout you can print and track over time. Plus you will always have it with you when you have access to a phone or computer.
3c – Track your Micro Habit with a phone app
If you look at the iPhone or Android App Store, you will see many different tracking apps for specific behaviors. For many, this is the easiest option since they always have their phone with them.
Does this describe you? I’m guilty too (blush)!
And personally I prefer this approach for micro habits because these apps have reminders built in. And the apps will provide you with positive feedback, nudges, reminders…all fo the things that psychologists say are needed to build good habits easily.
Rather than give you a long list of possible apps, this one is really simple. There is one app called Done: A Simple Habit Tracker that is highly rated and free and will enable you to get started quickly. It will also give you graphs showing your progress by week, month, or longer. I have tried many different habit trackers and many are overly complicated.
This is a simple one that will help you get started quickly and stay focused. There is also a one time upgrade which is only $6.99 if you find you are getting value out of the app. Many of the other tracking apps having expensive monthly fees and that’s why this is my top recommendation. The free version will work for almost all of you.
The one advantage to using your phone to track progress, is that most of us have our phones nearby almost constantly, so it removes a barrier of having to go get your notebook. And with the options to have the phone nudge you, it can help you be more consistent too and that’s something that your paper notebook can’t do.
In summary, tracking your micro habit progress is easy regardless of whether you use “old school” methods like pen and paper, or newer approaches like phone apps. The important thing for success is that you use a tracking method that you will actually use. This will help you make progress on your micro goals.
If you have a tip or suggestion to share with our community, please leave a comment below. Especially if you have specific app recommendations for iPhone and Android, please let me know so I can update this post for everyone.
4 Tips to Make New Micro Habits Stick
So, hopefully you’ve been reading my articles about habits, or even the ones about micro habits, and you’ve come up with some habits to change.
Maybe you’ve already put some of those micro-habits into motion.
Now comes the hard part – how do you make the micro habits stick? How do you make small changes that will last over time?
Here are a few key tips to keep your micro habits on track for success:
Tip 1 – Use your smartphone
Since everyone has a smartphone these days, use it to improve your life and keep your habits front and center.
Decide specific times you want to get your micro habit done and then set up your phone to remind you at the time you want to be reminded. That outsources all of the thinking and mental energy around “reminding yourself” to your phone…and that keeps you less distracted and then you can just follow up and complete the habit when reminded.
Tip 2 – Try New Self Talk
If your micro habit is not time-based, then find other ways to make this micro habit a part of who you are. In other words, make it part of your identity and the easiest way to do this is through your self talk.
Start with “if-then” statements.
For example: “If it’s Tuesday, then today I’m taking the bus and walking the rest of the way to work,” reminds you of that small habit to walk to work more often. And by changing your self-talk to “I am…” you are literally making this micro habit part of your self identity.
You’re the type of person who takes the bus and then walks to work.
By paying attention to how you speak to yourself, you will start to rewire the old thought patterns. And that makes your new micro habits a more natural part of your life.
Tip 3 – Simplify The Habit
Remember, these are supposed to be micro habits, not major habits.
Sounds obvious, but this is a common mistake
So don’t get caught up in trying to make grand sweeping changes. Instead, focus on the small things that you can easily build into your existing routine. If you’re having a challenge, simplify the habit.
Tip 4 – Take away the “old choice”
If your goal is to drink more water instead of soda or juice, then take away the soda and juice. Stop buying them. Throw whatever you have out or donate it.
If you want to walk more steps per day, start parking your car further away from your office.
Apply this line of thinking to each micro habit and you’ll see new easy ways to make these micro habits stick!
By removing the “old way” what you have left is the new way.
Think about what needs to disappear from your life to make your new micro habits a success.
In summary, it’s not hard to make micro-habits stick.
Just focus on staying intentional on the micro habit and the change you’re trying to make so it doesn’t get lost in the chaos of daily life. By applying these tips, you will stay on track to make your new micro habits a successful part of your life!
Let me know how your success is going in the comments below.
The Proper Mindset to Make any Micro Habit Succeed
Micro Habits 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.
Summary of Micro Habits Guide
Remember, you don’t have to do great big sweeping things to change your attitude or your life. That looks good on TV or on Instagram when people are trying to impress you or sell you an expensive course. But the key to behavioral change is to start making small changes, and to continue and adjust them.
Think about it, this is how you have done EVERY habit in your life. Momentum is KEY to feeling like you are making progress and sticking with your goals and not giving up.
One final tip – 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.