When you think about it, your life is essentially the sum of your habits. How healthy you feel, how focused you are at work, and even what you create, are all results of your habits.
So it follows that to change our lives, we should change our habits.
Why Micro Habits?
We’ve been taught to change ourselves — and our lives — by sheer force of will. When the going gets tough, we must “power through.” However, research shows that willpower acts like a muscle; it gets tired easily.
BJ Fobbs, the author of Tiny Habits, notes that we tend to talk ourselves out of doing things that require us to make a decision, especially if it’s something we don’t enjoy doing.
On the other hand, habits are things that we do subconsciously, again and again. This consistency, automated and driven by built-in instinct, makes habits more powerful than willpower in effecting lasting change.
Habits are the actions, reactions, and behaviors that make up who we are, not just the things we do.
Instead of focusing on some abstract, intimidating goal, we can routinely accomplish a nibble-sized action or behavior that improves our wellness and make us into better people.
That is what micro habits are all about.
How Habits Work
The process of building any new habit goes like this:
- Cue: When to do the action
- Craving: Why you want to do the new behavior
- Response: The action or behavior itself
- Reward: Something to encourage you to continue performing that response (to the point of it becoming automated)
Once something becomes a habit, you do that behavior without thinking about the craving and reward at all.
Knowing how habits are created helps you build new positive habits and get rid of old negative ones; simply reverse the process of building habits, or better yet, replace them with healthier, more intentional habits!
Micro Habits to Build Into Your Life Today
Just to inspire you, here are some habits you could integrate into your day-to-day to improve your well-being.
- Take three minutes to meditate right after you wake up.
- Commit to reading just one or two pages each day.
- When the hour strikes, get up and roll your shoulder, touch your toes, stand up, and walk around the room.
- Turn off all electronic devices before bed.
- Strike a yoga pose (or two!) after each phone call you make.
Anchoring Micro Habits
All micro habits need anchor points–existing routines that trigger the new behavior. This helps to cement the new action in your routine and make sure you actually build the new habit.
Anchor moments to pair with new micro habits might be:
- Right after you wake up
- When you brush your teeth
- After you brush your teeth
- When you’re heating breakfast
- Before or after a phone call
- After powering up the computer
- After you close the front door
- Before or after a meal
Over time, your routine would be filled with micro habits that build on top of each other, pushing you toward a healthier, more productive lifestyle.
Creating purposeful, lasting change in your life is easy with micro steps. Building new habits is as simple as finding an anchor moment, doing the new behavior on cue, and rewarding yourself afterward.
As you build a focused, productive, and conscious lifestyle, start with new patterns of behavior that are too small to fail at!