There’s nothing harder than building good habits. After all, they’re good–AKA not fun.
Alas, healthy habits are a must for a better quality of life. If you’re pulling yourself from a dark hole, then don’t expect a single self-heave to catapult you out.
That’s not how physics works–and that’s definitely now how our minds work.
Healthy new habits take time to stick. You have to climb the rope. That’s why many of us rely on habit-building systems to start them. It’s the pragmatic approach: baby steps.
Micro-habits require less willpower and motivation. It’s not about battling through that 10-mile run, it’s about enjoying that 10-minute neighborhood walk.
They’re meant to redesign your life little by little so that over time these small shifts create dramatic improvements.
Eventually, these easily repeatable behaviors will trigger a sense of autonomy–you are your own caretaker, and you can’t stop now.
Can you take it farther with bigger goals? What else can you do to improve your life? If you feel the self-determination trying to break out, then you’ll know it’s working.
You can improve many areas of your life by adopting these 25 micro habits. Every action you take can help you cultivate a sustainable habit over time – a functional system that can generate incremental results.
- Start your day productively by referring to the to-do list you created the night before.
- Don’t make your morning workout a chore. Make things interested by mixing it up a bit: instead of an hour or half an hour jog, try five minutes or less plank, push up, sit-up, squat, or HIIT training.
- Hydrate yourself before grabbing a coffee in the morning. Drink one glass of water at least.
- You can spend a few minutes in solitude thinking about the good day you’ve got ahead or preparing yourself for the day.
- Make fewer decisions in the morning. A brain that has to make too many micro-decisions becomes fatigued. You can maximize your energy by tackling your high-priority projects in the morning.
- Take the time to soak up the morning’s peace (enjoy the peaceful sunrise). Don’t check emails or social media.
- Meditation is great for concentration, creativity, and stress relief. It’s also boring as hell. You might want to start by meditating for one minute per day instead of ten. If you’re struggling, you won’t make it a habit–so it’s best to take it slow.
- You can boost your energy and focus by choosing a healthy breakfast (whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats).
- Instead of trying to read a complete chapter, read a page or two of your favorite book.
- Before you begin actual work, remove all distractions from your work area – noise, notifications, email tabs, etc. Put yourself in a focused or productive mode with soothing music.
- Intersperse short breaks during the day. Consider taking five minutes of deep work for every hour.
- You can clear your mind during your downtime by listening to a podcast, reading a thought-provoking article, or taking a walk.
- Make healthy choices – by munching on superfoods like leafy greens, berries, fruits, dark chocolate, fish, grains, and nuts to boost brainpower. Your body will be loaded with energy daily.
- Break each task into easy-to-complete actions that you can accomplish quickly. Start the day with small wins.
- Taking a nature walk, even just 10 minutes outside and near more trees, can do wonders for your mood.
- Leaving your desk tidy at the end of the day means you don’t have to spend your morning getting ready for work.
- With an end-of-the-day routine, you can organize things, reduce clutter, relieve stress, and clear your mind.
- Take 30 minutes a day to do a little side hobby that relaxes you – you can do this in the evening or early in the morning.
- Consider doing a 3-minute daily review. Think about your top three wins before you go to sleep, or write down anything on your mind. It’s a relaxing habit.
- Make small monthly investments and pay attention to little expenses. Franklin warned, “Beware of small costs and a little leak will sink a big ship.” Monthly investments can accrue you a large retirement income in the future.
- Creating attainable daily goals will enable you to achieve long-term goals. Keeping a daily checklist of them will help you stay on track.
- Plan how you are going to spend the next day – what you are going to do, when you are going to have appointments, and how you will attend meetings so you can concentrate.
- Pre-sleep ritual: Get rid of all digital distractions and read a physical book instead. Before you go to bed, read a book to wind down.
- Successful days begin the night before. A good night’s sleep greatly affects how you feel every day. Your mind and body will thank you for getting enough sleep.
- Take part in more social activities each day – it will contribute to your general happiness. Don’t forget to take time for the people in your life who bring out the best in you.
All these micro habits will add up, and slowly, you’ll realize these small wins are oddly addicting. Suddenly, adopting more good habits and sustaining them won’t be as hard–it’ll be a new limit you’re trying to breakthrough.
To keep building good habits, practice them as long as possible, revising as needed. Whenever you want to conquer something new, don’t shy away in fear, think of how you can turn it into micro habits and play the long game.
After all, the turtle beat the hare. Taking it slow and steady could mean a happy and prosperous future without overtaxing your brain.
The original article first appeared on Medium.