Recently I was listening to a coaching colleague group chat member share how much she planned to accomplish next year. Her goals were big, which is good and exciting. Without asking her to go into too much detail, my recommendation was to "give herself grace when running into bumps in the road", otherwise, she could get distracted, disenchanted or disillusioned; none of which will serve her well. This was not to rain on her enthusiasm but to merely to remind her that little steps add up to a big journey ... a business and/or personal development concept that too few often grasp.
This is why I'm a strong proponent of micro habits: actions that require minimal motivation or effort to complete. The idea is over time; a micro habit will slowly build on top of itself and result in something significant. Micro habits are so small that they feel like they should sort of succeed automatically. That’s what makes them so frustrating when, for whatever reason, they don’t. The good news is, you can set up any micro habit for success with just three simple steps:
- Focus on one micro-habit at a time. Because micro-habits are small, it’s easy to think you can create a whole slew of them to fix your life all at once. After all, they’re just small changes, right?
The problem is that even small changes can add up, especially when you have a whole big long list of them. So rather than getting caught up trying to remake yourself entirely, pick just one micro habit to establish. Then don’t allow yourself to pick up another one until the first is already well-established.
- Link the new micro-habit to one that’s already in place. To do this, look at what you’re trying to establish. See if there is another habit you already have in place to which you can link this new micro habit. For example, suppose you want to start flossing. You could connect it to the already established routine in place for brushing your teeth. The act of brushing your teeth then becomes a trigger for the new micro habit, and so it becomes easy to remember to do it.
You might have to get a little bit creative to do this. If you’re not sure what to connect it with, ask yourself questions such as: What time of day do you want to perform this micro habit? Is there something else I do at that time every day? Is this micro habit somehow related to something I’m already doing regularly? Can I somehow link it to something else entirely but still see some alignment in my mind?
- Set it in stone. Or at least place the micro habit on your schedule. Even a small habit such as drinking more water is established by simply setting a timer on your phone to remind you to drink every hour. Use your calendar, a timer, even a post-it note on a physical calendar hanging on your wall to remind yourself that you have set aside time just for this micro habit.
With these steps, any micro habit can be very easily set up for success. If you’re still flagging after all this, think of a small reward you can use to encourage yourself to perform this particular micro habit. Sometimes, every little bit helps.
NOTE: I'd love to hear what micro habits you'll adopt in the near future. Share in the comments to encourage others and remind yourself of the commitment to achieve!