It’s a new year again. Hence, it is time to start building the new you! However, change is hard, and making big changes is even harder. This is why most New Years’ resolutions fall to the wayside by March.
But what if making a change didn’t have to be like carrying 20 bags of groceries up the stairs with your pinky finger? What if change could be easy for you? Would you then jump on the self-improvement train and chugga chugga up your next hill? -My guess is yes, but that’s just me.
Today’s post will teach you how change can be easy using micro-habits. Instead of diving into a new life, cold turkey, let’s start small my friend, and learn how to walk before we fly with a parasail off of the Empire State Building.
What are micro-habits?
Micro habits are small changes we can all make that don’t require a lot of thought and effort. Small habits changes eventually lead to big habit changes, and finally life-changing progress.
So if you’re ready to jump on that change-train, one tiny habit at a time, keep reading.
If you are used to the way you always do things, you are not alone. Our human brains try to automate everything we do to conserve energy. So it makes sense that our brain wants to make things easier for us. This is great when driving a car or doing the dishes, but sometimes our brains automate with negative habits like eating crunchy food when the t.v. is on, or leaving dirty wrappers around the clutter-filled house.
So how do we go about changing this negative automation? As to not overwhelm your caring, energy-saving brain, let’s start small. Certainly, you don’t have to do all of the below mentioned on a daily basis, but pick a few you can handle and get started on your journey to a happier, healthier you. Then incorporate more after you have formed a habit.
Here are 20 life-changing microhabitats that will have a big impact now and in your future.
#1 Make your bed
I choose to make my bed daily, my husband could care less. Yet, there is something to be said for accomplishing something first thing in the morning and having a clean bedroom. This starts y our day off on a positive note and helps you feel you have achieved something.
#2 Practice Gratitude (2 daily)
Can you think of just two things you are grateful for? Jot them down. On your off days, just be grateful for life. This habit will help you start looking at the world through a clear positive lens and help you appreciate the joys around you.
#3 Drink more water
Try to drink one glass of water first thing in the morning. Start your day off hydrated. Did you know your brain functions better when hydrated? (Source: Psychology Today) One glass of water is easy to get and will help you feel better all day.
#4 Exercise for 5 minutes
Does going to the gym sound daunting? Try waking up just five minutes early and do a quick workout. You can still work out later, but working out in the morning gets your blood pumping and body moving. If you don’t have time for a workout later, at least you got some exercise. Try doing pushups, squats, or planks first thing in the morning as an easy way to remember what you are going to do, or find a quick Youtube workout video.
#5 Read more
Did you know the average CEO reads 52 books per year? (Source: Inc.com) In fact, if you start reading just two pages per day, you will be ahead of 24% of Americans that don’t read at all (source: Pewresearch). It is simple. If you read more, you learn more. You increase your vocabulary, learn new skills, and gain enjoyment out of a story or novel. My personal favorite books are self-improvement/personal development books. Learn to grow and become the best version of yourself every day.
#6 Two-Minute Declutter
Find an area of your home where clutter tends to build up. Set a timer for two minutes and declutter the area. It may appear cluttered and messy now, but in a week, it will look way better than if you had done nothing. Decluttering your entire house sounds overwhelming, but this is something you can accomplish quickly.
#7 Don’t wait on the small stuff
If something takes less than five minutes to complete, do it now. Don’t wait. If it can be handled, just take care of it now so you don’t have to interrupt your thought process and come back to it later, wasting more energy.
#8 Stand up Straight
Good posture will help you feel healthier, stronger, and have more energy. You can breathe better when you are standing up straight, which in turn gives you more energy. Hunching your back will give your muscle strain and can create tension and knots.
#9 Clear your mind
Try cleaning your find of thoughts for at least one minute a day. Start with a minute and add time if you can. Some call this meditating, but you don’t have to focus on anything. Just learn to clear your mind of clutter and thoughts. Break your thought patterns. As you learn to do this, you will have more control over your thoughts.
#10 Say No
Saying “no” is very freeing. If you are a “yes” type of person, start small by saying no to one thing per week. Your friend san family will learn to get used to it after time goes on. You will find you have more time for yourself to accomplish things you need to do in life and feel less rushed and stressed out.
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#11 Throw something away
Have you ever held on to something for years, thinking you will use it again? It is time to let go. If it is useful, you can donate it. But start by picking two things per day you can throw away or donate. Begin to declutter your house and you will see an instant change in your life.
#12 Keep track of your money
Budgeting is important. Sit down for 5-10 minutes every Sunday and plan a budget for the week. Make sure you have enough to cover bills, gas money, and food expenses, and double-check you are not overspending and putting yourself into debt, which can cause stress and hardship.
#13 Listen more
Listening is a skill and as with any skill, you can practice and become good at it. Try not to finish other people’s sentences and jump right in with an opinion or your own story. Listen and ask thoughtful questions. As you practice this habit, you will notice people listening to you more and wanting to talk to you.
#14 Put away the phone
Our smartphones are a distraction. I was supposed to be writing this article and I got caught up on Facebook for 30 minutes. It was wasted time.l Try putting your phone in a separate room when you work and turn off notifications. You don’t have to be available 24 hours per day. You will see life is less stressful and peaceful when you put away your phone. Try setting a timer and putting your phone in another room for an hour a day to start with and add time as you see you can do it.
#15 Prepare at night
One thing I like to do is set my kid’s clothing out and make their lunches the night before. It makes my morning go so much smoother. I also set my own clothes out so I don’t have to waste any time or energy in the morning worrying about what we will wear, if our clothes are clean, or if we have enough for my kid’s lunches that day.
#16 Turn off the news
Try limiting your news to only a few minutes per day or every other day. I like to check the weather and road conditions in the morning and then I turn it. I often have to turn it in because my kids are in the room with me and I don’t want them to see many of the horrible things happening in our world. I protect them and you should protect yourself from the constant negativity. Try watching the news every other day and limit it to 30 minutes or less if you can. You will still know what is going on in the world, but won’t be bombarded with the constant chaos of the world.
#17 Be aware of your thoughts
Often we have negative thoughts and self-doubt. Yet, did you know you are in control of your thoughts? If a thought is not helpful, turn it off. The best way to practice this is by becoming aware of our thoughts. If you notice a negative one creeping in, try tuning it out by thinking of something peaceful. Take yourself to ocean waves or a sunny day. Think of a happy memory. You don’t have to carry around negativity. You can change your thoughts.
Your body was not made to be sedentary. Your human body was made to move. Start your day off with some morning stretches and stretch for a few minutes throughout your day.
#19 Get up every hour
Sitting is a huge health concern. If you sit all day at a desk, it can affect your posture and your health. For this reason, try setting a timer and getting up at least once per hour. Walk a few feet and come back. This will help you keep movement and momentum. It sounds easy, but often we forget because we start a project or want to finish something.
#20 Cut back on sugar/processed foods
Eating well will have many health benefits. Therefore, learn to cut back on processed foods and sugar to stay healthy. Start by eating something healthy such as a banana or an apple in place of a packaged food choice.
#21 No caffeine after 1
One great way to feel good every day is to get a good night’s rest. However, caffeine can remain in the body for up to five hours after you drink it. (Source: Healthline) Try to limit coffee drinking after 1 P.M. to help you sleep better.
#22 Limit Social Media
Of course, social media can be fun. I like to see what my family is up to. Yet, it can also be a hindrance, making us feel like we need to have a perfect life and compare ourselves to others. It is a distraction. For this reason, try setting a time each day where you can look at social media and then put it away when the time is up. There are many negative things on social media and it can take you away from your goals.
#23 Focus on your breathing
Try focusing on your breathing for a few minutes per day. First, pay attention to your breath going in and out. Next, try counting a breath in for four and our for four. Use this as a calming technique to help you remain grounded.
#24 Park farther away
Exercise is essential to a healthy life. So on your next store trip, try parking at the end of the aisle. This sneaky trick – on yourself- will trick you into getting more exercise.
#25 Be social the quick way
Learn to say hello and be friendly with people. For example, a quick “hi” can help you feel social and less isolated and if you are already taking a walk for the day, give it a try. Moreover, say hello to people walking by. Sure, you may et some funny looks, but some people will say hi back. Even though this is quick, it makes you feel less lonely and shows you there are nice people out there.
25 Microhabits Final Thoughts…
If you are looking for a change, but changing everything seems overwhelming, use some of the micro-habits listed above. Nonetheless, after you have made them a habit, choose a few more until you have got through the list. You will see your small habits will start to make big changes in your life.