Little steps every day lead to great results long term.
Ever wonder how someone got in shape, wrote that big story, or simply can stay disciplined to do thing X every day? Why can they do something I can’t? What makes them special? How do they do what they do so easily?
Their secret is as simple as a micro habit!
What is a micro habit?
A micro habit is — what the name already indicates with ‘micro’ — an action that requires so little effort to finish that it completely removes the threshold to start doing it.
Reading just one page a day of that book you wanted to finish or start reading for years, doing just one pushup a day every morning, writing just 50 words a day for your new article or book. These are all micro habits. Doing them requires almost no motivation or effort. Everyone can do this in under 1 minute every day.
After embedding this micro habit in your brain for days and weeks, it becomes second nature. Then you can up the difficulty for yourself and read 2 pages or 3 or even 10! Who knows!
Sounds easy right? There must be a catch! Well no, there’s no catch. It’s as simple as that. But how does it work? How does implementing a micro habit work and why does it work?
How does it work?
At their core habits are about routines James Clear explains.
The beauty of micro-habits is that they are so easy that you can’t say no to them or create any excuse for not implementing them. As humans, we frequently overestimate our abilities, only to quit up when reality sets in and life becomes complex.
The goal of micro-habits is to keep you from giving up because something is too ‘hard.’
When continuously practiced, you can perform something without even thinking about it. Making up your bed, having a shower, drinking coffee first thing in the morning, and other micro-habits are likely already ingrained in your daily routine.
I have applied micro habits throughout my life now. From work discipline to working out. In the beginning, it didn’t seem to do much because what is just one page of reading, or just one pushup? It’s not really an effort and I was not really expecting much. But after weeks of doing it, I could not NOT do the micro habit. It has become second nature and I needed to do it. I needed to do that one pushup otherwise I would feel like I missed something important. It’s the same thing as not brushing your teeth, leaving you to feel unsatisfied and not clean if you do not do it.
When this micro habit of doing just one pushup was ingrained, upping the difficulty was not hard. I was already working out, why not do 5 pushups? Sometimes, even more, when I got caught up in it.
Now I use an app to journal the number of pushups I do and keep pushing for more each day. I have managed to create a habit from the micro habit and it feels good!
The hardest thing was to just do the micro habit every day in the beginning, but because the habit is so tiny it’s still manageable to resist the urge to skip it.
Are you wondering how you could start doing micro habits and turn them into good habits? Let’s talk about that now!
How can YOU start with micro habits?
What did you always want to do? Get in shape? Read books? Write? Code?
Choose something you want and follow along!
To demonstrate how you can start let’s take a look a the following example.
Joe wants to start reading, he doesn’t even remember when the last time was that he picked up a book. Joe read about micro habits and wants to try the method.
The first thing Joe does is define when he wants to read. Joe has a busy life so he sets up the when just before sleeping because then he always has time for the micro habit.
Now that Joe has defined the when the effort needs to be defined.
Joe knows that if he sets up ten pages as the goal he might not even start reading because the threshold is too big. Joe decides to read one page. That’s not hard and Joe knows he can do that with minimal effort. Joe has managed to keep the habit as micro as it gets, and therefore lowering the threshold as much as possible.
After doing this every day Joe notices that when he goes to bed, the first thing he does without even thinking is pulling out his book to read it. It has thus become a habit for him to read before going to bed. Now that this habit has become routine Joe can use this to read 5 pages. The threshold to start reading has faded so now the difficulty can be changed according to needs.
Meet the new Joe!
Now that we discussed what micro habits are, how they work and how you can start practicing them, go out there and start today! Set a goal and stick to it. Make the threshold as low as possible and micro habit your way to success!
Already incorporated micro habits in your life? Let me know about your experiences and comment them down below!