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11 Microhabits That Can Change Your Life

11 Microhabits That Can Change Your Life

Does making change feel scary or overwhelming? Let’s build some healthy practices for your body and mind with these 11 microhabits that can change your life. There’s a free habit tracker printable you can get too to help you track your own microhabits.

HOW (NOT) TO MAKE CHANGES IN LIFE

A few years ago I wanted to get fit and reinvent my tired body. I was eating a pretty healthy and balanced diet but I noticed my body wasn’t as strong and supple as it was in my 20s! I missed that energetic me. So, one New Year, I made the resolution to get my body in shape.

For the first week or two I exercised daily, lifted weights, walked long and fast and enjoyed my daily Yoga practice. Then, of course, busy life got in the way and daily exercise slipped to exercise every other day, then every other other day and then once a week, once a fortnight and, well… you get the picture!

Needless to say, my body didn’t become fit and toned but my mind was certainly frustrated and disappointed! It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happened and why I’d failed.

I’d started out too hard and too fast, not making slow but sustainable changes to my daily routine that would incorporate exercise in a way that was manageable for me. I was too focused on the end goal and not the process that would actually get me there.

What I should have done was to create small, realistic changes that would feel achievable and build them up on a regular basis.

So, with this example of getting fit, I could have set aside 5 minutes each morning for stretches, 10 minutes of walking on my treadmill and alternate days of 10 minutes of Yoga and weights with a day or two off. Then build up gradually, week on week or month on month, only when I’d mastered and settled into the habit of the week or month before.

I’m no gym instructor so please don’t take this as expert fitness programme advice, but hopefully you understand what I’m getting at?! Small, incremental changes that you can build up over time.

WHAT ARE HABITS AND WHY ARE THEY IMPORTANT?

This is where creating some good habits comes in. Habits are things that you do regularly, often without really thinking about them. They form when you repeat an action, consistently, over time so they become a natural part of your routine.

Habits help us make big things happen by breaking them down into manageable chunks.

  • How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
  • How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time.

The key factors for building up habits is that you choose habits that are meaningful to you, you make them realistic and that you repeat them, often.

  • If they’re not meaningful to you then you won’t follow them through because there’s no true incentive.
  • If they’re not realistic, then you’ll struggle making them part of your life.
  • If you don’t repeat them, then your brain won’t learn to expect the behaviour and make it part of your normal thinking patterns.

“It’s not what you do once in a while; it’s what you do day in and day out that makes the difference.”

Jenny Craig

This might all sound big and scary when it’s tough enough just getting through the day with all the things you need to do, be and remember.

But, habits don’t have to be big to be effective. And this is the topic of this article!

Even very small habits, let’s call them “microhabits”, can make a huge difference.

11 microhabits that can change your life

11 MICROHABITS THAT CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Below I’d like to suggest some very tiny habits. Here are 11 microhabits that can change your life.

I’ve chosen these 11 habits because they are my own personal favourites. I think they can also help us to focus on our health and self-care, productivity and creating a more supportive environment generally. Remember that habits need to have a meaningful purpose otherwise we won’t keep them up!

1. Set your alarm for 10 minutes earlier

Mornings are a magical time of the day to find some quiet time for yourself and to get your brain and body ready for the day. Forget trying to wake up at 5am if your alarm normally goes off at 7 or 8am. Try just 10 minutes earlier and let yourself adjust over the next month. What would you like to do in that 10 minutes? What would help you have a better day?

2. Make your bed every day

Your bedroom is an important room for ensuring a better night’s sleep and it’s the first room you see when you wake up ready for the day. Making your bed every day will help your bedroom appear tidier, less cluttered and more spacious. It’s also a routine that helps signal to your brain that the night is over and the day has begun.

Maybe read this article on why your bedroom is such an important space.

3. Drink a glass of water when you get up

We become more dehydrated during the night so drink a glass of water first thing in the morning to rehydrate yourself and wake up. You could fill a water bottle too whilst you’re in the kitchen so you can sip on this during the day and boost your water intake.

4. List 3 things you’re grateful for

First thing in the morning, or last thing at night, make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for about the day. Gratitude is a powerful exercise to encourage a positive mindset and help us to build on the great instead of dwelling on the not-so-great. Read more about how to use gratitude to improve your life.

5. Set a timer and move your body for 10 minutes

Even really busy people can find 10 minutes to prioritise their bodies every day. Your body has to get you through life so it’s important to take care of it as much as possible. Movement can look different to all of us so, whether it’s running hard on the treadmill, taking the stairs instead of the escalator or lift, playing football with the kids or gentle arm stretches from a chair, do what feels right to you.

6. Exercise your brain

We often talk about exercising our bodies but what about exercising our brains too. Read a page of your book, listen to one chapter of your audiobook, 5 minutes of a podcast, do a crossword or Sudoku puzzle. Not just a workout for your brain, but a way to learn, be inspired, improve cognitive function, practice that all-important mental agility and just have fun!

7. Work on your relationships

Humans are built for social connection. Some of us need more or less than others but relationships are good for our mental health and wellbeing. Wave to your neighbour, smile at other dog walkers when you’re out and about, call or text your friend, make chit chat with the shop assistant, ask your colleagues what they’re doing after work, chat with your kids, relax and bond with your partner.

Busy life squeezes out time for friends, family and community but it shouldn’t be this way. You might enjoy this article I wrote on how we can promote connection instead of consumption in a busy world.

8. Never leave a room empty-handed

Take your empty mug back to the kitchen, the clean washing upstairs. As you walk through your home, this microhabit is an easy way to put things back where they belong and stops clutter creeping around your home!

9. Put a load of laundry on

Another very popular habit and household routine but it really does help us keep on top of our homes. It doesn’t just help us avoid those ominous laundry piles but it gets us into the habit of doing small actions repeatedly so we do them on autopilot.

10. Pause and take some mindful breaths

Life is often about rushing and getting things done, but it’s important to stop sometimes and check in with ourselves. How is your body and brain and what are they trying to tell you? Do you give yourself space to listen, really listen?

Whether it’s in your lunchbreak, sitting in the car waiting for the kids, sitting on the train after a day at work, or whilst you’re standing at the kitchen counter preparing dinner, take 5 mindful breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, slowly. Loosen your shoulders, focus on your breathing and enjoy the stillness. Repeat throughout the day when you’re feeling busy and stressed or just in need of a reset.

11. Get rid of something

Decluttered environments are better for our physical and mental health so let’s build a decluttering habit so your home feels manageable and comfortable with just enough stuff that you can manage (your clutter threshold).

You could get rid of a piece of junk mail, an unwanted email, a pair of socks with holes, a pen that doesn’t work, an empty shampoo bottle.

Building a decluttering habit helps you practice the art of letting go, making decisions about what to keep and what not to keep and how this can be a natural and positive way to improve your home and life. Nothing big or scary, just routine maintenance for a home that you enjoy.

11 microhabits that can change your life

HOW CAN MICROHABITS CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Can making your bed each day change your life? Of course not, not in itself.

But, and this is the important point, if you can train your brain to make your bed each day, what else could you train your brain to do? Think about the possibilities and opportunities.

Athletes don’t become good at their sports overnight but through consistent training over time. You might not want to become an athlete but to achieve great things, however big or small, you have to start and keep doing that thing over and over, building and developing on it over time.

Changing your life might be switching career, travelling the world, having kids, finding financial freedom, kicking a bad habit, overcoming a fear or more, but all of these require changes in some shape or form.

Creating microhabits and training your body and brain to follow them will help you move towards your goals in a way that’s realistic and sustainable. Start micro, build as big as you want.

I like the microhabits that I’ve mentioned in this article because they focus on the body, mindset, the day-to-day, and the space around us. Over the years I’ve found that if I prioritise these elements of my life then I’m in a better position to achieve other things I’ve set my sights on!

What microhabits could work for you? Let me know in the comments below as I’d love to hear from you!

BUILDING UP MICROHABITS

Microhabits don’t just happen because you want them to. Microhabits, like any habits, require perseverance and repetition!  So, use this list to brainstorm which microhabits could work for you.

  • Try them out for a month and see what a difference they make.
  • If you miss a day, just pick up the next day and carry on.
  • If a habit isn’t working for you, don’t give up right away. Tweak them to see if you can make them work for you.
  • Try out some other habits that might work better.

HABIT STACKING

If you find one habit that really works for you, or you have one in place already, can you build another on top of it?

This is called habit stacking and is a great way to introduce a new habit on top of a habit that you’ve already got in place and is working well for you.

For example, if you already enjoy a glass of water and lemon first thing in the morning, can you make a mental list of 3 things you’re grateful for in your head as you sip that water?

If you already make your bed each morning, can you also pick up any clothes from the floor and put them back in the wardrobe or in the laundry straight after?

11 microhabits that can change your life

MORE RESOURCES ON CREATING HABITS

Here are some more articles and resources you might find helpful if you want to develop some good habits for your home and life:

GET A FREE HABIT TRACKER PRINTABLE

You might find it helpful to use a habit tracker to chart your progress. List your habits then tick off each day or time you complete them.

There’s a free printable habit tracker you can get with this article. Just pop your details in the box below to get your copy!