Change is scary. There’s just no way around it.
Often, even the smallest changes can feel HUGE in our minds. We all do it… dwell on the idea of making a change for far longer than it would actually take to confront the change head on. 95% of the time the shift ends up being half as scary as we’d dreamed up, if at all, and we come away wondering what took us so long to take action in the first place.
I’ve worked with thousands of people on their habits and self-care, and here’s the great news: changes don’t have to be “big” to have a significant impact on our wellness. Even the smallest tweaks to our routines (micro-habits), can create huge results!
They’re the little things that are so quick and easy to do that incorporating them into our daily routines is nearly fail-proof. The problem is that we often look at a five-minute change as insignificant in the grand scheme and, as a result, often end up skipping it altogether.
Lasting change comes from empowerment, not shame, and the goal is to always set ourselves up for success. When we try and change everything all at once, we can feel overwhelmed, unsuccessful or ashamed, and ultimately, change nothing.
When we focus on the smaller positive changes, and practice them intentionally, we lay the groundwork for consistent habits that add up over time.
The Foolproof Five (Minutes)
Don’t believe five minutes can make an impact? Let’s take healthy movement as an example.
Say you want to start some sort of healthy activity but all of the options or even the idea of jumping into something new feels overwhelming.
A great micro-habit might be: “Practice 5 minutes of yoga, first thing in the morning, for a week.” You can always do more than 5 minutes, but never less. Every day. Make it a non-negotiable, and that small habit will have you feeling great when you look back and realize you stayed true to your plan — seven straight days of healthy movement.
When that works, try 10 minutes a day the next week, or challenge yourself to 5 minutes a day for a month straight. When that works (rockstar), kick it up to 15 minutes or whatever works for your schedule. Next thing you know you’ll be doing headstands!
When you see yourself succeeding consistently, you’re more likely to incorporate a practice over the long term. Even on the days you don’t feel up to a task, you’ll feel empowered knowing you can do almost anything in just 5 minutes… and start seeing results.
Celebrate Your Wins
When you create your micro-habits, I recommend making them as specific as possible. There shouldn’t be any gray area when it comes to knowing if you’ve completed something or not.
I also recommend building a daily self-care checklist to help you stay accountable each day. That way you’ve got a clear inventory of what you plan to get done, and once you do, checking off the list feels great!
Looking at a full list of all you’ve accomplished will empower you and allow you to celebrate yourself. This is so important and it will inspire you to stay consistent with (and even add to) your list over time.
10 Self-Care Micro-Habits (That Work For Me)
To get you started, here are ten simple micro-habits that work for me.
I have no doubt that yours will look different (you won’t find me doing headstands anytime soon), but I hope some of my daily “wins” will illustrate how simple these can be, and inspire you to create a daily list that serves you well.
- 2 Minutes: Make bed first thing when I wake up
- 5 Minutes: Journal (Brain Dump) – release any racing thoughts and get them on paper first thing in the morning, freeing my mind for a new day
- 3 Minutes: Write down 3 things that I’m presently grateful for
- 3 Minutes: Practice focused meditation or breathwork
- 3 Minutes: Dance in front of the mirror for the length of one song
- 1 Minute: Make intentional plans to connect with a friend or family member that day (just to check in; email, text, call, etc.)
- 5 Minutes: Tidy a specific area to create space and clear clutter. Donate items that no longer serve me
- 2 Minutes: Set up or adjust tomorrow’s checklist to start off my morning intentionally
- 5 Minutes: Always go to sleep with a clean kitchen
- 1 Minute: Charge my phone away from the reach of my bed before going to sleep (to avoid mindless scrolling and get me moving first thing tomorrow)
Total time spent: Just 30 minutes.
Amazing what you can do in the length of a Schitt’s Creek episode, right!? And just look at all you can get done! All at once or spread throughout the day, the tiny habits add up to big change, consistency, and overall sense of wellbeing that can’t be matched.
And there you have it! I promise that even the simplest micro-habits can have a huge and lasting impact. You get to celebrate them each day and you’re building a great foundation for self care.
What are some of the daily micro-habits that you find work best for you? Share with us in the comments or in the Self-Care Society community so we can cheer you on!