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10 Life-Changing Micro-Habits

by Kim GreeneAugust 8, 2022
10 Life-Changing Micro-Habits

It is always better to learn in baby steps, whether it is a new job, relationship, habit, you name it. When you were a baby, you didn't know how to walk, much less run, did you? After laying there for months, you wobbled a few steps, and people around you cheered, rolled over, crawled, and pulled yourself up. After years of falling down and tripping, getting bumps and bruises, you finally learned how to walk, and you probably take for granted how much easier it is now that you have it.

It is possible to learn these life-changing micro-habits through a slow and steady process as well. In order to get a habit to stick, you have to begin now, start small, and basically just start.

You will feel more organized and in control in this wildly unruly world when you adopt these ten tried-and-true micro-habits.

1. Think to Yourself- “How can I be nice?” 

Whenever I can, I hold the door open for someone for a few seconds. Any time that I can spend in savasana is time well spent for me. When my friend has been suffering from a difficult pregnancy, I check in with her. The reason? It's just a nice thing to do. 

Being kind is not about receiving recognition; it is about remembering every day to treat others and yourself well, even when no one is watching. Whenever you do something thoughtfully, no matter how small, you will condition your brain to think that way. Nevertheless, if the "nice thing" looks to take advantage of you or your generosity, it isn't really nice at all. Be aware of your limits. 

2. Set a One-Minute Rule

For this life rule, credit goes to the author of The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin. It's simple: if you can finish a task in less than a minute, do it right away. Put away your junk mail, hang up your coat, reply to that text, close the kitchen cabinet, and screw the jam lid on. 

It only takes a few seconds to complete most of these mundane chores, but when they are compounded on top of each other, they quickly become overwhelming. The phrase “I'll deal with it tomorrow” turns into repeated phrases such as “I'll deal with it tomorrow” and finally, “What's one more day?” Do not even consider it. Take action now.

3. Adding One More

Make sure your dinner plate contains one more vegetable. Increase your water intake by one glass a day. Become familiar with one more Arabic phrase. As soon as you've mastered those ‘one mores’, consider adding ‘one more’. 

4. Have A Clear Understanding Of Your Finances

Knowledge is key- even if that means knowing about your credit card debt and realizing how terrible your situation is. Having a consistent understanding of how much money is in your accounts is the first step to becoming financially secure and confident. Regardless of what it takes for you, make it a habit to monitor your accounts regularly. You'll be able to make more informed decisions every time you're tempted to spend frivolously when you know how much money you have and how much you're spending.

But remember - and this is coming from someone with extreme money anxiety - you have to strike the right balance between keeping track of your accounts and obsessing over every penny. While I’m an advocate for financial literacy, I deleted my financial advisor's shortcut from my browser when the markets crashed this spring, choosing blissful ignorance over stress over something I had no control over. By understanding what is in your control and what isn’t, you can better focus on the practical aspects of saving by putting aside an emergency and holding back from impulsive shopping.

5. Make A Note Of It

Is it really possible that you will remember the funny thing your toddler said this morning by dinner time, much less several decades from now? How on earth do we expect our brains, which are already a little beaten up lately, to recall all the ingredients we need to make those Alison Roman recipes? 

If you feel that little flag waving in your head that says "I have to remember that" in the brain, jot it down immediately. Those might include quotes, gift ideas for those tough-to-buy-for people in your life, potential date night restaurants, or anything else you might forget. Keep track of everything you need to remember, whether on your phone or with a good old-fashioned pen and paper. 

6. Plan Your Schedule In Advance

Regularly organizing your calendar online allows you to see upcoming bills, birthdays, and events months and weeks in advance so that you can prepare in advance. 

Whenever I have scheduled payments coming out of my bank accounts, I see green events in my Google calendar. My quarterly taxes are due four times a year, so I have two weeks to get my finances in order before they're due. Every December 10 through 2023, my music instructor's birthday is noted in my calendar. In the early summer, I'm supposed to check in about a work project, but I wouldn't remember it on my own; everything work-related is color-coded. In case my schedule fills up, and I need to push back my oil change, I put oil changes in my calendar weeks before I need them. 

7. Take One Item With You

I'd have an overflowing bedside table if I didn't carry a water glass, tea mug, or kombucha bottle every time I went to the kitchen. If you happen to have a free hand, ask yourself, “What can I take with me?” This can be applied to your car, your office, or any other place where clutter can quickly accumulate.

8. Make Your Future Self A Priority

Doesn't that sound boring? The idea may not seem so boring when you envision retiring early and spending your days relaxing on Spanish beaches after spending decades making the right decisions. In contrast, living in the moment for a lifetime can be damaging to your physical and mental health, financial resources, and relationships.

You might want to consider this for a micro-moment. Would having unprotected sex with him have any consequences? If I have to drive home, would it be a good idea to have one more drink? Would it be better if I contributed to my IRA or bought these shoes? 

There are times when the wild decision is actually what you need for the future. If it helps you avoid being hungover tomorrow, the 2:00 am frozen pizza could be the smart choice. Find the right balance between your current needs and your future needs, which are probably going to change over time. 

9. Experiencing More Rejection

During the course of the day, I was rejected four times. Although it wasn't pleasant, I recovered faster than I had with the last four rejections. What do you have to lose? Whatever they say, remember that the worst that can happen is they’ll say no.

A lesson I'm continuously learning in life is that asking for what you want is the key to getting it. There are times when you get it, and there are times when you don't. Nevertheless, you must ask.

A lesson I continue to learn is that asking for what we want in life is crucial. There are times when you get it, and there are times when you don't. However, you must ask. If you want to achieve what you want in life, whether it is career- or relationship-wise, expose yourself to rejection therapy; repeated microdoses of being told "no." The occasional "yes" will be all the more rewarding. 

You can find more life advice on our blog and learn about the health benefits of spending time outdoors.

10. Practice Patience In Frustrating Situations

You've all been there: waiting behind that person at the coffee shop or bank who seems to be moving at a snail's pace. The moment I am left alone with nothing to do, can’t hurry, and nothing to gain by getting riled up, I tell myself, "This is the perfect time to practice patience."

Use the phrase even when dealing with frustrating situations, such as potty training toddler accidents, or when you’re angry at work and are considering sending that snarky email. Take a deep breath. Take note of the environment around you. Keep things in perspective. Keep your patience, too.

Learn more about lifestyle improvement in our blog and the numerous mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual benefits of spending time outdoors

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