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Editor’s Note: While broad and lofty goals have their place, it’s no surprise that some of the most meaningful changes we make in our lives are achieved. arise from small, repeated changes over time. It is these small habits, instilled on a regular basis, that tend to make the biggest impact. In today’s post, contributor Megan McCarty shares ten examples of micro-habits that have the power to change your life. We hope you glean some helpful insights from her words below!
With every new job, relationship, habit — you name it — I treat learning as small steps. You didn’t come out of the womb when you learned to walk, much less run, right? First, you lie there for months, before rolling back and forth, then crawling, then getting up, before wobbling a few steps and everyone around you cheering. You had goose eggs on your head and bruises on your knees, fell and tripped for years afterward, but in the end, you were able to walk and now you can take it for granted that makes life easier. How much easier your life becomes.
The slow and steady learning process can also be applied to these life-changing micro-habits. The secret to have a habit to stick with are starting right now, starting small and mostly just starting in general.
Here are ten of my tried-and-true micro-habits that will help you feel more organized and in control in a world that’s so bohemian.
1. Ask yourself, “What’s the nice thing to do?”
When I have the option to wait a few seconds to keep the door open for someone, I will. If I could spend five more minutes in savasana, I would take it. If my friend is struggling with a difficult pregnancy, I sign up. Why? Because that’s a nice thing to do.
Doing good is not about being recognized; it’s multiple daily reminders to do good deeds for both others and for yourself, especially when no one is looking. You will allow your brain to think clearly, no matter how small your actions. Remember, though: If the “good thing” is taking advantage of you, your time, or your generosity, that’s not a good thing to begin with. Know yours boundary.
2. Enforce the one minute rule.
Credit to Happiness Project author and very intelligent woman, Gretchen Rubin, for this rule of life. It’s easy: If a task takes less than a minute to complete, encourage yourself to do it on the spot. Recycle spam, hang up your coat, reply to that text, close the silverware drawer, screw the lid on the peanut butter.
It’s easy: If a task takes less than a minute to complete, encourage yourself to do it on the spot. Recycle spam, hang up your coat, reply to that text, close the silverware drawer, screw the lid on the peanut butter.
Most of these mundane tasks take place in a matter of seconds, but when combined, they can quickly feel overwhelming. “I will do it tomorrow” turns into “I will do it tomorrow” and then “What about another day?” Don’t even think about it. Do it now.
3. Add one more.
Add one more vegetable to your dinner plate. Drink an extra glass of water every day. Learn one more phrase in Arabic. Once these half become part of your routine, consider adding — you know this will happen — one more thing.
4. Know how much money you have.
Knowledge is power, even if it reminds you how terrible your credit card debt is. Become financially secure and confidence starts with always having an accurate idea of how much money is in your account. Make it a habit to check your account regularly, whatever that means for you. Once you have a better idea of how much money you have and how much you’re spending, you’ll make better decisions whenever you’re tempted to splurge.
Remember — and this comes from someone with severe money anxiety! —There is a fine line between holding onto your account and becoming obsessed with every penny. I’m the biggest cheerleader for financial literacy, but when the market crashed this spring, I removed the shortcut to the financial advisor website from my browser and opted for gleeful ignorance. because of stress over which I can’t do anything. Understand what you can and cannot control and focus your attention on what you can, such as spending on an emergency fund or not buying that impractical jumpsuit.
5. Write it down.
Do you really think you’ll remember the funny thing your kid said this morning before dinner time, much less a few decades from now? And why do we trust our brains, they’ve been through full Lately, to remember exactly what we need at the grocery store to make that Alison Roman recipe?
Whenever that little flag in your head—the “I must remember it” flag—starts to fly, immediately write it down. That could mean quotes, presenting ideas for the hardest things to buy in your life, the restaurant you want to go to on your next date night, or anything else you’ll probably forget. Create lists, lists, and more, with a good old-fashioned pen and paper, or in the Notes app on your phone.
6. Organize your calendar — weeks, months and, if available, years in advance.
Regularly taking time to organize your online calendar helps you see important developments, such as upcoming bills, birthdays and events, weeks and months ahead, signaling you to prepare .
In my Google calendar—bless the internet gold—green events indicate when scheduled payments will arrive from my bank account. Four times a year, additional green events remind me to pay my taxes quarterly—two weeks before they’re due, so I have enough room to get my money in order. My yoga instructor’s birthday is recorded every December 10, 2023. There’s a work project that I have to check out early in the summer, but I never remember that alone; anything work related is color coded coral. I plug in my oil changes in my scheduled weeks before I need them, to get them on my radar in case my schedule is full and I need to push again.
7. Bring something with you.
My bedside table would become overflowing with a collection of water glasses, tea mugs, and bottles of kombucha if I didn’t bring it with me every time I went into the kitchen. When you find yourself hands-free, ask yourself, “What can I bring?” Apply this to a certain room, your office, or your car—any area of your life that can quickly become too cluttered.
8. Learn to prioritize your future.
Sounds boring, doesn’t it? It won’t be boring when you can retire early and lounge on a Spanish beach all day because you’ve made decades worth of decisions to get you there. On the other hand, this current period of life can be self-destructive and set you back for a long time with all kinds of health: physical, mental, relationship, and financial.
Please take a moment to review. What are the consequences of having unprotected sex with him? I have to drive home — should I have another drink? Do I buy these shoes or contribute to my IRA?
The good news is, sometimes it’s a myth To be what’s best for your future. Sometimes the 2 a.m. frozen pizza is the futuristic choice, if it’ll keep you from having a hangover tomorrow. Learn to strike your perfect and ever-changing balance between what you need now and what you will need in the future.
9. More rejections.
I have been rejected no less than four times today. However, I didn’t feel very well, but I recovered faster than the previous four rejections. What to lose? Remember, the worst they can say, anyone surname is, is not.
If there’s one lesson I’m learning over and over again, it’s that we have to ask for what we want out of life. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. But you have to ask.
If there’s one lesson I’m learning over and over again, it’s we have to ask for what we want in life. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. But you have to ask. Whatever it is you want, career or relationship wise, follow it yourself exposure therapy to refuse, being told “no” over and over again. It will make all the occasional “yes” more satisfying.
10. Use frustrating moments to exercise your patience.
We’ve all been there, at the coffee shop or the bank, behind the seemingly slowest person in the world. In those moments, when there was nothing to go, nothing to do, and no need to worry, I said to myself, “What a perfect time to exercise your patience.”
Also apply this phrase to uncomfortable moments, such as when your potty training kid gets in an accident or you’re tempted to write a tough work email. Take a few breaths. Notice your surroundings. There are several views. And, yes, exercise your patience.
Megan is a writer, editor, etc-er who muses about life, design, and travel for Domino, Lonny, Hunker and more. Her rules of life include, but are not limited to: a zipper on incorporation, cash tips, and contributions to your IRA. Be a friend and subscribe to her newsletter Night vision or follow her on Instagram.