How Micro-habits Have Helped Me Achieve My Goals

It’s that time of year. Blogs, podcasts, and articles are packed full of tips and ideas for New Year’s resolutions. 

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I love reading other people’s words for the year, goals, and resolutions. They are inspiring and motivating. But even more, I appreciate hearing how different people think through goal setting in general. Several things I’ve read have really shaped my approach to self-improvement in 2017. 

This article from Fast Company made something click. I’ve been reading more and more about the virtues of micro habits and incrementalism. And for me, it all boils down to just starting. Micro-habits seem deceptively simple. So simple and minor that I think mentally, I don’t think they’ll make much of a difference. Then, I don’t actually do them. 

So this year, I’ve committed to actually starting on some of these micro-habits, and to have faith that they will eventually get me somewhere. 

Last week, I shared my monthly and yearly goals and many of those have to do with using micro-habits to move myself forward. 

In many areas I want to improve (health and fitness, housekeeping, writing), I feel like I have to wait to start habits until I am ready, when everything is in place, and then I just sort of maintain it. But that’s missing most of the point. These habits will get me to the “starting point” that I’m always waiting for, and then move me even further. 

I’m doing my Duolingo Spanish lesson every day even though it seems small. But looking back at all the lessons I’ve completed in the last two weeks, it does seem like I have accomplished something. I only have to do one lesson a day, but like the author of the article above, I often end up doing more. 

And I'm flossing everyday. If I do nothing else that I should before bed, I will have flossed. And that's a good start. A true micro-habit would tell me to just floss one tooth, but that seems like too much effort for just one tooth. So I'm flossing them all. But I'm doing it now. Previously, I would have told myself to wait until my next dental cleaning so I'd be starting out with a plaque free mouth. But now the habit will be in place when I go to the dentist next. 

Start where you are. Just start where you are. 

I need to keep telling myself this. 

I will be working on more of the principles in the article in the coming weeks. And I'll be adding one habit every month. I'll try to keep it to one. Maybe two. 

What habits are you cultivating? 

Caitlin Supcoff