Building better habits is hard, especially in the beginning of becoming less dependent on alcohol. Sprints don’t work. Massive changes hardly work. Aiming for one giant step doesn’t end well. Many people rely on habit building systems to start new healthy habits. A great system can give your willpower a break, so you can focus on repeatable behaviors that deliver results. Better systems applied well will make your habits automatic over time. But a good system requires time to deliver incremental changes because healthy new habits take time to stick.
The only way to get over the hurdle is to start with a consistency plan too small to fail: a habit formation system that fits your personality, attitude, environment and goals in life.
A small action daily is infinitely better and more impactful than a massive change you can’t sustain. It’s also a realistic and attainable way to teach your brain healthy habits.
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day;
while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.” – Jim Rohn
Here are 20 micro habit ideas that can improve many areas of your life. Each one can help you build a sustainable habit over time — a consistent system that can deliver incremental, sustainable results:
1. Start your day with at least one glass of water — hydrate before you get yourself a cup of coffee.
2. Make time for a few minutes of quiet time to think about the good day ahead or prepare yourself for the day.
3. Don’t go straight to your email or social media feeds just yet — take the morning in (enjoy the peaceful sunrise).
4. Read a page or two of your favourite book instead of aiming for a complete chapter.
5. Don’t make your morning workout a chore. Instead of an hour or half an hour exercise, try five minutes or less plank, push up, sit-up or squat.
6. If you want to meditate, start by meditating for one minute per day instead of ten. If you are struggling, you won’t make it a habit.
7. For better energy and strong concentration, choose a healthy breakfast (whole grains, protein and healthy fats).
8. Limit the number of decisions you make in the morning. Too many decisions exhaust the brain and cause fatigue. One way to manage your energy is to do your high-priority work in the am.
9. When you start work, remove all distractions from your work environment before starting actual work –noise, notifications, email tabs, etc. Assume focus or productive mode with calming music.
10. Use your to-do list from the night before to start a productive day.
11. Schedule short downtime times in between work throughout the day. For example, for every hour of deep work, take a five-minute break.
12. During your downtime, you can listen to a podcast, read a thought-provoking article, get a drink or take a walk to clear your mind.
13. For everything you expect to complete, break it into simple-to-complete actions you can quickly get done. Focus on small wins in the first half of the day.
14. Schedule time for nature walks — even just 10 minutes outside and close to more trees can do wonders for your mood.
15. End your day with a tidy desk ready for the next day, so you don’t have to spend your morning getting ready for work.
16. Embrace healthy living — eat more superfoods rich in brain-boosting nutrients: leafy vegetables, berries, fruits, dark chocolate, fish, grains and nuts. You’ll have more energy every day.
17. Invest at least 30 minutes every day doing a side hobby you find relaxing — you can schedule it in the evenings or early mornings.
18. To make long-term goals work for you, break them into achievable daily goals. And focus on checking them off one day at a time.
19. Be more social every day — your happiness and the general outlook depends on it. Make quality time for your friends, colleagues and family members who bring out the best in you!
20. Start a pre-sleep ritual — remove all digital distractions and read a physical book instead. Reading a book before bed prepares your mind to wind down.
Micro habits add up, and they lower the barrier for consistency. This means you’re more likely to adopt good habits and sustain them, particularly as you attempt to reduce or eliminate alcohol or any destructive behaviours from your daily life. Small actions are meant to help you take micro-steps that are too small to fail but good enough to sustain. Practice them for as long as you can, revising as needed to keep building good habits. Building new habits in small ways is a sustainable approach that doesn’t overwhelm or stress you out. Give it a try!
May Your Anchor Hold