• Dr. Denise Dennis

Less is Always More: Using Micro Habits to Create Lasting Change

There are no limits to the types of habits you can create to help get yourself headed in the right direction. There are unlimited ways to begin to do new things in new ways, but remember something important- less is more. Begin with "micro habits." Micro habits are just that, micro. They are teeny, tiny actions that on their own may seem insignificant, but they are perfect for building lasting change.

Keep Your Focus on Sustainability

Micro habits should be geared towards one thing, sustainability. Whatever micro habit you create, it should become something you can activate, repeat, and eventually internalize so it becomes automatic.

A great example of a micro habit could look like this: If you frequently misplace your keys, you can create the micro habit of hanging them on a hook beside the door every time you enter your home.

In the beginning, it will take conscious effort to remind yourself to hang the keys as you walk in. If done repeatedly, the action will become automatic and you won’t have to consciously think about it again. The micro habit eventually becomes automatic and the result is you never waste time or are late because you don’t misplace your keys.

Break Your Habit Down to the Barest Minimum

Designing a micro habit requires breaking it down to the barest minimal essence of a task. Think of it like a step-by-step plan towards a goal. If you set a goal to ‘read more’ you can break the goal down until you create a micro habit that supports the goal and is sustainable for your lifestyle. A few examples of a micro habit to ‘read more’ could be

Carry a book with you in your bag

Read one page per day

Read one page before bed

Read one page before breakfast

Any of these micro habits will be easy to adopt and easily become a habit that is automatic over time. Carrying a book with you can open up opportunities to read throughout the day. Reading one page per day or before bed can easily lead to reading more each session. Creating the micro habit helps steer you towards the overall goal.

Did you know!? The great thing about micro habits is they build on one another. Once a micro habit becomes automatic, it’s a great time to piggy back off of it and add a new micro habit. An example could be piggy backing reducing screen time with reading more. After mastering a micro habit for reading, you can tag a new micro habit that supports reducing screen time to it. An example could be

Before scrolling social media, I read a page in a book

When I read before bed, I put my phone down for the night

Adding positive micro habits together increases their value and adds to your overall best practices in life.

For more tips on creating new habits that stick, download my free guide: Habit Hacks: Simple Hacks to Help You Build New Habits

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