Micro Habits - Using Small Good Habits for Big Results
I’m a huge believer in creating schedules and positive habits – more specifically micro-habits.
The little things make a huge difference over the long haul. This is true for both the positive and negative.
Related - 4 Keystone Habits to Optimize Your Life
One packet of cigarettes isn’t great for you but isn’t going to kill you, necessarily. One packet of cigarettes a day for a lifetime makes matters a whole lot worse.
I genuinely don’t believe humans have a place where they can stay still, metaphorically I mean. You’re either slowly getting better or slowly getting worse. This applies to all the big factors of life – family relationships, friends, money, physical health, mental health…
Micro-habits are, what I consider, the key to making positive actions that will culminate in a lifetime of happiness and health.
What are Micro-habits?
Micro-habits are small, seemingly insignificant actions that require little effort to complete. These habits done repeatedly, over time will amass to great things.
One of the best examples of this is brushing your teeth – A seemingly small, effortless task done daily that results in good oral hygiene.
Consider not brushing your teeth for a week, a month, a year? What condition would your teeth, gums and social life be in then?
What does this have to do with “all dem Gainz?” Micro-habits are all about building a healthier, stronger you.
If you hit the gym for an hour, three days a week, that’s only three hours out of 168. Take that to a full year, assuming you never miss any of the three sessions in any week and that’s 156 hours of gym time out of 8,760 hours that make up the year –
That’s only 1.8% of your entire year devoted to training!
Imagine for a second, you started doing multiple sets of push-ups and pull-ups throughout each day.
Some will call this “practicing”, others “greasing the groove”. Whatever you choose to call it, imagine how much stronger, denser muscled and proficient you’ll be moving your bodyweight over the course of a week, a month, a year?
Consider taking all the stairs you encounter, rather than the elevator. Consider walking to the local shops, rather than ordering online or driving there. Consider stretching or doing mobility work in the evenings when you’re watching Netflix.
These micro-habits go beyond fitness.
What if you start reading 10 pages of a book a day? How much knowledge could you gain over the course of a year?
10 pages seem like too much work? Fine, read one – A single page! I don’t care who you are, everyone has the fortitude to read a single page every day.
These actions may not seem like much at all and honestly, that is the point. They’re easy, seemingly insignificant tasks that build and gather momentum.
For another visual analogy imagine taking a single sheet of paper and putting it on a table. This gets repeated the next day with another sheet and the same thing happens the day after that.
At first, you have a small amount barely able to call it a pile. After a year it’s substantially thicker. After five years it’s become a block, and after 10 years you’d struggle to move it.
Let’s revisit the idea of doing daily push-ups and pull-ups.
This work is minimal. You don’t want to stress, strain or really struggle during the sets. If you can do five strict pull-ups for your micro-habit, then you’d do maybe one. The same goes for the push-ups, you always want to be working submaximally.
This work is supplemental to your normal gym training and never meant to replace or detract from those. It’s seasoning. It’s the sprinkles on top of your training cake – does that make any sense?
I’m fairly certain it does. If not, I’m sure Tiger Fitness has some amazing protein cakes type deal…
Micro-habits are beautifully simple and stunningly profound. The key is to think small and act even smaller.
Humans have this way of piling onto too much without realizing.
December 31st. Drink in one hand, some sort of cake or junk food in the other. “Tomorrow I’ll change it all – no junk food, no sugar, no gluten, no carbs.” “I’ll stop drinking, I’ll train hard like six or seven times a week.”
We all know the early January rush, followed by the mid-January return to normal in the gym.
Micro-habits are too small to overlook or dismiss. Again, I’ll refer you to brushing your teeth, making a morning coffee or taking a shower – All seemingly small tasks ingrained into your life seamlessly, slowly adding up for you over time.
What do you want to get better at? Can you micro-habit your way to achieving that?
To assist with the flexibility demands of Brazilian Jiujitsu I stretch nightly while winding down watching TV. This I can tell you now has worked wonders.