Micro habits are small, incremental changes in behaviour that can have a significant impact on our overall health and well-being. Unlike big goals or resolutions, micro habits are small actions we can more seamlessly fit into our daily/weekly routines. They take a few minutes, require minimal thought or effort, and are easy to stick to or sustain over time. By incorporating micro habits into our lives, we can create positive changes in our physical and mental health that can accumulate over time and lead to long-term improvements.
When it comes to making health changes, often what I see women do, is try to bite off more than they can chew. They think they have to make HUGE life shattering changes, or, maintain perfection, for it to ‘be worth it’. The whole idea of micro habits is to take realistic and practical action that is small, simple, sustainable and even enjoyable. Micro-habits can help you get started, or ignite your motivation when you feel like you’re in a funk (or need to ‘get back on track’), without overwhelming you.
Benefits of micro-habits for busy Mums
One of the benefits of micro habits is that they are not overwhelming and can be integrated into our existing routines with minimal thoguth, effort or disruption. These habits can be as simple as drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, taking a stand and stretch break during lunchtime, or spending a few minutes journalling before bed. These small actions may seem inconsequential, but when practiced consistently (not perfectly) over time, they can have a profound effect on our overall health and well-being.
Micro habits can help us overcome the common challenges associated with forming new healthy habits. By starting small, we can reduce the likelihood of failure, build our confidence, boost motivation and create momentum that can help us achieve more significant intentions/goals over time. Additionally, micro habits can help us overcome resistance to change by breaking down larger intentions/goals into more manageable and achievable steps.
23 examples of micro-habits I’ve used as a busy Mum**
**NB: Some of these habits I currently do, some I have previously done. None have been maintained perfectly – but all have been maintained consistently for an extended period of time.
- After I wake up I take 1 big deep breath whilst stretching my arms overhead.
- I don’t pick up my phone as soon as I wake up.
- I make my bed as soon as I get out of bed.
- I have a glass of water as soon as I walk into the kitchen in the morning.
- I do pelvic floor exercises whilst I brush my teeth.
- Before jumping into the drivers seat of my car I do a couple of standing quad stretches and side bends.
- I drink a glass of water at every meal.
- I do a 1-2minute declutter of a small area of the house whilst the kettle boils (ie. one drawer, one shelf).
- As soon as I sit down at my desk I brain dump todays to-do-list on a piece of paper and highlight my top 3 priorities.
- Before I ‘clock off’ from work for the day, I transfer todays unfinished tasks onto tomorrows to-do-list
- I stand up, stretch my arms over head, take a big deep breath in and long slow breath out then give my body a ‘shake out’ as a quick brain break when working from home
- After putting bub down for a nap, I take 3 big deep breaths whilst gently moving my shoulders, neck and back
- After 2pm, I opt for tea or water instead of coffee.
- Before I walk out the door to do school pick up I grab a piece of fruit to have as a snack (ie. apple or banana)
- Whenever I can, I take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Whenever I’m cutting up vegetables for dinner I cut up extra and put them in a tuppaware container for the next day.
- Whenever I’m following a recipe I factor in an increase in the amount of vegetables listed in the ingredients (ie. add more vegetables).
- I turn off my bedroom light and turn on fairy lights when I’m heading to brush my teeth at night
- After I’ve brushed my teeth, I wash my face or do a simple skin care routine.
- I auto set my phone to switch on do-no-disturb mode from 8pm-7am
- I do a 1 minute journal activity before going to bed (ie. write 2 things I’m grateful for, or write in my daily cycle tracker).
- I book weekly workouts into my diary after dinner on Sunday evening
- I write out our weekly menu plan after dinner on Friday evenings
TIP 1: You do you boo
Micro-habits should fit seamlessly into YOUR life in order to work really well. Perhaps the examples I’ve listed above don’t strike you as being ‘easy’ to implement… change them to suit you and your life/world.
TIP 2: Stack your habits
In order to make micro-habits easy to remember and easy to action its a good idea to STACK them onto another habits you do (for example – “do your pelvic floor exercises whilst you brush your teeth”). This strategy is known as HABIT STACKING.
TIP 3: Link habits to your health intentions/goals
Ideally, you want the micro-habits to connect with your ‘bigger picture vision’ of health and/or health goals/intentions. For example, if one of your health intentions is to exercise twice a week then the following micro-habits may work well for you: (1) After I brush my teeth I will set out my workout clothes for the following day (2) After dinner on Sunday night I will book my workouts for the week ahead. Or, if one of your health intentions is to improve your sleep then the following micro-habits may work well for you: (1) After 2pm, I opt for tea or water instead of coffee (2) I turn off my bedroom light and turn on fairy lights when I’m heading to brush my teeth at night (3) I auto set my phone to switch on do-no-disturb mode from 8pm-7am.
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