Taking quantum leaps in an attempt to become a better person isn’t usually sustainable, mostly because motivation fluctuates. You have probably already experienced the frustration and disappointment of trying to make a huge difference in your life in one fell swoop. That approach rarely results in the type of improvement we want to see.
A better approach to personal development would be to develop mini habits because this is a surer way to guarantee consistency. Besides, doing just a little bit at a time supercharges your motivation and gives you plenty of opportunities to overachieve.
For example, you are more likely to stay in shape if you consistently spend just 15 minutes jogging around your neighborhood five days of the week than someone who attempts to hit the gym and use sophisticated machines to perform a 2-hour non-stop aerobics once a week!
You simply can’t do an entire week’s workout routine in one day. Your body isn’t designed to handle that type of stress, and you can only make meaningful progress if you do your workouts gradually. That principle holds true for physical exercises as well as every other area of life.
If you are thinking of improving your life, here are 18 mini habits that can significantly impact your life in the long run.
1. Eat a Balanced Diet
Let’s start with healthy habits. It is nearly impossible to live a happy and fulfilled life if you are constantly in poor health. Unfortunately, many people tend to depend on unhealthy processed foods, thanks to the overabundance of fast-food chains.
Eating a balanced diet and adopting healthy habits should be the norm and not the exception. Doing this regularly will become a habit, and you’ll live a generally healthier life. Living a life free of diseases and illnesses can positively impact your emotional and mental wellbeing, leading to even bigger results.
2. Practice Gratitude
You’ve probably heard this countless times, yet it is a fact that being truly grateful for the tangible and intangible things you receive opens you up to greater happiness, and that’s backed by science.
Set aside a few minutes every day to reflect on the blessings of that day. But don’t stop at only being grateful to God or a higher power. Practice saying thank you and showing appreciation to the people who make your life easier. It is one of the smaller habits but even this kind of mini habit can yield bigger results.
3. Offer a Genuine Compliment to at Least One Person Every Day
Every day, compliment someone about something – anything. Here’s the thing about offering compliments; it trains your mind to constantly look for the good in people. This is a great way to practice positivity.
Remember that offering fake or shallow compliments won’t help you develop the habit. In other words, you will have to intentionally focus on the strengths and good qualities of those around you or those you meet daily to offer a genuine compliment.
While it might seem like the focus of this habit formation is on the receiver of the compliment, it is actually about boosting your people skills and self-worth, and developing positive habits.
4 Have Three to Four Daily Priorities
If you want to improve your productivity by a lot, you need daily focus. A good way to set your daily focus and become more productive is to have around three to four tasks you want to accomplish in a day.
Start by being clear about what you want to achieve over the next week, month, or year. Every day, focus on completing three to four small but essential tasks that will help you move closer to your big goal.
By focusing on the essential tasks, you eliminate other non-essentials and achieve your goals faster. James Clear puts it this way, “When making plans, think big. When making progress, think small.”
This is a mini habits strategy that, when fully formed, can help you smash your big long-term goals effortlessly and spur personal growth and success.
5. Complete Your Hardest Task First
A good strategy for making every other task on your schedule seem simple is to first complete the most daunting task.
Cultivating the habit of taking on your to-do list this way creates a sense of relief and accomplishment. This means you’ll be facing the rest of the day feeling, “if I could do that, there’s nothing else that I can’t do!”
6. Turn Off All Notifications
It takes only a few seconds to turn off email, social media, text, and other notifications both on your mobile phone, computer, and other devices. Yet, the effortless action of these tiny habits can improve your productivity significantly.
Form the good habit of turning off all your notifications every day as soon as you get into work mode. Do this for at least a long block of work time to allow your brain to focus on the task at hand. It might take a little willpower at first but doing these things can become permanent healthy habits.
7. Focus on One Task at a Time
Multitasking is hailed as an important skill that can sharpen working memory, attention, and other cognitive resources. And while many people think of multitasking as a good thing, evidence shows that constantly switching between tasks in rapid succession (which is what multitasking is, by the way) can reduce your performance and efficiency.
For example, try to imagine a surgeon trying to multitask while operating on a patient. That’s disaster literally waiting to happen!
Practice mindfulness instead. This helps you focus all of your attention on one task at a time and complete it to the best of your abilities. You don’t have to be a surgeon to develop the good habit of being single-minded. You can monotask and complete your tasks to the best of your abilities by the consistent practice of living in the moment.
8. Write In Your Journal
Keep a journal; it can be a food journal, an affirmation journal, a diary-type journal, or a gratitude journal. The important thing is to have a journal and jot down your thoughts daily or as often as possible.
Journaling is one of the mini habits that can help you collect and organize your thoughts. Over time, this habit will make you a better thinker and can become a lifelong habit.
Want to learn how to start and keep an affirmation journal? Check out this post.
9. Read a Few Pages a Day
Many of us don’t like reading. Let me rephrase that. Many people don’t like reading books. We can spend several hours a day reading posts on social media but find it extremely difficult to read a few pages of a book.
Set your electronics aside for about an hour every day and read something printed on hardcopy. This is one of the mini habits that can significantly improve your career, make you a better thinker, and even make you smarter.
10. Respond to Invitations Promptly
The simple habit of responding to invitations on time can help you stay more organized. Of course, you need time to think about accepting or declining an invitation, but you don’t have to put off your response until you make up your mind.
Simply responding with, “I’ll check my schedule and get back to you,” is better than delaying your response or not responding at all.
11. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is one of the essential mini habits that everyone should develop. Regular exercise offers a ton of physical, mental, and emotional benefits. You can sign up for a gym membership, join a small group of exercisers in your neighborhood, or simply do your workout at home. Whatever you do, avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
Indeed, many people are forced to spend several hours at their desks because of the type of work they do. If that’s you, consider incorporating some body movement into your day. Avoid spending long hours at your desk. Stretch, walk around in your office, or go for a quick run during breaks to exercise your body.
12. Repeat Affirmations to Yourself
Repeating a few personal mantras or affirmations to yourself every day might not make a lot of sent at the beginning. However, if you use affirmations daily, you’ll start to notice a shift in your outlook on life as the habit takes hold.
Instead of allowing stressful situations to push you into a reactionary place, saying your favorite affirmations can reassure you that everything is perfectly fine, even when it doesn’t seem so.
Here’s a list of powerful affirmations to get you started.
13. Practice Kindness and Love
Each of us is blessed with an unlimited resource of love – you simply can’t run out of love. Don’t be afraid to give love away and show kindness to someone every day.
Practice not expecting anything in return when you give love and kindness. Don’t keep scores. Instead, enjoy being kind and loving for the sheer joy, happiness, and sense of accomplishment they bring. Doing so makes you a better person, after all.
14. Save a Percentage of Your Income
Save 10%, 20%, or whatever percentage of your income is comfortable. This habit isn’t really about how much you put aside but how often you do it.
One of the biggest benefits of consistently saving a portion of your income is that it helps you cut out unnecessary expenses. Saving on small things will amount to huge sums over time, which can be put to good use.
15. Put Things Away As Soon As You’re Done With Them
Imagine the time and effort you will save if you form the habit of simply putting things away when you are done with them. This habit nips clutter in the bud, preventing things from piling up.
It doesn’t cost anything to put things away properly. But it can cost you an entire weekend to reduce or clear up mounds of clutter if you just dump things all over your home.
16. Meditate Every Day
Develop the habit of spending a few minutes in meditation every day to help alter or shift your mindset. The common misconception is that meditation is hard, but that’s not the case. Meditation is easy to learn and practice. You can check out this post to learn how to incorporate it into your daily life.
17. Do a Brain Dump Before You Sleep
Practice emptying your mind shortly before hitting the sack. A brain dump is something similar to journaling but from a different angle.
Instead of trying to organize your thoughts, as you typically would when you write in a journal, a brain dump does not follow any specific order or format.
Simply pour out all your random thoughts on your mind on paper without editing. What you write doesn’t even have to make sense to you or anyone. Alternatively, you can use a voice recorder and let the words flow from your mind unedited.
While a brain dump might seem like mindless rambling, it actually helps to reduce anxiety and depression.
18. Get 7 to 9 Hours of Sleep at Night
Whatever you do, avoid sacrificing your sleep because that would mean going through the whole day feeling tired and cranky.
The Sleep Foundation recommends around 7 to 9 hours of sleep for people between 18 to 64 years old. Of course, some people may be able to perform at their best even with slightly fewer hours of sleep, but most of us need that much sleep to function optimally.
One way to get enough sleep is to turn in early. This one habit can improve your mood, help you concentrate better, reduce the risk of diseases, and increase your productivity, among many other benefits.
These habits and small steps might seem too insignificant to bring about any lasting positive change in your life. However, small positive behavior changes can result in lasting change.
Habits require less effort and energy because they’ve become your go-to or mindless behavior. Imagine what your life would look like if you could automatically default to all of the habits in this post without even thinking about them. Wouldn’t that be an amazing life?
The good news is that mini habits are easy to form since they are essentially small steps and not huge quantum leaps. Go ahead and practice as many of these smaller habits as you can, remembering to take things slow. Soon, they will become automatic, and you’ll reap the immense benefits of a new superior habit building strategy.