January 1st has come and gone, and if you’re anything like me, reality has set in that your big aspirations going into the new year are going to be a lot harder than you thought.
This should really come as no surprise. Whenever I look back on the goals I set for myself during previous years vs. what actually happened, it’s always a little disappointing.
Sure, I might do some cool things, go somewhere amazing, or hit a new running goal, but when I think about what those resolutions were meant to do — to help me grow, improve my health or fitness, or make me happier — how successful was I?
You likely feel the same way.
New year’s resolutions get such a bad reputation because they’re notoriously ambitious and unplanned.
And that’s why most people fail… if they bother to set a resolution at all.
This year, I’m doing something different, and as it turns out, Matt decided (independently) to do the same thing.
So it got us thinking… maybe we can convince you to join us.
Here’s the deal:
If you’re sitting around already struggling through your 2020 resolution, or if you didn’t set any at all, don’t stress. Instead of opting for the big, ambitious goal, go small.
Set tiny micro habits that take very little effort and, therefore, are more likely to succeed.
The power in these micro resolutions or habits isn’t the overnight transformation. Instead, it’s that they’re easy.
You’ll have mini wins throughout the year — hopefully even on the first day — start taking on more than one, and begin to shift the way you think about healthy changes.
And by the time 2020 is done, you’ll be able to look back on the past 12 months and see the real impact they’ve had on your health and happiness.
Micro Habits You Can Start Anytime
Matt and I discussed this idea, plus the 16 habits we recommend most, in a recent episode of No Meat Athlete Radio. You can check it out here:
Huge thanks to our new podcast sponsor Ned, and their collection of Full Spectrum Hemp Oil products. Use code “NOMEAT” for 15% off your order and free shipping.
But if you’d rather keep reading, I’ve outlined each of our favorite micro habits or resolutions below.
Start a few of them now, introducing others throughout the year as they become part of your routine. And don’t be afraid the introduce your own. The options are endless here, and I’m confident you could come up with 16 others.
Our list to get you started:
1. Make your bed every morning. Oddly enough, this simple, 1-minute task is scientifically linked to happiness. And as Matt puts it, “makes you feel like an adult.”
2. Carry a reusable bag around whenever you shop. Single-use plastic is a major issue around the world, and while significantly reducing or eliminating our plastic consumption should be a goal we all work towards, it’s really hard. A small, little-effort habit like simply carrying a reusable bag with you whenever you shop is a great way to start. Not just at the grocery store, but when you head to the mall, pharmacy, or even to your favorite take-out spot.
3. No screens in bed. For some of us, this might be a bit harder than others, but by cutting out screen time in bed, you’ll sleep better and start your day off without the immediate jolt from email or social media.
4. Do something you already do… a little bit better. Instead of feeling like you have to cut beer, coffee, or junk food entirely, what if you just did it a little better? Opted for a lower alcohol beer, or limit coffee to just one cup per day. Or if you’re making a sandwich and typically use vegan mayo, swap it for healthier mustard instead. As you’re moving throughout the day, think of everything you’re doing, and if there’s a way to improve it just a little bit.
5. 2 minutes of pushups each day. Simple, quick, and will likely lead to more over time.
6. A smoothie, salad, and supplements every day. So often we try to completely overhaul our nutrition when instead, including a few easy, nutritious sides can have a massive impact. A smoothie, salad, and supplement each day ensures you’re getting a boost of fruits, veggies, and nutrients no matter what.
7. Stand, when you can. At a standing desk if you have one, while grabbing a drink with friends, or just for a few minutes every hour.
8. Take the stairs. Along those same lines, get in the habit of taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. It might seem like a hassle at first, but it’ll quickly become your default.
9. Drink two glasses of water before coffee. It will not only rehydrate you after a long night of sleep but will give your body a chance to wake up before you pump it with caffeine (which can reduce the risk of coffee addiction and reduce the amount you drink).
10. Reach out to one person per day. Feeling like you’re losing touch with friends and family? Call, text, or email one person per day you wouldn’t otherwise talk to.
11. Hang with friends once per week. A Harvard study found that people who leaned into community and friends were happiest. Too often we get overwhelmed with life and forget about fun and relationships. Once per week, reach out to a friend and schedule a hangout.
12. Read one book per month. Twelve books is no joke, but when you frame it as just one per month, it doesn’t sound as ambitious. Bonus points for making them books you read just because they’re fun.
13. 20 minutes of journaling or Morning Pages every day. It’s a way to clear your mind or process the day, even if that writing gets thrown away right after.
14. Do one “enrichment habit” per day. Enrichment habits are all about something you enjoy — time with family, learning a craft or skill, cooking (if that’s fun for you). But typically when we talk about habits, we talk about operation system habits, like eating healthier or setting a morning routine. Here, instead of focusing on one of the operational habits, making a giant list of all the enrichment habits you wish you’d make time for, and aim for at least one per day.
15. Spend 5 minutes per day decluttering your house. Not just tidying, but finding a home for items that haven’t had a specific place before, or going through books, papers, or clothing and getting rid of the ones you no longer want or need. To help, you could start in a central location in your house, and every day spend five minutes working outward from there. (Or if you’re ready to go all-in, we love the Konmari Method.)
16. Go somewhere you’ve never been before at least once per month. To help break free of the repetition funk and get outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself to visit a new restaurant, park, city, or store at least once per month.
BONUS: Need more? Tackle these monthly challenges: For the past several years we’ve released monthly challenges for your health and fitness. If you’re looking for more structure or ideas, check out these monthly challenge posts:
Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight
You know the saying, “success doesn’t happen overnight”?
That doesn’t just refer to business, acting, or music. The same can be said for building a healthy, happy lifestyle.
You might read the ideas above and think they look easy or that something as simple as making your bed won’t change your world.
That’s the point.
By focusing on these small, easily approachable habits instead of massive goals, you’ll slowly build on a routine rooted in positive daily actions.
And before you know it, you’ll change your life.