Change Q3

How micro-habits can change your life

by Lottie Ennis

Simply put, micro-habits are defined as a set of small tasks which one can complete regularly to improve general health and wellbeing as well as work towards their goals. More importantly, micro-habits can also act as a form of self-care and allow individuals to invest emotionally in themselves for the future without taking up huge chunks of time. The main point of micro-habits is that they are achievable and will ultimately give a sense of accomplishment, which is most likely to lead to more confidence, and so further success. Some examples of micro-habits which can lead to great things include:

  • Checking your bank details every day – Forbes suggests this gives a consistent accurate mental layout of your personal finances.
  • Making your bed every day – I can personally attest to this one as a consistently messy person! Making your bed every day does encourage you to analyse the rest of your space and keep it tidy as well as improving your sleeping routine.
  • Write one paragraph every day – I know many students have plans to write regular blogs, poems and even books. This micro-habit will not take up much time but will give results pretty quickly as you’ll get into the habit of finding time to write more and more.

Although these are just some random examples, it is with pioneers like Marie Kondo and Chidera Eggerue that we have seen an explosion in the form of actively working and investing in yourself and your goals.  Kondo has become incredibly successful with her approach and question ‘does this spark joy’. This simple sentiment has dramatically changed lives as we see on her series on Netflix. Her theory that you should put in the time to sort through and only surround yourself with things you find joyful is because you deserve to reap the rewards of a clean and wholesome surrounding and will become more successful as you can focus on the things you love.

James Clear, author of the best-selling book ‘Atomic Habits’ also suggests starting with micro-habits to build up to permanent habits. He suggests that most of our daily life is made up of our habits and so if we make new ones we will, therefore, change our lives. His systematic approach to this change includes setting a small habit (micro-habit) and then slowly increasing it so your willpower and motivation increase with it. Furthermore, he builds on this concept with the term ‘bright-line rules’ – a term describing the promise you make to yourself to change permanently. This system changes phrases such as ‘I want to eat healthier’ to ‘I eat at least two types of vegetables a day’. This change gives clear definitions to your goals and begins to create a set of rules personal to yourself.

Chidera Eggerue, also known as The Slumflower, endorses a similar approach in her technique of encouraging self-love. She advocates working on yourself by yourself instead of relying on a partner or friends to fix you or seeing yourself as incomplete without a partner. In her advice, it is important also to focus on yourself rather than on fixing someone else’s problems and then resenting your own. Micro-habits that focus purely on yourself are likely to give you better results but also mean you feel more independent and able to live without worrying about what other people are thinking. Within her book ‘What a time to be alone’, Eggerue focuses on the joys of living alone and the ways in which we are constantly comparing ourselves to others through social media. Using her own experiences and advice from her mum, Eggerue encourages us to love ourselves and focus on our own goals.

In conclusion, micro-habits will not change our lives on their own; however, they do provide an outlet for the feeling that we often have of wanting to do better and give us a place to start. Micro-habits seem to be the best way to approach something with the real intention of seeing it through to the end or seeing permanent differences.