Start small, with methodical micro-habits.
If you have a big habit you want to implement in your life – for example, that ol’ chestnut ‘to get healthy’ – it’s through introducing micro-habits that you’ll make the biggest steps forward.
Mamamia spoke to Associate Professor Amanda Gordon, Director at Armchair Psychology, about the benefits of micro-habits, particularly in today’s stressful and unsettling climate.
The first rule of adopting micro habits? “Always set achievable goals”.
“In order to change your big habits, it works better if you look at your small habits first. If you look at the little components of your big habits, you’ll work out what you need to change.”
Side note… Clinical and Health Psychologist Amanda Gordon helps break down how you can help your children if they’re suffering from anxiety during the age of the coronavirus. Post continues below.
Gordon says that if your goal is to exercise more, for example, then you should “get into the habit of jumping up first thing in the morning and immediately putting on your gym gear”.
“Whenever we want to change a goal, we do so by breaking it into small, achievable chunks rather than try to do it all at once,” she explains.
For micro-habits, it’s all about frequency.
You often hear the number 21 being quoted as the number of days you need to do something before it becomes a habit. But according to Gordon, “there’s nothing magical about 21”.
Instead, you just need to “do it every day and one day you’ll notice you’re doing it, and it will become less conscious”.
Here are five micro-habits that everyone can adopt.
1. Eat mindfully.
Associate Professor Amanda Gordon says many people have the big goal to “eat healthy”. But by breaking that down to smaller goals and habits, it becomes more achievable.
“When you are eating mindfully, it means you’re thinking of what you’re eating at the time,” the clinical psychologist explains.
“You’re doing it and enjoying that act of eating, and then you get into the habit of eating healthy, which is the bigger goal.”