“You woke up on the wrong side of the bed today!” Yes it’s an old saying, but everyone can relate to the idea of starting your day off wrong. I am not a morning person. So while I may want to wake up with joy in my heart, it’s usually a begrudging battle to climb out of a perfectly warm bed and face my 80s-metal hair mess.
Usually around the beginning of February is the time the New Year’s resolutions start to die. Don’t worry — this is not another post of encouragement to start back up the marathon training or save more money. In fact, I would like to toss the 2021 goals list to the side (but not off the table because I love lists) and instead take a look at the small micro-habits that could transform our day-to-day lives for the better. Think of them like “mini resolutions” if that helps. These are the small actions that weave our routines together and gently nudge our perspective of the day, with the hope that eventually they become habits.
For the first 27 years of my life, I didn’t make my bed. But a few years ago I was in a dark place mentally and started to make my bed in the morning simply because it forced me not to crawl back in and sleep the day away. Recently, I got into the habit of scrolling through social media while in bed...and, just like that, a small ugly habit formed that filtered through the rest of my day yet again. Look at your morning and decide how you want to start off. For me — no phone, make my bed, brew the coffee, feed the fish. Now tackle the day ahead.
Are you talking to yourself? Of course you are. But most of the time it's just in your mind. The Mayo Clinic writes: “Positive thinking often starts with self-talk. Self-talk is the endless stream of unspoken thoughts that run through your head. These automatic thoughts can be positive or negative. Some of your self-talk comes from logic and reason.” Start taking the mental steps to a better yourself by transforming that negative talk to positive. When you think something negative, consider how you can rewire your thinking to be positive, and watch how your headspace frees up.
A lot of us are still working from home and if you haven't already, it’s time to create a workspace you can thrive in. Even if it’s the corner of your kitchen, it takes a while to set up a workspace that works for you. Maybe you have a favorite plant or candle (or rubber duck if you’re a developer). Set up the space to feel like it will inspire creativity and productivity. You are spending 40 hours of your time there each week, so make it a space where you feel comfortable.
Micro-habits influence your actions, thoughts, and emotions like room temperature affects your comfort. Start to create some small tangible habits that will only help you make big changes. For example:
Goal: Be healthier.
Micro-habit: Drink one glass of water in the morning.
Goal: Keep a cleaner home.
Micro-habit: Pick a room to deep clean every Sunday.
Goal: Get more sleep.
Micro-habit: Silence your phone and go to bed by 9:30 on weeknights.
The habits we develop in our day-to-day life — no matter how small — matter to the quality of your life and overall enjoyment… and can lead to a macro-impact on your life and its direction. By looking at the small moments and improving on them, you can make a huge impact on your life, career, and community.
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