You were on the right track. You set small goals for yourself, working to build micro-habits to take control of your life but suddenly everything went wrong. The changes you expected to see just weren’t there. And it seemed the harder you tried, the less momentum you gained. What just happened?
Even when using micro-habits to change for the better, it’s easy to crash and burn. What you need to realize is that the fault wasn’t in you, but in your approach. We fail, even when the change is small, for several very common reasons:
1. You’re trying to take on too much at once. Because the habits were so small, chances are you piled them on, thinking that with small changes it didn’t matter. The problem is, you can’t form that many new habits all at once, and so by overloading yourself, you set yourself up for failure right at the start. Solve by scaling back. Establish one habit at a time. Once you have that one, then add another.
2. You’re staring at the finish line. By putting your focus on the goal instead of the habit, you’ve got your attention in the wrong place. Chances are you’re now rushing to get there and looking for shortcuts. The solution here is to realize that change takes time. Keep your eyes on the change you’re trying make now by keeping focused on the journey and not the destination.
3. You’re putting it off. Procrastinating is one of the most common problems in starting any habit, even small ones. Once you realize that this is your problem, you need to ask yourself why you’re putting things off – and what you can do to solve for that.
4. You’re not using your schedule. When using micro-habits, it’s easy to think that the change is so small that you don’t need to fuss about the when of getting things done. You assume that your goal is small (like drinking more water) can be accomplished by focusing on a vague deadline (like drinking more water during the day). Instead, you need to be intentional. Set reminders on your phone or pencil the micro-habit into your calendar. Make it a deliberate part of your day.
When you’ve tripped yourself up, the important thing to remember is that you were not the failure, your approach was. As the song goes, ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.’ By understanding what went wrong, it’s easy to find a solution that will put you right back on track again. Micro habits – done correctly – will absolutely change your world.