What most people don’t realize is that those who take the big payout end up with significantly less money than those who opt for the cent per day. He explains: “The doubling penny actually ends up being $10.7 million dollars. Yet, the majority of the growth happens at the very end, and most people aren’t patient enough for the big return. The live for the moment culture of today stops people from investing.”
The point is that if you want to have a completely different life in a year or two, you need to start now, and you need to start small. Here, 22 impactful microhabits you can begin tonight.
1. Try to be rejected more.
Every day, reach out to one or two people who you’d like to work with, even if you are certain they would have no reason to respond.
It could be a potential employer, an organization at which you’d like to speak, or even a book agent, or client you’d love to work with. You might not hear back at first, but eventually, you will get a response from someone. You have nothing to lose, but potentially a lot to gain.
2. Write one paragraph.
Whether you have a book you’ve always dreamt of authoring, a business plan that’s been in the back of your mind for a while, or even just a blog you want to start, write just a few sentences each day. The momentum will build on its own and you’ll find yourself effortlessly writing more and more… but commit to just beginning with one paragraph.
3. Check your bank account.
Make it a habit to check in on all of your accounts at least once a day. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. But what’s important is that you’re keeping yourself aware of exactly what you have, and where it’s going. Getting a better grip on your finances begins with having a consistently accurate mental layout of your accounts.
4. Get used to maintenance.
Aspirational tropes want you to believe that living your best life is like running a victory lap every day. In reality, it is more like being willing to tend to the unglamorous maintenance of things, like chores, cleaning, healthy cooking, staying current on bills and work assignments, or making time for exercise.
The quality of your life will be directly and drastically improved if you can incorporate necessary maintenance into your daily routine, and learn to see it as something that helps you rather than hinders you from having a great time.
5. Choose comfort for your future self over comfort right now.
If you want to change your life, you need to start considering the needs and wants of your future self over the ones you have right now. Prioritizing how you feel and what you want in the moment is what lead you here. Instead, commit to making choices for the benefit of your future self. The idea that “being present” means disregarding anything but your most base instincts and desires is not enlightenment, it is self-destruction.
6. Be more responsive.
If someone sends a text, answer it when you see it. As often as you are able, respond to important emails as they come in. This will ensure that you aren’t left with a backlog of work that needs to be tended to.
7. Be less reactive.
When you see or hear something that immediately enrages you or upsets you (even if it’s just a negative thought that crops up in your head) before reacting to it and pouring your energy into it, question it. Figure out where it came from, and ask yourself whom your reaction to it would serve. Learning to take that micro-pause between a stimulus and your response will change the way you look at everything.
8. Fulfill your base needs.
You are not a machine, but in some ways, your body and life does require that you fuel it in certain ways to keep it running. Eat when you are hungry. Sleep when you are tired. Trying to deny the importance of your most basic requirements for functioning does not mean you are busy and important, it means you are ignorant and setting yourself up for a breakdown or burnout.
9. Curate your sphere of influence.
You know that the people you spend the most time with have a significant impact on who you will become.
But do you also realize that what you are surrounding yourself with and putting into your head is having just as much, if not even more, of an effect on you? Take a serious look at who you follow online and what their presence on your newsfeed does for you, or perhaps how cluttered your home or office space is. This is your environment, and it is having a silent, and often subconscious, impact on you at all times.
10. Take action when you want to do something.
In Mel Robbin’s The 5 Second Rule, she explains that a lot of what holds people back is those few seconds between when you have an amazing idea, and when your brain interferes. She says that to really move your life forward, you need to act on your ideas before you convince yourself not to.
11. Take action when you don’t.
At the same time, it’s imperative to learn that just because you do not feel like doing something does not mean you are incapable of doing it. Your feelings do not impact your ability.
12. Read more.
If you aren’t someone who can get through a book, that’s okay. But it’s not an excuse to stop learning, growing and developing yourself. Follow people on social media that post or share interesting articles and ideas. Read a news story in the morning. Listen to an audiobook on your commute. How much you read is directly related to your self-growth, and your self-growth is directly related to your external success.
13. Scroll less.
Whereas sifting through TV channels was once the mindless past time of years past, now it’s scrolling through news feeds. Train yourself to limit your “scroll” time each day. Try one of those browser installations that give you a set amount of time you can spend on a website in a day before it blocks access to the site, or apps that counts how many times you open social media apps. You don’t have to delete them entirely, but you should be mindful that you’re not spending multiple hours a day effectively doing nothing.
14. Observe your patterns.
Instead of being critical of yourself when you notice that you’re procrastinating, or engaging in an unhealthy behavior, notice what prompts it. Notice what you’re doing when you feel most at ease, most inspired, or most frustrated. Observe yourself as a third party, treat your life like something you are studying. Get to know what you react to and how — this can help you direct your life.
15. Practice saying “no.”
Your energy is limited each day. Make sure it is only going toward that you truly care about. You should not feel bad about saying “no” to some things. It is ultimately a means of self-preservation.
16. Practice diverting your attention.
When you have a self-defeating thought, the solution isn’t usually to mull on it until you arrive at a different conclusion. The solution is usually to distract yourself with something productive. Get better at diverting your attention to something that helps you, not negative thoughts that can lead to a spiral.
17. Share your ideas consistently and clearly.
Having ideas is great, but they won’t go anywhere if you aren’t able to articulate them, or come up with an action plan that allows you to implement them.
18. Use what you have.
The next time you have the urge to go pick up dinner or a new outfit for the weekend, challenge yourself just once to wear what’s in your closet, or eat what’s in your pantry, even if you don’t want to that much.
19. Drink one more glass of water.
Don’t worry about pressuring yourself to get all recommended 8 cups down perfectly. Just focus on drinking one more. Then, when that’s part of your routine, add another.
20. Eat one less unhealthy snack.
Don’t worry about trying to completely overhaul your diet and perfect every single thing that crosses your lips. Focus only on foregoing one single unhealthy choice that you’d make on any given day. Just one.
21. Create open portals for people to reach and contact you for what you want to do.
Make sure that you are consistently making your information available to those who may want to reach out to you. Your personal website and online presence is the new résumé, so make sure you are consistently updating and improving it, and making it easy for others to understand what you do and how to reach you.
22. Begin each day asking yourself: “How can I change my life today?”
Get out of the mindset that you have to “get through” the day and get into the mindset that the coming hours are filled with open-ended potential for you to take action that will change your life forever. The only difference is your willingness to see things differently, and your effort in trying to make them better.