By Tanna Wood

As we all know, the New Year means it is time to make those dreaded resolutions we don’t keep but make anyway because it makes us feel as if we have good intentions.

You know, the resolutions that say you will lose 25 lbs., ride your bike, hike at least one of the places on your bucket list,  eat healthier, write a book, spend more quality time with family.  Heck, spend more quality time with your friends, get up earlier, go to bed earlier, pay off debt, meditate daily, go to yoga five days a week, run a 5K, swim three days a week, journal every day. The list is endless for heaven’s sake and a little overwhelming if you ask me.

The fact that I think I can make a declaration at the end of the year to even do one of these things is a little ambitious and not even a good idea for me. 

Here is what I know about myself. I will use myself as an example because I know most of you would never fall into this category. You all are probably better at these things than me.

So, I have been on the search for how to build a good new habit that I love and will follow. I will tell you; there is a lot of “advice” out there. So, if this feels like “advice” to you, you can ignore what I am about to say.

I don’t claim to be the expert; however, what I do know is, a new habit needs to be easy to start, or more than likely, I won’t stick with it. As a society, we like “ease.” Please don’t kid yourself; we will always choose the most direct approach in our minds. Our brains are so full and overstimulated these days that pushing an “easy” button seems like we are just giving ourselves a break. Why do you think Alexa was invented.

Stop the madness and start small. I mean small, like micro small.

Micro small to me, is deciding to do ten pushups each day. I have to say, it takes all of 2 minutes, and it is doable without extreme effort.

Micro small is me is telling Alexa to set the alarm for 2 minutes and then writing in my gratitude journal.

Micro small to me is downloading the Calm app and doing a 2-minute meditation.

Micro small to me is taking the 1 flight of stairs each day when I take out my dog out to do her business.

Micro small is reading three pages in a book each morning.

Micro small to me is cooking at home one day a week.

Micro small to me is folding one load of laundry each day.

Micro small to me is making my bed every morning before I do anything else.

Micro small to me is keeping a jug of water always in the fridge.

Micro small to me is putting my running shoes on each morning.

So, the other thing I consider is how do I give myself more time to do the things I want to do. Knowing the key to success is it needs to be easy to start, and I am willing to build a good habit from that.

Micro small to me was eliminating my social media apps from my phone, so I won’t automatically check what is going on. If I want to know what food someone took a picture of or what one of my “friends” thinks about Trump, I can always login and hope I remember my password.

Micro small to me is prepping the coffee at night, so I save that time in the morning to do something else for 2 minutes.

Micro small is identifying what I do as a routine each morning and deciding how I can add 2 minutes to stack and new habit in there.

What I realize is that if I take all this in micro small increments, then it becomes a habit that I can build on. I like small victories, by the way, and these are small victories every day.

These things may seem too much or not enough, but what is important more than how much I’m doing is that I am doing it consistently.  The brain doesn’t care how much time you spend on it but does care how consistent you are. That is what builds new habits. 

Trust me when I say you will add new layers and more time to new habits naturally because you like it, and it satisfies a desire you have.  The other thing I like about micro-small habits is that when I realize I have these new habits, I become that person that does these things.

So as of this day, I can tell you that I am a person that mediates, journals, reads, works out daily, eats healthy at least one time a week, goes to bed early and gets up early.  I find small victories in each micro small movement, and I believe in progress, not perfection. That is not a bad start.

Don’t get me wrong. I want to lose 25 lbs., ride my bike, do yoga three times a week, eat healthier, go hiking in one of my bucket list places, write a book, spend more quality time with friends and family, meditate daily, swim three days a week, become debt-free, and be the best version of me.

But I also know I didn’t get here overnight, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. For me to make a declaration or resolution to do all these things and not understand how I work, I will sabotage myself and feel defeated until I figure it out and get building new habits.

Good luck on those New Year’s resolutions if that is your thing. If not, maybe focus on the micro small things that help you get there.