In this video, I detail 4 steps to tackle long-term goals with micro habits, incorporated into a journal entry of my own that I’m reading aloud. The first step, you’ll find, is establishing priorities that are INDEPENDENTLY your own. Then comes the hard part. Every day, we make little choices to get us an incremental step closer to our goals, and our morning routines help make those little choices a tiny bit easier each day.
Wake up. Don’t go on your phone. Read 10 pages from your book. Stretch. Make your bed. Go for a walk. Splash cold water on your face. Eat the overnight oats you prepared last night. Go for a run. Bake muffins. Lift weights. Shower. Do yoga. Dress up. Cold shower. Do your makeup. Make coffee. Have a second breakfast with your family. Don’t make coffee. Make tea. Meal prep for lunch.
Good morning. Or is it nighttime by now? You want to do all those things in an hour? Let alone that, how do they fit into your priorities for the day? For the week? Are they ALL equally important to making you a better person?
If there’s one silver lining to 2020, it’s what has come out of the solitude we’ve been unwittingly subjected to. Where previously you’d gone into work or school in the morning to find that John had made muffins, Lisa had done a morning workout, Jim had taken a yoga class, and Amy had meal-prepped her lunch, a lot of that has been silenced. Sure, there’s social media but we all know that’s a highlight reel. Personally, I love using it for inspiration, ideas and nothing more. This solitude is a good time to figure out who you are when no one else is watching.
1. ESTABLISH PRIORITIES THAT ARE INDEPENDENTLY YOUR OWN.
It’s Tuesday, November 3rd. Last night I went to sleep thinking about what I wanted to write about this morning, and what message I wanted to get across in my video. My alarm went off at 7 am. I love waking up early. I spent the first ten minutes of the day on my phone – checking in on emails, messages and notifications I received overnight. Then I grabbed my camera and started filming what I was up to. Things take twice as long when I do, because I have to set up the camera and walk by it and then walk back to get it. But I love our new location. It’s really inspiring me to create. I remembered we had laundry in the dryer and tossed in our final load. The dishes can wait – we’ll do those later today. I got ready, popped on a warm sweater and sat down in front of our giant windows to get working. Around 10, I finally pushed through pausing my work (that’s challenging), and did my 40 minute video workout. Some packages arrived while I was stretching – I got a bit distracted. And now I’m back to writing. The main chunk of my day and the meetings, projects and breaks I want to accomplish has begun.
My priorities for the week? This week, I want to get my immediate, short-term deliverables done. I also want to workout as often as I can in the mornings because it makes me feel great when I do. It’s become a habit for me when I give myself the time for it. I’m proud of being able to do a solid 30 minute workout any morning I set my mind to it. It wasn’t always easy – and it’s NOT always easy. But it took a while to get here.
In this video, you’ll find out 4 more of my strategies of how to tackle large goals with micro habits.
Do I have goals that are still pending? Sure I do. It’s like I’m typing out who I want to be in a document, one line each, and a million blinking cursors at the end of every line. There are goals in progress, which is why I really like my Lifestyle Habits spread. Each BIG habit is like a video game character’s life bar. It’s being filled up as we speak, from the little choices I make each day.
2. START SMALL – CHOOSE ONE BIG GOAL TO DEVOTE YOUR ATTENTION TO FIRST.
What’s wrong with the funny morning routine I started this video with is that it tries to do EVERYTHING. And in doing so, it does NOTHING. What’s the point of a morning routine – which I see as a routine or strategy to help make those little choices every day just THAT much easier – if you’re not actually getting the OUTCOME? You’re so focused on the little choices and not the bigger picture.
There’s a balance. Step back.
It doesn’t matter WHEN you do things. People do things differently. I love my morning workouts, but I’ve tried evening, morning, afternoon, mid-day, in my sleep.
It doesn’t matter HOW long you do them. We’re all at different points in our journeys. There is simply NO comparison.
3. DON’T TAKE ADVICE. CHOOSE YOUR SIMPLEST POSSIBLE BASELINE TO START FROM.
Once you’ve chosen a goal, split it up into a few progress milestones, what’s next is going all the way to the bottom. What’s the most incremental possible change you can make in your life to get you a millimeter closer to that goal ? Something manageable. Realistic. Realistic in frequency. Time. Duration. Energy. People involved.
I have a love-hate with the New Year. On one hand, it’s fun to plan and reflect and dream. But on the other hand, everyone’s talking about STARTING something brand new. Diving headfirst into a new workout plan, a new business idea, a new goal. NOTHING happens like that. Every single habit I’ve created is a product of a very gradual increase in my commitment towards it, until it’s fully integrated into my life.
In fact, creating videos and being consistent with Mistral Spirit is like that – and I’ve seen firsthand the power of these strategies in the past summer. In the past three years of university, I’ve NEVER been able to maintain creating videos weekly until this year. And it’s not because I have more time – I’d even say I have less. It’s be cause I’ve broken down my goal, started with the simplest possible and most manageable little change. I’ve even stripped down some of my expectations. I’ve just gotten little things done.
What matters is that, if they’re important to you, you did them.
Let me say that again. What matters is that you made the little choice to get a millimeter closer to your goal. Day in and day out.
4. KEEP TRACK OF YOUR PROGRESS AND RECOGNIZE YOUR GROWTH.
It’ll be hard to see how much you’re growing when it’s such a little amount each day. But you’ve got to remember something:
To be a writer, just WRITE.
To be a runner, just RUN.
To be a reader, just READ.
To be a coder, just CODE.
To be an artist, just MAKE ART.
No one’s told you how much or how long or when. You’ll get there.
Now plan out the systems you need to make that happen. The FIRST iteration of them, that is. Maybe you’re not like me and you hate waking up early. But get inspired by other people’s strategies and try it anyway. And then go rock that day!