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I’m not the type of person who can do anything halfway.
Ask me to do something and I’m the girl that gives you 110% effort. And if I’m going to make a change—like cultivating a healthy lifestyle—you better believe I’ll go sugar-free, gluten-free, and work out for 60 minutes straight the first day!
I’ll let you in on a little secret: This does not work. At all.
Despite my best efforts, any goal I’ve set for myself quickly evolves into an insurmountable standard that even a die-hard perfectionist can’t reach. This leads me to quit before I’ve even begun (or, at best, just a few days in).
Which is why in 2015, I decided not to set any personal goals.
Instead, I focused on mini habits—one small, doable improvement per month that would snowball into twelve life-changing practices.
I dubbed 2015 my Year of Intention, motivated by the fact that the previous year was such a huge year of blog, writing, and business growth for me. I had let a lot of things slide in lieu of hours upon hours of work.
That Year of Intention sometimes feels like a lifetime ago, and yet…many of those habits stuck with me, gently guiding me back to the purposeful life I was so desperate for at the beginning and still desire today.
Why Mini Habits Work
If you really think about it, change doesn’t happen overnight. Change takes place when you practice small daily habits over and over again until they become so ingrained in you that it feels weird not to do them.
Even more than that…
1. Mini Habits are Easy to Accomplish – Because mini habits are so small, you can easily work them into your day without much effort at all. It’s one small choice that has big life-changing results. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, but I shoot for 30 to be extra safe. Mini habits are literally the key to how to change your life in 30 days!
2. Mini Habits Give You a Quick Win – Unlike resolutions, you don’t have to wait months to transform your life and reach your goal. Mini habits are attainable and give you a quick win every time you do them, thus encouraging you to keep going rather than give up. Talk about a major confidence booster!
3. Mini Habits Create Lifelong Change – When you practice mini habits over and over (and over!) again, you rewire your brain to do that habit without needing to convince yourself that you should do it. And once you’ve been successful with one mini habit, it becomes much easier to add another, and another, which will move you even closer to completing that big New Year’s resolution or goal you gave up on years ago.
Now imagine tackling twelve different mini habits, one per month, over the course of the next year to create lifelong change.
Whether you’re unhappy with a bad habit you’ve gotten into, or you’d like to develop a better routine…no matter what stage of life you are in, or how busy you might be, there is always room to practice a mini habit.
Think of all the things you could finally accomplish in the next few months because you adopt this simple practice!
You Just Need to Choose Your Habits
I picked all my habits up front, and you can do that, too, or you can choose as you go. This is your personal journey and I want you to make it your own.
But if you need ideas to spark inspiration, I’ve got suggestions for a few good habits to have:
- Create an evening pickup routine — In 10 minutes, clear off the countertops, arrange the pillows on the couch, fold blankets, or put away anything else that’s out of place. The time limit makes this simple task even more doable! I like to incorporate this task into my everyday evening routine.
- Establish a regular sleep schedule — Give yourself a “light’s out” time and turn off social media at least 30 minutes before bed so you can prepare your body for sleep. Journaling and/or reading is a great option to get you in the bedtime mood. If you have trouble sleeping, try one of these proven ways to sleep better tonight.
- Be more active — Gradually increase your workout regimen (even if it’s just a 20 minute walk three times a week) and you’ll discover more than just heart-pumping benefits. You’ll mentally feel better too. These workout clothes and accessories guarantee you’ll look super cute wherever you workout!
- Dress for success — Confidence radiates from the inside, but begins on the outside. Just a simple makeup routine paired with a cute top and jeans can make you feel extra special, and even boost your productivity! Here are the makeup products I splurge on if you want to update your beauty regimen.
- Read more books — Wish you had more time to read? Making this beloved pastime a priority is not hard as you might think, and if you’re anything like me, you’re a much happier person when you’re reading regularly! Not sure what to read? Here’s how to know every time what book to pick up next.
- Drink more water — Ditch the soda and fruit juices and commit to drinking more water from now on. You’ll find it easier to keep to this habit by tracking your water intake in your planner (here’s a cute stamp!) or by investing in a BPA-free tracking water bottle.
- Practice gratitude — Grab a cute journal and jot down one note a day about something you are grateful for. This note can be one word, one sentence, one paragraph! You can name a family member or write about something lighthearted, like your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookies. Either way, you’ll find a greater appreciation for life just by doing a little reflecting each day.
- Make your bed every day — Make this simple one-minute task a habit the moment you wake up and you’ll instantly feel like all is right with the world and you can tackle anything you set your mind to. Okay, maybe not to that extent, but you’ll be ready to tackle almost anything with a neatly made bed jumpstarting your day!
The Most Important Truth to Remember about How to Transform Your Life
My Year of Intention was probably one of my hardest years to date, but it was also a major turning point.
Yes, I tackled 12 mini habits over the course of the year, and yes, I made some pretty big changes to my everyday life as a result, but the biggest impact this challenge had on me was that I did not suddenly became perfect at managing my day-to-day and my home…and I learned that was okay.
I know that sounds completely counterintuitive, but hear me out.
No matter how many habits you and I try to implement, we will ALWAYS be on a lifelong journey to do better, to be better. We won’t one day just magically get there. There is no destination. You and I…we will never arrive.
It took me a long time to come to this conclusion. Here’s why: I thought this challenge would set me up for long-term success. That by the end of 2015, I’d be a brand new woman with a home, work, and personal life that synced together in perfect rhythm.
But instead, I sometimes felt like I hadn’t made any real progress at all.
Except, if I looked closer, I actually had.
Because progress is… not giving up. Progress is giving each day your absolute best, and going to bed with satisfaction instead of guilt.
I’m saying all this because this mindset is exactly how I’m approaching each new year now — progress, not perfection — living each day to its fullest, doing the absolute best I can. I’ll still continue to work on my mini habits and use every opportunity as a chance to better myself, but I’m done feeling guilty about not doing enough.
Life’s a journey, and I’m ready to actually enjoy it! And today, I’m extending my mini habits challenge to you.
What to Do Next
Sign up in the box below to get my Habit Tracking printables sent straight to you. This set includes three worksheets:
- A printable to help you track ONE mini habit for 30 days. Keep it simple if you’re just starting out. You don’t want to overload yourself all at once with tons of habits and not accomplish any of them!
- A printable to help you track EIGHT daily habits per week. Once you have a few habits under your belt, you can print these small squares on sticker paper and cut them out to fit inside your bullet journal or regular planner each week.
- A printable to help you track EIGHT daily habits per month. If you like tracking your habits on a monthly scale, download this option. You can also print it on sticker paper and trim to fit on a planner page.
I’ve purposefully kept the list to eight habits because any more than that is hard to keep up with and do well. The goal is to not do multiple habits half-heartedly—you want to rock the ones you choose!
Whether you pick one of the habits I mention above as you learn about how to transform your life or choose your own, I’d love to hear more about what habits you want to cultivate in a comment below!
I’d also love to check in with you and see how you’re doing, so tag me on social media (@KalynBrookeCo) with anything you share in regards to your mini habit progress and use the hashtag #12minihabits. That way, I can easily find you!
Just remember…progress, not perfection.
What habits are you choosing to work on right now?
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