Chances are, every time you’ve tried to make a change in your life, you attempted to force a breakthrough. You decided you were going to make a radical change, and despite your gusto, it’s never worked.
This is because your body and mind are governed by something called a homeostatic impulse. If you shift the baseline too quickly, your body is going to try to compensate and bring you back to “normal” or “safe.” If you want to change your life, you need to utilize microshifts, tiny, almost undetectable patterns of behavior that condition you to your comfort zone.
The point is not that any one of these things is going to change your life immediately. What they are going to do is slowly build comfort and momentum, until you do it regularly, automatically, and happily.
1. Drink one-half glass of water more each day.
2. Delete one social media app off your phone.
3. Start getting up ten minutes earlier each day.
4. Walk or take the stairs once more than you normally would.
5. Go to the gym and work out for 15 minutes.
6. Do one tiny, selfless thing for your partner.
7. Wipe down one surface at the end of the day.
8. Organize one closet or cabinet in your house.
9. Get rid of one bag of garbage sitting around your space.
10. Donate one bag of items you do not need, and will not miss.
11. Cook dinner at least one night a week. Only one. That’s manageable. If you live with someone, have them cook another night. Eventually, scale to each of you doing two a week.
12. Lay out your outfits by week, month or season, and take photos of them. Log them in a separate album on your phone.
13. Whenever you get the hunch to text or call someone, just to check in, do it.
14. Send one “scary” email every day. A “scary” email is a message to someone who can help you achieve what you really want. It could be a pitch, a request to connect over coffee, or even a job application. If you do this for the next 365 days, you might get 300+ that go unanswered, but if just one does, it could be life-changing.
15. Make one more payment toward a debt that you still have.
16. Make one more payment toward your car or mortgage each year.
17. Delete one old contact from your phone that you never talk to, or never want to again.
18. Attend one event for networking, or for a class or hobby that you’re interested in.
19. Read one page of a book that you want to start.
20. The next time you want to say something mean to yourself, decide, even just once, and for one second, that you’re not going to believe it.
21. Each day when you wake up decide that you aren’t going to worry, just for this day.
22. Meditate for one minute in the morning.
23. Stretch for one minute in the afternoon.
24. Take one deep breath whenever you can remember to do so.
25. Say one nice thing about someone else when it occurs to you.
26. Say one nice thing about yourself, too.
27. Say “no,” just once, to doing something you genuinely do not want to do.
28. When your anger starts to flare, just once, pause and remember that there’s another way.
29. Decide that, just for one night, you aren’t going to worry about your body, and you’re just going to show up and enjoy your life.
30. Take one picture of something you don’t want to forget.
31. Throw out one thing that’s heavy and filled with negative memories that you don’t need to keep carrying with you.
32. Be present — even just for a second — and keep doing it until you realize how incredible your life is right here and right now.