Want to change your life? You’re not alone. Countless millions of souls dream of better days. That could be more income, more independence, a bigger house, weight loss, meeting the love of their life, or any number of other things.
Still, we all know that change is not easy by any measure. Often, we’re set in our ways, stuck in old habits and routines that are hard to kick. Some habits are so ingrained that they’ve been part of our lives for not just years, but decades. However, you can teach an old dog new tricks, as long as the old dog is willing enough to change.
If you truly want to change, you must understand the psychology of the mind and specifically how it works. The reason why change is so hard is that 95% of everything you think, say, and do is habitual. It’s automatic and preprogrammed.
Change Is Not Easy
Think about it this way. The conscious mind, which is the part of the mind that gives us free will and creativity, processes data from the environment at 40 bits per second. However, the non-conscious mind, the one controlling much of our daily routines, processes data at 40 million bits per second.
Imagine it like trying to swim up Niagara Falls from the bottom. It’s virtually impossible, right? I mean, how can someone combat something so powerful? Or, think about trying to go the opposite direction in the fiercest white waters of the Colorado River.
My point is that change is hard. It’s not easy. So don’t expect it to be. However, there is an important concept that I want you to learn that makes change much easier. I don’t want to call it a hack. But for all intents and purposes, it is a hack.
Understanding Habit Formation
However, to better explain this hack, you have to understand how habit formation works. Think about habits this way. Imagine a cruise ship that’s docked at a port somewhere in the world. The cruise ship, which is massive and very heavy, uses a mooring line to dock to land.
Mooring lines are those massive ropes. You’ve seen them before, right? They’re about the thickness of a human head, sometimes even thicker. The point is that these massive mooring lines have strings and threads that make up each part of the rope.
When you take a closer look at it, you can see the individual ropes, which are made up of individual threads. There are thousands of individual threads in those mooring lines. My point is this. Your habits are a sum of your actions over long periods.
They don’t form overnight. They take months, even years, to really solidify in place. But once those habits are set you better believe that they’re here to stay. Unless, of course, you do something about it. But don’t expect to go against the non-conscious mind the traditional way.
So many people try to do things cold turkey. And it doesn’t work. They end up getting frustrated, and right back to where they started. No, no, no. To change your life, you have to do things differently. Habits take up to 254 days to form. But they’re broken slowly. Unless, of course, you employ this one hack I’m about to tell you about.
The Micro-Changes Approach
Over the years, I’ve researched everything under the sun when it comes to habit development. And believe me when I tell you that I’ve tried everything. If someone said a certain strategy worked, I tried it and implemented it. Then, I shared it with all of you here on this blog.
Over the course of many years, some strategies have taken root. And they’ve led to some levels of success. But nothing even remotely close to what I like to call the micro-changes approach. This truly is the greatest way to enact serious change in your life.
So, you’re probably wondering how it works, right? Well, here’s how it goes. Cold turkey doesn’t work. Most of the time that is. Unless, of course, you have a strong enough reason to change. If the doctor tells you that you’ll likely die in a year unless you quit smoking, that’s some pretty strong motivation.
However, most of the time, it’s not like that. So here’s what works. You have to trick your brain into building the habit slowly over time. This happens by implementing micro changes. Micro changes are just small, incremental changes that build up. It’s precisely how a habit forms in the first place. You don’t go full-blown into a habit overnight. It takes time.
Here’s How It Works…
Without getting too deep into this, all you have to do is follow a simple recipe. For example, if you want to work out and get into great shape, you have to start small. Walk around the block one time per day, or do just one pushup. Yes, just one.
Over time, what do you think happens when you do one pushup per day or walk around the block just one time, but you do it every single day? A habit starts to form. It’s like those threads in the mooring rope. Each day is a new thread.
After a week, you increase to walking around the block twice per day or doing two pushups. Naturally, you’ll want to anyway. Or, you wake up 15 minutes early but you do it every single day. The point here is to stay consistent. That’s it.
If you want to learn more about the micro-changes approach, I go deep into it in my 7-day discipline challenge (launching soon). I invite you to join it if you’re serious about changing your life. Make sure you’re subscribed to my email list to be one of the first notified when it goes live!
1. Wake Up 15 Minutes Early
If you’re not a morning person, but you’ve always wanted to wake up early and can’t seem to get yourself to do it, this one is perfect for you. Wake up 15 minutes early. That’s all. Set your alarm clock to 15 minutes earlier than you wake up. But make sure you wake up at that time every day.
After about a week or two, adjust it 15 minutes earlier again. Keep doing this for 8 to 12 weeks, adjusting back each time. If you find it hard to wake up, do it for longer. For example, wake up 15 minutes early for the next month, then adjust back after that.
2. Write 100 Words Per Day
The habit of writing is important. It helps you better communicate your thoughts and express your feelings. The truth is that most people dream of writing something some day, but they never get around to it. If you’ve ever had this burning desire inside of you to publish a book or write something, then start small.
Starting small is big. No, seriously. Over time, you’ll build momentum. So start with just 100 words per day. That’s it. Do you think you can write 100 words per day? It’s just a couple of paragraphs. Nothing more and nothing less. Use the word count on your favorite word processing app or use something like Grammarly to count your words.
3. Express Gratitude
Gratitude is the key to living a happy and fulfilled life. Express your gratitude for the things you have rather than lamenting about the things you lack. This isn’t difficult, but it does change you internally. Write these down. Literally, just take the time to express gratitude for 3 key things in your life.
If you say you have nothing to be grateful for, you’re not searching hard enough. If you have a roof over your head, express gratitude for that. If you can read and write, be grateful for that. Write these things down. There are people out there who would gladly trade places with you in a heartbeat. So be grateful.
4. Invest One Dollar
Investing is important for your future. Most people don’t start because they think they don’t have enough money to invest. But you don’t need much to start. Begin with just one dollar but invest it every single day without fail. What can you invest one dollar into? There are plenty of things if you actually look.
One dollar per day is $365 per month. That’s certainly enough to get you started on the path towards investing. However, your goal should be to increase your daily investment over time. Move to $2 per day, then $3, and on and on. Find ways you can cut expenses if necessary. But investing $1 per day will get your mind focusing on investments rather than on expenses.
5. Organize One Drawer
Organization is an important habit to have. Most people are not organized though. And it’s easy to see why clutter accumulates over time. However, studies suggest that clutter creates overwhelm and stress over time. If your house is cluttered, it could lead to you feeling uneasy and more stressful.
If you organize just one drawer per day, or one shelf, or anything small for that matter, it will lead to a larger habit to help change your life. Most people don’t get started at all just because of the sheer enormity of having to organize their entire homes. You don’t have to do all that. Just start small.
6. Drink One Glass Of Water
Most people don’t drink enough water. And that’s a big problem. Instead, they substitute soda or coffee for their intake of water. But the human body needs ample amounts of water. It helps with all sorts of bodily processes. If you have issues with being dehydrated or having headaches, you likely lack ample water (amongst other things).
Start with just one glass of water. Obviously, you’ll want to drink more than that. But if you start with just one glass of water and make sure you drink at least that, it’s a beginning. Over time, increase it to 2 glasses per day, then 3 and so on, until you’re getting enough water.
7. Meditate For 5 Minutes Each Day
There are so many benefits to meditation that it’s just astounding. Literally, meditation can change your life drastically. I’m talking about fully flipping it around upside its head. No joke. It’s that powerful. Some of the benefits of meditation include reducing anxiety, decreasing stress, improving self-awareness, improving sleep, controlling pain, and more.
However, meditation is hard. Especially if you’ve never done it before. That’s why starting small is the key. Begin with just 5 minutes per day. That’s it. Use a guided meditation program or listen to a YouTube video that will help you get on the road to meditation, and to build the habit slowly over time.
8. Write Down Your MITs
Your MITs are the most important tasks of the day. Instead of spending your time in reactionary mode, make sure you spend your time going after what’s important. In the morning (or the night before), the first thing you should do is jot down the MITs for the day.
What will move the needle? Pick two or three things and write them down. Then, do those first. Always. Your MITs should be what moves you towards your long-term goals, whatever those might be. It could be an MIT in business or your relationships or health or whatever area of your life. Do those first.
Even if you can only spend 5 or 10 minutes doing these in the morning, over time, you can increase the time allotment. So set aside some time every single day to tackle your MITs. Otherwise, time will literally fly by before you realize that you haven’t made any progress towards your long-term goals.
Are You Capable Of Change?
Surely, there are plenty of ways you can change things in your life or your business or in whatever area you choose. The point is that you have to take action. You can think about it all you want but if you don’t start doing something about it, change will be next to impossible.
Micro changes are a great way to make slow progress because we have a tendency to snap back like a rubber band when we go cold turkey. By understanding that, and identifying the area of your life you need to change, you can start small and build over time.