Micro-steps, macro gains
Is it really possible to change one’s life in such a short timeframe?
Well, yes. Just don’t expect a complete overhaul of your life in 30 days or you’ll be terribly disappointed! You can, however, change your life to a certain degree in 30 days.
Remember, 1% positive change in a month is still change. Realistic professional athletes aim for less than 1% change in a month and they’re satisfied with it.
So the first step is to define what change(s) are you looking to have in your life. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you want to change in your life?
Why do you want to change it?
What do you need to do to change it?
How can you track your progress?
Who can help you change it?
What are you willing to risk to change it?
When can you start to change it?
Why not now?
That will bring you clarity on what it means for you to change your life. The 23 micro-habits below cover most aspects of health, wealth, love and happiness.
When reading the list below, always keep in mind what you want to change. Note the micro-habits you think can help you and do them every day* for the next 30 days and beyond.
*some can’t be done every day
1. Reading uplifting content before going to bed
Don’t let yourself go to bed in a bad mood, or by filling your brain with “crap”. I understand that you need to decompress before going to bed. I completely get that. But what you do before bed affects how you wake up, and the state of mind you’re going to be in for the first part of the day.
My top recommendation here is to read biographies or self-help books. I find them so uplifting. It’s always nice to hear that even the inspiring people in our lives are just as imperfect as we are, sometimes even more so.
2. Listen to uplifting music, podcasts, and people
My most productive days seem to be when I’m dancing to music on my chair. Great music puts me in flow state. I feel like I can do anything!
In terms of podcasts, nothing gets me more than the Tim Ferriss Show.
For people, I like to listen to people smarter than I around myself. Or TED talks.
3. Keep inspiring quotes near you
Quotes are powerful. One thing I had realized early on when I started writing was that things people highlighted most in my stories were the quotes I put in them.
And I get it. People far smarter than me have said far smarter things I have.
Reading at least one good quote a day puts you in the right mood. Keep it on your fridge/desk. Let it be in your face as frequently as possible.
4. Work out, even if just a little
The best months of my life was when I was doing physical activity. I was feeling great in my body.
I’ve always been a skinny guy, but when I’m working out and seeing even small gains in muscles, I feel incredible. Whatever your goals are health-wise, be active, measure every little gain, and keep going.
5. Keep or make good habits, drop the bad ones
This is the starting point, and most likely the most important one. Habits are strong. We’re creatures of habits. Good or bad. Keep the good ones. Drop the negative or ineffective ones. Make new, better ones.
The hard part is doing when you don’t want to, be as many things in life, consistency is key! If you can’t be consistent, add accountability.
6. Have monthly goals and track them
New Year resolutions suck. They’re near-impossible to achieve.
Monthly goals, on the other hand, are excellent. Committing to goals for a month is doable, and leads to building great habits. It’s great to experiment and see what works for you, and what doesn’t.
7. Make a clear task list
I work on at least 4 projects on a daily basis. A lot of people would say this is insane and counter-productive, and they would be mostly right.
I’ve been disorganized and lost many times. I had a really hard time tracking my progress on the various projects. Not anymore. It doesn’t matter the tool you use as long as your list is clear.
8. Aim freaking high
Always make your lists bigger than you can chew. We, as humans, like comfort. If we allow ourselves to be comfortable, we end up doing close to nothing. Make your lists big. But make sure the tasks are small and achievable. I have about 15–20 things to do every day. Most are 10 minute-tasks.
If I aim to accomplish 10 tasks. I will. And I will be “satisfied”. Now if I aim to accomplish 20 tasks and complete 15–18 of them, I’ll be pumped. I won’t see time go by and the dopamine rush I’ll get rush for accomplishing so much will strongly contribute to building that momentum up.
9. Prepare your next day the night before
What I’m proposing you here is to simply make a list of things you want to accomplish for the next day a few hours before bed, and then review it shortly before “calling it a night”. Don’t make it too complex. Just a simple list. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. I usually come up with a list of anywhere between 10–20 things to do.
Here’s what happens when you prepare your next day the night before:
While you sleep, your subconscious is “working on” things you “fed it” before going to bed. When you feed it with things you want to accomplish for the next day, it will “prepare” you for them.
10. Write for yourself
Writing has been a powerful medium for me to express myself. I never knew I had so much to say, let alone inspire people along the way.
I did it for myself, really.
Yet putting all my thoughts in writing has been a phenomenal way to free my mind and think clearly, ultimately leading to some momentum.
11. Delegate to people you trust
This is WAY underrated! I thought people who delegated were lazy. I didn’t get the 4-Hour Workweek the first time I read it.
There was a guy I worked with who was so proud of letting others do the work for him. Turns out he was secretly a genius.
There are so many things I was doing that could easily be done by someone either more qualified or with more time doing simpler things.
Since I hired my assistant in February of last year, I was able to focus on the things I’m good at and have increased my productivity up to 10x.
12. Have a semi-strict routine
My wife hates my daily schedule/routine. It’s pretty obsessive indeed. But damn, it works. The more I stick to it, the more productive I am.
I tweak it every month depending on the skills I’m learning that month and what my goals are.
13. Don’t stop when it hurts
How do you build muscles? You continue when it starts hurting!
And you know what? That’s how you grow in anything in life. No pain no gain.
If you stop when it’s hard, you just wasted valuable energy. Recognize when you’re in a dip, and then get out of it!
14. Surround yourself with motivated people
Here’s one of my favourite quote of all times:
“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” — Jim Rohn
This is so true.
I seek mentors. I seek positive people. I seek people who get stuff done.
I can only work from co-working spaces, mostly because of that. This, along with delegating, are the main cause for my intense productivity.
15. Walk to work and limit wasted time
Walking to work is one of the most “meditative” things you can do. Going in, you can prepare for what’s to come. Going out, you can disconnect from work.
Analyze how you spend your time. We all waste valuable time. And I’m not saying to not watch TV, but realize that there’s a time when you need it, and a time when it’s a waste.
16. Constantly learn new things
That’s probably contributed the most to the changes in my life.
“The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” ― Robert Greene, Mastery
Everything I’m doing today — my “successes”, my “failures” — it’s all because I had decided I wanted to consciously learn 3 new skills every month back in September 2017.
17. Learn to power nap
Power napping is a skill, and it’s hard to master. I’ve mastered it over the years, and it’s been a key ingredient to my productivity.
We can’t be focused 100% of the time during the day. When my energy levels are low, I power nap. Once. Twice. Three times a day! Who cares.
15 minutes after power napping, I’m back in peak state and accomplish so much more than if I didn’t nap.
18. Learn to meditate and journal
I knew meditation would be hard when I decided to start doing it. But what I didn’t realize was that it’s a skill and it needs practice. I quickly learned that I had the wrong expectations, and that held me back. Meditation is not about “not thinking”, it’s about being aware.
When I started journaling, I had the preconception that it was a dumb idea and that I wouldn’t have anything to say. I could not have been more wrong. On my first journaling session, I wrote for 3 hours without even noticing.
It’s a powerful tool that frees up your mind and aligns your goals together. You become more aware and focused.
19. Take a well-deserved vacation
It’s hard to brake when your pedal is all the way back. But you know what, sometimes that’s exactly when you need to brake.
You can’t function at peak state when you’re constantly under pressure.
Dare take vacations, you need them!
20. Don’t be alone
I’m an introvert. I like solitude.I’m so drained whenever I’m surrounded by people.
But I need to have people around me once in a while, to share my stories, my experiences, my “successes”, my “failures”, etc. Everyone does.
Everyone needs to be uplifted, and you can’t (easily) do it alone.
21. Meet new people, attend events, do things outside of work
Meeting new people and doing things outside of work is very important both for your sanity and for making important connections.
I voluntarily go out to seek and talk to people that are now helping with some of my projects. And of course, I help in return!
You gotta have things outside of work. You can’t be all work and no play. Work hard, play hard. Cliché I know, but it’s true.
22. Do good, be grateful
I don’t know of anyone who has the Limitless Effect and is not doing good. Doing good is so rewarding and gives you such a high.
And when someone does good to you, be grateful. Gratefulness is almost as powerful as doing good yourself.
23. Celebrate The Small Wins
If you’re like most of us, you don’t get many big wins in a month. It’s hard to keep our motivation when we don’t win frequently. It’s not by accident that people, including myself, rush to video games — you are constantly being rewarded. That’s also why we’re trying to gamify everything now.
So I say to you, every time a small event happens where it could be considered a “win”, acknowledge it. Take note of it. Have a “success” journal.
Here’s a quick recap of the 23 micro-habits (makes for a good list on your fridge!):
Keep or Make Good Habits, Drop The Bad Ones
Reading Uplifting Content Before Going To Bed
Listen To Uplifting Music, Podcasts, And People
Keep Inspiring Quotes Near You
Work Out, Even If Just A Little
Have Monthly Goals And Track Them
Make A Clear Task List
Aim Freaking High
Prepare Your Next Day The Night Before
Write For Yourself
Delegate To People You Trust
Have A Semi-Strict Routine
Don’t Stop When It Hurts
Surround Yourself With Motivated People
Walk To Work, and Limit Wasted Time
Constantly Learn New Things
Learn To Power Nap
Learn To Meditate and Journal
Take A Well-Deserved Vacation
Don’t Be Alone
Meet New People, Attend Events, Do Things Outside Of Work
Do Good, Be Grateful
Celebrate The Small Wins
Be consistent in working towards your goals. Don’t skip. Do. Even when you don’t want to. Every small gain builds your momentum. Momentum makes you unstoppable!
You can do this!