It’s that time again: Time for setting New Years resolutions, starting those New Year’s resolutions, and ultimately forgetting about those New Year’s resolutions. Many of us kick off each January with a well-meaning list that looks something like this:

  • I will eat only healthy foods, in sensible portions.
  • I will make all of those healthy meals from scratch.
  • I will not drink alcohol for the next month.
  • I will exercise at least three times a week.
  • I will read one book every week.

And then, one by one, each resolution falls off your schedule or entire radar. You might feel a sense of defeat as your list snowballs from a set of goals to a collection of self-perceived failures.

If this annual tradition sounds familiar, consider a new way of adopting better-for-you practices: micro habits.

So, what is a micro habit?

A micro habit is a small behavior you want to adopt in your life that only takes a small amount of time and doesn’t cause pain, strain, or bad feelings.

The idea is to start small, so you can start at all. For many of us, motivation comes at a premium. The pressure we put on ourselves with big, bold resolutions makes them feel daunting, making the most difficult part simply beginning: heading to the grocery store, lacing up your sneakers.

When we set big-picture resolutions like losing 30 pounds our minds can turn them into something bigger than they need to be—instead of exercising by spending 20 minutes on the treadmill, you visualize a whole “situation”: changing into your workout clothes, driving to the gym, warming up, actually running, cooling down and stretching, then driving home, and showering.

Now add several of these lofty New Years resolutions to your plate at once. No wonder so many of us ditch them within a month.

Micro habits can help shift your mindset.

Rather than setting big goals that require your to find an extra two or three hours a day to accomplish them all and stay on track, micro habits feel manageable and easy to fit into your day.

At the end of an exhausting day at work or looking after the kids, it probably feels like a Herculean effort is needed to push yourself to go for a trail run—but just knocking out a quick five push-ups? Yes, you can do that right now! Sure, five push-ups isn’t much of a workout. But it’s better than doing nothing. And considering the hardest part is often just starting, as youre completing your fifth push-up, you might find yourself saying, “That wasnt bad at all. How about another quick 10?”

Micro habits serve as a place to start, to feel a sense of accomplishment every time you check one off your daily list. And as the new habit becomes ingrained in your daily life, you can build on it. Maybe instead of a baseline of five push-ups, you start at 10.

What are some examples of micro habits?

When deciding on what micro habits you want to start incorporating into your life, keep these things in mind:

  • A micro habit should only take a few minutes tops to accomplish. Actually, if you can do them in 30 seconds or less, even better!
  • A micro habit should be something you want to add to your routine—not something you should add to your routine. If you’re still in the mindset of “I should be doing this,” then even that small task will require a bit of your precious willpower. And we only have so much willpower throughout the day, after all.
  • A micro habit shouldn’t create pain, strain, or bad feelings. You don’t want your brain to associate a habit with negative feelings. This is straight Pavlovian. We’re conditioning ourselves to love these new habits we’re adopting, so we’re more excited and apt to do them more often.
  • Only work on adopting a few micro habits at a time. Just because they’re small doesn’t mean to go overboard trying to do too much at once. Only adopt three to five at a time. And as they become ingrained into your life, feel free to build on one of them, or decide to add another.

So with these things in mind, what does a list of micro habits look like?

  • Read one page a day.
    If you read only one page every day, that’s 365 pages by the end of the year. That’s a whole novel—and then some.
  • Take five minutes a day to yourself.
    If you schedule allows, sit by yourself for a few minutes and just…be bored. Leave your phone in another room. Clear your mind as best you can. And look forward to doing it again the next day.
  • Do five push-ups and/or sit-ups.
    You can do these at home. At the office. And, of course, at the gym. It’ll take 15 seconds, and you might not even get winded. Let’s go!
  • Take one dish to the sink, one piece of trash to the bin, and/or one piece of laundry to the hamper.
    It’s easy to let things pile up a bit. Doing just one thing a day to keep your place tidier will help keep your brain feeling tidier as well.
  • Wear better socks for happier feet.
    You know where we re going with this one. If you don t yet own a single Sockwell, try a pair of our Lifestyle Compression socks with moderate graduated compression. You don t need a whole drawer full to experience their energizing benefits—start with one pair and wear them for a few hours each day.
    If you’re looking for more examples of micro habits you might want to adopt, check out this great piece on And may you have the best 2024—you deserve it!

    Related Posts

    29 Reasons to Wear Compression Every Day
    29 Reasons to Wear Compression Every Day
    We're wishing you a very comfortable Leap Day! Take some of this "extra" time to learn why our graduated compression soc
    Read More