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  • Writer's pictureAnita Chastain

Micro Habits: Tiny Actions, Big Results

Achieve your goals with micro habits.

Woman outside drinking water from a water bottle

What's the best way to break down the wall between where you are now and where you want to be? Create micro habits. These tiny actions help you reach goals in a simple and step-by-step fashion.

Change is hard. We've all had experiences where we felt overwhelmed and discouraged because we never got started or we gave up along the way.

Here's the thing:

Setbacks don't have to be permanent. We can turn things around by reconfiguring our goals (and actions) around small and repeatable steps.

While micro habits aren't the only tool to help you make life changes, they're powerful, and anyone can use them.

Ready to learn more? Let's jump right in.



  1. Micro Habits Defined

  2. Micro Habits Help You Stay Motivated

  3. Three Characteristics of Effective Micro Habits

  4. Three Micro Habit Examples

  5. Tips for Creating Your Own Micro Habits

  6. Summary

Woman walking in front of brick wall

Micro Habits Defined

So, what are micro habits?

They're small, easy-to-take actions that help move you toward a goal. They're also flexible. You can use them to change virtually any area of your life.

Whether you want to simplify your daily schedule, work out more consistently, or create a slow morning routine, micro habits can help you achieve those goals.

They're effective because they break down the wall of resistance standing between you and your goals.

Micro Habits Break Down Walls

Imagine that your goal is hidden behind a 10-foot wall made of brick. The only way to get to the goal is to get past the brick wall.

So, what do you do?

You don't get distracted or overwhelmed by the height of the wall. You don't try to climb over it. Instead, you figure out how to pull the bricks down one at a time.

Breaking down the wall brick-by-brick removes the obstacle. As you remove the bricks, you remove what's standing between you and your goal.

The Secret to Achieving Big Goals

Let's get straight to it:

Micro actions are the secret to success. Of course, other factors play into success, but you won't get far if you don't break your goals down into small, manageable actions.

Moreover, when your goal involves changing your actions or thoughts, you'll want to keep doing what you're doing. Repetition builds habits. More on that later.

Woman typing on lap top

Micro Habits Help You Stay Motivated

Change is hard to make and hard to stick with over time. If you've ever struggled to follow through on New Year's goals or given up on them entirely, you know what I mean.

Whether trying to break old habits or create new ones, staying motivated is difficult, especially over long periods.

Doing Nothing at All is Easier than Doing Something Different

Here's something to think about:

Have you ever binge-watched five episodes of your favorite series in one sitting? I have.

I can tell you I would much rather sit on the sofa and watch four hours of Ozark than spend those same four hours organizing my overstuffed garage.

And here's the problem with that:

We miss opportunities to improve our lives when we opt to do nothing or maintain the status quo.

So, what can we do?

The solution is simple. Think small -- as in small actions. Read on to learn more.

Conquer Inertia with Tiny Actions

Micro habits make change easier because you're not asking yourself to make dramatic changes all at once. Instead, give yourself permission to make tiny changes one step at a time.

The bottom line:

Drill down to the micro action level with your goals. It's easier to take small actions in small steps than make large changes in giant leaps.

Next, let's look at the characteristics of effective micro habits.

Woman preparing food

Three Characteristics of Effective Micro Habits

Just because we take tiny actions doesn't guarantee we'll achieve our goals.

Here's the thing:

All micro habits are not equally effective in helping us reach our goals. Like cars and cake, some are better than others.

So what characteristics do effective micro habits have in common? Here are three:

1. They require you to do something. Micro habits are small actions repeated over time. They turn goals into achievements. If you don't have to do anything, you don't have a micro habit. You have wishful thinking.

2. They clearly state what you will do. The tasks are specific. For example, if you say to yourself, "I will turn off my phone one hour before bed," you know exactly what to do and when to do it.

3. They take less than five minutes to complete. While time limits vary, expect to complete micro tasks in minutes. Small tasks are less stressful and easier to complete. It's as simple as that.

Three Micro Habit Examples

Consider these three examples:

  1. Unsubscribe from one unwanted email every day.

  2. Eat one fruit or vegetable with every meal.

  3. Limit your social media scrolling to once a day.


Want more examples of micro habits? Check out this list with 37 examples.


What makes these actions effective micro habits?

They are effective for three reasons:

  1. They require you to take some form of action.

  2. Each action is simple to do and clearly defined.

  3. You can complete each one in a matter of minutes.

Tips for Creating Your Own Micro Habits

Here are three points to keep in mind:

  • Have a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve. The first step in change is to visualize what you want to achieve. Without a vision, you have no foundation to work with.

  • Choose an action that you can repeat over time. If your goal is to change an aspect of your life over time, choose a habit you can repeat regularly.

  • Place a time limit on each action. When you set a new goal, break the goal into small tasks that can be completed in five minutes or less. The faster and easier the task, the more likely you are to complete it.


Remember that small actions are the key to success with micro habits. Once you decide on your goal, figure out what you can do in five minutes or less to start moving toward your desired result.


Ready to start building new habits? Try our 5-Day Micro Habit Challenge.

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