While I don’t spend a lot of time browsing Quora, I do stop by about once a week. If you don’t know the website, it’s a place where people post questions to elicit answers from other users. It can often provide good inspiration for a blog post, like, ahem, this one.
The question that pulled me in this morning was, “What are some good mini-habits to practice each day?”
It has taken me too many years to see this, but I now understand that mini-habits are of maxi-importance. Let me explain. Character is we you are when no one is looking and there is a lot of truth in the adage that “character is destiny.” Mini-habits are the small puzzle pieces that come together and eventually define our character.
Frankly, to a greater extent than you probably realize, you are the sum total of all your mini-habits. I’m going to share some of the mini-habits Quora users suggested and give you some of my own. I’ll make some comments along the way, but I want you to see how these small habits are an outward reflection of an inner character trait or “core value.”
- Make your bed when you get up in the morning. This was mentioned several times and I once included it in a monthly newsletter I write for a cleaning service. It starts your day off on a footing of self-esteem and ends your day with order. Further, you drive home the fact that no matter what anyone says, neatness counts.
- Make a daily to-do list. This will keep you moving forward and deliver a feeling of accomplishment as you see them checked off the list.
- Read a good chunk of a book every day. This is brain fertilizer for knowledge, understanding and creativity.
- Exercise every day. Stretching, aerobics, strength training. Mix them up. If you don’t care for your body, it won’t care for you.
- Put things back. Put things back into their places as soon as you’re done using them. If you don’t, you’ve just added an unwritten item to your to-do list that you’ll probably forget about.
- Leave everyplace in better shape than you found it. This is a variation on a camping rule and it will transform your environment.
- Dress slightly better than the occasion calls for. This builds a good kind of pride similar to the habit of making your bed each morning.
- Grow spiritually. We are far more than the collection of atoms that make our physical vessels. I recommend the Bible.
- Be thankful and express your gratitude. There are three basic attitude options: thankfulness, resentfulness or apathy (choose one).
- Say “no” to buying things that deliver only short-term pleasure. This allows you to take the money you save and buy things for long-term asset accumulation and wealth growth.
We tell people not to “sweat the small stuff” and in many situations that is very wise advise, but let’s make an exception to this guidance when it comes to the mini-habits that make us who we are.
If you’re part of the Quora community, there are many more excellent responses to this question and you probably have some of your own. Am I able to practice these habits perfectly? No, I often fail. I need to be honest and confess that failure is part of my character as well. I wouldn’t be human if it was otherwise. You will fail, but you will also find yourself getting better.
What are some mini-habits that have served you well?