Would you choose happiness if you could have one thing in your life? Humans have looked for true happiness since the dawn of time. Why is it so hard to find the one thing that will make you feel and be a better person? Perhaps, some people look too hard and put too much effort into it. A micro-habit is a slight change you can make that adds up to more significant, long-term changes.

Consider them “baby steps” in changing habits that impact your self-growth and success.

It is time to start! So adopting these micro-habits are an excellent way to begin your journey toward a happier life. Doing a few of these “baby steps” might not give you the warm fuzzies you dream of. But over time, they can help you make great strides towards changing your life.

Micro-habits That Increase Success and Happiness

Adding good habits to your day is warranted if you want to change your life and be happier. Here are twenty micro-habits that can help with your self-development.


1. Start Your Day with Gratitude (An Essential Micro-Habit)

Each day when you get out of bed, you need to start by thanking the Universe for your blessings. Don’t grumble about the things you don’t have but be happy for what you do. Waking up with a heart of thanksgiving will alter your entire day.

Micro-habit to Increase Thankfulness:

Keep that first grateful thought of the day in mind for just a moment, savor it, and reflect on it.

2. You Need Eight Hours of Sleep, But Start With This One Thing

The Sleep Foundation states that you need to get around seven or eight hours of rest for your body to rejuvenate each night. Not getting the minimum can drastically impact your mood and overall health if you’re not getting the minimum. Sleep must be a priority.

Micro-habit for Reaching Your Goal of a Full Night of Sleep:

But you can set the stage for working up to eight hours by starting with a single positive action–going to bed at the same time every night. This single action helps shift your focus to gearing down for the evening. When you do this every night, your body will signal your brain that it’s time for sleeping.

3. Make Time for the People You Love

No one gets to the end of life and thinks they should have worked more or made more money. Instead, they wish they spent more time with the ones they love. Take time for those who mean so much to you, as no one is promised tomorrow.

Micro-habit to Enhance the Quality of the Time You Spend:

Our phones dictate our lives these days. When you engage with your beloved family or friends, power it off and put it away.  Also, invite your loved ones to do the same.

4. Smile Often

Smiling not only helps you feel better but also encourages those around you. Have you ever been down and out, and you see someone else’s smile radiating the room around you? The world would be better and much happier if people smiled and complained less.

Micro-habit to Put a Smile On Your Face:

Be mindful of your facial expressions. Without realizing it, you signal non-verbal cues by a smile. You convey a warm and welcoming personality. Mindfulness about your facial expressions can help you share your friendly nature.

5. Learn To Say “No”

Having too much on your plate can make you tired, grumpy, and not have time for self-care. However, when you learn to say “No,” it’s a game-changer. Not only do you take control of your day, but you’re setting limits that say what you can and can’t handle.

Micro-habit to Help You Decline Requests Politely:

Take time to learn and memorize a polite but firm way to say no. “No, thank you,” is often the most appropriate reply–no excuses needed.

6. Wake Up Early

If you want to get the day off on the wrong foot, then get up late and be rushed. Set your alarm for an earlier time than you need to be up, and you will have time for breakfast and to catch up with your spouse. Sometimes life is so rushed that you miss those little things, like coffee with your love before work.

Micro-habit to Help You Rise and Shine:

Set your alarm every evening faithfully. This single action is the most effective way to ensure you awaken on time.

7. Don’t Fill Your Schedule Too Full

Stop cramming your schedule so full that there’s no way humanly possible to do it all. You’re setting yourself up for defeat. One of the best micro-habits to observe is learning only to put a few things on your plate.

Micro-habit to Manage your Time Better:

Use a time management app or calendar on your phone or fitness watch. Public speaker and author Paul Cummings once wrote the following excellent advice:

“Write down goals and follow through on them one step at a time. What gets written down gets done.” -Paul Cummings

8. Eat a Healthy Plant-based Diet

Axe the junk food and fast-food garbage from your menu. Your health is a priority, so you need to make time to eat healthily. If you feel tired and run down all the time, your diet could be to blame. You can’t feel happy and have success if you’re proverbial tank is always on “E.”

Micro-habit to Eat Healthier:

Sign up for a vegetable and fruit delivery service. If you have plenty of healthy goods on hand, you’ll be more likely to eat them. You can sign up for a subscription with just a few quick clicks.

9. Have a Good Attitude (An Important Micro-Habit to Know)

Some say that happiness is a choice. How you look at things and your response means everything. Rather than being sour and downtrodden every day, choose to have a good attitude.

Micro-habit to Have a More Positive Attitude:

Seek a positive solution to whatever problems life throws your way. For instance, imagine your co-worker shifts the blame for a missed project deadline to you, but you completed your share of the work on time. Instead of blowing up at their accusation, withhold your response, gather your documentation, show them how the accountability falls to both of you, and figure out how to fix this issue before your next project. A well-played, thoughtful, solutions-oriented response will get you further in life.

10. Spend Your Money on Experiences, Not Things

Don’t become house or car poor because you want to keep up with others. Spend your money on experiences with those you love the most rather than material possessions that can be gone in the blink of an eye. Creating memories is way more important than living in a palace.

Micro-habit to Enjoy Your Life Journey:

Most people opt into dozens of retail shopping “newsletters” or “deals.” Retailers craft each pitch to tempt you based on your past purchase behaviors and interest. Opt-out of these offers to remove the temptation to purchase the latest or greatest widget. You’ll have more cash to spend on travel and other fulfilling experiences.


11. Celebrate More

Take time to celebrate the milestones and achievements in life. Don’t be too busy for birthdays, anniversaries, or having a special dinner with your child who got an “A.” It means everything to your happiness and success as a parent and spouse.

Micro-habit to Mark Milestones:

Send a card to mark an occasion–not an email, a text, or a social media post. Sending cards may seem quaint or old-fashioned, but that’s the point. It’s a thoughtful, classic gesture that we often overlook.

12. Be Kind to Others

You can be the difference in a world full of chaos and cruelty. Being kind to others costs you nothing, and its paybacks from the Universe are innumerable. When developing new habits, make kindness a top priority.

Micro-habit to Become Kinder:

Share an inspiring story of kindness or information about someone who makes a difference in the world on your social media. Non-profits or grassroots organizations receive much of their funding via social media buzz. This “share” only takes you a quick minute, but the impact can be profound.

13. Add Some Exercise to Your Day

To look and feel good, you need to move your body more. If you lack positivity, then boost those brain chemicals through exercise. According to Brain Line, when you exercise, you get more blood flow to the brain area, which helps give it more nutrition.

The extra blood boosts the production of your neurotransmitters. These hormones help you feel great and ward off mental illness and other problems. Exercise is vital for your survival.

Micro-habit to Become More Active:

Park your car farther away from your destination. Getting in those extra steps add up quickly, inspiring you to find new ways to get fit.

14. Use Positive Affirmations (PoP staffers’ favorite micro-habit)

To be successful and happy, start speaking positive affirmations into the atmosphere. Your words are compelling, and saying positive things over yourself every morning is a micro-habit that you must observe.

Micro-habit to Add Daily Affirmation to Your Schedule:

Read one affirmation a day. PoP makes this easy, delivering a daily dose of positive thinking right to your inbox. Subscribe below.

15. Learn Mindful Living

Life is often seen as a rat race, but you must take time to stop and smell the roses once in a while. Stop living so fast that you miss something meaningful with your family, friends, or self. There’s a whole world passing you by, and you’re too busy to see the beauty of it.

Micro-habit for Mindfulness:

Your fitness watch or phone provides you free access to one-minute breathing or mindfulness exercises. Download one of these apps and indulge in a one-minute cleansing breathing session once daily.

16. Be a Better Communicator

Do thoughts tend to enter your brain and fly out your mouth before you even think? It would help if you learned how to take short pauses before speaking. These few seconds can help you prepare what you say to convey your message clearly and effectively. It’s always best to make sure what you say enhances the conversation and not hinder it if you want to be a better communicator.

Micro-habit for Pushing the Pause Button on Your Replies:

When someone asks you a question, use a quick visualization technique. Imagine a pause button in your mind and then visualize pressing it for a brief second. That two-second delay gives you the time to formulate an appropriate response.

A CNBC report touted a two-second pause as a way to boost your communication skills.

17. Scroll Less

How much daily do you spend on your cell phone, computer, or tablet? Did you know the average person spends about 5.4 hours a day? This comes from a study conducted by Tech Jury. If you’re overworked and don’t have enough time to do what you want, you might consider scrolling less and engaging more.

Here are some simple ways to spend less time on your electronics:

  • No phones at the table or while eating
  • Only check your emails two to three times each day
  • Have a set time in the evenings when you put the phones down and interact with family
  • Set a timer for scrolling limits
  • Keep the news off your phone
  • Limit social media to minutes, not hours
  • Notice the signs of addiction and monitor your time

Micro-habit to Stop Obsessing Over Media:

As mentioned in point #3, put away the phone, tablet, laptop, or device. It’s just that easy. You deserve the break!

18. Carefully Choose Your Sphere of Influence

Every person has a sphere of influence, which is their inner circle of people. These folks are the ones that support you when life is tough, and they’re there cheering for you when things are great. If you have a circle filled with negative people, it can significantly impact your entire well-being.

Choose your inner circle of friends wisely, and include positive folks that help you become a better person.

Micro-habit to Expand Positive People in Your Inner-Circle:

Minimize your contact with negative people. Your sister, cousin, or neighbor will always be present in your life. But you can keep check-ins with negative people to a minimum without completely cutting them out of your life. Once you eliminate the negativity, you will attract more positive outcomes.

19. Live Simplistically and Become a Minimalist

Another one of the great micro-habits is to learn to live. Life doesn’t have to be challenging if you know how to simplify. What is simple living?

Well, you should keep a minimalist home that’s comfortable. It would help if you strived for happiness rather than money. Here are some things to work on for simple living:

  • More time – unplugging and having time for self-care
  • More money – avoiding spending impulses and learning to save
  • Cleaner home with less stuff, less to clean, and an uncluttered space
  • Deeper relationships – spending time nurturing relationships that mean the most

Micro-habit to Become a Minimalist:

Organize all the paperwork on your desk. Shred old documents that you don’t need. Scan paperwork you must keep (don’t forget to back it up). Finally, assemble a box to store away financial records you must retain and find a storage place to keep them. Once you see how easy it is to organize your space, you will also see how easily you can apply this method in every home room.

20. Use What You Have by Upcycling

One of the reasons people are so unhappy is that they can’t beat “the system.” You need money to eat and live, but you could do with less. Do you overspend and make impulse purchases only to find that you’ve overextended yourself once again?

You can reuse, recycle, and upcycle and create savings. As it’s been often said, “Mind your pennies, and then the dollars will take care of themselves.” Learn to give an account for every cent you spend.

Micro-habit to Upcycle Things You Have On-Hand:

Find an interesting new way to use just one cluttery item that you accumulate. For instance, perhaps wash out an empty yogurt cup to corral the pile of paperclips in your desk drawer.


Final Thoughts on Micro-habits for Success and Happiness

The good news is that you don’t have to do all these micro-habits to be happy. You can pick and choose the ones that work best for you. Some people may need to do most of them, while it may just take you a few to get where you need to be.

However, the key is working towards self-development and cultivating good micro-habits that will alter your life. Adopting some new habits from this list will help you believe you can do anything you want.