Micro Habits

I wrote a post last week signifying my 500th post on my main blog.  In that post I mentioned the concept that I call a micro habit.  Since then I’ve been thinking of the concept of the micro habit from a leadership perspective.  First, if you don’t go to read the full post (but why wouldn’t you?), a micro habit is something that may be a bit of a habit in the big picture, but we are extremely variable in our application in the short term.  Here are some examples:

  • You read 30 minutes a day for a week, then read nothing for three weeks.    For that first week, you had a reading micro habit.
  • You clean out your email inbox each Friday for a few weeks, but soon you have well over 100 items in your inbox.  For those fleeting Fridays, you had the micro habit.
  • I could mention diets, but I won’t.

As a leader developing others we need to recognize both the power and the peril of the micro habit.   The peril is that people get discouraged and never feel they can develop the habit.  The power is that the micro habit actually proves the opposite – we can do it!

 As a leader we can help others see both the peril and the power and we can use the power to move a behavior from a micro habit to a full fledged routine habit.  The ideas in my original post will help – and as a leader we can help people be successful by encouraging them with the power and supporting them past the perils of the micro habit.

4 Responses to “Micro Habits”

  1. Mike Chitty Says:

    I would choose to see micro-habits as you define them as experiments in learning – which failed. A micro-habit is an experiment in doing something new. If this ‘doing something new’ appears to have a payback – then we keep on doing it until it becomes a habit. Sometimes we keep on doing it even thought the payback is no longer there! I know several leaders who read loads – but rarely if ever consider applying what they read. Reading has become a habit with no payback!
    The danger is that we give up on our learning experiments too easily and too quickly. Because they are new ‘ways of being’ they are uncomfortable. They are not what we would chose to do ordinarily. Because they are uncomfortable we only need a flimsy excuse to stop doing them and revert back to our preferred ‘habitual’ behaviour.
    This is the challenge at the heart of any real professional development. How long do we stick with a new behaviour to allow us to overcome the discomfort and give a genuine opportunity for the benefits to accrue?

  2. Progressive Managers' Network Says:

    Micro Habits and Micro Behaviours

    Kevin Eikenberry writes a cracking blog and has recently been discussing micro-habits. If I understand him properly a micro-habit is a habit that you have for a short period of time – but then you lose.
    So for example if you read a book for 30 minutes…

  3. ignitewhatmatters Says:

    The concept of micro habits is an intriguing one. After reading Kevin’s main blog and Seth Godin’s The Dip a couple of nights ago I am dogged by the concepts of moving behaviors to habits and strategic quitting. In reflecting on my work with leaders over the past 2 decades I have helped leaders do both. This morning a different twist emerged for me. What if micro habits had their purpose just as they are: short term tactical bursts targeting a specific result? What if, for certain scenarios, leaders had a battery of micro habits to pull from that served to propel them forward in a strategic direction AND these leaders could and would quit, change tactics if you will, when they have arrived at the next intersecton of their fluid journey? I am thinking of examples of valuable micro habits employed by start up entrepreneurs that 6 months and 20 new employees into the venture no longer serve them well. Flexibility has its place in our hyper-speed work place.

    Full fledged habits, rededicated action, micro leaps? I like the mix. The operating space for bold leaders just got bigger. That’s a habit I can surge through The Dip on! Remarkable, indeed.

  4. mycodesplace Says:


    Nice website, great reading. Thank you.

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