Practicing Micro-Changes

This morning, in the midst of grumping about a lot of things that really didn’t need grumping about, my phone was brightened by a photo from a reader of this blog. The title of the photo was “Gray-induced Micro-Changes” and it looked like this:

Gray-Induced Micro-Changes

Confused? I was. She quickly explained: “First visible parking spot. Even if it’s a walk. Cause walks are good for you.

Which is, in fact, something that I’ve espoused for a long while (with more than a little tip of the hat to that Icon of Personal Development, Leo Babauta). It’s something I practice, too, helped along by things like The Walk and a partner who works a convenient mile from our apartment.

I really enjoyed seeing this one tiny change that she made. It falls in well with the first of Leo’s “best practices” for sticking with habits:

  1. Start small. Keep the habit very small. As small as possible, until it becomes your new “normal”. Just floss one tooth. Just run for a few minutes, or get your shoes on and get out the door. Just meditate for 2 minutes.

Micro-Change for Macro Effect

Another reason I was immensely grateful for this kind of feedback is because of an ongoing frustration I have as I teach one of my classes, The Performative Body. In it I talk to older performers and recent movement-arts enthusiasts – many of whom lead otherwise sedentary lives and then suddenly jump into a hobby of stage-combat or aerial acrobatics.

As you might expect, this can lead to injuries. Worse, for males especially it can increase the risk of heart-related incidents up to 270% or more. I lay it out for the participants of the class, putting up statistics and flashy Keynote presentations and they nod as I present the case. They smile as I say “So, now I’d like to see you write down one thing – just one change – that you’re going to make right now to better your health.”

They smile. They wait for me to continue. Generally, about one in eight actually writes something down.


It’s frustrating. I have met people who have suffered from precisely the situation I am warning the classes about. And yet…there is very little action taken.


Or is there? I got another email this morning, not from someone who attended my class this weekend but from their wife. She wanted to thank me because he was doing all kinds of searches now for yoga and stretching, motivated by hearing it from me. Of course, she also rather dryly commented that she’d been telling him that for years…but that’s an entirely different issue.


I talk to hundreds of people, thousands if you include this blog and my podcast. Perhaps I need to apply some of that micro-thinking to this as well. If only one or two from every post or class actually makes that micro-change that can lead to better health – well, that needs to just be enough.


And here’s the question you knew was coming: what’s the micro-change you’re going to commit to, before you close this browser window, that will help improve your life?

If you want an idea, how about supporting this blog?

Either by patronage or one-time-donation,

every little bit helps!


1 thought on “Practicing Micro-Changes”

  1. One micro-change I’m working on implementing is using my phone-browsing mental time-outs at work as a signal to stand up and walk to another location (preferably near a window). Just that little bit of a reminder to get up and move makes a difference in how my back feels at the end of the day. (I miss my stand/stool workstation at my previous job)

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