47 Micro-Goals to Keep You Healthy (Without Knowing It)

Paul L. Underwood
by Paul L. Underwood
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47 Micro-Goals to Keep You Healthy (Without Knowing It)

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well, the journey of hitting your daily step goal — or achieving whatever fitness goal you’ve set yourself — is a similar situation. If you say to yourself, “Self, I’m going to run a marathon someday,” you may or may not get there. But if you break that goal into smaller goals, and then break those goals down into even smaller goals, well, eventually you’ll hit on something called micro-goals.

For example, start with buying a good pair of running shoes, then commit to running a mile, maybe get a friend to join you in a 5K race, then a 10K, then a half-marathon. Before you know it, you’ve marked your calendar for that marathon and the “someday” has a date. You get the picture.

Micro-goals are pretty much exactly what they sound like and are growing in popularity as a way of boosting your productivity. Blogger James Clear defines them via Newton’s First Law of Motion — essentially, that objects at rest tend to stay at rest, while objects in motion tend to stay in motion. The key to achieving your goal, then, is to just get started doing something, anything. This applies whether you’re working on a big assignment for work, writing an article on deadline (cough), or, yes, looking to improve your own fitness.

So in that spirit, we’ve compiled a list of 47 micro-goals to help you get moving, stay moving, get healthier and overall help you turn big-deal resolutions into mini-accomplishments over and over.

You may find that, though these are micro-goals, they often lead to outsized success.

1. Clean your refrigerator and pantry.

2. Organize your cabinets (including your spice rack).

3. Make a grocery list of healthy staples — fresh produce, lean protein, eggs and so on — and then use that whenever you shop. 🍎 🍊 🍋 🍌 🍉 🍓 🍈 🍒 🍑 🍍 🥝 🥑 🍅 🍆 🥒 🥕 🌽 🌶

4. Better yet, save that list in your phone, so you can add to it throughout the week (and so you don’t show up to the store hungry). 🤳📱

5. Add one foam rolling session to your week. Start rolling whatever’s tense and go from there.

6. Take the stairs at work on Tuesdays (then add days of the week).

7. Save up for a massage or make time for a bath (recovery is important, after all). 🛀🏾

8. Organize your fitness gear.

9. Invest in a good gym bag.

10. Invest in a good water bottle…

11. … and fill it many times a day. 💦 💦

12. Set a calendar reminder to get up every hour …  🗓⏰⏳⌚

13. … then get up and walk, even if you just do a lap around the office.

14. Schedule one walking meeting a week (then build from there). 🚶🏻‍♀️🚶

15. Walk to a coworker’s desk instead of Slacking them.

16. Walk or bike to coffee or brunch instead of driving. 🚲

17. Skip the vending machine on Wednesdays, then add days from there.

18. Invest in a new pillow or set of bedsheets. Sleep and recovery are important, too. 🛏

19. Put your phone and computer to sleep an hour before you head to bed yourself. 📵📵

20. Charge your phone away from your bed (or better yet, outside of your bedroom) on the weekends. (See above re: sleep and recovery.) 📵🛏

21. Pack a healthy lunch for work once a week, then build from there. 🍱

22. Designate at least one “dry day” a week.

23. Make a list of local parks with trails and make a point of exploring a new one every month. 🏞🌳🐾🍄

24. Switch date-night dinner-and-a-movie for something active (like a tennis lesson) or even something where you’re on your feet, like a cooking class. 🎾🎾

25. Once a week, take a 15-minute walk before or after work. Schedule it in your calendar.

26. On gym days, commit to at least 15 minutes of movement, especially when you’re not motivated, then build from there.

27. Park an extra level up at parking garages or park further away from your destination.

28. Take your coffee without cream or sugar (or both) once a week. ☕

29. Keep your running shoes (and workout clothes) in your car. You never know when the urge will strike!

30. Save frequently eaten meals in MyFitnessPal. (This cuts down on how long it takes to log.)

31. Meet for coffee instead of drinks. ☕☕☕

32. Make breakfast dates instead of drink dates. 🍳 🍳 🍳

33. Meet for squash (or some other physical activity) instead of drinks.

34. Travel a lot? Pack a jump rope.

35. Don’t jump rope? Pack resistance bands.

36. Watching the game? Do a few pushups during commercial breaks (or eat a few less handfuls of chips).

37. Get your coolest friend to make you a one-hour workout mix.  🎧 🎼

38. Make a folder of workout playlists in your favorite music streaming service for easy access later. 🎶🎶

39. Prefer podcasts? Listen to one as you walk.

40. Write out your meals in advance on your digital or physical calendar of choice …

41. … In a relationship? Share your plan with your partner.

42. Making a healthy meal? Prep enough for two meals, so you can bring the leftovers to work for lunch. 🥘 🥘

43. Carve out an hour or two on Sunday to prep food or batch cook for the week ahead.

44. Swap unhealthy sides for fruit, veggies or a salad every other time you go out to eat. (Then build from there.) 🍎 🌽🍆

45. Set aside a portion of your meal at restaurants before digging in. This manages portion sizes and ensures you have leftovers for lunch.

46. Consider going meatless one dinner a week.

47. Just. Get. Moving.🤸‍♀️ 🤸‍♂️ 🤸‍♀️ 🤸‍♂️


About the Author

Paul L. Underwood
Paul L. Underwood

Paul is a writer based in Austin, Texas. He tweets here, he Instagrams there and he posts the occasional deep thought at plunderwood.com. He’s probably working on a run mix as you read this.

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